Author Topic: Good cleansing agent, and cleaning supply recommendation?  (Read 1180 times)

Offline TheFirstTimer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
Good cleansing agent, and cleaning supply recommendation?
« on: October 30, 2014, 12:57:26 PM »
Hi guys! I am a new ratty owner, and I just wanted to get input on good cleansing agents and practices. :)

Thanks in advance. :)

Offline Vonda Z

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 2220
    • Ratropolis: Life with Rats
Re: Good cleansing agent, and cleaning supply recommendation?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2014, 04:38:25 PM »
I highly recommend cleaning using a vinegar solution (I use roughly 50% vinegar 50% water). Vinegar is a natural cleaner and is safe for your ratties to be in contact with. It also has odor neutralizing abilities so it will help control the pee smell. It is a natural disinfectant. It has no chemical fragrances that might upset the rat's respiratory system. I also spray it on wood surfaces to help keep them clean without making it dangerous for the rats to continue chewing on them (for wooden huts and bridges and things). I even put it in the rinse cycle of the washer when washing rat laundry. (For laundry, I use a dye free and fragrance free detergent, like Tide in the white bottle).

For deeper cleans, I use Dawn dish soap and a sponge to really wash down the cage, then wipe with the vinegar. I also put plastic accessories in the dishwasher every now and then for a good thorough clean.

For dealing with disinfection (after a contagious illness or parasite), I may clean some things with bleach (not in the presence of the rats), but I make sure to thoroughly rinse afterwards and to let dry completely in the sunshine (sunlight is also a natural disinfectant, by the way). Also, boiling water and steam are good for disinfecting some items that are not vulnerable to hot temperatures. So washing accessories in a dishwasher on the anti-bacterial/sanitize cycle can be helpful. If your washing machine has a sanitize cycle using super hot temperatures, that can be useful for disinfecting hammocks and liners. But these measures are mainly reserved for after some type of problem (eg, ringworm or a virus) has hit and you want to prevent spread/reinfection.

Offline TheFirstTimer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
Re: Good cleansing agent, and cleaning supply recommendation?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2014, 08:05:42 PM »
Wow, thank you for the thorough reply. :)

Erm, white vinegar, right? As in, acetic acid?

Thank you very much!! I will keep this in mind, though hopefully, infections are few and far between, if at all.  *knock on wood*

Offline BigBen

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 7337
  • Rattos habeo, ergo sum
Re: Good cleansing agent, and cleaning supply recommendation?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 09:28:46 PM »
Using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in combination results in better cleaning and disinfecting than using either (or both) separately.  I also find that the smell of vinegar bothers me quite a bit, and peroxide quickly neutralizes that smell.

The main ingredient of vinegar is acetic acid, and it reacts with hydrogen peroxide to form peracetic acid, which is a good antiseptic with strong anti-microbial action.  One article quoted in an earlier thread advises against pre-mixing vinegar and peroxide before applying them to the article to be cleaned, but I am not sure how much of a concern this really is.  Like its two constituents, peracetic acid occurs in nature, and though it is formed from the other two, it also breaks down into the other two as well, depending on various environmental factors (i.e., the reaction is reversible under the proper conditions).

Peracetic acid is an oxidizing agent, which means it promotes the formation of rust (iron oxide), but vinegar and peroxide are both reducing agents, which means they break down rust into oxygen and iron.  I suspect that one good reason for not pre-mixing vinegar and peroxide, so that they first meet on the surface of the item to be cleaned, may be that this will minimize the amount of time the peracetic acid that is formed can cause any rusting.  And, of course, as it breaks down again, the reducing agents will break up any newly-formed rust molecules.

As far as the formation of peracetic acid is concerned, you can use either the white distilled vinegar or the red apple-cider vinegar.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 09:30:17 PM by BigBen »
What is a rat?  King-sized love in a pint-sized package.
Rat Code:  6m2f22r !B C? D+ F S-- ocA reC sM a+++ e++++ n

Offline TheFirstTimer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
Re: Good cleansing agent, and cleaning supply recommendation?
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2014, 01:41:31 AM »
Understood, thank you. I appreciate your thoroughness also; your chemistry is strong, by the way! (coming from a third year natural science university student).
I will get vinegar and peroxide on the double; it won't make them go crazy marking it over, will it? I have females, so they're less... testosterone laden than males, of course.

Offline BigBen

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 7337
  • Rattos habeo, ergo sum
Re: Good cleansing agent, and cleaning supply recommendation?
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2014, 11:47:31 PM »
Don't clean too much, or the ratties will go crazy smelling it up again.  I always leave a couple of hammocks and don't always wash the current hide.  Plus, you can take some of the used litter and put it in the litter trays.  That way, the cage is basically clean, but there is enough rat smell that the rats don't feel completely alienated from their surroundings.
What is a rat?  King-sized love in a pint-sized package.
Rat Code:  6m2f22r !B C? D+ F S-- ocA reC sM a+++ e++++ n