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Discussion Starter #1
When I first got my boys, I tried using fleece, but realized there were a few things I was doing wrong. I had two layers of Uhaul furniture liners underneath, but I didn't realize you had to "prep" the fleece to make it wick moisture. But even once I did that, it would still get smelly after just a day.

So I switched to this bedding: Amazon.com : FiberCore Eco-Bedding Odor Control Pet : Pet Food : Pet Supplies which has zero dust and is pretty decent at keeping odors down. They are very prone to respiratory problems, so I wanted the lowest dust option other than fleece. It works, but it's expensive and the pan that came with my cage is very shallow so it falls out everywhere.

I then read that with fleece, you need to wash with vinegar, otherwise the ammonia is just being masked, not eliminated, so once they pee on it again, the smells come back stronger. I tried that and switched back to fleece for the past week, but once again, in just a couple hours it's pretty smelly. So:
1. Is this "ammonia masking" thing even true?
2. If it is, is my fleece smelling because I went months only washing it with a little (mild) detergent and no vinegar? Should I try a new set?
3. Can you think of anything else I may be doing wrong?

Thank you!
 

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I just use a fragrance free detergent with some vinegar and wash on the hottest cycle possible. The fleece/UHaul padding liners come out smelling fine. That said, fabric liners are garbage for controlling odors and need to be swapped out very often. I change out the liners in my boys' cage 2 to 3 times a week.

I tried the crinkle-cut Kraft paper bedding once but wasn't very impressed with its ability to absorb urine or control odors. My boys had fun with it, though. It was definitely easier to clean up than wood shavings.I believe the stuff in the blue bag is fragranced so the "natural" green bag would be better. As for price, you can purchase gigantic 10 lb. boxes of crinkle-cut Kraft paper from Staples for about $24. I currently use aspen shavings and find it's much better for controlling odors/ammonia. I use fleece/UHaul padding mats on the platforms.
 

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Thank you! What brand of aspen shavings do you use? I'm considering a combo of that and the paper -that way the paper will last longer, both because I'll use less and I might not need to change it out as often. Plus I know aspen's a pain to clean up so maybe just having some at the bottom of the pan will keep it from going everywhere. But I'm concerned about a ton of dust, I know some brands of aspen are very dusty.
 

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When I tried the crinkle-cut paper, the biggest fault I had with it was floor coverage. It sort of almost hovered above the floor and puddles of urine could still form beneath it. To counter this, I put sheets of paper down under it but aspen shavings would be much better odor control!

I use a mix of a super cheap horse bedding and Kaytee shavings. This combo is the most economical for me. The horse bedding is shredded aspen so it's the same texture as ZooMed snake bedding but it's extremely affordable. It's about $5 for a compressed 8 cubic foot bale. The downside is that it's incredibly dusty. I have to hand sift out the excess dust with a mesh laundry basket. I throw away a TON of dust but it's pretty great after that. Because the pieces are so fine, the shredded aspen ends up sitting very dense and flat. I mix in Kaytee shavings (lightly sifted) to give the bedding a little more body and looseness to make it better for foraging. I also purchase the Kaytee shavings in large 8 cubic foot bales. The bales are normally $30+ on Amazon but if you keep your eye on them, they'll go on sale occasionally. The giant bale appears to currently be on sale for $15 in my area. Between these two products, I maybe spend $30-40 a year on bedding.
 
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