Can You Use Bleach to Clean Cages?

by Hamster Care

Every household probably has a bottle or two of bleach that is used for laundry and cleaning, but is it safe if we use bleach to clean cages? Will residual fumes harm your pet? Can you use bleach full strength? Safe brands include Simple Green, Simple. A bleach solution can be made by mixing water and bleach together to get a 10 percent bleach alternative.

WARNING: Never use bleach to completely clean fish tanks, aquatic turtle tanks, amphibian tanks, or for any other animal that spends lots of time in the water. Make sure you keep your pet away from the cage while you are cleaning it and protect anything you don’t want bleached, such as clothing, carpeting, tablecloths, and furniture. Rinse off the bleach solution with water only and don’t mix it with other formulated cleaners. Chemical reactions can occur if commercial cleaners like toilet bowl cleaners, or anything with ammonia in it. Dish soap (not dishwasher detergent) such as Dawn is safe to mix with bleach and will give you some soapy suds if you prefer to have a bubbly solution.

Bleach to Water Ratios:

1 cup bleach to 9 cups water
1/2 cup bleach to 4 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup bleach to 2 1/4 cups water

Commercial Cleaners

There are also commercial cleaners available that are safe to use on pet cages. Some of these cleaners are marketed as eco-friendly, green cleaners, or environmentally safe. They are often a green color and come in easy to use spray bottles that can be refilled.

Bleach can be used to disinfect pet cages, but it cannot become used full strength and must be thoroughly rinsed before returning your pet to its habitat.Clean.Pure., Earth Friendly Products, Seventh Generation, Soyscrub, Method, Healthy Habitat, Nature’s Miracle, and Green Works.

Hamsters are sensitive to bleach, even with the smell, so you better avoid using bleach. There are of course many more options available. Just look for plant-based cleaners and stay away from anything with tea tree oil as it is toxic to birds and cats. Many people even prefer to make their own cleaner with vinegar, baking soda, and lemons.

READ NEXT: The Complete Hamster Cage Maintenance Guide

READ MORE: How Often Should You Clean A Hamster’s Cage?

Environmental Concerns

Certain ingredients in many cleaners are harmful to the environment and animals, especially very sensitive animals like birds and fish. Ammonia, 2-butoxyethanol/Ethylene glycol butyl ether, ethoxylated nonylphenols (NPEs), silica, toluene, trisodium nitrilotriacetate (NTA), xylene, and phosphates are usually just a sampling of dangerous ingredients commonly found in cleaners.

Just read the label on the back of your cleaners to see what you’re really using to get things “clean.” Make sure to play it safe with your exotic pet. It’s not worth taking any chances just to get a clean cage. When in doubt dish soap and water work well.

Symptoms and Signs of Bleach Poisoning

Bleach will definitely cause a hamster death by disease or illness. Both toxify internally and externally, the ultra-concentrated bleach will cause chemical burns and lesions. Color-safe bleach apparently causes vomiting, and if the concentration is high enough, bloody vomit may occur.


Hamsters are low-maintenance pets, with cleaning their cage being one of the few tasks required to keep them healthy and happy. There are also concerns about the amount of fragrance in some of them. What you don’t want to use is any regular household cleaners. No Clorox wipes, Lysol, Windex, bleach, or anything like that. These cleaners are too harsh, and leave residue behind even after rinsing.

When you own a hamster or are thinking about getting one, you’re probably wondering how to clean its cage and how frequently it should be done. Check out 8 Awesome Hamster Cage Cleaning Tips for further information!

By HamsterCare.Net

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