Hamsters are actually clean animals themselves, hence, you don’t need to “bathe” or “wash” them, they can clean themselves on their own. A healthy hamster cage provides all they need to stay kept and fresh, which means their cage itself gets dirty and hamsters can’t clean it by themselves. Here, where your responsibility comes in.
This article will guide you on how to clean a hamster cage properly and easy. We will explain the difference between spot clean and deep cleaning and why they are both important. If you’re ready, let’s go!
SPOT CLEANING VS DEEP CLEANING
Spot cleaning and deep cleaning of a hamster cage are two different types of maintaining your hamster’s enclosure clean, smell-free, and safe for your pet. In this section, we will explain the difference between the two and how often each should be done.
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One of the interesting facts about hamsters is that they can’t see properly, they rely a lot on their sense of smell and memory. That’s why it is important to keep the cage the way they are and not move things around or make big changes right away or else, any changes might cause stress and anxiety. Even a new smell can cause distress.
Hamsters still need their cage to get cleaned to avoid bacterial growing around which can bring diseases.
How would I clean their cage if I can’t remove things around? The simple answer is spot cleaning. Spot cleaning is when you only clean parts of the cage and then after a day or two, clean another part. Spot cleaning also means you only remove visible dirt like droppings around their nest (sleeping area) or changing the sand bath.
In this way, hamsters barely notice any changes while keeping their living environment clean and healthy. Spot cleaning is only required to be done once a week.
While spot cleaning is a good tactic, it’s not enough especially if you use a wooden cage that might adsorb odour. Hamster poo can also get burrowed in the bedding that really needs cleaning.
Deep cleaning is when you remove everything from the cage and wash and dry the entire cage, dens, wheels, and everything from the inside out. Deep cleaning is required to be done at least once in three months.
HOW TO CLEAN A HAMSTER CAGE
Now that you understand the difference between spot cleaning and deep cleaning, let me show you how to do these two the right way.
How to Do Spot Cleaning
Here, we will discuss things you need to prepare before you start spot cleaning and how to do it properly.
What to prepare
- a scoop for sand bath (tea spoon would work as well)
- a spoon for bedding
- Use the small scoop to remove soiled sand from the sandbox and refill with clean sand, if the entire sand bath seems soiled and wet, it’s best to remove all the sand and place a fresh one. If you’re not too sensitive, you can also smell the sandbox and you’ll know it’s time to replenish it.
- If the sandbox seems clean and dry, it might be because your hamster pee somewhere else, most likely on the wheels or the corners of the cage. If this is the cage, remove the wheels once a week and wash it.
- For bedding, you can make a conscious decision and remove a quarter part of the cage first and replace it with a new one, two days later, you can remove another quarter and add a new one. Use the spoon to remove the soiled bedding to avoid too much mess.
- Another way to clean the cage using a spot cleaning method is to simply pick up droppings/poop from the cage. Often, you will find them around the nest/sleeping area of your hamster.
How to Do Deep Cleaning
Now, we will delve into deep cleaning and learning what to prepare and how to perform deep cleaning the right way and fastest way.
What to prepare
- light soap (best without scent)
- hamster cage spray cleaner (instead of soap)
- scrubbing wipes (instead of soap or sponge)
- clean, dry towel
- clean and new bedding
- cage liner
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- Place your hamster inside a playpen (make sure the playpen is escape-free or that you can keep an eye on the playpen and your hamster at all times while you’re cleaning) or hamster ball (only if you know you can finish in under 15 minutes).
- Take a photo to make a record where everything is placed. You want to put everything back the way there are to avoid stress for your hamster.
- Get the rubbish bin or trash cage ready. Get a plastic box or bin, fill it up with water and soap.
- Remove the dens, toys, wheel, food bowl, water bottle and place them on the plastic box with water with soap.
- Remove the soiled bedding from the cage and place them on the bin.
- Scrub all the accessories and toys and rinse them. For the water bottle or food dispenser, use a toothbrush to scrub the inside of them. Place on the side to drip out extra water.
- Using the same water and soap (or the spray cleaner or wipes), learn the cage itself and rinse after. Give extra attention to corners and where your hamster usual make a nest or pee or poo. Turn the cage around to dry.
- Using your clean, dry towel, dry the rest of the accessories, toys, and the cage.
- Place a cage liner at the bottom of the cage before placing new bedding and putting the toys, dens, wheels, food bowl, and water bottle back.
- Place everything back the way they are, changing things around can cause stress to your hamster.
I hope you found this article about how to clean a hamster cage, either via spot cleaning or deep cleaning. If you have more tips on this topic or have questions, let us know in the comment section below.
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