While hamsters make excellent pets, they still require a significant amount of dedication and care to ensure that they live the happiest and healthiest lives. Based on that, regular cleaning cages to keep your hamster clean is a necessary task every owner does.
How often you clean your hamster’s cage depends on a number of factors, for example:
- How many hamsters do you own?
- Does the cage get dirty fast?
- How big is your hamster’s cage?
- Are you bothered by the smell of your hamster’s cage?
Depending on all of these aspects of hamster ownership you’ll need to make a judgement call, but the general guideline is that owners of just one hamster should clean out the cage once a week.
The more hamsters you own, the more you’ll need to clean out your cage. This may seem simple, but a lot of owners forget that the more animals you own, the more waste products will build up in your pet’s cage.
How often you’ll need to clean the cage also depends on how fast it becomes dirty. Some owners have had success with a technique known as spot cleaning. If you clean areas that you see are dirty, then you will not only reduce odour but you may reduce the frequency with which you have to clean the entire cage.
Hamster urine is extremely pungent, so you may want to clean out your hamster more than once a week if you’re bothered by the smell. Should you have multiple hamsters then you may find that a smell builds up very quickly and over a short period of time, so you may want to clean out the cage more than once per week.
Finally, the size of your hamster’s enclosure will really affect how often it’ll need to be cleaned. If you have a very large hamster enclosure, then the mess will be spread over a much larger area, and be less pungent. On the other hand, if your hamster cage is relatively small then it will need to be cleaned out more regularly.
How Do I Clean My Hamster’s Cage?
This depends on which hamster cage you own – for example, if you’ve opted for a modern hamster cage such as the Qute, then this can be done simply in a couple of minutes. Older cages may be trickier and take longer to clean. Below we’ve included some suggestions on how you would go about cleaning the different models of hamster cage available.
The Qute is a modern alternative to the traditional hamster cage. To clean the Qute, all you need to do is usher your hamster up the tube so that it’s in the top component of the enclosure. Then, push the tube up so that your pet can’t scurry back down. Next, slide out the bedding tray and tip it into your compost bin. Spray it with a disinfectant, give it a wipe, and refill it with fresh bedding. Then simply pop the bedding tray back into the Qute and bring the tube back down to the original position. Clean the accessories, and you’re finished!
There are dozens of different traditional cages available, but regardless of the specific one you have, the stages will be roughly the same.
The first thing to do will be to take your hamster out of its cage and keep it somewhere safe. You could place it gently into a spare enclosure or, if you’ll be less than twenty minutes, its exercise ball (and entrust it to an adult). If you opt for a spare enclosure, then become sure to give it a bit of bedding, food and water. When creating a spare, temporary enclosure it’s good to be aware that cardboard boxes are very easily gnawed through.
Next, you’ll need to take out all the accessories, including the food bowl. These will undoubtedly be cleaned later, but you may prefer to remove the bedding before you do so – depending on what type you use, this will either involve tipping the material out into a bin, or using the base lining to lift it up and out from the cage.
Once the cage is empty, give it a wash with a special spray and a cloth. Each time you clean the cage, you’ll either want to use a freshly cleaned cloth or a new one. Many owners have a special ‘hamster cage’ cloth that they disinfect and wash between cage cleans.
With this cloth, ensure that any bits of waste or bedding that have gotten stuck are removed, and that the cage is well-scrubbed. It’s been specially designed to make cleaning out a cinch – the top part of the enclosure is made of horizontal bars, so that any droppings will fall straight through into the removable bedding tray. Cleaning all the cage will get rid of all the waste that has collected there, and will create a much nicer environment for your pet.
You’ll also need to clean all those accessories that you removed earlier – they require to be scrubbed as well as the cage to completely clean them of waste. Your hamster clambers all over these things so you’ll want them to be as clean as can be. Hamsters lick and nibble their accessories continuously and you don’t wish them ingesting anything bad.
After the cage and the accessories have been cleaned, you’ll need to let everything dry off for some minutes before refilling the cage with the bedding, as the bedding will get wet and soggy if it’s put right into a moist cage. Hamsters can catch chills from contact with damp bedding, so it’s best to wait until it’s dry, then to refill the cage with bedding and put back all of the clean accessories.
The last things to do are to clean your hamster’s food bowl, clean your hamster’s water bottle, and then finally to refill them both and return them to their original places in the cage. If they aren’t cleaned regularly, then dirt can build up in both of them, and the bottle in particular can develop problems. Hamster water bottles can become blocked, preventing your hamster from having access to moisture.
Now that everything is nice and tidy, you can put your hamster back in its cage. It’s always good to transfer a little bit of the old, but unsoiled, bedding back in with the clean bedding, so that some of the cage still has some of your hamster’s own scent in it. You might want to try this, but in any case, your hamster will thank you for its lovely, clean home. Let your hamster get used to its freshly cleaned enclosure for a while rather than picking it up again too quickly.
For further information about this topic, check out How Often Should You Clean A Hamster’s Cage?