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Hamster Care: How to take care of hamsters

7. A clean and tidy hamster home

In this post, i will talk about “How to Clean Your Hamster and Her Habitat”. It’s not new problem. However, there are still many people who have difficulty cleaning their pens and their hamsters.

Your new friend will groom themselves, but it’s up to you to make sure that you keep your hamster’s cage clean. To make this easier you can train your new hamster to use a damp corner. Put some of their damp wood shavings into a little plastic tray and put it in one corner of the cage.
Your hamster will smell the urine and go to the spot every time they need to pee. This makes your life a lot easier as you are not having to constantly change the bedding or shavings in the cage.

Hamster Care Checklist

  1. Choosing a type of hamster
  2. Buying your hamster
  3. Your hamster’s home
  4. Feeding your hamster
  5. Getting to know your hamster
  6. Exercise
  7. Cleaning
  8. Health problems

Each day: Make sure that your pet’s food and water are changed. You should also shake the bedding or shavings, and make sure any droppings are removed from the cage.

Once a week: Give your hamster’s cage a full clean from top to bottom. Though leave a small amount of the old bedding in place so that the hamster recognises some familiar smells when it returns to the cage.

While you are cleaning, you need to make sure that your pet is secure and cannot escape. If you purchased a small animal carrier when you first bought your pet, you can put them in this while you clean the cage.

It’s not a good idea to put them in a hamster ball unless there is someone else there who can watch them. You can’t concentrate on cleaning the cage and keep an eye on your hamster’s ball manoeuvring skills at the same time.

How to Clean Your Hamster and Her Habitat - Hamster Care Guide

How to Clean a Hamster Cage

Hamsters are a tidy bunch. They absolutely hate mixing their living quarters with their restroom and their dining area. For these little creatures, there is a place for everything.

Unfortunately, since they live in a rather small, cramped ‘house’, it is inadvertent that the stink from their urine and droppings will fill the rest of their cage. And we have yet to see a hamster cleaning up its own house. You really have to give the little fellow a helping hand. Here’s how to clean a hamster cage.

Give the cage a thorough inspection. 

The very first thing you need to perform is to inspect the hammy cage thoroughly. Try to smell where the smell is coming from. If the stink is confined to a single spot, it may not really be necessary to perform a thorough cleaning. You can easily remove this soiled spot and replace it with fresh bedding materials. Also try to look for droppings or wetness in the bedding as a means of verifying the stink.

If there is leftover food, make sure to discard these. Also, try to check the walls if it’s full of smudges or is already very dirty. As a rule of thumb, if your nose is already irritated by the stink coming from your hammy’s home, it really is a sign that you have to clean it whole. Remember, your pet’s sense of smell is highly acute and it can really fall ill if its cage is not cleaned thoroughly.

Prepare the materials. 

Once you’ve ascertained that the cage needs a really good cleanup, it’s time to gather your cleaning materials. If the stink is simply too much, you might want to include a suitable face mask as well as rubber gloves.

You will also need a wash cloth, an appropriate disinfectant that will not harm your pet, and replacement bedding materials.

Relocate your hamster. 

Before you start cleaning, get a secondary cage or any safe enclosure to temporarily relocate your hamster. You don’t want it present inside the cage while you’re giving the enclosure a thorough cleaning.

Gently scoop up the little fellow from its cage and slowly put it down inside the temporary shelter. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after relocating your pet.

Remove all attachments, accessories, and extras. 

Next is for you to remove all the attachments, extras, and accessories like feeding bowls, water bottles, hideouts, tunnels, pathways, exercise wheels, and anything and everything inside the cage. This makes cleaning a lot easier. Plus, you also get to clean these items individually.

Discard the bedding. 

Make sure you have your gloves and your face mask on before you start removing the bedding, especially if it has been substantially soiled. If not, you can always opt not to wear the mask. Be careful when removing the bedding. Immediately transfer the soiled bedding in a waste bag and seal it to keep the stink from getting out and filling your room with it.

Clean the hammy cage. 

Now comes the really tedious part. Always start cleaning the extras and accessories first. This allows them to dry completely before they are eventually returned to the cage. You can soak these items in a cleaning solution as a means of disinfecting them.

Make sure to thoroughly clean each item using the wash cloth that has been soaked with the cleaning solution. Use small brushes to clean hard-to-reach areas. Once thoroughly cleaned, let these dry under the sun, then proceed with cleaning the cage.

Cleaning the hammy cage should not be difficult. The important thing to remember is to never leave any area unclean. If your hamster cage is small enough to fit a large basin, you can soak it in a cleaning solution, let it sit for a while, and start brushing every square inch of its surface.

For wire cages, it is imperative to clean individual bars. It may be tedious but it’s the only way. Once thoroughly cleaned, you can let it dry under the sun as well. The UV rays also help in disinfecting your cage.

Put back everything. 

Make sure to completely dry everything before you start assembling them back. Put an ample layer of bedding, preferably at least 2 inches deep. Replace all the accessories and extras in their original positions.

The last part of cleaning your hamster cage is returning your pet to its newly-cleaned home. Make sure to give it some time to adjust to the new ‘smell’ before you start interacting with it. Easy, right? Be fully prepared with our guide to the best hamster cages.

How to Keep a Hamster Clean

Hamsters are naturally clean animals who are good about grooming themselves. For the most part, as long as you keep your hamster’s cage clean, they will do the rest. Unless your hamster encounters a toxic chemical (such as nail polish remover or paint), giving them a bath can be unhealthy or even dangerous. If your hamster is dirty, try some alternatives to bathing first. If you absolutely must bathe your hamster, follow some tips to do so safely. Finally, in order for your hamster to stay clean, they must have a sanitary living space. Clean your hamster’s cage regularly.

Using Alternatives to Bathing

Use a soft toothbrush on long-haired hamsters. Short-haired hamsters will not usually need to be brushed. If you have a long-haired hamster, however, you may want to remove tangles or debris from their fur. Run a soft, unused toothbrush across your hamster’s fur to remove dirt and prevent matting.

Use scissors to remove chunks. If something sticky (like gum or glue) has somehow gotten stuck to your hamster’s fur, you can use a pair of scissors to remove it. Place your hamster on a table or countertop, and place your non-dominant hand on top of the hamster to keep them still. While still applying some pressure to the hamster, use your non-dominant hand to pull up and isolate the chunk you want to remove. Then, holding the scissors in your dominant hand, carefully snip the fur in that area.

  • To restrain your hamster, hold the hamster from below with one hand. Gently pull back the skin behind the hamster’s neck and shoulders with your thumb and forefinger. This will keep the hamster still and make it easier to trim its fur.
  • Do not attempt this if your hamster is wiggling or trying to escape. You could accidentally injure your hamster. Instead, call the vet to remove any difficult chunks.
  • Be extremely careful if the mats are close to the hamster’s skin. You could accidentally cut the hamster. It may be a better idea to have the vet do it instead.

Try a sand bath. A sand bath is another way for your hamster to get clean. Purchase chinchilla sand (available at most pet stores) and put it in a sturdy bowl for your hamster (just large enough for your hamster to climb inside). Your hamster will roll around in the sand, which helps to remove any dirt or debris.

  • Look for sand, not dust. Dust can cause respiratory problems for your hamster.
  • If you plan to keep the sand in your hamster’s cage permanently, check it daily to make sure your hamster is not using it as a litterbox.
  • If you hamster is using the sand for bathing, change the sand out once per week.

Wipe your hamster down with a damp cloth. If possible, try to spot clean any substances from your hamster using a damp cloth. Fill a bowl with warm water, and add a tiny squirt of mild, unscented pet shampoo. Soak a washcloth in this bowl for a couple of minutes. Then wring it out and gently wipe down your hamster, moving in the direction of hair growth.

  • Use as little water as possible.
  • Consult your vet to make sure that a product is safe for use.

Giving Your Hamster a Bath

Determine if bathing is necessary. Bathing your hamster can be dangerous. Hamsters can drown or become ill from being cold and wet. Also, bathing your hamster removes precious oils from their fur and skin. Bathing should only be considered if your hamster has come into contact with a toxic substance, other non-bathing methods won’t work, and you can’t bring your hamster to the vet. You might consider bathing if:

  • The hamster fell into something dangerous, such as bleach, alcohol, or nail polish remover.
  • The hamster’s fur got covered in something that would cause upset stomach if swallowed, such as chocolate, jam, or honey.
  • The hamster got into something that could irritate the skin (such as chewing gum) or that could cause a bowel obstruction (such as wax).
  • Always try cutting the fur or wiping with a damp towel first. Only consider bathing if these methods do not work.

Fill a bowl with a bit of warm water. Choose a bowl large enough for your hamster to sit in and fill it with no more than 1-2 inches (2.54-5.08 cm) of warm water. It should be shallow enough for your hamster’s head and shoulders to remain comfortably above the water. Use the least amount of water possible.

  • If possible, use just plain water.
  • If you think soap is absolutely necessary, add a squirt of mild pet shampoo. Consult your vet to make sure a product is safe to use.

Wash the hamster. Carefully remove your hamster from their cage and set them in the bowl of water. Use a soft toothbrush or washcloth to gently stroke the hamster’s fur in the direction of hair growth.

Rinse the hamster. If you added soap to the bathwater, you will also need to perform a cleansing rinse. Fill a small cup with warm water and gently pour this over the hamster to rinse them, being careful to avoid contact with their eyes.

Dry your hamster. Remove your hamster from the bowl with a warm, dry towel. You can gently stroke your hamster with the towel, but be careful not to rub too hard. If your hamster is comfortable, you can hold them for a while to keep them warm. Once they are completely dry, return them to a clean cage.

  • If you hamster does not want to be held, simply let them lay on a dry towel. Make sure the temperature in your home is warm.
  • Keep the hamster away from windows and drafts when putting it back into its cage.
  • Place your non-dominant hand on top of the hamster to try to clean it calm and still, while you wash it with your dominant hand.
  • Hamsters may panic when placed in water. In some cases, they may bite. If your hamster seems distressed, stop the bath. Call the vet to learn how to proceed.

Keeping Your Hamster’s Cage Clean

Perform daily maintenance. A major component to keeping your hamster clean is keeping their living area sanitary. Hamster cages require some daily upkeep. Check the cage daily, and perform some routine maintenance.

  • Look for droppings and/or wet areas in your hamster’s bedding. Scoop out any saturated areas. (If there are a lot, you may need to clean the whole cage.)
  • Remove any leftover food.
  • Change the water. If the bedding has become damp near the water dispenser, you might want to change the bedding.

Remove everything from the cage (including the hamster). In addition to daily maintenance, you’ll want to do a deeper cleaning of your hamster’s cage once a week. Start by placing your hamster in a safe place, such as an animal carrier. Then remove all toys, food receptacles, and anything else from your hamster’s cage. Place toys and food bowls in hot soapy water.

Discard old bedding. Once all of the other items have been removed, you can discard the bedding. Scoop out all of the old bedding and throw it in the garbage. Be sure to remove any bits of bedding that are stuck to the bottom of the cage.

  • You might want to wear gloves and/or a face mask when you do this part.

Clean the cage. Wash out the inside of your hamster’s cage using a disinfectant solution (available at pet stores). Wipe down every surface, and scrub any places where bedding, waste, or other debris has gotten stuck. If the cage is extremely dirty, you may want to soak problem areas and come back to them.

  • If your cage is a wire or mesh cage, make sure to clean each bar.
  • If your cage is an aquarium, make sure you clean each surface and corner.
  • If you do not have specific hamster-approved disinfectant solution, you can add 2 Tbs. (29.5 ml) of bleach to a medium-sized spray bottle of water, and use this.
  • Rinse the cage completely after using bleach or disinfectant.

Dry the cage and other items. You cannot add bedding and other items back into the cage until everything is dry. Use a towel to thoroughly dry the inside and outside of your cage. Then rinse any food bowls and toys (that have been soaking in hot water), and dry them off.

  • Leaving the cage in the sun is also an effective way to dry to cage. Sunlight can actually help to disinfect the cage.

Put the cage back together. Once the cage is dry, you can add fresh bedding. Then return each of the clean and dry items to the cage (food bowls, water dispenser, toys). Finally, you can return your hamster to its home.

  • Give your hamster a couple of hours alone to readjust to its newly cleaned surroundings.

Hamster Care Checklist

  1. Choosing a type of hamster
  2. Buying your hamster
  3. Your hamster’s home
  4. Feeding your hamster
  5. Getting to know your hamster
  6. Exercise
  7. Cleaning
  8. Health problems

We hope with our “How to Clean Your Hamster and Her Habitat” guide, you can know how to clearn your hamster and her cage. Good luck to you.