If you’re thinking about getting yourself or your little one a new hamster friend, there are a few things to think about before jumping right in. First off, a hamster has plenty of needs and they can a bit specific on what they want from time to time. This is why knowing how often you should clean the living area of your tiny friend is amongst the most important things you need to learn about caring for a hamster. It can be difficult at times to tell whether or not it’s time to clean your hamster’s cage, so in this article, you’ll learn how to tell when its time to clean your hamster’s cage, how often to clean the cage, and exactly how the cage needs to be cleaned.
What Supplies are Needed?
Hamster cages aren’t extremely difficult to clean, so the process doesn’t really require too many supplies for cleaning. The only supplies you really need to clean the hamster’s cage are a good cleaning solution, a rag, and maybe a paint scraper or butter knife.
Disinfectant or Soap?
Antibacterial soap has been recommended by most owners for cleaning hamster cages because it not only cuts down on bacteria, but it’s pretty easy to rinse out and shouldn’t bring any harm to your little buddy. Of course, this means that you need to thoroughly rinse off all of the soap before putting the hamster back into the cage. White vinegar is also a good choice for a disinfectant. Simply dilute white vinegar with water and put it into a spray bottle. Make sure that you spray every part of the cage and thoroughly wipe it away. However, because of how strong vinegar smells, it is recommended that you allow the cage to sit outside to dry once you’re done cleaning it.
How Often Should You Clean a Hampster Cage?
Your hamster’s cage should be cleaned every week or two. If you have a rather large cage for your hamster, then you can expect to be able to go a little longer in between cleanings. Ideally, you should be checking your hamster’s cage every day, removing any wet or soiled bedding and replacing it with fresh bedding. You should also make sure to clean its water and food dishes on a regular basis, as well. Cleaning the cage can be quite the process for most people, but being thorough and cleaning the cage regularly is key when it comes to making sure your hamster is in a sanitary, healthy environment. It’s also important to mention that cleaning too often or not enough can cause your hamster a variety of different stress and health problems, so only do it when it needs to be done.
Daily Spot Cleaning
As part of your daily routine, you should inspect the cage for any damages that your friendly little critter may have caused to the cage from his nervous chewing. Take a few minutes to look around the cage and remove any chewed toys or leftover food that your buddy may have stashed away. As we mentioned before, be sure to remove any kind of wet or dirty bedding, immediately replacing it with fresh, dry bedding. If your hamster uses a litter box, which is apparently a common practice, you should clean it regularly like you would a cat litter box. This shouldn’t take any more than a few minutes every day and will keep your cage as odor-free as possible.
At this point, you’re most likely thinking: “Do I really have to clean the cage every day?” Well, the key here is to keep the cage as clean and odor-free as possible at all times. Smaller cages get dirtier much faster than larger ones and may need to be cleaned more often.
Once a week, before you clean the cage, you should remove your hamster from its habitat and place him or her into a separate tub or into a hamster exercise ball. Exercise balls are a good choice because your hamster is a very curious animal, so it will enjoy being able to venture off on its own. Your hamster also needs plenty of physical activity to burn off all that excess energy that it’s storing.
Everything like old bedding, toys, exercise equipment, and feeding bowls should be removed from the cage to be sterilized. Anything pulled from the cage needs to be washed inside and out, as this will remove any potential bacteria that may make your hamster sick. Be sure to rinse off all of your hamster’s belongings thoroughly because leftover soap can cause your hamster to develop skin problems.
Cleaning the Tubes
If you have a cage that has a tubing system for your erratic critter to run around in, then you will have to take the tubes apart to be washed, as well. Make sure to remove any hamster waste, dirty bedding or any food that it may have hidden at some point. Even though the bedding covers up most of the floor of the cage, you should still look into all the nooks and crannies for hidden food or droppings.
Cleaning the Bars
If there is bedding stuck in between the bars or the floor of the cage, you can either use a knife to scrape it off, or you can soak the whole thing in warm water to loosen things up. The bars themselves need to be cleaned, as well, to remove any kind of bacteria that may build up from your hamster’s constant chewing.
Putting Things Back
Once you’re finished, put everything back together, ensuring that every item that goes into the cage is completely dry in order to prevent mold from developing. Replace any removed bedding with fresh and clean bedding, and put the water and food dishes back into the cage, replenished with brand new food and water.
Don’t think of cleaning the cage as just another task. A clean living environment for your furry hamster friend is not only beneficial at eliminating stress, but it also helps to keep them nice and comfortable. The health of your pet is extremely important, and by following these steps you can ensure your pet has a long life.