Confined pet enclosures can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria. That’s why cleaning their cage is crucial to maintaining a healthy environment for you and them.
Keeping the chamber of small animals clean, such as hamsters, poses challenges of its own. It requires weekly cleaning using safe materials for your sensitive pets.
Fortunately, there are simple and easy ways to deep clean and sanitize your pet’s cage. Using only tools and materials at home, you can keep your pets clean and healthy.
In this post, we’ll discuss hamster sanitation, what to clean a hamster cage with, how often to clean it, and answer some of the most common questions of hamster owners.
Apart from the smell and the unsightly dirt, several risks come with unsanitized pet cages. This issue affects everyone in the vicinity, including yourself.
In addition, coming into contact with your pet’s discharge can make you sick. And studies have documented cases of bacterial infections and parasitic infestation from animal waste.
That said, simply removing the visible dirt and waste doesn’t count as an excellent sanitary practice. You should also address the potential bacterial contamination and disinfect the cage.
A responsible pet owner should know the basics of pet waste management and disposal. Regularly cleaning your pet’s cage should be a priority as much as feeding them.
If you’re a first-time hamster owner, it’s only natural to be unfamiliar with the cleaning process. So, here are some of the pieces of equipment you’ll need to clean your pet enclosure.
Before anything else, you’ll need a backup cage to put your pets into while cleaning. You don’t want to expose your hamsters to any cleaning agents as they can be hazardous.
Choose something clean and secure to keep your hamsters from escaping. A sudden change in environment can cause stress to your pets, so keep your cleaning time as short as possible.
The next items you’ll need for cleaning a cage are brushes and sponges. You’d want a brush size that could fit into tight corners and spots of the enclosure.
You can use a sponge or use a toothbrush for superficial dirt. However, for deep-seated stains, you’d need a brush with tough bristles to scrape them off effectively.
You can use any clean rags to wipe off the exterior and interior of your enclosure. You can also use them to dry your hamster cage after thoroughly cleaning it.
Ideally, you’d want to opt for paper towels as they’re proven to minimize bacterial growth on surfaces. They’re also cheap to procure and are biodegradable for easy disposal.
As we said earlier, direct contact with animal waste poses several health hazards. As such, you should always protect yourself when dealing with your pet’s waste—regardless of size.
Goggles and cleaning gloves are crucial when handling potentially infectious or contaminated materials. They protect you from contracting bacteria or parasites from animal discharge.
Finally, you’ll need a cleaning agent to deep clean the exterior and interior of your pet enclosure. You can purchase cleaning solutions for small animal cages from the nearest pet stores.
Avoid using harsh chemicals when cleaning your hamster cage. If cleaning agents aren’t available, you may use mild soap with warm water or vinegar as an alternative.
Of course, learning what to use and knowing how to use them are two separate things. So, here are the steps to follow when cleaning the home of your little buddies.
Relocating your small pets to a safe environment is the first step when cleaning their home. This way, you won’t stress them as you rattle their enclosure while working.
You can put them inside pet carriers or hamster balls and let them roll around as an exercise. Gather all your cleaning supplies beforehand to save time and minimize your pets’ stress.
The second step is to empty the cage of all its contents. Remove the bedding, toys, bowls, wheels, and all the waste materials inside the enclosure for cleaning.
This step is vital to ensure you can wash all the corners of the cage. Some stains tend to stick under objects, and they can be difficult to clean thoroughly.
After removing all the materials inside, you can start washing the cage with your cleaning solution. You may want to disassemble the enclosure for easy cleaning.
Scrub the interior and exterior of the cage using a sponge and brush. Scrub every crevice and corner of the enclosure to remove deep-seated stains and grime.
Once the cage is squeaky clean, set it aside to dry for a few minutes. While waiting, wash the accessories you removed inside the enclosure—your pets’ food bowls, toys, wheels, etc.
Give them a thorough scrub using a brush and cleaning solution. Feces, urine, and bacteria can stick in the crevices of these materials, which can cause health issues for your furry pets.
After washing, let the cage and your pets’ accessories dry thoroughly. This step is essential because moisture and wet surfaces can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Afterward, assemble the cage and fill it with fresh bedding. Place the toys, food bowls, wheels, or tunnels inside the enclosure and replace your furry buddies inside their newly cleaned home.
Finally, dispose of the waste materials you collected from inside the enclosure. Throw away the waste materials, paper towels, old bedding, and used cleaning gloves.
Don’t forget to thoroughly wash your hands after dealing with your pet’s feces and urine. Be sure to sanitize any reusable cleaning equipment, such as dust pans or rags.
A cleaning schedule is essential to maintain sanitary conditions for your beloved hamsters. Ideally, you’d want to clean and disinfect their cage once every week.
Nevertheless, we recommend you clean visible dirt from the enclosure daily. Remove feces, urine, and food leftovers so they don’t pile up at the end of the week.
Finally, bacteria can quickly propagate inside enclosed spaces. To avoid this issue, regularly disinfect your pets’ food and water bowls, and remove any moisture build-up.
Hamsters, like cats, are known for their hygienic habits. For this reason, these furry creatures earned a reputation for being one of the cleanest pets to have inside your home.
Most of them develop habits that can ease your cleaning work. For example, they might select a particular space inside their enclosure as their toilet.
These traits make cleaning after hamsters easier compared to other animals. You also won’t need to groom them as they enjoy cleaning their bodies every chance they get.
These adorable animals are physically active in nature. Despite their size, wild hamsters can run for over five miles in one day—burning off excess energy in the process.
One reason for this active lifestyle is their fast metabolism. For this very same reason, these furry animals can poop several times every day.
What most newbie owners might find surprising about these little creatures is the amount of time they spend pooping. Some hamsters can poop once every hour or more!
The culprit for this issue is their unique metabolism, processing food at an extreme rate. Although, this trait is perfectly normal for these animals and shouldn’t raise your concern.
Hamsters typically poop in the same area, so cleaning their waste should be easy, even for newbie owners. You can use a hand shovel or a dustpan to scoop the feces.
Don’t forget to use gloves when dealing with your pets’ waste materials. It’s also best to clean out your hamsters’ poop immediately after you notice them.
Hamsters are generally healthy. They’re clean and low maintenance, which makes them one of the best choices for first-time pet owners.
Nevertheless, maintaining a clean environment for your furry friends is still crucial for their well-being. Clean housing will go a long way to preventing diseases for you and your pets!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.