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  1. #1
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    Cage cleaning FAQ, please

    I read a lot of the fantastic information shared here, but I didn't see anything about what to use when cleaning the habitat.

    Yes, clean up poop and replace substrate as needed.

    What about the frequency of replacing all of the substrate? Should this be done quarterly? Monthly? For an adult, in conjunction with cleaning up the shed?

    For the terrarium (mine is glass), what should be used when cleaning the glass? Simply tap water and a cloth? Or soapy water (and please be specific on what kinds of soaps are good if there are good and bad soaps)? Or should I be particularly thorough and use a bleach cleaner?

  2. #2
    Registered User Trinityblood's Avatar
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    I was just googling how other people clean their stuff lol.

    This is what I currently do:

    -Every 1-3 days I clean the water bowl with dawn soap.

    -I replace substrate and thoroughly clean everything once a month. Sometimes less if its stinky, usually from unfound poop.

    -If my snake is shedding and its time to deep clean I still deep clean. Unless I can tell he's going to shed in the next couple days. They tend to go to the bathroom when they shed.

    -To deep clean the décor I dump it in a bathtub and spray bottle it down with diluted chlorohexidine. Then hose it down with water.

    -For the cage, after getting the substrate out, I'll vacuum the leftover substrate then spray bottle it with filtered water and wipe it down. Then I'll spray bottle the enclosure with diluted chlorhexidine. I always use filtered water when spraying the enclosure to avoid scaling building up. Your glass enclosure will especially appreciate that to stay spot free.

    -I wait for everything to dry before putting it back because my enclosure is not glass. The décor won't dry well inside and the humidity will skyrocket. I have a small container I keep my snake in during the cleaning process.


    I have a question for people cleaning. How do yall clean your real wood? Do you just spray it down with disinfectant or stick it in the oven to bake? If baking, at what temperature and for how long? How frequently do you do this?
    Last edited by Trinityblood; 01-19-2021 at 11:00 AM.

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  4. #3
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    Re: Cage cleaning FAQ, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Shauri413 View Post
    I read a lot of the fantastic information shared here, but I didn't see anything about what to use when cleaning the habitat.

    Yes, clean up poop and replace substrate as needed.

    What about the frequency of replacing all of the substrate? Should this be done quarterly? Monthly? For an adult, in conjunction with cleaning up the shed?

    For the terrarium (mine is glass), what should be used when cleaning the glass? Simply tap water and a cloth? Or soapy water (and please be specific on what kinds of soaps are good if there are good and bad soaps)? Or should I be particularly thorough and use a bleach cleaner?
    I keep a variety of different species, mostly the ones that eat and poop weekly. That means I pick up poop when I see it, once a week I look for poop that I missed and clean water bowl, and at minimum every 3-4 weeks I clean everything out (substrate replaced, vinegar/soap solution to wipe away the stains and dirt, bleach solution (Very diluted) to disinfect and leave on for 15 min, wipe with wet rag, leave for another 15-30 min to dry, then manually dry with another rag of what's left. I also use a brush to scrub the enclosure, especially the corners.

    A smaller tank will require more cleaning. A bigger tank with a snake that's fasting/not pooping or not as much can wait about 6-8 weeks depending on whether or not it peed at all or by smell. I have heard some people don't clean out everything for 4-6 months.

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  6. #4
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    For wiping down my tanks (or enclosures) I use diluted (generic) chlorhexidine: you can wipe it dry with no need to rinse. Spray on, let stand for 15-20 minutes for best disinfection, wipe dry. It's not expensive either, bought by the pint or gallon from feed stores locally or similar suppliers online. (Similar & much higher priced version is Nolvasan- worth it perhaps if you have a vet clinic or lots of snakes- I used to use it. You won't likely notice any difference other than the price.) Many here also use F-10 for cleaning reptile cages- costs more than chlorhexidine, & used the same way- a little goes a long way as it too is diluted- spray on, wait, wipe dry. Buy in pet stores or online, follow instructions on bottle, I've tried it, it's a good product too.

    Spot cleaning depends somewhat on how cooperative your substrate is: keep in mind that germs ARE left behind, so after a few spot-cleans, your enclosure is due for a good cleaning (empty & wipe it down, replace with new substrate). How often depends greatly on how often your snake eats & defecates- this changes as they grow up & the interval between meals gets longer as they're also able to eat larger prey that takes longer to digest. Make sense?

    If you have any trouble with hard water deposits in the water bowl, use full-strength white distilled vinegar in emptied bowl to dissolve (it also is mildly germicidal), then rinse out well, & re-fill the water.

    Do NOT use bleach -unless you have a serious need to disinfect a glass tank after having a sick snake- it's very effective but harsh- must be rinsed until NO fumes remain, which might not happen on plastic...just a warning. Never use bleach on anything porous (like wood), as it's useless after that for a snake- the remaining fumes will harm them. Remember that our snakes are enclosed & breathing inside their homes 24/7- don't make them breathe chemical fumes, ever- it's bad for their health.

    Good questions, btw, &
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 01-20-2021 at 03:08 AM.
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  8. #5
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    Re: Cage cleaning FAQ, please

    I spot clean as needed and do a deep cleaning with F10 and complete bedding change quarterly.
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  10. #6
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    Re: Cage cleaning FAQ, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post

    If you have any trouble with hard water deposits in the water bowl, use full-strength white distilled vinegar in emptied bowl to dissolve (it also is mildly germicidal), then rinse out well, & re-fill the water.
    Will this method work on the walls of glass enclosures as well Bogertophis?

  11. #7
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Cage cleaning FAQ, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugsplox View Post
    Will this method work on the walls of glass enclosures as well Bogertophis?
    You bet it will. (All the water bowls I use ARE glass.) It's great like on the water spots left from misting. Just have to rinse vinegar, it's obviously an irritant, but not toxic. I buy vinegar by the gallon, actually, because I use a lot of it cleaning my bathroom too. It's great on toilets & sinks & shower stalls.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 01-19-2021 at 05:47 PM.
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  13. #8
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    Re: Cage cleaning FAQ, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    You bet it will. (All the water bowls I use ARE glass.) It's great like on the water spots left from misting. Just have to rinse vinegar, it's obviously an irritant, but not toxic.
    I recently picked up a used fish aquarium that I want to convert into a bigger habitat for my danger noodle.... good to know the vinegar will get rid of them hard water deposits.

  14. #9
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    If the hard water deposits are extensive, it's easier to either soak with vinegar, or use a scrubber with vinegar.

    Used aquariums are one place where I'd do multiple cleanings & disinfections with several products, including bleach. Inside & out, btw.

    Disinfectants aren't effective when something is dirty (with biological debris), so first, clean with soap & water. (a bit of liquid dish soap works well)

    Then use white vinegar to get rid of water spots so the glass is clear. (Vinegar is also a mild disinfectant, but no way is that enough for a used aquarium.)

    Then use a diluted bleach solution to really disinfect it, & rinse well, until NO trace of bleach smell remains. (-it's very harmful to snakes.)

    And it wouldn't hurt to then use diluted chlorhexidine or F10 to go over it once more (spray on, wait 20 minutes, wipe off).

    Disinfectants all have their "strong suits"- as far as killing germs- that's why it's safer (when dealing with the unknown) to disinfect several times with different products.

    When you see a used aquarium for sale, ask yourself "what creature might have passed away after living in that, & what did it die from?" Better safe than exposing your pets to something.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  16. #10
    Registered User Husbandry.Pro's Avatar
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    Most of our animals we spot clean weekly, and do full changes as required...depending on species.

    For cleaner, as Bogertophis does, we use diluted chlorhexidine.
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