Product Review:
CareFRESH® Ultra

Mary Ann Isaksen
From the July/Aug 1997 Rat & Mouse Gazette

CareFRESH® Ultra, a brand new product being manufactured for the lab industry by Absorption Corporation of Washington, was recently brought to my attention by an RMCA member. It is a much higher quality, pure white form of CareFRESH® (although it doesn't look that way in the photo). Because my husband, Scott, has asthma and cannot tolerate having the regular CareFRESH® in the house in any quantity without HEPA filters going all day, I was excited at the prospect of having this wonderfully soft bedding to offer my pets without causing him breathing problems. I decided to test it.

After contacting Brenda at Absorption Corp and asking her for a sample, my bag finally arrived. I could hardly wait to open it. I sliced open the top of the bag and picked up a handful of what appeared to me to be the most beautiful bedding product I had ever seen. For the first test, I had Scott fluff up the product in the bag and stick his head in and take a deep breath. Nothing - no reaction at all! I was very excited. It didn't have the smell the normal CareFRESH® had he said.

On cage cleaning day, I used the Ultra in a few of my cages, but toward the end of the week realized that this was not a proper test--I needed to use it in all of my cages. There was not enough in the bag to do all of my cages, so I ordered the minimum order of five 50 quart bags directly from Absorption Corp at a cost of $90, making it $18 per bag (ouch!).

Using the CareFRESH® Ultra alone, it took me two full bags to change my cages. It was expensive, but I absolutely loved it! It was virtually dust free and so clean and beautiful - the cleanest bedding product I had ever used. At this point, I was already hoping it would be non-irritating to my husband and would control the odor as well as what I had been using (Gentle TouchTM mixed with Sani-Chips®). I really wanted to use it and thought that the cost would be worth it if it helped Scott's asthma. It was also much easier on the poor feet of the three boys I have with Ulcerative pododermatitis (Bumblefoot).

Halfway into the week, Scott thought the room smelled heavy and didn't feel it was controlling the odor very well. However, it was not offensive to me, but I am probably much more tolerant of rat smells than he is. At the end of the week, he was not able to tolerate the smell at all. However, I still loved it and loved how wonderful cage cleaning day was using it - no dust flying everywhere, especially up my nose!

He asked me to use the Gentle TouchTM under it as I had been doing with the Sani-Chips® if I wanted to continue to use it, since the Gentle TouchTM was definitely great at odor control. Using the two products together does make a big difference as far as odor goes, and I still have to contend with the dustiness of the Gentle TouchTM after it breaks down, but it's odor-controlling properties make it worth it. I am now using CareFRESH® Ultra alone in a couple of cages, with Gentle TouchTM in several cages, and Gentle TouchTM and Sani-Chips® in a few other cages. If I had my choice, I would use the CareFRESH® Ultra by itself strictly for the cleanliness of the product, but it does lack in the odor controlling department. I do urge anyone who has asthma or major allergies to try it, as I think it may be a great help to sufferers who cannot tolerate other beddings in their environment. As long as you don't have a lot of cages to clean, the cost would not be prohibitive.

This product is not available in pet shops and may not ever be offered in pet shops, but is definitely worth stockpiling the minimum order to be able to have it on hand.


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