Posted: March 20, 2012, 3:50 p.m. EDT
You can keep your hamster’s cage looking good and smelling great with frequent cleaning, the right tools and a little bit of elbow grease.
Tip 1: Cleaning a hamster cage isn’t a dirty business if you do it often. Don’t wait for your hamster’s cage to get really foul before you clean it. Make spot cleaning a daily task, with a complete cage cleaning once a week, according to hamster breeder Cindy Norman of Summerset Angels in Rockford, Illinois.
Tip 2: The best way to clean the cage is to use a product that will kill bacteria but won’t be caustic to the hamster.
“When cleaning the hamster cage once a week, use a disinfectant such as an antibacterial dish soap, a mild bleach solution or grapefruit seed extract, which is my personal favorite because it is nontoxic and safe if ingested,” said Jennifer Hugus of Odds and Ends Hamstery in Gainesville, Florida. “Let the disinfectant sit in the cage for at least 10 minutes. If you use a cloth for cleaning, you may want to soak hamster cages with bars as they take a little longer to clean because of the crevices and individual bars.”
Hamster breeder David Ray of Chesapeake Hamstery in Aberdeen, Maryland, also suggested using a nontoxic approach to hamster cage cleaning. “For glass tanks, I use white vinegar and a paint scraper,” he said. “I empty all of the soiled bedding and old food, then scrape the cage clean of any residue. I then add about a 1/2 cup of vinegar and use a soft towel to wipe every surface of the tank. With difficult, white scaly stains, I let the vinegar soak in for 20 to 30 minutes and then bring the paint scraper back in to lift the stain. I then rinse the tank with clean water and towel dry. I avoid soaps and chemical cleaners that may leave a toxic residue in the tank.”
For dealing with particularly stinky hamster cages or those that have mineral buildup from urine, Ray recommended using white vinegar to clean, and allowing it to soak in for 15 minutes. If the vinegar doesn’t remove the buildup, Ray suggested heating some in a microwave oven and trying again.
Tips 3: Use a little bit of elbow grease. Burn some calories with this small workout – your hamster will appreciate it.
Excerpt from the Popular Critters Series magabook Hamsters with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Hamsters here.