March 11, 2010

How Often Should I Clean my Hamster’s Cage?

clean hamster cageTo you, it is just a cage; but to your hamster, it is home. Hamsters are pretty clean little creatures and they groom themselves several times a day. Everybody is familiar with the image of a hamster wiping its face with its paws. Basically, hamsters like to be clean and as the owner, its your responsibility to keep their cage clean. By regularly maintaining your hamster’s cage you are ensuring their mental and physical health. Many hamster illnesses, in fact, are caused by contaminants in a dirty hamster cage.

feline healthy coat Unfortunately, hamster owners should prepare to clean their hamster’s cage every day. You need to remove wet litter, caused by urination, on a daily basis. Remove soiled litter and replace it with fresh litter either every morning or every evening, whatever fits your schedule best. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes so it isn’t really much of a burden.

On the other hand, you should clean the entire cage and its contents at least once a week. First, you’ll need to give your hamster some place to play while you are cleaning the cage. A hamster ball is a great distraction but many pet owners will plug the bathtub and let their hamster run around. When cleaning the cage, remove all soiled bedding and stale food. Wipe the cage with warm, soapy water and rinse it thoroughly. It’s always best to use a mild, unscented soap as hamsters are highly sensitive to the smell.

When you’re finished cleaning, you just need to put the bedding back in the cage and reassemble the various parts of the cage including food bowl and water dispenser. Just 20 or so minutes a week is enough to keep a safe, clean, and healthy environment for your hamster.

About Dr. Amber Reed

has written 281 posts in this blog.

25 Comments »

  1. My 3 week old baby hamster, Hammy, is gorgeous. She is a dwarf hamster, so even smaller than the average. I got her on August 10th, and im preparing to clean it for the first time today. I will not be cleaning everyday, not even briefly. My darling Hammy is very clean, and if shes not sleeping or eating, she’s grooming herself thoroughly. Thank you for your tips though, I appreciate the warm, fuzzy feeling inside me, knowing that I have been taking the right steps to becoming a loving hamster owner.
    -Hannah Bernardi, first-time pet owner, age 12

    Comment by Hannah — August 14, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

  2. Dear Hannah!

    Congratulations to your new dwarf hamster!

    Comment by Janine — October 26, 2011 @ 9:07 am

  3. i have a cute little winter white hampster i just got him yesterday i love him by the way im sure he will enjoy these tips thank you

    Comment by alex — February 13, 2012 @ 3:50 am

  4. well i just got my dwarf hamster and the shop said to clean it every month. Will they get sick if i do it this way?

    Comment by Mariah — April 4, 2012 @ 7:34 am

  5. this is going to help me a lot. :) i’ve been wanting a hamster now for along time, and his is going to help me for when i do get one. :D i’ve heard many different responses to the question on how many times you clean your hamsters cage an dwhen. some say every day, some say once a week, some say once a month, and a few say, NEVER!

    Comment by Paige — June 4, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  6. I was wondering what works best for cleaning a hamster cage I read vinegar but how much and isn’t it too strong?

    Comment by Lois — June 14, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  7. THANK YOU SOO MUCH THIS HELPED ME SO MUCH.

    Comment by mary — June 20, 2012 @ 4:47 am

  8. I have a male hamster right now and I wanted to know where to get a female hamster… Do you know where I could find one or have any ideas?

    Comment by Makyla — June 21, 2012 @ 4:13 am

  9. You should not wait a whole month to clean your hamsters cage. I waited too long to clean mine, it got awfully filthy (I will never forgive myself) and my beloved roborovski hamster, Cake got wet tail and died.. ); So, do as the above instructions say, and clean your hammys cage once a week. c: That way you will have a happy and healthy hamster. ^.^ @mariah

    Comment by Michala — July 13, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

  10. My hamster is so adorable. But she chews on her cage bars she has a bunch of chew sticks /toys been t she still chews . What can i do ?? Also , what is safe than. Clean her cage with ? Vinegar ?? Don’t know !

    Comment by Mikayla — August 21, 2012 @ 5:14 am

  11. so how often do i clean my hamsters cage she was born on june 22, 2012. she is a girl. and so i have had her 4 about 2 and a half monthes and i clean it once a week on every sunday because we got her on a sunday in august.so please email me @octoheart@yahoo.com i am 10.thank you

    Comment by sofia barker — October 14, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  12. you can get a famle hamster at a pet store as i got one last night and i just waken up and i just put new wather and food for her as her name is Nibbles she no older then 9 months she a very sweet little girl and she keeps her self very clean as for me as a owner i clean my hamsters home every other day to get her home nice and clean to keep my little girl safe and hanthing loveing life :) and the only time she wakes up is when i go and put new water and food for her so it not really a good thing to wake her up when it her time to get her sleep as for hamsters they sleep in the day time and around dinner time or how ever time they wake as for mine she woke up last night around i think 10:30 some were around there as for i was not home to know the right time to know she got up anyways if you need any help just feel free to msg me on facebook as it is kevin inacio thanks and have a good day and hope are your little ones are doing good :)

    Comment by kevin — October 28, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

  13. i got my sirrian hamster today and i don’t think i’ll be changing her cage everyday but once every 2 days i think but at the momment she’s lively and happy! She eats and then runs on her wheel then eats again and does the same over and over again :)
    I reccommend you feed a sirrian hamster a hand full of food everyday but when you buy the haster put down the time you fed him/her then feed him/her the same time the next day or it will get sick!

    thankyou for the help!!!!

    Comment by tilley — December 17, 2012 @ 4:02 am

  14. I am getting a hamster on the 21nd of February and I need to know where to get a female hamster. I need that advice before the 20th of February. If you know any place.. comment with my name, Naomi. I live in Fond Du Lac, WI. Thank you for your wonderful suggestions if you are going to give me a suggestion. :-)

    Comment by Naomi — February 11, 2013 @ 8:41 am

  15. Naomi,

    It seems like your local Pet Smart is going to be your best choice for purchasing a hamster. Hope that helps!

    Comment by Critter Cures — February 12, 2013 @ 7:27 am

  16. Hello, i have got an hamster yesturday called candyfloss and its a female and the candyfloss is always in the tube of the cage hardly ever comes out how do i get her to come out and play? Comment keeley and your answer i need to know fast!

    Comment by Keeley — February 16, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

  17. I clean my female dwarf hamsters cage every month and she’s is happy and healthy and I’ve had her for 4 years witch is longer then most hamsters live so cleaning it every day or once a week isn’t nessasary unless it gets too dirty

    Comment by Kristina — February 17, 2013 @ 2:21 am

  18. Hi Keeley,

    Did you recently buy your hamster? It seems like Candyfloss might be scared. Try purchasing an exercise ball in order to let her run around your house to feel more comfortable. Using an exercise ball will be better than letting her loose without one because you will risk losing her. Keep us updated on her progress. :)

    Comment by Critter Cures — March 4, 2013 @ 12:56 am

  19. Hi Kristina,

    Ultimately, how often to clean a hamster’s cage is definitely at the owner’s own discretion. Often times,the odor that a cage emits will result in a hamster owner cleaning their cage. Factors such as the personal cleanliness of your hamster, the air circulation in the room that their cage is located in, and the strength of the cage odor, will determine how often someone will want to clean their hamster cage.

    Comment by Critter Cures — March 4, 2013 @ 1:15 am

  20. Are roses ok for hamsters? There are little rose pieces in the bedding I use… I really don’t want scented bedding though.

    Comment by Ashley — March 13, 2013 @ 9:13 am

  21. I Just got a female and she is very calm and friendly I just wanted to know how long i should wait to clean my little Hamster’s Cage.

    Comment by Rayna — March 17, 2013 @ 9:42 am

  22. Thank you this helped me so much.i just got a hampster yesterday and his name is carol he’s so cute,but he’s scared of me is there anything I can do to make him not be so afraid?

    Comment by Emily — March 24, 2013 @ 4:15 am

  23. Hey Emily,

    I just got a hamster saturday, so I am on the same page as you with the newness of it all. :)
    A hamster that is not used to humans will be scared of you when you first try to play with him. Give him a few days to settle in, and talk in a soft voice with him. You can also give him treats through the bars of the cage, such as lettuce, carrots, etc, so he realizes that your hand is a good thing. Slowly but surely, he will trust you. You just need patience!

    Comment by Kristina S — March 26, 2013 @ 12:59 am

  24. I have 2 Siberian dwarf hamsters, and i used the advice and the cage is not smelly any more, and they seem happy! So thank you so much and i think that the hamsters are thanking you too

    Comment by Lujain Alkindy — April 7, 2013 @ 9:10 am

  25. we clean our winter white hampster, cuddles, cage every week. we get the multi colored squishy bedding that allows what he voids to go down to the bottom. cleaning it everyday would be madness!

    Comment by Jenna Hardy — April 23, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

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