How Often To Change Hamster Bedding? (Complete Guide)

Hamster bedding is often a matter of concern among Hamster owners. Bedding plays a crucial role to keep your Hamsters happy as well as healthy. But how often should we change Hamster’s bedding? Let’s find out!

Spot clean your Hamster’s cage once every 4-5 days. You can use a dustpan and brush or a small vacuum cleaner to spot clean the poop around the enclosure. Get rid of the entire bedding once every month. This time, you should clean the entire cage including all the toys and hideouts.

Your Hamster’s cage will start to smell like a dead fish, if you are not changing the bedding regularly.

Hamster Essentials x
Hamster Essentials

An unhealthy living condition can lead to some severe health complications in your Hamsters. Also, the rotten or the bad smell can cause stress in your Hamsters.

Picture Credits: Nelson, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: nelsonandnorma

Why Does My Hamster’s Cage Smell So Bad?

The bad smell in your Hamster’s enclosure cab be due to various reasons. Starting right from the size of the cage and the correct bedding to the balanced diet of your Hamsters is crucial to keep your Hamster’s cage smelling fresh all the time.

In most cases, cleaning and maintaining the cage solves the problem. However, sometimes we have to do more than that to get rid of the smell.

If your Hamsters are fed with poor diet then they may start to smell. Also, if their pee or poop smell, then it might be directly related to their diet.

Apart from the size of the cage and the bedding, some health complications like Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Diarrhea, etc. can also lead to the foul smell.

Read this detailed article on, ‘Why Does My Hamster’s Cage Smell So Bad?’, to learn and understand more about your Hamsters.

How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?

It is important to change your Hamster’s bedding regularly if you want to keep the cage and the surroundings smelling fresh.

You must spot clean your Hamster’s enclosure every 4-5 days, followed by a deep clean once every month.

Always use a dustpan and brush or a small vacuum cleaner to spot clean the poop around the enclosure. You must do it once in 2-3 days.

Replace the heavily soiled bedding near your Hamster’s food bowl or water bottle with fresh ones. This can be done once a week.

Get rid of the entire bedding once every month days. This time, you should clean the entire cage including all the toys and hideouts.

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Best Hamster Bedding

Each type of bedding has it’s own pros and cons. Let us check out two of the best bedding type recommendations by the experts.

Paper Based Bedding

Paper based bedding is one of the best and safest option for our Hamsters. It is eco-friendly and easy to clean up.

This type of bedding is really soft, absorbent, and odor-free in comparison to other bedding materials.

Picture Credits: Norma, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: nelsonandnorma

A lot of brands sell paper-based bedding, you must be very considerate while choosing the one for your Hamsters.

You must keep in mind that the bedding should have a really good absorbant capacity. Also, make sure it is odor-free.

After trying out a dozen of available brands and all different types of paper-based bedding, these are some of my favorites:

  • Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding: Kaytee Clean & Cozy White Small Animal Bedding is one of the most recommended and used bedding for Hamsters. The majority of the Hamster owners go for this type of bedding. It is super soft and is a great absorbent. it also encourages burrowing in Hamsters. You can check it out here.
  • Small Pet Select Natural Paper Bedding: Small pet select natural paper bedding is an amazing option for your little ones. It is soft, dust-free, and totally safe for our Hamsters. It is made up of natural unbleached paper which is entirely safe for our little ones. You can check it out here.
  • Fresh News Paper Small Animal Bedding: Fresh News Paper Small Animal Bedding is yet another amazing choice if you want to go for paper-based bedding. The bedding made is 100% natural, bio-degradable, and safe for our Hamsters. It helps to keep the cage odor-free. You can check it out here.

Aspen Bedding

Aspen bedding is another safe option if you do not want to go for paper-based bedding. Unlike pine and cedar, aspen is the right choice for our Hamsters.

Also, aspen is the only hardwood that is non-aromatic in nature.

However, there are a few drawbacks as well. Aspen is not as absorbent as paper. This bedding also requires frequent cleaning as compared to other bedding options available. Also, it can pinch your pocket in the long run.

Kaytee Aspen Bedding is the best option if you want to go for wood shaving bedding. Kaytee aspen is free from all the dust and debris. This type of hardwood bedding gives a natural feel to our Hamsters. Although, sometimes it can be harsh on your Hamster’s feet. You can check it out here.

Hamster Bedding To Avoid

A few of the bedding materials that are toxic for our Hamsters are not at all safe for them. Also, some of them really bad when it comes to odor control.

Here is a list of bedding that you must completely avoid in your Hamster’s cage:

  • Crystal Cat Litter: Cat litters are extremely unsafe for our Hamsters. It may seem like excellent bedding to you in terms of odor control but it should be avoided at all costs. If your Hamster ever ends up gulping a part of the bedding, it may lead to severe health complications such as choking and GI stasis.
  • Bedding Made Out Of Pine Or Cedar: Wood shavings of pine and cedar are absolutely unsafe for the Hamsters. It can lead to various health complications and also they are extremely bad as absorbents.
  • Straw: You should never use straw as your Hamster’s bedding. It has nearly zero absorbent properties, it does not absorb any pee and debris. Also, straw has hard ends. It can easily hurt our Hamster’s eyes, nose, or inner part of their mouth if they try to chew it. This can lead to infection that can be tough to deal with.

Cleaning Products (Safe For Hamsters)

It is crucial to choose the correct cleaning products for your Hamster’s enclosure to keep your Hamsters healthy and also to keep away from the bad smell.

Though it is important to get products that are strong enough to get rid of the bad smell of ammonia but it should also be gentle enough not to harm your little ones.

Listed below are a few products that you may use to clean your Hamster’s enclosure:

  • Mild Detergents: The detergent you choose to clean the cage should not have a strong smell. Mix the detergent with lukewarm water to wash all the toys, hideouts, and other accessories of the cage.
  • White Vinegar: To disinfect your Hamster cage, mix 2 parts of water with 1 part of white vinegar. Sometimes, a white sludgy residue (calcium) of urine gets settled at the bottom of the enclosure, you can effectively remove the same with the help of this mixture.
  • Cage Wipes: To deodorize and disinfect your Hamster’s enclosure, you can use cage wipes.
  • Cage Deodorizer Spray: These sprays come in handy to clean the urine stains and to get rid of the strong smell from the cage. You can also use these to clean the toys and other accessories of the cage.

Note: Avoid using cleaning agents such as bleach or any other scented cleaners and disinfectants to clean the cage. All these are toxic for Hamsters.


Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am a qualified Animal Nutrition. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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