Habitat deep cleaning questions..

Kronos

Established Member
It’s not needed yet but figure I should know before it needs to be done. Just got Zelus on November 5th, his habitat is spot cleaned daily. So, was wondering if when you guys do a deep clean, do you transfer your chameleon to another habitat or what you do with yours while you clean and let it dry out? If you do transfer to another habitat, would a 30” tall habitat be okay for just long enough to do the deep cleaning? Also, saw that a lot of people use a carpet steamer or something similar, is this something you would suggest using? If using a steamer, how long does it take to dry? Do you let it drip dry or do you try to wipe up the cleaner or do you use a blow dryer to help it dry? I don’t know. Lol. I know I would still need to wipe down/disinfect branches, leaves etc.. Another question I have is, do you use a 10% bleach/90% water or 10% vinegar /90% solution or rubbing alcohol? Which is best or is there something else you would suggest? Do you use the same solution to wipe down everything or do you use a reptile cleaner? Sorry for all the questions. Just making sure I know how to handle it when it’s time. If there’s any other info that I haven’t covered but should know, please lay it on me. Thank you all for being so awesome by the way. We really appreciate it!!!
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
It’s not needed yet but figure I should know before it needs to be done. Just got Zelus on November 5th, his habitat is spot cleaned daily. So, was wondering if when you guys do a deep clean, do you transfer your chameleon to another habitat or what you do with yours while you clean and let it dry out? If you do transfer to another habitat, would a 30” tall habitat be okay for just long enough to do the deep cleaning? Also, saw that a lot of people use a carpet steamer or something similar, is this something you would suggest using? If using a steamer, how long does it take to dry? Do you let it drip dry or do you try to wipe up the cleaner or do you use a blow dryer to help it dry? I don’t know. Lol. I know I would still need to wipe down/disinfect branches, leaves etc.. Another question I have is, do you use a 10% bleach/90% water or 10% vinegar /90% solution or rubbing alcohol? Which is best or is there something else you would suggest? Do you use the same solution to wipe down everything or do you use a reptile cleaner? Sorry for all the questions. Just making sure I know how to handle it when it’s time. If there’s any other info that I haven’t covered but should know, please lay it on me. Thank you all for being so awesome by the way. We really appreciate it!!!
@JacksJill did blogs on cleaning and deep cleaning that are very thorough. https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/blog/jacksjills-blog.40624/
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
IME over the years with many reptile enclosures, deep cleaning was rarely needed unless disease, infestation, or death.

Alcohol, vinegar, peroxide should do for most things. Some use veterinary cleaners or disinfectants like f10. Personally, I'd avoid things like ammonia or bleach because they can take a longer time to air out. Just be aware some chemicals may react with PVC enclosures—read labels and look up what you're using on what.

There are also the enzyme cleaners like Nature's Miracle.
 

Kronos

Established Member
Will any of those cleaners dissolve or damage the great stuff foam I have in the Habitat? Tried looking it up online but didn’t see anything regarding habitats with great stuff.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Will any of those cleaners dissolve or damage the great stuff foam I have in the Habitat? Tried looking it up online but didn’t see anything regarding habitats with great stuff.
IDK... Never used it. Great stuff is just urethane foam, so look for reactions between that and whatever you want to clean with.

But isn't great stuff used in enclosures usually sealed & covered with other things (fibers, urethane sealer, grout, excavator clay, etc...)?
 

Kronos

Established Member
IDK... Never used it. Great stuff is just urethane foam, so look for reactions between that and whatever you want to clean with.

But isn't great stuff used in enclosures usually sealed & covered with other things (fibers, urethane sealer, grout, excavator clay, etc...)?
Here’s a link from Dragonstrand.com that says you don’t have to silicone it. Supposedly you just use it. I’ll have to look up how it will react with cleaners.
https://dragonstrand.com/working-with-great-stuff-expandable-foam/
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Here’s a link from Dragonstrand.com that says you don’t have to silicone it. Supposedly you just use it. I’ll have to look up how it will react with cleaners.
https://dragonstrand.com/working-with-great-stuff-expandable-foam/
I tagged Jacksjill in this thread. She has kept many many chameleons and her blogs are great if you want info from someone who has direct knowledge. But she also uses the great stuff foam. When she gets on ask her how it effects the foam. But really you don't need to be doing anything but wiping those down with hot water.
 

Clayton0520

Avid Member
I put my chams outside on the hibiscus plant when I deep clean their cages. I take everything out and wash it in the sink with dawn dish soap and really hot water. The sides of the cage I wipe down with really diluted bleach water. Once iv have The cage wiped down I turn the mister on for a little bit and every so often I turn the nozzle so every side is sprayed down. Then I let it air dry and put everything back. It usually takes all day honestly but I only have to do it maybe 3 times a year.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Here’s a link from Dragonstrand.com that says you don’t have to silicone it. Supposedly you just use it. I’ll have to look up how it will react with cleaners.
https://dragonstrand.com/working-with-great-stuff-expandable-foam/
While I've never used "great stuff", I do have some years' experience with urethane foam (UF) in the workplace. I'm more than a little skeptable when anyone says the stuff is "non-toxic". Those who have financial interest in manufacturing, selling, or otherwise promoting it make this claim; others point out realities. It's another of those topics that has one or more con articles for every pro article.

is urethane foam toxic?

UF is produced by a mixing of chemicals (like epoxies)—usually a combination of an isocuanate and a resin. Like many chemicals, its toxicity can be dependent on how it's manufactured, inspected, tested, packaged, stored, mixed, applied, cured, and possibly a few steps I'm forgetting. Each step has potential for error/problems. These are some of the reasons why so many herp keepers recommend and do wait for thorough curing, and then seal the stuff.

One thing with UF is that while many of its off-gasses are detectable by odor, others are odorless, and may still be present after odors have dissipated.

Ultimately, it's up to the individual whether to use the stuff or not, and whether to seal it or not.
 
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jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
While I've never used "great stuff", I do have some years' experience with urethane foam (UF) in the workplace. I'm more than a little skeptable when anyone says the stuff is "non-toxic". Those who have financial interest in manufacturing, selling, or otherwise promoting it make this claim; others point out realities. It's another of those topics that has one or more con articles for every pro article.

is urethane foam toxic?

UF is produced by a mixing of chemicals (like epoxies)—usually a combination of an isocuanate and a resin. Like many chemicals, its toxicity can be dependent on how it's manufactured, inspected, tested, packaged, stored, mixed, applied, cured, and possibly a few steps I'm forgetting. Each step has potential for error/problems. These are some of the reasons why so many herp keepers recommend and do wait for thorough curing, and then seal the stuff.

One thing with UF is that while many of its off-gasses are detectable by odor, others are odorless, and may still be present after odors have dissipated.

Ultimately, it's up to the individual whether to use the stuff or not, and whether to seal it or not.

An interesting point, I've used great stuff, and I'm no expert on foam so maybe these two are unrelated... but I remember reading something about off-gassing problems from that foam insulation people use for garages, basements, etc. Something to think about when foaming our enclosures.
 

Kronos

Established Member
Ya, I’m not sure. You’d think Bill Strand from dragon strand/chameleon academy wouldn’t use it if it was bad. It is for foaming a pond liner basically so it’s safe for fish. I’ll have to look into it more I guess.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
That may have been (poly)urethane, or it may have been urea-formaldehyde, or both.
Both have (IMO) significant health concerns worth being aware of.

TBH, there is urethane foam insulation in the walls of our current house (we didn't build it). It is a type sandwiched between 2 layers of aluminum foil, and it is further isolated from living space by a vapor barrier, drywall (not impervious) and several layers of latex paint.

One of my worst nightmares is being caught in a burning building insulated with UF. When burning, it can off-gass cyanide; one breath can do serious damage if it doesn't kill you.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
I use the Great Stuff foam on my permanent cages and I have used various cleaners on it without incident. The most damage I have seen is from the UVB lights and that is just a color change over time.
I do give my newly made Great Stuff features have plenty of time to cure before I install them, several days if possible.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
Yes, I get that. It took about 3 years to turn greenish no cracks so far. When it gets too ugly I coat it with 100% silicone. The silicone handles cleaning and UVB just fine. I'll see if I can get pictures later.
 

Kronos

Established Member
Yeah, I don’t know much about that stuff. So that’s why I followed the example of someone that everyone seems to refer too when learning about chameleons etc... (chameleon academy), not sure how much of a study there’s been on using it though. I pray it’s okay or Bill Strand has some explaining to do, lol!!!!!
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
My guess is that he just reiterated what's on the label (see my comment above about purveyors).
In going to the mfrs. site (I wasn't aware Dow & DuPont had merged?) I tried getting to consumer safety information. I got only so far (to a boilerplate PDF). On the PDF was a reference to:
Find additional information and the Product Safety Assessment
for one-component Polyurethane Foam Sealants and Adhesives
at www.dowgreatstuff.com.
Going to that site was a fruitless exercise in circular links, which frankly does not inspire confidence. I could find no such Product Safety Assessment.

Digging further, I did find a PDF of the SAFETY DATA SHEET for Pond & Stone.
GREAT STUFFâ—¢ Insulating Foam Sealants - SDS - BuildSite
Nineteen pages of data that begins with:
THE DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY encourages and expects you to read and understand the entire (M)SDS, as there is important information throughout the document. We expect you to follow the precautions identified in this document unless your use conditions would necessitate other appropriate methods or actions.
Think about that.

The top of page 2 starts with:
Signal word: DANGER!

Hazards

Flammable aerosol.
Contains gas under pressure; may explode if heated.
Causes skin and eye irritation.
May cause an allergic skin reaction.
Harmful if inhaled.
May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.
May cause respiratory irritation.
May cause harm to breast-fed children.
May cause damage to organs (Respiratory Tract) through prolonged or repeated exposure if inhaled.

Precautionary statements
Prevention
Obtain special instructions before use.
Keep away from heat/sparks/open flames/hot surfaces. No smoking.
Do not spray on an open flame or other ignition source.
Pressurized container: Do not pierce or burn, even after use.
Do not breathe dust/ fume/ gas/ mist/ vapours/ spray.
Avoid contact during pregnancy/ while nursing.
Wash skin thoroughly after handling.
Do not eat, drink or smoke when using this product.
Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
Contaminated work clothing should not be allowed out of the workplace.
Wear protective gloves.
In case of inadequate ventilation wear respiratory protection.

After that, things get scary.

Like I said, it's up to you. Be safe—be well.
 
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