Once their environment is done, you'll have to think to clean it some times so that they can live happy and healthy.
Gerbils, just like most animals, are clean animal. They prefer to live in a clean place then in a dirty place. Interesting fact, the gerbils will poop and pee in a designated area far from their nest. In nature, they'll do all they can to keep their den clean by going outside. They will also clean the babies and eat their excrement. Knowing that, you can use a hamster toilet if you want. Just wait and find their spot and place the toilet. But this is not necessary. You can also clean only this area more often, which will extend the time before you have to clean the whole habitat.
Another interesting fact, at home I have aquariums used to house large group of teenagers. Inevitably, this get dirty a lot faster then the other aquariums. Sometimes, I do clean only half of the bedding, the toilet area. It's funny because they will move the nest on the clean bedding. Even if the other side is not that dirty.
Another similar thing. Once, I didn't want to disturb a mother and babies so I cleaned only half of the bedding, leaving the nest intact. This nest was made from toilet paper. I place some new bedding in place and toilet paper pieces and the first thing I know is that she took out her nest out of the box and took new bedding and toilet paper to make an other nest. Even if mother will always do that, I prefer to let them do it themselves then doing it for them.
As the gerbil doesn’t smell that much you can change the bedding once every 3 weeks. If you clean it too often (once a week) the gerbil can loose its sent reference marks, which can lead to fights. So if you want to clean the habitat every weeks, you can leave some old bedding in and mix it to the new.
-First, take out the gerbils and put them in a safe place while you clean their home. You can use a small plastique box.
-Second, remove all the objects, food dish, water bottle, toys, etc. If you can remove the nest in one piece, you can put it back in once the cleaning done. You'll clean it completly once every 2 or 3 cleaning.
-Remove the bedding. This step can provoque alot of dust in the air, use a small shovel to remove everything.
If you are lucky enough to have a water source near you, carry the aquarium or cage up there. Put in some soap and brush. You can use bleach but be sure to rinse thoroughly. Bleach odour must disappear completely. Dry it and clean all the other objects the same way.
Aquariums can be more difficult to clean because of the weight. A solution exists. Use Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. My breeding room is situated on the second floor so I know the problem!
-Once the most of the bedding is removed, use a vacuum cleaner to remove all the dust.
-Vaporise Isopropyl rubbing alcohol in the aquarium and let it stand a little while. Be careful, the smell is very strong!!
-Use paper towels or regular towels to remove the alcohol.
-Let dry some time until all the alcohol smell is gone.
Hazardous cleaning products.
There isn't real dangerous cleaning products. The important thing is that there is no more of it once you put back your gerbils in the habitat.
Most efficient products
The important thing is disinfections. Any product that will kill bacteria fast is good. Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol 70%)is one of the best one. Bleach is also good.
Vinegar is a good product to kill bacteria. Used with Sodium bicarbonate, it removes any dirt stocked in corners. Vinegar is an acid and sodium bicarbonate is a base. When mixed, it produces bubbles in a neutralization reaction.
Acide (vinegar) +Base (sodium bicarbonate) = water +(bubbles (CO2 ) +Salt (Not the table salt in this case)
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