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    Cleaning products

    Hello,
    I am sure this subject has been touched on before. I have read articles on different cleaners. Looked on different groups. I was wondering what everyone here uses as a cleaner for tubs, enclosure s, water bowls. I want the safest thing possible but cleans and does a good job. How do you guys sanitize without being paranoid your snake is going to get sick from cleaners?

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    Re: Cleaning products

    Quote Originally Posted by JJpeep View Post
    I was wondering what everyone here uses as a cleaner for tubs, enclosure s, water bowls.
    Dawn dishwashing soap to clean. Chlorhexidine to disinfect. I used to use Listerine.
    Last edited by Homebody; 05-24-2022 at 01:16 PM.

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    Re: Cleaning products

    Listerine? Interesting. Didn't hear that one yet. I heard a lot of people use the chlorhexidine. Also read that some vets say to watch your exposure to it. So that made me a little nervous. Seems it is widely used though. Thanks very much. I appreciate the response.

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    Re: Cleaning products

    Quote Originally Posted by JJpeep View Post
    Listerine? Interesting. Didn't hear that one yet.
    I should have specified brown Listerine. The various other flavors have additives that may be irritating to reptiles sensitive respiratory systems. I don't think keepers use it much anymore since the rise of online retailers have made better disinfectants like F10 and Chlorhexidine more readily available.

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    Re: Cleaning products

    Oh okay. I can see how it would work though. That stuff is strong.

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    NO disinfectant will be effective in the presence of fecal material & other biological debris, so FIRST, wipe & remove that stuff, THEN spray on disinfectant of choice- & for best effectiveness, let that sit for 10-20 minutes before wiping dry.

    A number of mouthwash products (for humans!) have chlorhexidine as the disinfecting ingredient, & I've heard of people using mouthwash to wipe their snake's homes, but the other chemicals, none of which are meant to be swallowed, could be irritating or even toxic to reptiles if left on the surface- no telling- as not all mouthwashes have the same stuff in them.

    Normally, I use generic (very diluted) chlorhexidine for wiping both snake & rodent cages, & it doesn't need to be rinsed, only dried. You can buy it in places like feed stores, or online. Depending on how many snakes you have, even a pint will go a LONG way, so if you end up buying a gallon, you might find someone to share it with, or donate some to the nearest animal shelter.

    I have in the past also tried F-10, etc.

    BTW, bleach is very effective, but very toxic & must be rinsed so there's NO odor left- don't use for routine maintenance, only for major disinfection of cages+ in case you have a known sick reptile, or if buying a used cage- since you never know what may have died touching that & what it died from. Same goes for ammonia- must be used with LOTS of ventilation or you'll get sick too, as with bleach- it's toxic to US! Use sparingly only when absolutely essential, & ONLY on surfaces that cannot absorb it- never on wood, for example.

    For some things, a spray or soak in rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) is a handy disinfectant, though irritating- I use it on my feeding tongs, for example.

    For water bowls, I mostly use just white vinegar, as it's a mild disinfectant but also removes hard water deposits*. Obviously you have to rinse it out thoroughly, but that's easy- there's no foaming like with soaps- it rinses clean easily. (*good for cleaning bathroom fixtures/showers too, for the same reason) And a gallon of plain white vinegar isn't expensive- it's in your nearest grocery store.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 05-24-2022 at 06:15 PM.
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    Re: Cleaning products

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I've heard of people using mouthwash to wipe their snake's homes, but the other chemicals, none of which are meant to be swallowed, could be irritating or even toxic to reptiles if left on the surface- no telling- as not all mouthwashes have the same stuff in them.
    Agreed. When I used Listerine, it was on a nonporous surface (tub) and I washed it with water afterward.

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    Re: Cleaning products

    Thanks for the lengthy response. I get super paranoid not knowing what is toxic or not. I like the idea of vinegar, but I would def rinse. Bleach gives me an instant head ache so I would avoid it unless, like you mentioned something died in an enclosure or there was some outbreak of sickness or something. I may buy a small bottle of chlorhexidine, if I really need to disinfect, but I will probably use vinegar for regular cleaning if I have to. I always use super hot water anyways before anything. I also was thinking about getting a steam cleaner. I think that would be a good idea.

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    This is assuredly not necessary for a routine cleaning, but when I got a used enclosure I did a triple step cleaning of Dawn dish soap, F10 and bleach with ample sitting periods and heavy rinsing between each.

    Something like a good wet wipe down with or without Dawn soap and an F10 followup would more than suffice for something more routine, bleach is overkill.

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    Re: Cleaning products

    Quote Originally Posted by JJpeep View Post
    Thanks for the lengthy response. I get super paranoid not knowing what is toxic or not. I like the idea of vinegar, but I would def rinse. Bleach gives me an instant head ache so I would avoid it unless, like you mentioned something died in an enclosure or there was some outbreak of sickness or something. I may buy a small bottle of chlorhexidine, if I really need to disinfect, but I will probably use vinegar for regular cleaning if I have to. I always use super hot water anyways before anything. I also was thinking about getting a steam cleaner. I think that would be a good idea.
    I remember someone else buying & using a steam cleaner- never tried one myself, but be careful that you don't warp plastic enclosures (tubs especially, but maybe even PVC-?). Otherwise, in terms of being non-toxic, it's a good idea. Let us know how that goes, if you do try one?

    You can wipe the whole enclosure with white vinegar, full strength, but it's no fun having to rinse that much- & it's definitely irritating, so for me, it's just for water bowls. Or hides would be OK too.
    Use white vinegar for things that are easy to rinse. Vinegar is not toxic- just irritating.

    I'm glad you think in terms of what might be toxic- it's important for our own health too- don't assume that just because it's sold, it's safe- read the fine print & search it online. Herp pets are so much more sensitive & vulnerable than we are, since we're so much larger, and since any remaining chemicals will be breathed-in by our pets- especially since most of you use enclosures that restrict most of the air-flow.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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