Is your hamster cage getting a bit stinky? Are you having trouble getting rid of some of the muck? Then welcome to our complete guide to how to clean a hamster cage!
Hamsters are great pets, and are especially popular with families and younger children.
Despite their small size, hamsters are full of personality. And keeping their homes clean is an important part of making sure your hamster stays happy.
Dirty cages can lead to your hamster becoming sick, so keeping up with regular and efficient cleanings can also help you keep your hamster healthy and avoid potentially costly vet bills.
There are lots of different types of cages you can buy for your hamster. And each is slightly different, so it is important to know how to clean the type you have properly.
This article will help you learn the best way to clean the type of cage you have.
And will advise you on a variety of different products you can use to clean your hamster’s home.
What should a hamster cage have?
There are lots of different parts to any hamster cage that will need taking care of.
Your cage should be big enough that your hamster has space to explore and get some exercise. But secure enough to keep it inside.
The four types of cage that will be mentioned in this article are plastic cages, Rotastak cages, wire cages and tank cages.
However you can also buy cages that are a mixture of the above types!
You’ll need a bowl for your hamster’s food, as well as a bottle or bowl of water that it can access.
It’s also a good idea to get toys that can keep your hamster healthy through exercise. And stop it from getting too bored. Like an exercise wheel, or a hamster ball so he can run around your house alongside you.
Each of these different parts of your cage will need to be looked after. We will look at how to clean them below.
What to clean my hamster cage with?
The first step along the road in how to clean a hamster cage, is to look at what you are going to clean it with.
You can just use soap and warm water to wash your hamster’s home, but there are many other cleaning products to consider.
Water and vinegar is a popular solution on pet-health discussion forums, but if you don’t want to use a homemade product, you can find a large variety of others online.
Pet safe Johnson’s Veterinary Clean N Safe can be used for most of your hamster’s gear. His cage, bedding and even his drinker.
There are lots of options available though. So if you aren’t sure about the best solution to use, you can check with your vet.
Once you have finished cleaning your hamster’s cage with any solution you must make sure that each part of it is completely clean and dry. This will avoid ruining any new bedding or harming your hamster.
How often should I clean my hamster cage?
You will need to clean out your hamster’s water bowl or bottle once a week. But make sure he gets fresh water every single day.
This is the same for his food bowl. Clean it once a week but make sure any old, uneaten food is cleared away daily to prevent rotting. You will also need to check his bed for any hidden food each day.
Another part you need to tend to daily is your hamster’s toilet area – hamster’s will normally use the same part of their cage for the toilet, so this should be easy to find and clean.
You should replace bedding every week to clear away any food your hamster has stored.
You will also need to give your cage a thorough clean around once a week, or if it starts to smell and the source is not removed by changing the toilet area.
It is important not to clean your hamster cage any more or less often than necessary, as this can cause your pet undue stress.
How to clean my hamster cage
So let’s get down to it – how to clean a hamster cage!
Before cleaning any hamster cage, regardless of the type, there are a few initial steps you need to take.
Firstly, you need to make sure that your hamster is somewhere safe. He can’t stay in the cage whilst you’re cleaning.
You need to keep your hamster somewhere secure that he can’t escape from. Perhaps a second cage, or an exercise ball if you have one.
These small carry cases are another good choice.
You will then need to clear out anything from your cage, like old bedding or any old food that your hamster may have stored.
If the cage is light and plastic you can do this by simply tipping the bottom floor into a large trash bag.
If the cage is glass or heavy then you will need to scoop the bedding into a trash bag using a scooper.
You won’t be using this again, so you can throw this out straight away.
However, keep a small amount of the bedding. As the familiar smell will be a comfort to your hamster and reduce any stress caused by the clean.
When replacing the bedding, you won’t necessarily need to arrange it for your pet. Hamsters often like to drag their bedding to their preferred place and arrange it themselves!
It is really important when cleaning any cage to make sure that you clean any hard-to-reach places, like corners, or the middle of plastic tubes.
You might find at times that bedding gets stuck to the walls or floors of your cage – in these instances you may need to soak the cage for a little longer to make sure it is all properly removed.
Cleaning a plastic cage
Plastic hamster cages are popular for their bright colors, especially among families with young children. They’re fun to look at, easy to clean and easy to look inside to see your little pet.
They normally have clips at the side to make it easy to take them apart, which is great for easy cleaning!
To clean this type of cage, take it apart and take out any detachable bits, like exercise wheels or food and water containers, and clear away any bedding.
Using your chosen cleaning solution, wipe down the walls, floor and roof of the cage, leaving it to soak for a little while.
There should be no dirty marks left on the plastic when you’re finished.
Also make sure to wash and soak any other parts of the cage that you’ve detached, so that no part is left unclean.
Make sure everything is completely dry before you put it back together, and replace the bedding, food and water.
Cleaning a Rotastak cage
Rotastak cages are great fun, and are extremely popular with young kids. They love to watch their hamsters racing along the tubes and exploring all the different compartments.
The best things about these cages is that you can just keep adding to them!
However, this does mean you have to be more committed to cleaning each part. It can take a lot longer than a plain plastic cage, and can be a lot more fiddly.
Rotastak parts each detach from each other. So, like a normal plastic cage, once you’ve removed all the bedding and got your hamster safely out of the way, you need to separate each part. Including each section of the tubes.
Again, like a plastic cage, make sure you soak and wipe down each different part.
Some parts of Rotastak cages can be difficult to clean, due to their twisting shapes, but you can use a cloth or brush to reach these places.
Bottle brushes work well for this task.
Make sure every part is dry before you reassemble your cage, especially the insides of the tubes.
Cleaning a tank cage
How to clean a hamster cage when it’s the tank style is nice and simple.
The downside is that they can be quite heavy and difficult to move about.
Also, their plain style means people quite often buy their hamsters lots of toys, which also need cleaning.
But don’t worry, there is a section on how to best clean your hamster’s toys later in the article.
Like any other house for your hamster, remove anything inside before you begin cleaning.
Soak the inside of the cage in the solution you’ve chosen and wipe down every surface with a cloth.
Dry every wall before replacing any of your hamster’s toys and bedding.
Cleaning a wire hamster cage
Wire cages are great fun for your pets themselves, as hamsters love to climb up the walls and hang from the ceilings of these cages.
Many of the other types of cages also include wired parts, so this section may be useful for people who have other cages too.
Wire cages also make it especially easy to clip on additions like water bottles. Because of this, it is important to make sure you’re cleaning every single part of your cage, and every part that gets clipped on to one of the sides.
These cages often have a plastic base, with clips on the side to detach the wire top. You should unclip these to make removing everything else easier – but only after you have removed your hamster and put it in a safe place, so that it can’t jump out of the cage and run off!
Once everything is out of your cage, soak and wipe down the plastic and wire parts, but take care to make sure every wire is clean.
This can take a little more time than an ordinary plastic cage, but is important for ensuring the health of your hamster.
Once again, dry off all parts of the cage, taking care to make sure each wire is dry, and then replace the bedding and reassemble the cage.
Cleaning hamster toys
So we know how to clean a hamster cage – but what about the toys inside it!
Hamster toys are just as important to keep clean as their cages, as hamsters will spend a lot of time using them.
There’s a huge variety of toys you might choose for your hamster.
Two of the most popular toys are plastic exercise wheels and plastic hamster balls.
These should be cleaned like a plastic cage – soaked and wiped down to remove any dirty stains.
Fill a bowl with warm water, and submerge the toys inside it. Leave them in for five or ten minutes. Then remove and wipe thoroughly with a cloth.
You should clean your exercise wheel when you clean the cage each week, but the ball may need to be cleaned after your hamster uses it, as it may go to the toilet inside.
How To Clean A Hamster Cage
The most important part of cleaning a hamster cage is to remove all bedding and waste food at least once a week.
Remove your hamster safely before you begin.
Empty the contents of the cage into the trash, then using warm soapy water or pet safe detergent thoroughly wipe down the cage. Especially focusing on the corner where your little hamster poops and pees.
You’ll then have a lovely home for your hamster to stay safe and happy in.