Paw Talk - Pet Forums banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Zoo Keeper
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking for those of us who want to add a nice natural touch to our cage it would be nice to know how to properly sanitize these items

Rocks:

- Thoroughly Scrub with Soap and water
- rinse well
- soak in 10% bleach solution for 15-20 minutes to be sure
- rinse well
- let air dry

*most believe in baking or boiling rocks however they may explode so I would not suggest this*

Branches:
you really have 3 options soaking boiling or baking

baking-
-remove any lose bark and leaves
- bake at 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-3 hours. increasing temp does not decrease time just increases the chances of your wood catching fire

Soaking ( used for larger pieces ) -

- prepare bleach solution 1/2 cup bleach to 1 gallon water ( water must cover branch) soak for 24 hours ( water will turn brown from tannins)
- rinse well
- Soak branch in clean water for 1-2 days ( dumping out the old water and replacing it with new every few hours- this lets the bleach leech back out into the water so it dilutes so at the end almost none is still in the wood)
- Allow the branch to dry for several days

Boiling-
- Cover branch in water and boil one hour for each inch of thickness ( the water will turn brown from tannins this is natural)
- allow to air dry

Second hand cages:
- (For anything stuck on scrub well first)
- spray down with 10% bleach solution
- rinse well
- Allow to air dry
( This method works if you want to use something from another pet as well as long as it is non-porous)
 

·
Betta Bomb
Joined
·
5,202 Posts
That's a great idea ^^ I always avoided bleach on porous items though, in case of saturation that can be ingested by a chewing pet.
 

·
Zoo Keeper
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking for those of us who want to add a nice natural touch to our cage it would be nice to know how to properly sanitize these items

Rocks:

- Thoroughly Scrub with Soap and water
- rinse well
- soak in 10% bleach solution for 15-20 minutes to be sure
- rinse well
- let air dry

*most believe in baking or boiling rocks however they may explode so I would not suggest this*

Branches:
you really have 3 options soaking boiling or baking

baking-
-remove any lose bark and leaves
- bake at 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-3 hours. increasing temp does not decrease time just increases the chances of your wood catching fire

Soaking ( used for larger pieces ) -

- prepare bleach solution 1/2 cup bleach to 1 gallon water ( water must cover branch) soak for 24 hours ( water will turn brown from tannins)
- rinse well
- Soak branch in clean water for 1-2 days ( dumping out the old water and replacing it with new every few hours- this lets the bleach leech back out into the water so it dilutes so at the end almost none is still in the wood)
- Allow the branch to dry for several days

Boiling-
- Cover branch in water and boil one hour for each inch of thickness ( the water will turn brown from tannins this is natural)
- allow to air dry

*make sure branches have never been exposed to chemicals or pesticides*

Second hand cages:
there are 3 options
Bleach-
- (For anything stuck on scrub well first)
- spray down with 10% bleach solution
- rinse very well several times ( 2-3 minimum in cold water)
- Allow to air dry for at least 24 hours ( at the very least allow the bleach smell to disappear)

Vinegar -
spray method
- fill a bottle with distilled white vinegar
- spray onto item to be cleaned
- scrub well
- rinse well
- allow to air dry

Wash cloth method
- fill a bowl with distilled white vinegar
- dampen wash cloth
- scrub cage
- rinse well
- Allow to air dry

Soap and Water method -
- Fill a container with Warm water
- add dish soap ( about 1 tbsp per 2 cups)
- dampen wash cloth
- scrub cage
- rinse well
- allow to air dry

( This method works if you want to use something from another hamster as well as long as it is non-porous)

Sand
* remember your hamster has a very sensitive respiratory tract so use calcium carbonate sand or play sand no silica or dusts*
- Dump sand into a clean bucket
- run water into the bucket keeping water pressure low to keep sand from being stirred up
- as you stir the sand keep the water running
- continue rinsing and stirring until the water runs clean
- sand needs to dry thoroughly before use this will take several days in small batches
(I let mine sit in a bowl and stir it as the top dries ... it works if you arent in a rush)
 

·
Resident Zoologist
Joined
·
262 Posts
That's a great idea ^^ I always avoided bleach on porous items though, in case of saturation that can be ingested by a chewing pet.
Agreed...bleach can be exceedingly difficult to completely remove from many porous items, and after drying, can reactivate when wetted.

As well, a 5% bleach in water solution will kill all known pathogens...10% is overkill.

Virkon is an excellent cleaner as well...bactericide, fungicide, viricide....but one must be very careful when mixing it, as the dust is easily inhaled.
 

·
Zoo Keeper
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
we were told 10% for parvo by the doctor thats also a good amount for wet tail this was made for a hamster forum. thats also why it doesnt cover porous items wood is the only porous item in a hamster cage
 

·
Betta Bomb
Joined
·
5,202 Posts
So a hamster that chews a beached soaked wood stick?? I guess you can enlighten me here, I actually never used bleach on my hamster things. And I figured it was for hammies (bc I know you have and research them:D) but I still thought bleach was a huge no-no?
 

·
Zoo Keeper
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
lol I should have specified ... the bleaching method is for large decorative wood items ( such as a log to play on or burrow under) not hamster chews thats why I provided the other two methods.
 

·
is a little "special"
Joined
·
4,131 Posts
I use bleach on Dudley's things. I soak them in a bleach solution for 10-15 minutes, and soak them in plain water for about an hour. I usually only do that if I have either bought some used items, or if we get parasites.
Dud doesn't chew though, so I guess I don't have any problems with that LOL.

Congrats, Elli: You have found the one and only safe usage of Calcium sand! Good job.
 

·
Zoo Keeper
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i dont understand how calcium sand can hurt an animal ... but thats just me. I believe its ok in salt water tanks too.

yes if you have bought items second hand or had an unknown illness kill your pet bleach is the best option.
 

·
Zoo Keeper
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
LOTS of things can cause impaction
 

·
is a little "special"
Joined
·
4,131 Posts
Calcium sand is a HUGE killer of reptiles though. On the beardie forum I'm on, you wouldn't believe how many people make posts like "My beardie hasn't eat or gone to the bathroom in a week! He is on calcium sand. What could possibly be wrong?!"


http://www.herpcenter.com/calcium-sand-dangers.html
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,212 Posts
It may be so that other things could cause impaction, but it being caused by sand substrate is by far the most common. It's marketed towards reptile owners, even though it's pretty well known to be dangerous to reptiles. There are much much safer alternatives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,083 Posts
Thats why people frown on many things including calcium sand. It also neutralizes acid in the stomach. You would feel sick if you ate tums with every meal.
 

·
Resident Zoologist
Joined
·
262 Posts
Calcium sand is a HUGE killer of reptiles though.
This is true...over the past 15 years, I have dealt with hundreds of reptiles suffering from impaction caused by concretion of calcium carbonate 'sand'....the stuff should never have been sold as a substrate.
 

·
Zoo Keeper
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Works great for hamsters. Sorry I've never had a reptile other than my turtle but i didnt use substrate
 

·
Zoo Keeper
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
and thats why you have to be so careful and why calcium sand is recommended over play sand
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
i use Isopropyl alcohol.. same stuff they used to use for cleaning cassette tape heads. Removes oil, grease, and everything. doens't harm plastic or paintwork and evaprates really fast.

I also bought a cheap UV flashlight off ebay,l just to check no biological fluid is left behind
 

·
Resident Zoologist
Joined
·
262 Posts
i use Isopropyl alcohol.. same stuff they used to use for cleaning cassette tape heads. Removes oil, grease, and everything.
Isopropanol does not remove 'everything'. In fact, with many biological substances, it can act as a preservative, particularly at percentages below 99%.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top