Sterilizing rocks?

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How should I go about it. I'm not going to boil or bake them because they can explode (seriously). I was thinking about soaking them in a bleach solution, but then how long would I have to wait to put them in his cage?

Would it be ok if I didn't sterilize them?


Gray-bearded Member
I put mine in a bleach/hot water solution until the water cools. Then I scrub with a brush and rinse well. Then after they dry bake them at about 300 or so for about an hour. If they're dry they won't explode in the oven. Rocks can be rather porous, it's the moisture inside that causes them to explode. But yes they do need to be sterilized.


Sub-Adult Member
Clean the rock with soap and water, rinse, then place it in a container containing a 10% bleach solution for 30 minutes. Then rinse the rock well, and place it in a container containing pure water and let it soak for a couple hours. If the rock still smells like bleach, keep rinsing.
You can replace bleach above with a 10% ammonia solution for a slightly more effective cleaning process (kills coccidia), though you may spend more time rinsing.

If you want to use something a bit safer, and one that doesn't require rigorous rinsing, use a white vinegar/hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect the rock (after cleaning with soap and water). Keep both liquids in two separate spray bottles, and then spray them both on the rocks surface in equal amounts. Let stand for 2-5 minutes, then your done. A quick rinse is all you need, as there are no fumes or caustic left overs. This combo is just as effective as bleach, if not more so, in a fraction of the time. You can use it to clean vegis too. Remember, keep the vinegar and the hydrogen peroxide in two separate sprayers, and only combine them on the surface you plan to disinfect. Premixing them before hand is no good.

Additionally there is a chemical known as chlorhexidine gluconate that is commonly used as a veterinary wound wash and disinfectant. Extremely safe, no fumes or caustic liquids, and doesn't need to be rinsed at proper dilution levels. Lastly there is a home brewing product called Starsan that is very effective, and doesn't require much rinsing. Very similar to the vinegar/peroxide combo above in that they use mild acids to kill pathogens very quickly.


New member
That seems like a lot of work. Really, all i use is Wipe out 1 its a disinfectant specifically for terrariums, you can find it at petsmart, petco, or really any other pet store. it comes in a 8.75FL OZ spray bottle with a green liquid in it. it uses Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride to disinfect . . . pretty much anything. i just spray it on what i want to clean and wash it thoroughly with a scrub brush and rinse it very well with hot water. It is perfectly sufficient, it will kill any harmfull bacteria and is safe for any reptile. i use it to clean everything in my viv. (And you wont have to worry about EXPLOSIONS)


Sub-Adult Member
That is a quaternary ammonium compound, and while these are great disinfectants, they pretty much always require rinsing, and are not safe for direct contact with the animal. Same procedure for using a bleach solution, except you end up paying 10x more for it :).
When rinsed and ventilated, they are as safe as anything else.
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