How To Clean A Hamster Cage (Easy Step-By-Step Guide)

Ever looked at your hamster’s cage and thought, “Eww, it’s time for a clean-up!”. If so, you need to take the matter into your hands and give your pet a clean living space. 

You see, a dirty cage can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and parasites, which can lead to health issues for your hamster. 

Regular cleaning also helps to eliminate unpleasant odors, which benefits not just your hamster but everyone in the house. Plus, it gives you a chance to monitor your hamster’s health more closely. 

Also, it’s no secret that hamsters stink, and you must put extra effort into maintaining their cages/bins.

And that’s what we’ll help you with. If you have adopted a hamster and cannot keep his cage smell-free or spotless, you’re in the right place. 

Here’s how to clean a hamster cage: 

Key Takeaway:

Move your hamster to a safe, temporary habitat. Discard all his old bedding and food. Using a pet-safe disinfectant, clean the hamster cage, accessories, and toys. Rinse them with warm water to remove any residual disinfectant. Allow everything to air dry before adding fresh bedding. 

Ready to learn more about cleaning a hamster’s cage? Then let’s dive right in!

hamster eating inside its cage

List of Essentials For Cleaning a Hamster Cage

The list of supplies you’ll need to clean a hamster cage will depend on how dirty/damaged the cage is. But here’s a standard list that’ll make for most hamster cages:

  1. A temporary habitat for your hamster
  2. Pet-safe disinfectant or mild soap 
  3. Warm water
  4. Sponge or cloth for cleaning
  5. Gloves (optional, for your protection)
  6. Trash bag or bin for waste disposal
  7. Fresh bedding material
  8. Clean food and water dishes
  9. Clean toys and accessories
  10. Towel for drying or air-dry
  11. Small brush or toothbrush for cleaning corners and crevices 
  12. Replacement cage parts if needed (for broken or worn-out components)

How to Clean a Hamster Cage (9 Quick Steps)

Regularly cleaning a hamster cage brings numerous benefits for both you and your furry companion. A spotless habitat eliminates unpleasant odors and reduces your hamster’s risk of illness and infections. 

If you only take the trash out or swap hamster bedding when it’s absolutely soiled, you’re doing it wrong. Such unhygienic practices will make your home stink and possibly spread infectious diseases.

But luckily, mending this situation is still in your hands, and you can learn how to clean a hamster cage without much effort. 

So, follow these steps and become a pro at keeping your pet’s cage clean:

Step 1: Prepare Your Hamster’s Temporary Home

Before you start hamster cage cleaning, set up a cozy, temporary home for your furry friend. You can use a playpen, a separate smaller cage, or even a secure plastic bin for this purpose.

But make sure this place has proper ventilation, some fresh bedding, and hamster food to keep him comfortable. You can make this playpen/bin your pet’s second home where he can rest while you clean his mess or dry all the bedding that has been soiled. 

Step 2: Relocate Your Hamster

You can use a clean, dry, and ventilated container, such as a plastic storage box or a spare, smaller cage, as your hamster’s temporary home. But make sure it’s large enough for your hamster to move around comfortably. 

And when this temporary home is ready, here’s how you can relocate him:

  1. Gently scoop up your hamster, hold him securely, and transfer him to his temporary abode. 
  2. Place some of their familiar bedding material from the old cage into the temporary habitat to help reduce stress. 
  3. It’s good to include water and some food to keep them comfortable. 
  4. Also, provide a small hideaway for your hamster to retreat to if they feel scared, such as a hamster igloo or a cardboard tube. 

Take your time, and stay calm so your hamster feels safe during the move. Hamster owners have to be careful because these squeaky pets are pretty hard to handle.

Remember, the temporary habitat should be kept in a quiet, secure location, away from other pets and out of direct sunlight or drafts. 

Step 3: Remove and Discard Used Bedding

Now put on gloves and carefully remove all the soiled bedding from the cage. Toss it straight into a trash bag or compost bin. And if your hamster’s bedding is washable, wash it.

Since it’s pretty impractical to wash soiled hamster cage accessories, we recommend disposable items. Also, remove any leftover crumbs, chewed-up toys, or other debris from the cage, as ingesting contaminated food can make your pet sick. 

Step 4: Disassemble the Cage

It’s easier to work with an intrusion-free hamster cage. And while the exact steps may vary depending on the specific design of your hamster cage, here’s how you can take apart your pet’s home:

  1. Most hamster cages have a removable top or lid. Unlatch any clips or locks holding the top in place, then gently lift it off and set it aside. 
  2. If your cage has connecting tubes or tunnels, gently twist and pull them apart at the joints. Some may have small locks or clips that you’ll need to undo.
  3. If your cage has multiple levels, remove them one at a time. This typically involves sliding them out of their tracks or unlatching clips that hold them in place.

When everything else is removed, you’d be able to lift the cage’s base. Although it doesn’t usually need disassembling, so you’ll now have access to cleaning the spot spoiled by your pet. 

hamster inside its cage

Step 5: Scrub and Clean the Cage

Wondering what to clean the hamster cage with?

You’ll need mild, unscented soap, a safe cage-cleaning solution, a sponge, and warm water for thorough cage cleaning. 

Then gently but firmly wash all surfaces of the cage and its components, paying special attention to corners and crevices where dirt and grime may hide.

Pro tip: Steer clear of harsh chemicals or strong-smelling cleaners, as these can harm your hamster’s delicate respiratory system.

Step 6: Rinse and Dry the Cage

After spot-cleaning the cage and removing stubborn debris from it, thoroughly rinse all components with warm water to remove any soap residue.

Then, let them air-dry completely to avoid moisture build-up, which can lead to mold and bacteria growth. You can also use a clean towel to speed up the process.

Step 7: Reassemble the Cage

When everything is clean and dry, you can put the cage back together. Reassembling your hamster cage after cleaning should follow the reverse order of disassembly. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start with the base of the cage. If the cage has a deep base for bedding, now is the time to add fresh, clean bedding. 
  2. If your pet’s cage has multiple levels, reattach them next. Slide them back onto their tracks or re-clip them into place. Make sure they are secure.
  3. And if there are tubes or tunnels, gently push and twist them back together at their joints. Lock any clips or fasteners to ensure a secure fit.
  4. Place the top or lid back onto the cage in a way that it fits correctly, then latch any clips or locks to secure it. It’s good to make the lid firmly attached so it can’t be pushed off.
  5. Put back the cleaned accessories, such as toys, water bottles, and food dishes. Try to place them in similar locations as before to help your hamster feel at home.
  6. Before reintroducing your hamster, check the cage for any sharp edges, loose parts, or potential escape points.

Step 8: Replace Bedding and Accessories

Dirty bedding is the biggest reason your hamster’s cage smells bad and looks unkempt. So cleaning just the cage won’t do; you should now add fresh, clean bedding to it.

Don’t skimp on this step – a thick bedding layer ensures your hamster’s comfort and warmth. Also, put back any toys, hamster balls, or food and water dishes that needed to be replaced to make sure everything’s clean and in its proper place.

Step 9: Return Your Hamster to Its Fresh and Clean Home

When your hamster’s cage looks clean enough, carefully pick up your bud and return him to his sparkling clean cage. Your furry friend will appreciate the fresh environment, and your home won’t reek of anything bad. 

How Often Should You Change the Bedding in a Hamster Cage?

Changing the bedding in a hamster cage every one to two weeks is good, depending on the cage size and bedding material. Choosing a practical, absorbent, and safe bedding material is essential for your hamster's comfort and well-being.

Fresh bedding helps control unpleasant smells in the cage, creating a more enjoyable environment for you and your hamster. It also reduces the risk of illness and infections by minimizing the build-up of harmful bacteria.

Choosing the Most Practical Hamster Bedding Material

Getting sustainable bedding material for your hamster impacts his comfort, health, and well-being. Here are some popular options in bedding you can consider:

  • Paper-based bedding is highly absorbent and eco-friendly, great for odor control, and you can change it every one to two weeks.
  • Aspen shavings are a safe wood-based option that provides decent odor control and absorbency. But it’s better to avoid pine and cedar shavings, as they contain harmful oils that can be toxic to hamsters.
  • Fleece bedding is reusable and comfortable for your hamster, but it may require more frequent washing to maintain cleanliness.

You can get any of these bedding materials and provide your pet with a cozy space to lounge in. But do take care of the washability factor, as some hamster bedding types are hard to clean and leave a lot of mess. 

Hamster Cage Maintenance and Hygiene 

To keep your hamster’s cage clean and in tip-top shape, follow these handy tips:

  • Spot clean daily: Remove any visible waste or soiled bedding daily to maintain a fresh environment.
  • Replace food and water: Swap out your hamster’s edibles and water to ensure they always have fresh food. 
  • Keep an eye on odors: If you notice a strong smell from your hamster’s bedding (which is common), exercise ball, or food dish, it’s time for a cleaning. A clean cage should have a mild, earthy scent.
  • Monitor your hamster’s health: Regularly check your hamster for signs of illness, like lethargy, sneezing, wet tail disease, or discharge, as a dirty cage can contribute to health issues.
hamster in a glass cage

Final Word On Cleaning a Hamster Cage

Providing a clean and comfortable environment for your hamster is essential for his health and happiness.

Being punctual in spot cleaning and changing bedding will help you foster a thriving habitat for your furry friend. 

Your hamster relies on you to keep their cozy abode fresh, so make those cages sparkle. And never let them stink again.

Did you find the information in this article helpful?

We at Oddly Cute Pets are always here with handy tips and valuable insights to make your pet parenting journey a breeze.

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