Ammonia smell [Archive] - Rat Forum

: Ammonia smell

08-08-2013, 09:26 AM
I've been using towels as my cages main bedding for the last few months now. I change the towel every 4 days and replace with a new one, and switch between the two towels.

Lately I've been noticing that even after I wash the towels there is still a hint of urine/ammonia type smell on them. I've also noticed the towels are getting stinkier a lot quicker than they used to. Is there any particular detergent I can use in the washing machine to get rid of the smell? Or anything I can put on the towels to neutralise it a bit?

08-08-2013, 09:38 AM
I have heard vinegar in the wash cycle helps. Sprinkling baking soda under the new towels when you lay them down is supposed to help as well. I don't know about any particular detergent, but my regular stuff from WalMart knocks out any smell very well. I ALWAYS rinse any towels or fleece before I put it in the wash though... I'll rinse it till the water runs clear in the sink, maybe use some dish soap to get tough dirty spots, then toss it in the wash. I don't want my washer stinking, and it cuts down a lot on odor.

08-08-2013, 09:45 AM
Vinegar works great before I used vinegar the rat stuff would come out smelling like a barn. Poor in about a 1/2 to a cup depending on the size of the load and they will smell a lot better when you take them out. Like jbird said put some vinegar underneath the towel and it will help also.

08-08-2013, 09:46 AM
I use baking soda. I do the opposite of JBird, though, because I worry about allergic reactions to the detergents. I wash once then run it through rinsing and then dry it.

Make sure you get washing machine could build up in there as well.

It might be due to towels though: they are meant to be absorbant. They may be at the end of their life.

Timberlee Fields
08-08-2013, 09:52 AM
I'd be scared to put baking soda on the liners in case they ingested it.

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08-08-2013, 10:28 AM
Same as Timberlee- the baking soda would worry me, so I'd go with the vinegar and washing/rinsing it a bit before putting it in the washer. :)

08-08-2013, 10:31 AM
Oh I hate the smell of vinegar. I put the baking soda straight in the wash usually, though I will sometimes sprinkle it atop the laundry, let it sit then shake off any particles before putting it in.

08-08-2013, 11:31 AM
Thank you all very much for the advice :) I'm just curious, I've never used baking soda for cleaning or anything before, what happens if they do ingest it? Is it toxic?

08-08-2013, 11:36 AM
I'd imagine it is; it used to be used to help with stomach acid in small doses, and when you think about a small dose for a human v. a rat, I would think it would almost be corrosive. But I could be wrong.

The main use for baking soda that I use is that it is a deodorizer -- placing a bowl of it atop the cage can serve to eliminate smells, which is especially important with pets that can't have aerosols, candles and air freshener in the room. I also add a spoonful into the wash for the same passive deodorizing.

08-08-2013, 01:16 PM
I must try put some near the cage also to soak up the smell. I've been using lavender plants from my garden to give my bedroom a nice smell but after a while it kinda mixes with the rat odour and smells weird haha. I'll be extra careful with it though. Thanks again for your help!

08-08-2013, 01:39 PM
Yeah, I tried lavender and it just seemed to make the pee smell so much more poignant. lol.

08-08-2013, 02:37 PM

T ( breaks down the ammonia smell. I used to use it for Nimbus' sneezey problem. Someone posted they use paper pellet bedding like Yesterdays News kitty litter under the cloth to absorb pee and smell and they sprinkle some baking soda there too. I don't use cloth bedding but I use paper pellet under their regular bedding and now even my rats smell better. Its like a smell sponge. I even use some at the bottom of my garbage can.

08-09-2013, 08:07 AM
I'm heading to the pet store later to pick some things up so I'll keep an eye out for that, thank you :) If I can't find it I'll just order it online because the reviews sound great. The joys of keeping stinky butts in your bedroom :P

08-09-2013, 12:00 PM
I don't think it would be toxic to the rats there are many people that use it under fleece and have no problems with their rats. I have a container of it above the rats cage and forgot it there when I let them free range and found one of my girls eatting it I took her away as soon as I seen it but she hasn't been affected by it so if they only ingest a little of it I don't think it will hurt them. Also we use it in baking and it doesn't harm any one so I don't see how it could be toxic.

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08-10-2013, 05:29 PM
I personally try to use few towels and more fleece as fleece will be more resilient to liquid/odor absorption. I use the towels in places where there is heavy soiling though so maybe using less towels will help lessen the amount of ammonia your encountering. I have always relied on simple unscented bleach and castile soap to do the rat's laundry, the bleach kills the bacteria causing the odors and the castile soap does an excellent job actually cleaning the fibers out. I also have used white vinegar for particularly stinky loads or for cat pee (high ammonia) and it works really well.