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View Full Version : Fleece Cleaning Fleece During Winter?



HappyHopperz
10-26-12, 05:55 am
Hello there everyone (: Just thought I'd post a question here since an event caused me to think of it yesterday .... Snow came!! : 0 It was only a small sprinkle that lasted for only a couple hours .. So yeah.

We are going to have to disconnect our hoses soon,
And I am wondering what to do with my fleece cleaning during the winter. I usually wash it outside using the hose,it is an awful task but really gets most of the poky hay bits off the fleece and removes the soiled grain my bunnies spill. I then hang it outside to dry overnight, and it works pretty well.

My mom -forbids- me to use the washer machine for any pet fleece. My dad is though, willing to take me to a nearby laundromat to do it as be often goes to clean his car rags.
If that works out .. I have a few questions.

1. What should I do to get the majority of the hay and leftovers off the fleece before washing? (I used to go at t with a dustpan in the summer/spring. How should I try to get hair off? All of my pets, guinea pigs and bunnies shed a lot.

2. Should I wash the guinea pig and rabbit fleeces separately?

3. Should I use the dryers provided at the laundromat or would it be best to hang it outside ... ?

4. What are your thoughts and routine you do during the winter to clean your fleece.

Thank you! I really like fleece and don't want to spend $80 a month for bedding ... So suggestions would be helpful! (:

Inle_Rabbit
10-26-12, 06:20 am
I'm in Texas so I'm not facing the winter you are but I take my fleece outside and give it a good couple of shakes. It does seem to get most the hay and hair off that way. After that I have heard of people using rubber dog and horse brushes to get the rest of the hair off. I don't do that though. I probably should but I don't. You can dry your fleece in a drier it should be fine.

suzie1131
10-26-12, 06:56 am
Im in england and the weather today is sooo cold! i usually sweep mine with a hand brush then stick in the washer, make sure u dont use fabric softener though! I always stick mine in the dryer and my boys love them when they are fresh out as they are super soft and they popcorn loads lol!
Fingers crossed this winters mild!!

ZenMama
10-26-12, 07:15 am
I just washed mine for the first time, I vacuumed as much poop, hair, hay and other bits as I could get off first, and then shook it outside. Then I washed and dried it at the laundromat. It worked out pretty well. I did run it through the wash twice because it still smelled after the first wash.

MrWhistles
10-26-12, 07:49 am
I never have a problem with hay sticking to my fleece. What is your hay arrangement?

Here in FL we don't deal with snow, but I will NOT have hay and poos in my machines. I give my fleece several good shakes outside/all hay and poos are in the grass.

I say give your fleece a good shake/take it to the laundromat. I am not sure why you think your fleece has to be washed separately because 2 different animals use it. Their both getting washed, it won't harm them to be washed at the same time, in the same load.

madelineelaine
10-26-12, 08:09 am
I take mine out back and beat it to death, shake it out, beat it to death, shake it out. Then I'm good.

You can dry it there, that might be easier.

I'm going to have to deal with snow soon too. I have no idea where I'm going to beat it and shake it when the back deck has 4 feet of snow on it.

GypsyGirl
10-26-12, 10:15 am
I live in Ohio and have to deal with the cold winters too.In the summer I shake everything outside. Winter time I usually have a big tote lined with a large black garbage bag when I'm cleaning the cage. I have a fairly cage (6x12) divided down the middle to house the girls and the other side for the boys. So I have LOTS of fleece and it gets cleaned everyday! I just use a small brush and dustpan to get loose hay and food and then shake the fleece over the tote, trying to get everything to fall inside the trash bag. What falls on the floor I sweep up with broom and then vacuum as usual.
You should be able to wash Guinea Pig and Rabbit fleece together. And I would dry the fleece but no fabric softener. I actually use vingear in rinse cycle,(1/4 cup) and two balls of foil in dryer. I don't know how the foil works but I never have static. Hope this helps....

MrWhistles
10-26-12, 10:26 am
oooo...fabric softener. That brings up another issue. You don't know how many people have used softener or dryer sheets in those machines. Supposedly, softener/dryer sheets puts back that protective water barrier that we worked so hard to get rid of.

That makes me paranoid now. Maybe soaking over night in the tub would be better?

CanadianComforts
10-26-12, 10:31 am
Brush off all the hay and mess off. Hair isn't a big deal as long as there isn't TONS of it. Brushing it will get a lot off too. I find my dryer will get 99.9% of all hair anyway as long as its not a LOT my washing machine is ok. I have been using fleece for 5 years and have never had anything happen to my washer or dryer.

I use this in my dryer, it also helps get any extra hair off and keeps any static off too:
Natural Dryer Balls
(http://www.nelliesallnatural.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1)
ADDED: I want to add that the balls act like dryer sheets with out the chemicals that make the water barrier.

KristiR
10-26-12, 02:36 pm
I too live in MN and saw the snow yesterday! Eek! I use a little broom and dustpan and bag up as much poo and hay as possible then take the fleece outside and shake it. Then I wash it in the machine with Tide and Vinegar. Then dry it. I am mostly worried about hay sticking on it and bogging my washer.

drokka
10-26-12, 02:50 pm
I brush and beat my fleece by the bins (I live in a flat), wash them with the towels and then dry them on racks throughout the flat. Since the fleece dries quickly I put them on racks in the more trafficked areas, that way when they're dry they break down quickly, and put the towels in less-trafficked areas so they aren't in the way for so long.
I hope we don't get too much snow, since I have no idea where I'd beat the fleece - maybe I'll have to nip over to the highschool's sports stands for height. heh

HappyHopperz
10-26-12, 10:46 pm
Thanks for the big response everyone! I was busy all day, but I finally have some time to go through and respond to each poster. (: Thanks again!

suzie1131 I don't live in England, but have relatives there, and I know how cold and dreary it can get. I hate cold weather ><

ZenMama That's interesting, but I have heard of other members also having to wash new fleece multiple times, so it's normal.

MrWhistles My current arrangement is a bent grid hayrack with KMS bluegrass. I refill the hay daily and have litter boxes underneath each rack ... But it still gets messy and the smaller, pokier bits tend to often get stuck in the fleece and are a pain to get out ><

madelineelaine I know! I usually use my hose to do my fleece and the good weather outside is helpful for drying the fleece and brushing it out so all of the fur goes away outdoors rather inside our home, and my dad is allergic to cats, and I don't wanna influence a bunny & guinea pig alergy. Oh, the goodness of winter! -not- -.-

GypsyGirl It definitely does help (: What a big cage you have! I would do the tote idea, but it isn't that bright when shedding season and with fur flying around the house, my family would freak out! :/ Nice idea though, and I appreciate and will put to use your washing instructions.

MrWhistles Fabric softener is AWFUL to fleece. My mom accidentally put it in while washing my pig's fleece, and it felt awful after the cycle was done. .__.

@CanadianComforts Humm... The most of the hair doesn't come off when I wash it... I usually have to attack it outside with a brush. But then again, I have only used it in one washer machine. Cool idea on the natural balls dryer things, ill keep that in mind. (:

KristiR I knoww! It was like a mini blizzard! We were taking a Latin test when it started, and our teacher was like, "Sorry to divert your attention but its snowing outside." Hehe

drokka Wish I had the room for your elaborate drying setup! :P Someday ....

MrWhistles
10-27-12, 11:34 am
@MrWhistles (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/member.php?u=22188) My current arrangement is a bent grid hayrack with KMS bluegrass. I refill the hay daily and have litter boxes underneath each rack ... But it still gets messy and the smaller, pokier bits tend to often get stuck in the fleece and are a pain to get out ><

@MrWhistles (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/member.php?u=22188) Fabric softener is AWFUL to fleece. My mom accidentally put it in while washing my pig's fleece, and it felt awful after the cycle was done. .__.


Those tinyer pieces I've left on my fleece and never ran into a problem with them while washing.

Question: do you think there would ever be a way we could convince your mom to let you use the washer?

Trish
10-27-12, 11:52 am
I take mine out back and beat it to death, shake it out, beat it to death, shake it out. Then I'm good.

You can dry it there, that might be easier.

I'm going to have to deal with snow soon too. I have no idea where I'm going to beat it and shake it when the back deck has 4 feet of snow on it.

This is exactly what I do.


oooo...fabric softener. That brings up another issue. You don't know how many people have used softener or dryer sheets in those machines. Supposedly, softener/dryer sheets puts back that protective water barrier that we worked so hard to get rid of.

That makes me paranoid now. Maybe soaking over night in the tub would be better?

I dry my fleece in a laundromat dryer and have never seen it perform any less than it should. The times that I have actually witnessed George peeing, it has gone right through the fleece immediately and down to the towels.

Trish

spy9doc
10-27-12, 12:47 pm
We're facing the possible arrival of the first snow next week with the predicted "Frankenstorm" here in New England. Today has been a day of cleaning gutters, securing loose items, removing hoses. I was thinking about the very issue of fleece cleaning while out on the deck.

I, too, am wondering exactly what my fleece routine will be once the deck is covered with snow and the temps below freezing. Remember, I have a shedding Aby and a Texel, so hair can be a potential problem in several regards.

My normal routine is to vacuum the fleece and then take it outside to brush off as much hair as possible with the "fur-be-gone" brush. I've never had an issue with lingering hair in the dryer and rarely do I see any hair on the clean fleece. That system has worked extremely well for me.

However, last week I had a particularly busy week and decided to skip the brushing step and just shake it instead. Big mistake! There was still a good bit of hair remaining on the fleece AND, some of our black clothes were sporting Chester's white hairs. Shaking it into a large bag is not an option because I can see that it needs to be brushed in order to remove maximum hair. I was hoping not to have to resort to rolling with sticky tape, but thusfar I haven't come up with an alternative.

Any other ideas?

MommyOfMany
10-27-12, 01:17 pm
I hang my fleece out of my window and beat it until it is clean. That may work in the winter when tons of snow covers the ground.

HappyHopperz
10-27-12, 04:46 pm
Hummmm....

Carissa6729
10-27-12, 06:26 pm
So out of curiosity, is this an OLDER pig thing? Neither of my boys shed much and they're a little over 3 months now, and Marshmallow (long haired) barely sheds. Seriously, I find maybe 2 or 3 hairs on my weekly cleanings of their fleece. I'm wondering if maybe it's an after the hormones kick in kind of thing. Their hay barely sticks to the fleece as well, one or two good shakes and it's almost all gone.

I wonder if it's my fleece, it's actually REALLY cheap fleece that I bought as baby blankets and turned into liners. They wick awesome, never had a problem with that and never collect anything that a few shakes can't handle.

MrWhistles
10-27-12, 06:49 pm
So out of curiosity, is this an OLDER pig thing? Neither of my boys shed much and they're a little over 3 months now, and Marshmallow (long haired) barely sheds. Seriously, I find maybe 2 or 3 hairs on my weekly cleanings of their fleece. I'm wondering if maybe it's an after the hormones kick in kind of thing. Their hay barely sticks to the fleece as well, one or two good shakes and it's almost all gone.

I wonder if it's my fleece, it's actually REALLY cheap fleece that I bought as baby blankets and turned into liners. They wick awesome, never had a problem with that and never collect anything that a few shakes can't handle.

I see hair in my fleece. Lady is around a year and Korra maybe less than a year. So not sure if it is a hormonal thing.

TwistedHarls
10-27-12, 07:11 pm
@HappyHopperz (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/members/happyhopperz.html): I think your best bet is going to be the laundry mat. Or, you can try to save up to buy a used washing machine off Craigslist, so you can use it to wash anything animal-related, then you can just use the dryer after it's clean. But washing machines are pretty expensive...
What I do is use a hand-vac to spot-clean any poo, and then I use my normal vacuum cleaner's hose to get any bits of hay left over, then I take it to a laundry mat (I don't have my own washer/dryer because I live in an apartment) And then I just wash and dry there. It works pretty well. If you're worried about hay, you can just get one of those sticky lint rollers they have for sale at the dollar store, or better yet, get yourself a reusable one (Schticky, as seen on TV) and that way you might be able to convince your mom to let you use it only during the winter months!
A last resort would be to either use care fresh-type bedding or hand-wash it in the bath tub and then sneak it into the dryer when your mom's not home. You'll need a stick and stuff, but it's possible Just try the vacuum cleaner/sticky roller to get everything off. Otherwise the worst that'll happen is it'll float around in the water some while you're washing it!

@spy9doc (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/members/spy9doc.html) and @madelineelaine (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/members/madelineelaine.html) Have you guys thought about putting out a little canopy area on your decks, or wherever you shake out your fleece so you have one little area that isn't covered in snow? You can put a tarp up or buy something like this :http://www.asteele.com/acatalog/enterpic.jpeg that way you can just shake out your fleece outside without worrying about the snow! I've always had a little covered area outside so when it snows I can step outside and still use the grill when I need it. It works well!