How To Bathe A Hamster

How to bathe a hamster

Welcome To Our Complete Guide To How To Bathe A Hamster. Can You Give A Hamster A Bath? Do Hamsters Need Baths? Do They Even Like Them?

We’ll look at why washing hamsters in a hamster bath might be appealing, and let you know how to give a hamster a bath safely.

Products included in this article were carefully and independently selected by the the Squeaks and Nibbles team. If you decide to make a purchase from one of the links marked by an asterisk, we may earn a small commission on that sale. This is at no extra cost to you.

How To Bathe A Hamster

If you’re new to keeping a pet hamster, you may be wondering about giving a hamster a bath. Is this the right thing to do with your new pet?

Or maybe you’re an experienced hamster keeper and were surprised to see your beloved pet looking a little grubby this morning.

Either way, we’re here to help.

Can you bathe a hamster? And if so what are the instructions for how to bathe a hamster properly?

Let’s find out!

Can You Bathe a Hamster Regularly?

Washing a hamster with water is typically not recommended for the following reasons:

  • Hamsters don’t know how to swim, as in the wild they come from a desert environment.
  • Water washes away a hamster’s natural skin oils that protect them from dry skin, possibly leading to over-grooming problems.
  • Washing a hamster can cause fear and stress, causing your hamster to bite.
  • Stress in hamsters can lower their immune system, making them more likely to suffer from illnesses such as wet tail.
  • Bathing a hamster with water can also cause hypothermia, which can be deadly, as hamsters are not good at regulating their body temperature.
  • The danger of a wet hamster slipping from your hands and into bath water or becoming injured in the fall.

Your hamster could also aspirate (accidentally inhale) water, which can lead to dangerous lung infections.

When there are so many potential risks, giving a hamster a bath is something you need to consider seriously.

But there are occasions when it might be necessary.

Do Hamsters Need Baths?

So, do you bathe hamsters? In general, no.

Hamsters are clean animals and groom themselves to remove dirt and other debris from their coats.

Hamster tunnels

Your hamster’s self-grooming is usually enough to keep him/her clean and odor free.

However, there may be times when it is necessary to give your cute, cuddly hamster a bath.

When do you Bathe Hamsters?

While it’s not recommended to wash your hamster with water, there are some instances when it’s necessary to bathe your hamster.

So when can you wash a hamster?

Bathing may be necessary if your hamster has:

  • something sticky in his/her fur
  • gotten into a toxic substance such as varnish or paint
  • a skin condition that requires a vet-prescribed medicated shampoo (such as a mite infestation or bacterial/fungal infections).

How to Wash a Hamster – Setting Up

Once you’ve determined it’s necessary to give your hamster a bath, there are several tools you’ll need, along with area and water preparation before washing your hamster.

Can hamsters take baths like we do? Can I bathe my hamster by popping him in the tub? Sadly not!

Your hamster taking a bath isn’t as simple as you hopping into the tub. You need to get everything ready before you begin.

These will be the same whether you want to know how to bathe a dwarf hamster or are prepping a Syrian hamster bath.

Syrian and Dwarf Hamster Bath Time Tools

How to wash a hamster is not as simple as reaching for the hamster bath powder and hamster bath, but there are some fairly easy to source items that can help you to get ready.

Hamster Shampoo

A tearless shampoo, such as Johnson’s & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo* is okay to use in a tiny half-pea size quantity.

However, a shampoo made especially for hamsters, such as Arm & Hammer Tearless Shampoo for Small Animals* is ideal.

Hamster Towels

You will need two large hand towels to place in the sink and the drying bin.

The best kind to use are pet towels, like these dog towels designed to cope with fur.

Other Items Including

  • A small cup to pour water over your hamster’s fur.
  • A medium plastic bin or tub to put your hamster in when drying them.
  • A blow dryer, if the weather’s cold (only use on the low or cool setting).
  • A clean cage ready to put your hamster after the bath.

Optional Extra

You can use a small basin of water (such as a rabbit food dish* or other shallow bowl) for the bath water, along with a washcloth.

Can you Bathe a Hamster in Water Yet?

Now you have your tools together, the next step is to prepare your bathing area.

The first step is to determine where you can give your hamster a bath. Bathroom sinks are usually too shallow, while bathtubs are too large and deep to hang onto your hamster. One of the best places to wash a hamster is the kitchen sink.

The kitchen sink is the right size—not too deep or too large, and at a height that’s easy for you hold your hamster, keeping it safe and secure.

If it’s not possible to use the kitchen sink, then a plastic bin with drainage holes in the sides and bottom (to allow water to run out) will work.

Next, set up the area. Place the hand towel in the bottom of the sink or bin. The towel will give your hamster a secure spot to stand on so they don’t slip.

Be sure to cover the drain, too, so your hamster’s limbs or feet don’t become stuck in the opening. Then place the second hand towel in the bin where you’ll dry your hamster after the bath.

The bath water should be the room temperature before getting your hamster out of his/her cage. You can set the water to run on low flow, directed away from your hamster. Another option is to use the rabbit food bowl or another shallow bowl already filled with room temperature water.

How to Bathe a Hamster

So, we know that the answer to can hamsters have baths is yes – given the right circumstances. And we’ve set up the area appropriately.

how to bathe a hamster

Now that everything’s set up and ready, let’s look at how to wash a hamster.

Take your hamster out of its cage, and hold them as low in the sink or bin as possible. If possible, allow your hamster to sit on the towel in the bottom of the sink or bin. This helps your hamster feel secure, while keeping them safe from slipping.

Next, either use a washcloth to dampen the areas of fur that are dirty, or pour water from a small cup onto the dirty areas. Use the least amount of water possible.

When thinking about how to bathe a hamster, it’s important to avoid getting water into their face and ears. Only apply water from the ears and back onto the body, never the head or face, unless directed to do so by your vet.

Now take a small amount of shampoo, no bigger than a dime, and gently work it into the fur. It’s important to work as quickly as possible, in order to reduce your hamster’s stress and to keep them from developing hypothermia.

Once you’re finished with shampooing, take the washcloth or small cup and pour water on the washed fur, until shampoo is completely rinsed away.

Drying a Hamster

So we’ve seen how to bathe your hamster. Now it’s time to dry your hamster.

First place your hamster in the bin you set up for drying. Use dry towels to gently rub as much water as possible from the hamster’s fur.

Then finish drying your hamster’s fur with a hair dryer. Be sure to set the hair dryer on the lowest possible setting, to make sure the air isn’t too hot for your hamster.

While drying, it’s a important to place your hand in between the dryer and your hamster, to avoid too harsh a blast of air for your pet. For some varieties of hamsters with long fur, it may be necessary to brush out any remaining tangles after drying*.

Your hamster should now be clean and dry—it’s time to put him/her back into the cage. You might give your hamster a nice treat after its bathing ordeal.

Can You Bathe a Hamster?

So, can you give a hamster a bath?

Yes, you can!

But bathing with water is usually not necessary or recommended.

A water bath might be necessary in the case of certain skin problems or if your hamster has gotten a sticky or harmful substance in its fur.

Read the instructions on how to bathe a hamster carefully.

By following the steps in this article, you should be able to safely give your hamster a bath, while keeping your hamster’s stress and other issues to a minimum.

The outcome will be a happy, calm hamster with clean fur and a treat for their ordeal.

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Resources and Further Reading


  1. I come to your website looking for some advice.
    You suggest drying the hamster with a hairdryer, but my friends young nieces had two hamsters that got wet, and they dried them with the hair dryer.
    1 died in 10 minutes, one died the next day.


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