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Old 10-24-2021, 08:21 AM   #1
Quin
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Question Hamsterís Cage Deep pre-Clean


I used distilled vinegar and water (50/50).
Then, I rinsed it out with water.
Anyways, does everyone have a bin cage that resembles that before cleaning? I saw bits of food (all reduced to pieces) and poop. But, I've heard that poop from a from the bedding.

Would anyone mind sharing their photos if they have anything? And by that, I mean sharing the floor of the cage before the deep clean.

Last edited by Quin; 10-24-2021 at 08:26 AM. Reason: Image is not appearing
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Old 10-24-2021, 09:16 AM   #2
Ria P
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Default Re: Hamsterís Cage Deep pre-Clean

What exactly is it you are asking and why are you deep cleaning a bin cage with a water/vinegar solution?

Maybe i've missed something from a previous thread.
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Old 10-24-2021, 02:14 PM   #3
Quin
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Default Re: Hamsterís Cage Deep pre-Clean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
What exactly is it you are asking and why are you deep cleaning a bin cage with a water/vinegar solution?

Maybe i've missed something from a previous thread.
No, I deep cleaned the cage because it needed to be clean. Iím sorry if my wording is off, Iím sleepy.
Anyways, I was asking everyone to send me pictures of the bottom of their bin cage. I was trying to determine if I should be spot cleaning his cage more than twice a day (time before I go to to work and the time heís up again). I saw some food crumbs as well.

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Old 10-25-2021, 07:02 AM   #4
sushi_78
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Default Re: Hamsterís Cage Deep pre-Clean

I don't have a photo but when you clean a cage there's always an accumulation of seeds, poos, sand and dust at the bottom. It's not a problem as long as it's all dry. I empty the debris out, wipe the cage base with water and then put the old bedding back in mixed with new. This doesn't need to be done very often at all though if your cage is a good size and you have a few inches of bedding. I have an 80x50cm cage with 6 inches of bedding and I do this every few months, with more regular spot cleaning.

Spot clean when there's an obvious damp area or a bad smell or an excessive accumulation of poos (some hamsters will pile them up outside their house when they want it removed - like putting the bins out).
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Old 10-25-2021, 10:37 AM   #5
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Hamsterís Cage Deep pre-Clean

Love the “putting the bins outside” analogy . Spot cleaning twice a day is far too much really. What is important is having enough depth of bedding. If it’s very shallow bedding the hamster can’t have normal behaviours (burying hoards or digging or rearranging the substrate into mountains or piling it up next to their house to insulate it and keep warm). Also with very shallow bedding, everything falls through to the bottom.

You do need a minimum of 4 to 6” depth of substrate. It might sound a lot at first but you use less in the long run because the cage stays cleaner - which benefits the hamster as less clean outs and less stress for them (full clean outs really do stress them even if they don’t seem physically stressed). Also benefits you as less to do.

I do the same as Ria. Use a litter tray which the hamster pees in (Syrians will use one - dwarfs may pee more than one place). And empty that once or twice a week (chinchilla sand in the litter tray). The rest of the cage stays clean and dry fir weeks. The substrate ends up getting flattened/going down and then part of spot cleaning is adding the odd handful of extra substrate and maybe picking out any rubbishy bits the hamster has chucked out of the nest or spot cleaning poops if there are quite a lot - but don’t worry about the poops unless there are loads- they’re not really dirty or smelly - like hard seeds. They actually eat poops sometimes which is normal - they have two stomachs and can redigest nutrients from the poops. So removing all of them would make them feel anxious anyway. It goes back to hardwiring in case there are food shortages in the wild.

With dwarf hamsters it’s not always clear where they pee but just spot clean any damp or stained patch. If you can’t find any - don’t worry about it.

So I tend to only remove all the substrate and clean the cage base every 3 months or so. And at that stage I put a third to half the old substrate back in again- the clean half. Often the bottom half is completely clean. Then mix that in with the new substrate. So it still has some familiar scent (hamsters feel lost and anxious when all familiar scent is removed). So for that reason also, partial cleans are best. As in when you do the substrate change, don’t clean anything else at the same time. You can clean the wheel as snd when it needs it, at another time. Likewise any toys. Toys often don’t need cleaning very often. The only dirty thing is their pee - otherwise they are quite clean little things - groom a lot and some do their own bits of housekeeping if you leave it long enough! I often find a hole in the substrate where the hamster has dragged a load of substrate into the nest - or piled it up against the house- abd chucked out some older looking substrate. One hamster we had actually used to put the pile of old bedding material right in front of the cage door! Big message - take this away.

I leave the nest - indefinitely. It is usually clean and dry and they are very precious about their nests. Only if it’s peed in does it need removing - and then it’s best to leave a little bit of the old nest behind so it smells familiar and put new paper nesting material out in a heap in the cage so they can forage for it and rebuild the nest.

Their hoards are mostly buried under their nest (if the substrate is deep enough) - it is usually just dried food and hamster mix and that stores well (again unless peed on) so I leave that alone too. But when changing the substrate over I tend to remove the bottom half of the hoard (ie the older food). Especially as it can be quite large by then. They don’t really notice that.

If it is peed in and needs removing then again try and leave a little bit of it left that is dry - so it smells familiar - but also add a handful of new food in the same place - to replace it. They can get quite frantic at the hoard being “stolen” and that can actually make them start peeing on the hoard - as if to deter thieves!

So cleaning the bottom of the cage is only done at substrate change time. I just wipe it with a damp cloth as it’s usually clean and dry. If pee has soaked down to the bottom you could just clean it with soapy washing up water (ie a bit of fairy liquid in water).

The cage doesn’t need disinfecting unless there has been illness or disease. Vinegar isn’t actually a disinfectant . It’s a cleaner - but can smell quite strong afterwards even if rinsed well and that can be a bit overpowering for hamsters who have a much stronger sense of smell than us - and a sensitive respiratory tract.

The only time I’ve used vinegar is when wanting to actually remove scent from a cage - an example being when we left our hamster at another house - in his cage. When he came home he was extremely stressed by the change of environment and clearly could still “smell” the other house - he didn’t settle till I cleaned it all removing all scent from the cage itself.

If there have been bugs in the cage vinegar cleaning can help too as it can kill bug eggs - but to be honest I would prefer to use a hamster safe pet disinfectant if there have been bugs hatching out in the cage.
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Old 10-27-2021, 03:39 AM   #6
Quin
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Default Re: Hamsterís Cage Deep pre-Clean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Love the ďputting the bins outsideĒ analogy . Spot cleaning twice a day is far too much really. What is important is having enough depth of bedding. If itís very shallow bedding the hamster canít have normal behaviours (burying hoards or digging or rearranging the substrate into mountains or piling it up next to their house to insulate it and keep warm). Also with very shallow bedding, everything falls through to the bottom.

You do need a minimum of 4 to 6Ē depth of substrate. It might sound a lot at first but you use less in the long run because the cage stays cleaner - which benefits the hamster as less clean outs and less stress for them (full clean outs really do stress them even if they donít seem physically stressed). Also benefits you as less to do.

I do the same as Ria. Use a litter tray which the hamster pees in (Syrians will use one - dwarfs may pee more than one place). And empty that once or twice a week (chinchilla sand in the litter tray). The rest of the cage stays clean and dry fir weeks. The substrate ends up getting flattened/going down and then part of spot cleaning is adding the odd handful of extra substrate and maybe picking out any rubbishy bits the hamster has chucked out of the nest or spot cleaning poops if there are quite a lot - but donít worry about the poops unless there are loads- theyíre not really dirty or smelly - like hard seeds. They actually eat poops sometimes which is normal - they have two stomachs and can redigest nutrients from the poops. So removing all of them would make them feel anxious anyway. It goes back to hardwiring in case there are food shortages in the wild.

With dwarf hamsters itís not always clear where they pee but just spot clean any damp or stained patch. If you canít find any - donít worry about it.

So I tend to only remove all the substrate and clean the cage base every 3 months or so. And at that stage I put a third to half the old substrate back in again- the clean half. Often the bottom half is completely clean. Then mix that in with the new substrate. So it still has some familiar scent (hamsters feel lost and anxious when all familiar scent is removed). So for that reason also, partial cleans are best. As in when you do the substrate change, donít clean anything else at the same time. You can clean the wheel as snd when it needs it, at another time. Likewise any toys. Toys often donít need cleaning very often. The only dirty thing is their pee - otherwise they are quite clean little things - groom a lot and some do their own bits of housekeeping if you leave it long enough! I often find a hole in the substrate where the hamster has dragged a load of substrate into the nest - or piled it up against the house- abd chucked out some older looking substrate. One hamster we had actually used to put the pile of old bedding material right in front of the cage door! Big message - take this away.

I leave the nest - indefinitely. It is usually clean and dry and they are very precious about their nests. Only if itís peed in does it need removing - and then itís best to leave a little bit of the old nest behind so it smells familiar and put new paper nesting material out in a heap in the cage so they can forage for it and rebuild the nest.

Their hoards are mostly buried under their nest (if the substrate is deep enough) - it is usually just dried food and hamster mix and that stores well (again unless peed on) so I leave that alone too. But when changing the substrate over I tend to remove the bottom half of the hoard (ie the older food). Especially as it can be quite large by then. They donít really notice that.

If it is peed in and needs removing then again try and leave a little bit of it left that is dry - so it smells familiar - but also add a handful of new food in the same place - to replace it. They can get quite frantic at the hoard being ďstolenĒ and that can actually make them start peeing on the hoard - as if to deter thieves!

So cleaning the bottom of the cage is only done at substrate change time. I just wipe it with a damp cloth as itís usually clean and dry. If pee has soaked down to the bottom you could just clean it with soapy washing up water (ie a bit of fairy liquid in water).

The cage doesnít need disinfecting unless there has been illness or disease. Vinegar isnít actually a disinfectant . Itís a cleaner - but can smell quite strong afterwards even if rinsed well and that can be a bit overpowering for hamsters who have a much stronger sense of smell than us - and a sensitive respiratory tract.

The only time Iíve used vinegar is when wanting to actually remove scent from a cage - an example being when we left our hamster at another house - in his cage. When he came home he was extremely stressed by the change of environment and clearly could still ďsmellĒ the other house - he didnít settle till I cleaned it all removing all scent from the cage itself.

If there have been bugs in the cage vinegar cleaning can help too as it can kill bug eggs - but to be honest I would prefer to use a hamster safe pet disinfectant if there have been bugs hatching out in the cage.
I have 8 inches of bedding in his bin cage and I used to spot clean twice a day because of his pee, but he's used to the pottying in this sand toilet. Also, I usually wait a day or two before placing him back in his home. So instead of using vinegar for a deep clean, I should use dish liquid, correct?
(Everything else youíve stated, I already knew about, but thank you for the information)
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Old 10-27-2021, 10:11 AM   #7
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Hamsterís Cage Deep pre-Clean

Sorry if I said all kinds of things you knew already . Yes dish washing soap is fine - and rinsed well. I would be concerned about leaving the hamster out of his home for a day or two though - that wouldn’t be very fair on them.
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