How to keep your rat cage smelling lovely

When I first started getting rats, I was overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning (I thought) they needed to keep your house and mine smelling fresh. There are certain things you need to do on a daily basis, but with proper settings, they don’t need to take more than 5 minutes. You should only take everything out for washing once every seven to ten days, depending on how many rats you have and the size of your cage.

DIY cleaning recipe

  1. Start with a Rubbermaid-style container large enough to hold a roll of paper towels.
  2. Add a roll of sturdy paper towels (cheap ones fall apart – don’t use).
  3. Add diluted white vinegar until towels are damp, like baby wipes.
  4. Use your wipes to clean your cage daily.

Daily cleaning practices

The stinky part of keeping rats is urine, not so much their poop. The same day it doesn’t smell bad, but leave it overnight to develop ammonia and it will build up into a suffocating odor and a respiratory health hazard for your rats. This is why it is so important to clean surfaces where urine can collect every day.

While both boys and girls will poop on their trays, they won’t always be as discriminatory where they urinate. Girls may or may not urinate in a specific area, and they often go anywhere. Kids score, and while it doesn’t smell worse than normal urine, it’s dribbled all over the place to make a point.

All your pets’ feet touch is a potential smell waiting to happen. This is especially true in a small space like a bedroom, which is where my rats live so they can get their eight hours of darkness to stay healthy. These are the spots that you should clean every day with baby wipes or a household equivalent. That’s it. That’s the big secret to a rat-smelling, good-smelling home: just clean it.

How to set up a cage for easy daily cleaning

Running around their cage, rats can urinate on various items in and out of it. You need to clean the areas around his cage, such as walls and floors. Fortunately, there are urine and litter guards that you can buy or make to eliminate cleaning requirements outside of the cage. These pieces will still need cleaning, but your carpet is safe. You can also use plastic carpet and furniture protector sheets to attach the cage. These are cheap and easily erased. Find them at hardware stores.

If your cage has multiple tiers, and these tiers are made up of wire shelves, you can bet that what’s underneath them is getting easier. Not only that, but when urine droplets fall, they splatter when they hit. I know from experience that these shelves are not easy to clean and generally contribute to more clutter. The My Silent Spinner exercise wheel has been kept under these shelves and is not easy to clean. It is one of the main culprits for the build-up of odors in my rats’ home. It’s not easy to get in and out for cleaning, so I had to design new shelves that wouldn’t allow urine to travel .

Some solutions include:

  • Wrapping levels in puppy puppies
  • Clipping on wool linings
  • Suspend solid new DIY levels.
  • Elimination of levels completely and replacement with hammocks and / or climbing toys.

Fleece lining and fabrics in the cage

These can be some of the smelliest items. I find that I need to change the hammocks every three or four days, which is when it shows in my little space. It may be more prevalent in my sons ‘cage than my daughters’ cage due to the difference in their elimination habits. For this reason, I choose not to line the entire cage with fleece, as many owners do. I throw several small towels and rags into a bathtub / pan for a bed and generally use newspaper or shredded paper for the regular lining. Some type of small animal bedding should be used in your trays. My favorite is Yesterday’s News from the Pet Store’s Cat Litter Aisle.

Because they need to be changed so frequently, the hammocks and bedding cloths must be numerous. You can get a 20-pack of plain white wipes from Wal-Mart for something like $ 4. Throw them in a grocery bag when they get dirty, and bleach them once a week at the laundry.

You can make multiple hammocks yourself for as little as $ 5 for six to ten of them, without a sewing machine or needle / thread. Just buy a skein of yarn, any color, and a crochet hook. Google how to just crochet and voila. It’s a LOT easier than it sounds, and it allows you to feel somewhat productive as you recover from your favorite show during a Netflix binge. Hang them with 1 “–2” aluminum carabiner loops, also called D-ring closures. I have learned to skip a few spots in the middle to get the little poops out, so my bow ties don’t sleep in a pile of poop in their hammocks.

How often did PROPHECY clean your rat cage before reading this article?

Deep cleaning

Deep cleaning is the part of your cleaning routine that really requires work and should be done once a week, or every seven to ten days. This is when you take out the shelves, toys, and bottom of the cage for a good soak and disinfection. If the rest of the cage cannot be disassembled, clean the bars inside and out as best you can.

The vinegar will neutralize the ammonia, so I soak all my rags and rat hammocks in a tub of diluted white vinegar before running it on my clothes. This also has the advantage of removing food crumbs and granules that could clog the washing machine in the future. It comes out smelling good. I soak other items, like toys and wheels, in vinegar for a few minutes first, then add bleach to disinfect. Make sure everything is well rinsed and completely dry before putting the patties back.

References and further reading on cage hygiene

In addition to my own experiences, I found the following sites to be particularly helpful in developing proper cage cleaning routines.

  • Rat guide: cage cleaning
  • The Rat Report: Cage Hygiene

questions and answers

  • I clean almost every day and clean once a week, but my rat cage still smells. I have even bought a special spray to help get rid of the smell. I have also used diluted vinegar. Even after all that, my cage still smells, what should I do?

    Sometimes the cage itself is …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!