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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I work from home but lately I've been so inundated in work I've been letting the rats free range in the bedroom while I work at the computer. However, I have to frequently stop to pull one of them out of a trashcan or pull Jesse off of Nibbles when he's bullying him or just pet them when they climb up my leg. There's also giving them treats and cleaning spills. As a result, I'm washing my hands about every five minutes. I got a nasty case of eczema already from washing too much but I feel like the only alternative is being unsanitary. (I am not a germaphobe or anything but have read plenty that you should always wash after playing with your rats)

I've tried latex gloves but I don't like interacting with the rats with gloves because it feels impersonal, they nip at the gloves, and the gloves aggravate eczema if you leave them on for long. Also, they cost money and I go through them quickly.

I don't think there is actually a good solution here but doe anyone have any tips? Do you wash after touching your rats or only when cleaning up after them?
 

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I don't wash my hands after handling them, my girls are very clean so I don't really see a point. If they get in to something yucky I do. Wait until you know you won't be handling them for a few hours to wash your hands. If it really bothers you you could use an aloe based hand sanitizer. Eczema sucks :( Mine flairs up in the winter and it's absolutely miserable.
 

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I definitly do not wash after touching my pets. If I am cleaning up messes or they are particularly ick then sure, but they are around me all the time and it seems silly. Plus I have very mild psoriasis and the worst place is on one of my hands and washing iritates it and hand sanitizer is out of the question. They tell you to wash your hands after handling any animal to reduce risk of illness but I kiss my animals, have them near my face, so washing hands so often just seems silly to me. It might not be a bad idea before you eat, but washing before meals is just good manners to most so that has less to do with having touched a pet. If you have a decent immune system and arn't a germaphobe I wouldn't be so concerned personally.
 

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I don't want our Ratties exposed to germs the kids could bring from school and us from work. The kids already know, they don't get to play with the boys until their hands are washed! And after a good play session with the boys, we wash hands as well. I clean their cage daily, so our Ratties are pretty clean.
 

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We have a giant bottle of hand sanitizers - like the ones they use in hospitals on top of our cage. It is only really for my partner since I do not wash my hands after every time I handle them but I do use it after I have done spot cleaning or they have been particular smelly. Honestly I think it is a placebo effect more than anything as I have not heard of anyone saying they have gotten ill from handling their rats. I too give my boys kisses and let them walk all over so it isn't that big of a deal to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
All right everyone, thanks for your input. I guess I've been too paranoid about cleanliness with them.

I clean their cage daily, so our Ratties are pretty clean.
Whew, I wish we could clean it every day, but it takes the two of us working together a full hour. Maybe we need a better system...
 

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It takes us that long too! Since we like to be thorough. But I spot clean every day and clean out litter trays every 2-3 days. Then weekly we will have a deep clean and wash the cage properly and everything in it (except for one or two hammocks so they do not scent bomb the place like crazy haha).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ah ok, that sounds similar to what we do. Glad to know we aren't just slower than everyone else :p
 

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I have hand eczema too and washing them too much aggravates it. However I also have bad allergies and need to keep my hands clean to I don't get a bad allergy attack. I just use the same fragrance free baby wipes I use for the rats cage to clean my fingers in between hand washing. Gets rid of the allergens and is gentle enough not to irritate my skin.
 

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All right everyone, thanks for your input. I guess I've been too paranoid about cleanliness with them.


Whew, I wish we could clean it every day, but it takes the two of us working together a full hour. Maybe we need a better system...
Yeah, it is a mission. But I only wash their hammocks in vinegar twice weekly. Bedding gets changed daily. Litter box gets cleaned daily too. Maybe that's too often...? Lol...
 

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It takes us that long too! Since we like to be thorough. But I spot clean every day and clean out litter trays every 2-3 days. Then weekly we will have a deep clean and wash the cage properly and everything in it (except for one or two hammocks so they do not scent bomb the place like crazy haha).
I think I just realised what scent bombing is....! My boys poop in the litter box, but they wee all over. Especially when they put back into their clean cage. It's wee droplets everywhere. Mmmmm, the more I clean, the more they wee. I think I'm going to test it, and only change their bedding every second/third day?
 

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I think I just realised what scent bombing is....! My boys poop in the litter box, but they wee all over. Especially when they put back into their clean cage. It's wee droplets everywhere. Mmmmm, the more I clean, the more they wee. I think I'm going to test it, and only change their bedding every second/third day?
That is over cleaning, you are right the more you clean the more they scent mark, they scent mark a lot more when you clean their cage a lot to keep their scent. I literally just clean my age once a week, change lottery boxes two times a week and spot clean daily, like wipe down the shelfs, clean up any messes etc, also I change their hammocks is once a week.


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I have allergies and its like a vicious cycle - I clean the cage, change liners and hammocks every other day, and litter boxes daily. Any less and my allergies become unbearable, but of course the constant cleaning makes them scent mark! I can't win!
 

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I have allergies and its like a vicious cycle - I clean the cage, change liners and hammocks every other day, and litter boxes daily. Any less and my allergies become unbearable, but of course the constant cleaning makes them scent mark! I can't win!
My daughter is asthmatic so I'm also trying to be cautious about that. But I'll slow down on the cleaning abit and see if it works with the scent peeing everywhere! 😊
 

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Honestly, I don't wash my hands while my rats are free ranging in my office. So I touch them and then I touch my keyboard, mouse, desk, etc. I just keep some clorox wipes on my desk so that when they go back into the cage I can wipe my desk and stuff down (after washing my hands of course). I'll usually throw a wipe on the floor too and give the floor a quick clean too just to wipe up any puddles they may have left.
 

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Personally I think it's overkill too. The others are right, the more often you clean the cage and change out their bedding, the more they'll scent mark. I spend about about 30 minutes every night spot cleaning, getting up any stray poops, finding any hidden food, and checking the bedding and hammocks for soiling. Then every weekend, I replace all bedding/floor coverings and wash their hammocks and extra fleece blankies I have lying around. I'm a nurse so I am a bit of a germophobe but I don't wash my hands every time I handle the girls. I don't wash my hands after snuggling with my cats, so why would I do it with the rats? Obviously I do always wash my hands when I come home from work or any other time I leave the house because I don't want to bring any germs in to my girls. I also always wash my hands after I've done any cleaning in the cage. I will also wash my hands after handling the girls if I plan to handle my gerbils right afterward. My gerbils don't like the rat smell and get very upset so I always make sure my hands are clean before picking up the gerbs and vice versa.
 
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