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my rat cage smells really awful,

I bathed them and changed the bedding and the smell went away for a couple days but then came back even worse.
 

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you need to change their bedding at least every couple of days, if not every day, clean the cage every couple of days and give it a thorough clean at least once a week.
 

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I do the floors everynight to get the food off of it-- and basically I just let the hammock and linens go till Saturday when I do the cages and I have no problem with smell. I either do a quick clean on Saturday morning or a long clean which is dragging it up to the bath tub and scrubbing it down and rinsing and I don't have any problems.
 

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What type of bedding do you use? Certain beddings smell better than others - Yesterday News is meant to be quite good, I use towels as bedding (I used to use carefresh) and the smell is much better.

Rats really shouldn't smell too bad. It'll depend on a number of issues, i.e. their diet, what bedding you use, the size of your room, male vs females.

You should really clean your cage out at least once a week, some clean it out more often but once a week is the absolute minimum.

How big is your cage? How many rats do you have in your cage? Those are also deciding factors in the smell of your rats - the more rats and the smaller the cage - the more the smell.
 

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since I live in a dorm with four other people, a cage smell became a number one issue to resolve. For th bedding I use Yesterday's News,it is absorbant but doesnt seem to hold the oder like Carefresh and other material like bedding. I also like to add some lavender petal bedding, it helps the smell along with it mellows my two boys a little bit.

lastly most of the smell is from their potty time, I put my rats on the BiOder product, which is just put in their water daily and it helps the smell greatly.
 

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My girls had a smell about them that other members of my family do not enjoy. I purchased a small, inexpensive air-purifier . Works great!
 
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