Safest and Best Hamster Bedding: Must use and must not use bedding

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The first thing you should do before buying a pet hamster is gathering as much information about hamsters as you can get. We are writing this blog in the hopes of helping new and even existing hamster owners to keep their hamsters as healthy and as comfy as they can be. We will be talking about the best types of hamster bedding in a bit.

Pet shop owners may not necessarily be knowledgeable when it comes to the right type of bedding to use for hamsters. So, we’ll also be talking about the kinds of hamster bedding you should avoid buying. Ready to learn more? Let’s scroll down a bit.

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Hamsters love to burrow, the depth rule of the bedding is always been “the deeper the better”. In the past,  we often go for at least 5 inches (13 cm) but we also know that many experienced hamster owners would go between 5-8 in (12-20 cm) especially if you have a Syrian. 

Taken that into account, we highly recommend you set the hamster bedding at least 7 in (18 cm) deep or more. With this much bedding, your hamster can burrow or dig deep and make a comfortable and warm sleeping area or can hide their hoarded food.


Straight answer: we want them to live a happy life, free from any harm. If they are living in extremely uncomfortable conditions, they may not live very healthily and as long as possible. Of course, as responsible pet owners, we want the best possible experience for our pets. Let’s learn a bit more further:

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Some types of hamster bedding, instead of making hamsters safe and feel secure, might harm them. Some may cause painful splinters and wounds to your hamsters which can cause infection. Some may contain harmful substances that may cause them to be sick or worse death due to suffocation.

Is scented bedding bad for hamsters? The simple answer is yes. Hamsters have really great sense of smell, any unfamiliar scent can irritate them and even can cause respiratory issues. Even though CareFresh and Kaytee are the two best brands for hamster products, it’s best to stick to unscented ones especially for hamster bedding and sand bath.

Safe bedding for hamsters could either be made of paper or aspen. It should be unscented, not too fine, and absorbent.


Not everything that glitters is gold; similarly, not everything that seems comfortable provides comfort to your hamsters. Before buying hamster bedding for your hamster, you should ask yourself if you are really providing them with a suitable cage, or if you’re harming them.

ALSO READ: Basic hamster supplies and essentials from day 1

Easy to find/purchase

You should also consider the best types of hamster bedding available in your place before buying a hamster. As we’ve already established, not because a pet shop sells hamster bedding doesn’t mean that it’s what’s best for your little buddies. Doing your research may save your hamsters from harm’s way.

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Doesn’t have too much scent

Buying hamster bedding that has a pleasant scent is understandable; you don’t want your hamster cage to be smelly. But, not everything we think is helpful. Bedding with a scent have chemicals that might be toxic to hamsters. In addition, the smell they emit might actually cause breathing problems for your pets. Unscented hamster bedding is the safe way to go.

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The answer is yes and no. The type of wood plays a big part in this. For example, cedar and pine wood shavings are very unsafe for hamsters and often, these wood are shaved too fine which can cause respiratory problems. Aspen shavings are the safest and most recommended for hamsters.


We’ve talked about the importance of choosing the right hamster bedding. Now, we will talk about the different types of bedding that are safe to be used for hamster cages.

Wood shaving – Aspen

Aspen wood shavings are one of the most popular bedding for pets. It is absorbent, which is ideal for keeping your pet’s cage dry. Also, Aspen wood shavings are relatively inexpensive compared to other brands/types of hamster bedding so that it wouldn’t hurt your pocket that much.

If you decided to use wood shaving, make sure to get one that is not too fine that it’s almost sand-like.

Carefresh Ultra and Colors

One of the most popular hamster bedding brands primarily in the United States, Carefresh Ultra provides excellent absorbency; it can absorb up to 3 times its weight, which is perfect for keeping your hamster’s home dry and easy to maintain. It might be a bit pricy, but the quality speaks for itself.

Carefresh Colors is another product of Carefresh. It has the same absorbent quality and comes in different colours so your hamster cage wouldn’t look boring. It comes in pink, blue, and multi-coloured variants. The dye used to make these bedding colourful is safe for hamsters, making your dream of having a pretty hamster house a reality.

Kaytee Clean and Cozy

Kaytee Clean and Cozy is yet another popular hamster bedding brand out in the market. It is dust-free, soft, and has excellent absorbency too. It is made from plant-based fibres, and it’s a hundred per cent safe. Just be wary of the scented variants; as we’ve discussed earlier, the scented types of beddings aren’t the best for our cuties.

Fitch Paper Bedding

Fitch paper bedding is another widely used pet bedding for many types of pets, including hamsters. It is made from shredded food paper, so it is absorbent and perfectly safe to use. It is also less expensive compared to other brands/types of bedding, if you want to save a few bucks and still have a comfortable home for your hamsters, consider using Fitch paper bedding instead.

Fitch Paper is definitely the best hamster paper bedding in the market.

Paper / Toilet paper

Using paper or toilet paper is a very soft alternative, though, the one we least recommend. Ordinary paper can quickly get wet and damp. It won’t do much to control the odour which can make the cage a bit smelly requiring a change more often, which means buying lots of toilet paper.

However, it can be a temporary solution in case you run out of proper hamster bedding, but it is not something that we recommend for the long term. Also, be sure to use papers that don’t have ink printing, as it can be toxic for your hamsters.

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Personally and based on my hamster’s feedback, AspenFitch Paper, and unscented CareFresh or Kaytee bedding are the best hamster bedding you can use. They are safe, absorbent, safe, and very affordable. 


We’ve discussed the best and the safest bedding you can buy for your hamsters. It’s now time to talk about the types of bedding that you should avoid if you want the best for your little babies. Let’s have a look at the list below:

Wood shavings made of pine or cedar

Pine or cedar wood shavings aren’t the ideal type of bedding for your hamsters. Your local pet store may say otherwise, but as we’ve mentioned, they may not always know what’s best for hamsters.

Pine and cedarwood shavings may splinter and wound your hamsters, and you don’t want that to happen. Besides, when your hamsters urinate on these types of shavings, it can have a chemical reaction that will produce toxic substances that can be harmful to them.


Many people use sawdust as cage bedding for their hamsters, but we do not recommend it. Hamsters are very active at night, and when they’re running and burrowing here and there, the dust particles will fly in the air, and when they inhaled them, it can cause suffocation.


Many hamster owners are guilty of doing this: using newspaper as bedding. This is a big no. It might be cheap and seem harmless for your hamsters, but the ink in the newspaper contains toxic substances that can make your hamsters ill. If need be, you can use shredded blank paper or even toilet paper, but never newspapers.

Scented bedding

As previously discussed, scented bedding may be nice for your nose, but it might not be very nice for your hamsters’ lungs. The chemicals used to make the bedding smell good can be toxic to animals. We recommend using non-scented pet bedding.

Cat litter or other animal litter, or corn cobs

Your hamster’s feet are very delicate and as such, using cat or animal litter isn’t advisable because it can hurt them. On the other hand, corn cobs tend to get mouldy quite quickly, and we all know that moulds have toxins that are harmful, not just to our pets, but also to the owners.


We also don’t recommend using any fabric material as hamster bedding. For one, hamsters chew on almost anything they can get their teeth to, and when the fabric is in their mouth, they may get tempted to ingest it, which can have ill effects on them.

Fabric is also made of thin strings which can get caught on the hamster’s nails, and this can cause foot injury.

Another reason is that fabric can smell bad so quickly, you will have to clean the cage more frequently as compared to proper hamster bedding.


Hamsters are quite fragile, so we must be very sure that the bedding we place on their cage is free from any parasites that can endanger their lives, such as mites. They may be invisible to our eyes, but they can cause adverse health issues for our hamsters. Let’s learn how to get rid of these microbial pests:

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Kill the mites by freezing the bedding for 48 hours

You can get rid of these parasites by placing their new bedding in a freezer for 48 hours or so. After this period, you can take the bedding from the freezer and allow it to defrost. Once defrosted, you can then safely use the bedding as the mites and other parasites that are thriving in them have surely frozen to their demise.

How often to change hamster bedding

You can change your hamster bedding once every two (2) weeks. If you have a huge cage, once a month should do the trick! Just be sure to spot clean the cage regularly. If they start building a nest out of their bedding, do not remove the whole nest, as it will make them feel very upset. Just remove the rotten food, if there are any. You can use our printable task planner to keep track of bedding change, feeding, and more.

So we’ve talked about the best types of hamster bedding, the bedding that you need to avoid using, how to prepare them, and how often to change them. We hope that this article will help you with your hamster caring journey!
If there’s anything that you feel we should have discussed, don’t hesitate to leave a comment, question, or suggestion below.


Not all bedding are safe for hamster. Check out this list of safe and best hamster bedding #hamsterbedding #safebedding #dangeroushamsterbedding #hamsterburrow #hamsterpet #hamstercare #hamstercareguide #hamsterguide #hamster #hamstertips #pets #rodents #bestpets via @thehamstercareblog

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