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Thread: Need wicking advice ASAP

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    Unhappy Need wicking advice ASAP

    Hi, guys! I'm new, and I'm another one of those people in a wicking crisis. I've combed through everything I can get my hands on for tips and tricks.

    I have multiple liners and pads from several sellers (Ebay, Etsy, Piggy Bedspreads, all with wonderful reviews), and for the past week I haven't been able to strip a single thing I own. Initially I think I used too much detergent, but after rinsing things out completely and starting over, I still haven't had any success. I've literally washed things 8-10 times. I was using Arm & Hammer free and clear and recently started using Method after seeing it as a suggestion. I've used very small amounts, never any fabric softeners, and washed everything in hot water. I've soaked things in vinegar over night, I've used different combinations of bleach and vinegar, I've used Dawn. Nothing is making a dent. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. It's not just certain items that aren't wicking, it's ALL OF THEM.

    I'm picking up my piggies Friday, so now I'm in full-blown panic mode. I had no idea I would be crying over fleece. Ugh!

    The last few washes I've used about 1/2 cup of bleach and some detergent and rinsed multiple times until no suds were visible. Still no wicking, but the fleece feels different than before. When it comes out of the washer it feels almost completely dry and wicks immediately. Once it's totally dry, however, it's back to water just sitting on top.

    I've been afraid of using too much detergent and clogging the fleece up all over again. With the Method I've used about a 1.5 tsps and 1/2 cup bleach. I'm wondering if I should just switch back to the Arm & Hammer? If I do, how much detergent should I use per load size? I've been working on smaller loads of pads and one of the larger liners.

    If anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm completely lost at this point.

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    You need a strong detergent and very hot water. The bleach wouldn't hurt, and may help if you soak the fleece in a bleach solution overnight..

    Detergent won't clog the fleece up. It dissolves and gets rinsed away.

    Are you testing the wicking on just a plain piece of fleece, or on something that has an absorbent layer underneath it? Fleece won't wick at all unless there's something absorbent under it.

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    When I used the bleach with a small amount of detergent it created insane suds that I had to rinse out each washing to get rid of them. The pieces I have a pre-made liners and pads and have either U-Haul or another absorbent layer in the middle. I've tested each piece each time I dry them, and nothing.

    Going through the forum again today I found an old post where someone looked into cloth diapers. They used some Tide detergent and had success with that. I've done a couple of washes now with it and it seems to be making a difference.

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    The fleece will wick better each time it is used. Trust me.

    As long as you don't use fabric softener or dryer sheets, it will continue to improve as your guinea pigs make use of it and you wash & dry it. (Hot water and same amount of detergent you would use for a similar size load of your linens/towels). I use any free & clear kind (but usually use Tide brand), a little bleach and extra rinse cycle). Remember that if the fleece isn't dirty to use less detergent.

    When I was new to guinea pigs and fleece, I was in the same panic as you trying to get things perfect. Now I realize a couple of wash/dry cycles are good enough before that first use. Newer fleece pads may need to be changed out more frequently, but that's not a big deal...they get used, washed, and improve through the process. For some reason I have found that through guinea pigs using them and them getting dirty before being washed again actually quickens the process.

    I encourage you to invest (if you haven't already) in small pads that can be placed in beds and favorite spots so that you can change these out at least once a day. These are also very easy to make (fleece with u-haul pads or Zorb for the absorbent layer) so you will have lots of smaller sizes on hand without spending a lot of money. I like to have a lot of 10 inch square, 15 inch square and 2x2 grid size smaller pads that are layered over the larger fleece pads.

    Good luck! I look forward to hearing about the new piggies you are getting on Friday!

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    I'm just so worried about them being in standing pee at all. They're skinnies, so that makes me worry even mote. I have a wide variety of smaller liners and pads in different sizes and they're also not wicking, and that is also adding to the panic. At this rate, I feel like I won't have anything at all for them.

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    Quote Originally Posted by gravity_waddles View Post
    I'm just so worried about them being in standing pee at all. They're skinnies, so that makes me worry even mote. I have a wide variety of smaller liners and pads in different sizes and they're also not wicking, and that is also adding to the panic. At this rate, I feel like I won't have anything at all for them.
    Sounds to me like you've done your research and are well prepared, so pat yourself on the back rather than beating yourself up, because you are way ahead of some already. You will have some lucky piggies.

    If your cage is adequately sized for your guinea pigs, they will have plenty of room to move from any small wet spots. Just be sure to change small pads in their hideys or favorite spots a couple times a day until they are wicking more.

    Also, the weight of the pigs as they move about helps the urine wick in pads that are new and still wicking slowly.

    Trust me...they will be fine. Give them a final wash, rinse and dry ....then put them in and enjoy your new pigs. Your fleece pads will keep getting better with age & use.

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    You are so kind! I'll have three girls in a 2x7 c&c cage, so there will be plenty of room . I'm trying to remain positive. I'm such a worrier!

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    @gravity_waddles Looking forward to seeing pictures of your 3 beautiful skinnypig girls when they get settled in!

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    Are the liners double sided so they can be flipped? If so test both sides for their ability to wick. I had some pads that I washed several times, they have a patterned side and a plain side, the patterned sides didn't wick but the plain side did so I used it plain side up a few times and sure enough the patterned sides began to wick after a couple of uses and washes.

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    They are. I make sure to test each side after I dry them, and so far neither side is wicking.

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    Does the liquid ever soak in?

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    Nope. Still no luck with anything. I have a set of the small liners soaking in bleach right now, so I'll see how that works.

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    @Smileandnod I've given up on washing anything for the time being and am going straight to setup despite still being very worried . I still have a few questions.

    What did you do as far as urine maintenance for the main liner in areas that didn't have smaller pads on top? Did you just soak up the puddled areas with something else when you saw them? If so, did they dry quickly?

    How long did it take for the liner to start wicking properly, and how often did you wash it in the beginning?

    Thanks again!

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    Quote Originally Posted by gravity_waddles View Post
    @Smileandnod I've given up on washing anything for the time being and am going straight to setup despite still being very worried . I still have a few questions.

    What did you do as far as urine maintenance for the main liner in areas that didn't have smaller pads on top? Did you just soak up the puddled areas with something else when you saw them? If so, did they dry quickly?

    How long did it take for the liner to start wicking properly, and how often did you wash it in the beginning?

    Thanks again!
    When my liners were new and not wicking great yet, I would just do a total cage clean if large portions of the main liner were moist to the touch when vacuuming. I would completely swap out with a different dry liner. With some stubborn pads, this could mean each day or every other day.

    If it was just a very small area that felt moist I would cover that area with a small pad instead.

    Puddle situation: This only happened with one liner of mine which was being stubborn. It was a piggy bedspread (which I still have 3 years later, wicks beautifully now and still looks like new!). I could see the small puddle from a guinea pig who just made it as I was cleaning the cage (I had just placed the new liner in) but before I could get a paper towel, the puddle was gone from the pig's weight and movement. The top fleece actually dried rather quickly.

    With new fleece that isn't wicking great yet, you may have to do a mid-week full cage cleaning to make sure things are dry. It only took a couple weeks of doing this before stubborn fleece is wicking properly. Like I said, it gets better after they use it a few times.

    In comparison, with great wicking fleece, I only have to change the main pad once a week during deep cleaning.

    I use a layer of smaller pads that I change out daily or every other day while doing my vacuuming (I vacuum twice a day- once in the morning and once at night).

    You should never see a puddle develop with properly wicking fleece because it soaks right into the absorbent layer under the fleece immediately.

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    Re: Need wicking advice ASAP

    My big liners are also from Piggy Bedspreads and I love how they look and the fact that the reviews are so great. I've been so excited to use them!

    This makes me feel a lot more confident about everything. Thanks so much for all the information!

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