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Discussion Starter #1
Okay guys, here is my problem:

I have three females and a neutered male in a cage that (according to the calculator) can hold up to 10. They are about 90% litter box trained (we're still working on it :lol: ) and I have the wire shelves covered with fleece...

I am at the point right now where I take the whole cage apart and do a DEEP CLEANING about EVERY OTHER DAY. I cannot live this way! I end up cleaning the cage so often that I lose out on time with my rats!

Is it unreasonable to expect it not to smell like rats? Is it possible?

Tips? Please?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know, I hate it. Luckily, I have enough fleece that I can switch it out without having to wash it right away - I can let a full load accumulate - I just bought a new house and really do not want it to smell like PEE!

Tips?
 

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possibly youre cleaning it too well? If they think the cage doesn't smell enough like them they sometimes go over board in re-scenting
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That could be true...

I just can't have a house that smells like pets. I have some mild obsessive compulsive behaviors... and smell is one of them.
 

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maybe you could cover the top levels w/fleece and the bottom could be full of bedding and the litter box like my cage, then keep the rest of the cage cleaner than the bottom. id love to see pics of this cage
 

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I don't know if you have an FN, or what kind of cage, but when I was using fleece, it was pretty smelly, and I was cleaning it out a couple times a day (I have a much smaller cage, though only two little girls). I switched to bedding, and the smell practically disappeared. And their sneezing. Maybe that would work? Plus, it absorbs the waste, so I found I do'nt have to wipe the pan down all the time to soak up pee.
 

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Haha, I know they have this stuff at the pet stores you can put under bedding (like carefresh) that's supposed to help eliminate smell, but I would imagine fleece soaks up pee pretty good.
 

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Some questions for you...

Exactly what kind of cage do you have?
What bedding(s) are you using?
What do you use to clean the cage?
What are you feeding the rats?
Do you clean the wall(s) and floor around/under the cage?

I have 13 rats in my bedroom, and 6 female mice, and it honestly never smells - and I also have a very sensitive nose and HATE when things smell unfresh. It's more than likely something small that you have to change in order to fix the problem :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for all of the responses!

I think that the part that ends up stinking the most is the solid plastic pan on the bottom of the cage. The shelves have the fleece on them, but the bottom is just solid plastic...

I don't have a FN, but it is similar in style. :)

I would put bedding in it, except that the tray is only an inch or so deep - the bedding would end up all over the floor. I thought about using baking soda as an odor eliminator ...

I wonder if rigging up a way to line the bottom tray with fleece would work?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Night said:
Exactly what kind of cage do you have?
I'm not sure, I bought it on craigslist... I think it is by Marshall... I am going to take a picture tomorrow and post it. :)

Night said:
What bedding(s) are you using?
Fleece on the wire shelves and yesterday's news in the litter box.

Night said:
What do you use to clean the cage?
I found this online a couple years ago and have been following it to the letter. (There is a copy of it on my fridge. :lol: )

Step one
Scrape, rinse, or otherwise remove all loose particulate matter.

Step two
Wash the item in the first bucket using a detergent solution and the hottest water you can stand. A bottle brush, nylon scrubber, and vegetable brush are good tools to have. Replace the detergent solution when suds are gone or water is dirty.

Step three
Rinse the items by immersion in a second bucket of clean water or spraying. Use the hottest water you can stand. This should remove all traces of detergent. Replace water in bucket when it gets dirty.

Step four
Immerse the items in a third sink full of sanitizing solution. For this use ½ tablespoon of bleach for each gallon of cold water. Do not use hot water, it lessens the effectiveness of the bleach. Allow items to remain in solution for 30 seconds.

Step five
Remove items and allow to air dry.


Night said:
What are you feeding the rats?
Daily - Nutro Light Adult Small Bites and Suebee's
Bi-weekly - Cooked whole wheat pasta and mixed veggies with olive oil

Night said:
Do you clean the wall(s) and floor around/under the cage?
I do, but not every other day like I do everything else. I could definitely try doing it more often...

Night said:
and I also have a very sensitive nose and HATE when things smell unfresh.
Me too. You understand! :wink:

Night said:
It's more than likely something small that you have to change in order to fix the problem :)
I hope so... 8O
 

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Discussion Starter #13

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Wow, that's quite a cleaning process! I don't clean my rats' cage that well, and it doesn't smell bad until a week after last cleaning. I usually end up cleaning it every 5 days or so, but if they're being good about using the litter boxes and I clean those out, I can go a week to a week and a half with no smell issue at all. I use towels on the shelves and pans, with Carefresh in the litter boxes (although I hate Carefresh, stick with YN! ^_^ )

When I clean, I remove everything fabric and throw it in the wash. Everything cardboard gets thrown out (pop boxes, shoeboxes, etc). I wipe down everything else with a mild bleach solution, wipe that off, let it air out while the girls are out playing. The litter boxes I clean a little better because they're smellier, they get actual soap and water, then some orange cleaner which works better than the bleach for the smell in there.

After I get the cage set up again, I mist everything with a mix of vanilla extract and water. I read somewhere that vanilla helps with the smell, and it really does.

Night, how do you keep your mice from not smelling? I have one male mouse and his cage has a strong smell the day after I clean it. Nothing has worked to stop that, so let me know what your secret is! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Mana said:
After I get the cage set up again, I mist everything with a mix of vanilla extract and water. I read somewhere that vanilla helps with the smell, and it really does.
Mana, you're a genius! I am definitely going to try that.

After reading the responses, I think that part of the problem is that the bottom tray of their cage is bare plastic. It doesn't have any fabric or anything, so the urine probably pools and stinks more than it would otherwise...

I wonder if I should use fleece down there, too? How do you guys attach it? Velcro?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
<---- Yay! I'm a skritch lover!
 

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I'd cover the bottom pan. Plastic seems to absorb odor really well, that's why I have to clean the litter boxes more thoroughly than everywhere else. I use full-sized towels, which are perfect for the FN. I tuck the ends under the pan, and that seems to be enough to keep the rats from going under there. Coconut loves burrowing under fabric, but she'll only go under in the FN if I have to use two smaller pieces of fabric instead of one big one, so she can get in easily from the middle.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That is a good idea. :mrgreen: You rock!

I was doing more reading, and has anyone tried throwing some baking soda in the dryer when when washing rat laundry? There was a website that recommended it...

I will try it tomorrow and report back. 8)

Any more suggestions?
 

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Vinegar is my suggestion. Your cleaning process is... absolutely insane. Even with 11 rats in one cage, nothing warrants that kind of cleaning - ever. I use a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. I spray everything down, let it sit for a couple minutes, then wipe it dry. Vinegar is amazing when it comes to cleaning, sanitizing, and deoderizing.
 

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Mana said:
After I get the cage set up again, I mist everything with a mix of vanilla extract and water. I read somewhere that vanilla helps with the smell, and it really does.
That's a great idea, Mana! I'm definitely going to try it. :)

The main problem I have is the girls marking their toys and peeing out the bars of their cage. Arg. :roll:
 
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