Table of Contents

Maintaining and Cleaning Your Hamster Enclosure

Maintaining a clean and hygienic environment within your hamster's enclosure is not only a matter of their health but also contributes to a more pleasant living experience for both you and your hamster. Hamsters are delicate creatures, and a clean habitat helps prevent certain illnesses such as respiratory diseases.

Regular deep cleaning is unnecessary.

A deep clean is when you take your hamster’s cage and completely clean it. This includes taking all the bedding and replacing it with new bedding, scrubbing or replacing any hides, and replacing the sand in the sand bath.

Deep cleaning can be very stressful for your hamster. A study by Gatterman done in 1996 showed that a complete cage clean caused the hamster’s heart rate to spike up to 150 bpm for almost an hour. However, you can make this less stressful by transferring some of the used bedding back into their enclosure (Sørensen 2005).

Nevertheless, deep cleaning cannot always be avoided. Take, for instance, the scenario where your hamster comes into contact with mites. Neglecting a thorough deep clean in such situations would only perpetuate the problem and potentially worsen the infestation.

If you need to do a deep clean, make sure your hamster is in a safe location outside of their enclosure. This could be in a hospital enclosure, or in a travel cage. It might help to keep your hamster in a different room in case they get stressed out by hearing and smelling you cleaning their enclosure. It will also help if you can keep the layout of the enclosure the same (Maz 2022).

We recommend reading TheHamsterForum's article on cage cleaning tips to learn more about enclosure cleaning.

Spot cleaning your hamster enclosure

Spot cleaning is a chore that should be done regularly to ensure the health and safety of your hamster. This approach involves focusing your cleaning efforts on specific areas that are more prone to dirt or contamination. One task that should always be done every day is to clean the water bowls/bottles or anywhere that could be damp to reduce any buildup of mold or dangerous bacteria. Renowned veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker, recommends washing your food bowls daily.

If your hamster is comfortable, it is best to spot clean with your hamster in the enclosure.

Examples of Spot Cleaning Tasks

  1. Cleaning the water bottle/bowl and refilling it with fresh water
  2. Sifting the sand bath to ensure that there is no food in it
  3. Removing clumps of soiled bedding and replacing it with new bedding
  4. Tidying up the enclosure in case things are out of place
  5. Try not to touch your hamster’s hoard! However, if your hamster pees in it, it might be at risk of growing mold. You will want to take the soiled areas and replace it with clean food.

We recommend watching Victoria Raechel’s video on spot cleaning.

Other ways to maintain the enclosure

  1. Freezing certain items, such as forage, seeds, or sprays. Freezing for a week can prevent certain bugs like weevils. You can also freeze other natural items like cork logs.
  2. Combining a solution of 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar creates a non-toxic cleaning solution you can use for various parts of your hamster enclosure.
  3. Wooden items (such as grapevine wood, cork logs, and bendy bridges) can be baked in the oven at 93 º C (200 ºF) for 30 minutes to sanitize them.
  4. Getting a handheld vacuum can help suck up any loose bedding inside and outside the enclosure.


  1. Becker, K. S. (2022, June 5). Pet food bowls. By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker - Healthy Pets.
  2. Gattermann, R., & Weinandy, R. (1996). Time of day and stress response to different stressors in experimental animals. Part I: Golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus Waterhouse, 1839). Journal of experimental animal science, 38(2), 66–76.
  3. Hamsters: Golden hamsters and stress. (n.d.).
  4. Maz. (2022, October 26). Hamster cage cleaning. The Hamster Forum.
  5. Maz. (2023, March 31). How to freeze and debug hamster food and items [Online forum post]. The Hamster Forum.
  6. SomethingAnimal. (2017, January 20). How To Spot Clean A Hamster Cage [Video]. Youtube. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
  7. Sørensen, D. B., Krohn, T., Hansen, H. N., Ottesen, J. L., & Hansen, A. K. (2005). An ethological approach to housing requirements of golden hamsters, Mongolian gerbils and fat sand rats in the laboratory—A review. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 94(3-4), 181–195. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2005.02
  8. Victoria Raechel. (2023, May 1). How to Clean Your Hamster Cage [Video]. Youtube. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
  9. Victoria Raechel. (2019, September 26). How to SANITIZE hamster supplies [Video]. Youtube. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from