Hamsters are cute and fluffy little adorable pets which like to live in clean and tidy surroundings. In order for your pet hamster to live comfortably, it is important that you clean their cage regularly. If not cleaned, there are high chances of your hamster becoming ill, and that will lead to costly bills of the vet. Here is a thorough guide for cleaning the cage of your hamster.
How Often Should the Cage Be Cleaned?
It is recommended to clean your hamster cage at least once a week.
Water: You have to give fresh water to your hamster every single day and the water bowl should be cleaned once every week.
Food: Any uneaten and leftover over food should be removed every day as it may lead to rotting. You should also check the bed of your hamster for any hidden food crumbs and clean it once a week. The uneaten food in the cage can lead to the growth of bacteria and fungi which might cause infections and make your hamster sick.
Toilet Area: Hamsters are very disciplined and trained pets and will use the same area for the toilet every day. So, it is easy for you to find and clean their toilet area.
Bedding: The bedding of your hamster should be replaced every week and also ensure that any hidden or stored food near or in the bedding is removed.
How to Clean the Cage?
1. Remove your Hamster
The first step in the process of cleaning your hamster cage is removing your hamster and keeping him in a secure and safe place while you clean the cage. The best place to keep him is in a hamster exercise ball or even a second cage if you have one.
In the temporary cage, place some of their old bedding so that it feels familiar to them and does not stress them out. In case you don’t have another cage, you can use a bucket with a closed drain and closing door for keeping your hamster temporarily.
Important Tip: Always clean your hamster cage during the evening or night time when your hamsters are awake and full of energy as it can be stressful for them if you wake them from their sleep to clean the cage.
2. Removing Old Bedding
It is essential to remove the old bedding, wash and clean the water bowl, food bowl, exercise toys and clean the toilet area. You can simply remove the bedding/wood shavings/sawdust by tipping the cage into a plastic bag. Sometimes the bedding gets stuck to the floor of the cage, and it should be properly removed while cleaning. Also, clean out any corners and hard to reach places in the cage.
Throw away the old bedding but keep some part of it so that the scent is retained and your hamster does not find it unfamiliar.
3. Cleaning the Cage
Throw out all the trash in the cage and remove all of the items, then scrub the cage with soapy water and a washcloth to clean it thoroughly. It is important to clean each and every part of the cage. If it is a wire cage, then each bar has to be individually cleaned. You can soak your cage in a cleaning solution to clean it thoroughly. For hard to reach places, you can use small brushes. While choosing the soap for cleaning the hamster cage, you should avoid ammonia based soaps at all costs. The cage should be rinsed and any residue should be removed from the cage completely.
If you have any ceramic or plastic accessories in your hamster cage, they should be cleaned with hot water only. The tubes and tunnels in the cage should also be removed and scrubbed thoroughly.
You should clean the toys, exercise ball and other accessories separately and clean the cage separately. All the things should be placed in the sun so that it can dry out completely, and the UV rays can disinfect your cage.
4. Disinfecting the Cage
It is essential to disinfect the cage to remove any germs and make the cage sterilized. You have to take 2 tablespoons of antibacterial soap (or you can use bleach or white vinegar) in a spray bottle and spray the entire cage with it. You also need to spray the toys, exercise balls and food dish of your hamster to disinfect them. The bars of the cage should also be disinfected with the spray. It is recommended to not use any harsh chemicals for disinfecting the hamster cage or there are high chances of your hamster getting sick.
While disinfecting the cage, you should be very careful as a hamster can get some infections from humans or other pets also. You should wear gloves while cleaning and disinfecting the cage. You should also wash your hands before and after cleaning the hamster cage.
If you are using a bleach and water solution for cleaning the cage, make sure that no residue or odor is left in the cage before placing you hamster back.
5. Arranging the Cage Again
After cleaning the cage, allow the cage to air-dry completely. Then place fresh bedding in your hamster’s cage. After that, the clean toys, exercise wheel, food bowl and water bowl/bottle should be placed back into the cage. After all of this is done, place your hamster back into his cage safely. You can change the layout of the cage a little bit as it may keep your hamster curious about their surroundings.
When you put back the bedding, you should ensure it covers the entire floor of the cage and should be enough to keep your hamster warm while sleeping. You don’t have to arrange the bedding, as hamsters like to drag the bedding according to their own choice and arrange it in their own way.
If you follow the above steps, you can clean your hamster cage easily and keep them in a safe and sound environment. Lastly, cleaning your hamster cage is important but do not do it very often as it may be very stressful for your hamster to change his surroundings and cage so often.