Why Does My Hamster’s Cage Smell So Bad? (What To Do)

Some Hamster owners believe that their Hamsters are smelly, but this is unfounded. However, your little ones uneaten food, unmaintained living environment, or poop buildup can make the cage smell terrible. So, today let us learn how to keep your Hamster’s enclosure from smelling bad.

Starting from the selection of the right size cage and the correct bedding to the balanced diet of your Hamsters is important to keep your Hamster’s enclosure smelling fresh at all times. Spot clean the cage daily, and a deep clean once a month to keep all kinds of smell away from the cage.

Apart from the enclosure, some health complications like Diarrhea, Urinary Tract Infection, etc. can also be the cause of the foul smell.

It is advisable to not use water to clean your Hamster except on unusual circumstances. Even in such exceptional cases, it is better to consult a vet first.

Picture Credits: Nelson And Norma; Instagram Handle: nelsonandnorma

How To Keep My Hamster’s Enclosure Fresh And Smell Free?

Cleansing your little one’s cage may not be the favorite part of your to-do-list but it is a must if you want to red rid of the smell.

There are several things you can do to keep your Hamster’s cage smelling fresh all the time.

Listed below are some points you much consider:

  • Clean your Hamster’s enclosure regularly: You can use odorless cleaning products to clean the cage.
  • Choose the correct bedding: Kaytee clean and cozy or aspen bedding is ideal for your Hamsters. It can help you control the bad smell of your Hamster’s pee and poop.
  • Select the ideal cage size: A minimum of 30-40 gallon tank will provide your Hamster enough space to eat, sleep, and exercise. Your Hamster will now not mess the poop all over their coat.
  • Provide a balanced diet: A balanced diet is important to keep your Hamster happy and healthy. A perfect combination of dry pellets, fruits, vegetables, and treats is crucial.
  • Look out for health concerns: If your Hamster’s living environment is perfect and still your Hamsters smell then it may be due to an underlying sickness. Take your Hamster to a vet for their health checkup.
  • Keep the room well ventilated: The room where your Hamsters are housed should be well ventilated. This will let the fresh air flow all the time.
  • Use an air purifier: You can use an air purifier to get rid of the smell from the room.

Let us learn more about the following points in detail so that you don’t have to struggle with the same in the future.

Does Hamster Pee Stink?

Although, if your Hamster’s pee smell badly then it may be a sign of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) or bad diet, this in not usually the case.

Sometimes, your Hamster’s pee may smell as the bedding used is below standard or this time the enclosure is not cleaned properly.

The pee of your Hamster will start to build up if you do not clean your Hamster’s cage regularly. The ammonic smell of your Hamster’s pee will start to get stronger if not taken care of.

Many Hamster owner complain that their Hamster’s enclosure smell like a fish, this is due to ammonia build up.

The fact is that it is not the cage that smell, it is the pee which releases ammonia, when left for an extended period.

Therefore, If your Hamster’s enclosure smells like a fish, then chances are that either the cage is not deep cleaned often or the bedding being used is not absorbing the pee.

You must build a habit to spot clean your Hamster’s enclosure daily. Deep clean the enclosure once a month and change the bedding at the same time.

Do Hamsters Smell Up Room Badly?

Hamsters are naturally clean animals. It is usually the living environment and the cleanliness of their enclosure that determines the smell in your room.

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

The cage of your Hamster will start to smell bad if you do not clean it once every month. Also, you must spot clean the enclosure daily.

Using good quality bedding and proper cleaning of the enclosure will help you to keep the smell at a minimal level.

Although having a pet can bring a little different smell in the room, most owners are not uncomfortable with it.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Hamster’s Cage Regularly?

It is quite obvious for your Hamster’s enclosure to smell like a dead fish, if you are not cleaning it properly of not cleaning ir regularly.

The rotten or the bad smell can cause stress in your Hamsters. It deeply affects your Hamster’s health.

An unhealthy living condition can lead to some severe health complications in your Hamsters. Some of them are:

  • Respiratory Problems: The respiratory rate of your Hamster will slow down if there is ammonia buildup in the enclosure due to untidy living conditions. It can also lead to Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URI) in Hamsters
  • Missing Patches Of Fur: A leaking water bottle or the urine of your Hamster will make the bedding wet. This can lead to fur loss in them. Also, it increases the chances of flystrike.
  • Bumblefoot: If your Hamsters have been living on wet bedding for a long then they can suffer from issues like bumblefoot. A delay in treatment can even lead to a situation where the amputation of the affected leg might be the only option left.
  • Urinary Tract Infection: Your Hamsters may suffer from UTI if their living conditions are improper. If you suspect your Hamster is suffering from a urinary infection, then take them to a vet immediately.
  • Stress and discomfort: Any rotten or foul smell can easily distress our Hamsters. A stressed Hamster may start staying depressed. Some of them will even try to harm themselves by pulling out their fur, biting the bars of their cage, and more.

How Often Should I Clean My Hamster’s Cage?

It is important to clean your Hamster’s cage regularly if you want to keep it smelling fresh.

You must spot clean your Hamster’s enclosure daily, followed by a deep clean once every month.

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

The process of cleaning involves the following:

  • Always use a dustpan and brush or a small vacuum cleaner to spot clean the poop around the enclosure. You must do it daily.
  • 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 20 days. Change the entire bedding even if some portions of it look clean.
  • It is advised to use a brush and a sponge to clean the base of the enclosure. Do not forget to clean the corners of the cage.
  • To get rid of the odor you can use some baking soda and vinegar.
  • Remove all the toys and hideouts and wash them too. Dry them out in the sunlight before placing them back in the enclosure. This can be done 1-2 times a month.
  • Once you are done cleaning, fill the cage with fresh bedding. Also, put the other supplies such as water bottles, food bowls, and toys back.
  • Put all the essentials back in the cage only when it is completely dry.

You can leave your Hamsters in a playpen when you clean their cage. Check out this amazing playpen I got from Amazon. My Hamster loves i

Cleaning Products (Safe For Your Hamsters)

The key to get rid of bad smell is to choose the right cleaning product for your Hamster’s enclosure.

The product you choose must be strong enough to get rid of the bad smell of ammonia, but gentle enough not to harm your Hamsters.

Here is a list of some products which you may use to clean your Hamster’s enclosure:

  • Mild Detergents: Choose a detergent that does not have a strong smell. You can mix the detergent with lukewarm water to wash the toys and hideouts.
  • White Vinegar: You can mix 1 part of vinegar with 2 parts of water to disinfect the enclosure of your Hamster. If your enclosure has a white sludgy residue(calcium) of urine, then the same can also be effectively removed with the help of this mixture.
  • Cage Wipes: Cage wipes can be used to disinfect and deodorize your Hamster’s enclosure.
  • Cage Deodorizer Spray: You can use a deodorizer spray to clean the toys and other accessories in your Hamster’s cage. It is useful to clean the urine stains and get rid of the strong smell from the cage.

You should never use cleaning agents like bleach or other scented cleaners and disinfectants to clean your Hamster’s cage. It can be toxic for your Hamsters.

Odor Control Hamster Bedding

We can stop the enclosure of our Hamster from producing any kind of odor if we choose the bedding wisely.

There is a wide range of bedding available for your Hamsters, but some of the best ones to go for are:

  • Aspen Bedding: Aspen bedding is super absorbent and odor-free.
  • Paper based Bedding: There are a wide variety and brand of paper bedding available in the market. However, not all of them are on par when it comes to quality. You should always go for Carefresh paper bedding.

I personally use a combination of Aspen, Kaytee clean & cozy, and timothy hay as beddings as it saves a lot of cost in the long run.

Hamster Bedding You Must Avoid

Not all types of bedding is safe for our Hamsters. Some bedding is toxic as well as really bad when it comes to odor control.

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

  • Crystal cat litter: Although cat litters are excellent in odor control, they are extremely unsafe for our Hamsters. Hamsters may end up gulping some part of the bedding which may lead to serious health complications such as choking and GI stasis.
  • Pine or cedar bedding: Never use wood shavings of pine or cedar as they are toxic for our Hamsters. It can lead to various health complications in them. Also, these beddings are extremely bad as absorbents.
  • Hay: Some Hamster owners tend to use hay as the bedding in their little one’s enclosure. Hay can definitely keep your Hamsters warm but does not prevent odor. You can use hay mixed with some good quality aspen bedding or Kaytee clean to create an ideal bedding.

How Do I Stop My Hamster’s Enclosure From Smelling?

If you are struggling to keep your Hamster’s cage smell fresh, then you probably are missing out on something.

Most of the time, properly maintaining the cage solves the problem.

However, sometimes we have to do more than that to get rid of the smell. Here are some of the points you must note.

Balanced Diet

A poor diet is often a reason behind a smelly Hamster. If your Hamster’s pee or poop is smelling bad, then it might be directly related to your Hamster’s diet.

Picture Credits: Boo, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: @pawfavor

To be specific, if your Hamsters eat a poor low-fiber diet, then they may suffer from various health issues, including:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Wet bottom
  • Urinary tract infection & more

Food plays the role of a keystone in your Hamster’s life, despite the age and breed. You should make sure that you are providing your Hamster a suitable amount of nutrition.

Here’s a list of some healthy food that your Hamster would love to munch on:

  • Fresh Hay
  • Commercially made Hamsters pellets
  • Eggs(smalls pieces only-boiled, scrambled)
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, Carrots, Spinach, and Cucumber
  • Fruits: Apple(without seeds), Banana, Strawberries, and Pears

Only a few are listed here, there are many others with your Hamster may enjoy. These are the top ones.

Look Out For Health Problems

If your Hamster’s living environment is perfect and still your Hamsters smell then it may be due to an underlying sickness.

Some of the common health conditions that can lead to a smelly Hamster are:

  • GI Stasis: This can lead to diarrhea and wet bottom that produces a foul smell.
  • Urine burns: This can make the fur smelly and damp. It might also result in a missing patch and flystrike in some cases.
  • Urinary Tract Infections: This can lead to a foul smell in your Hamster’s urine.
  • Dental problems: This can lead to a smelly breath in your Hamsters.

Some of these diseases are caused by a dirty cage or poor diet. Most of them can be prevented by correcting their diet.

Is Air Freshener Safe For Hamsters?

Some people also consider using air fresheners to get rid of the smell temporarily.

The problems with these are Hamsters have a strong sense of smell, and using such fragrance around them can lead to respiratory issues in them.

Even, essential oils are toxic for your Hamster, it can even be life-threatening in some situations.

I use this amazing soy candles which I bought from Amazon. It is rated pet-safe and doesn’t contain much of chemicals also.

However, even if the candles are pet-friendly, we must always use it at a safe distance from my little ones.

Bathing A Smelly Hamster

Sand Baths are Hamster’s way to keep themselves clean.

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

Water can make your little friend catch a cold. Hamsters are sensitive creatures. If they get wet very frequently, it may also be life-threatening for them.

Also, water can destroy the coat of essential oil and molecules present in a Hamster’s fur.

It is always better to give your Hamster a sand bath. A sand bath will cause no potential harm to your Hamster.

I personally love this Niteangel Small Animal Sand-Bath Box, I got from Amazon. Check it out!

It is advisable to not use water to bath your Hamster unless it is an urgency.

Also Read: Sand Bath And Hamsters


Hamsters are clean animals, so it is not that difficult to get rid of their bad odor.

You might have already understood by now that the most effective way to get rid of the smell in your Hamster’s enclosure is to keep it clean and tidy.

Do not make the mistake of ignoring the smell. Instead, you must get to the root of the problem. This way you can keep your Hamster happy as well as healthy.


Can I Clean My Hamster’s Enclosure With Clorox Wipes?

Do not use Clorox wipes to clean your Hamster’s enclosure. It is best to avoid such harsh chemicals. Use a mixture of vinegar and water instead.

Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Clean My Hamster’s Enclosure?

No, do not use apple cider vinegar to clean your Hamster’s cage. Instead go for white vinegar.

Can Vinegar Kill Hamsters?

No, vinegar will not kill your Hamsters.

However, never pour vinegar directly on your Hamster’s skin. You must always dilute the same before cleaning their enclosure as well.

Can I Use Bleach To Clean My Hamster’s Enclosure?

You should avoid using bleach to clean your Hamster’s cage. Bleach has a smell which your Hamsters won’t be able to tolerate.

Also, most of these leave a residue behind that can be harmful to our Hamsters.

Can I Use Dettol To Clean My Hamster’s Enclosure?

No, do not use Dettol to clean your Hamster’s cage. It has a strong smell, that can be difficult to get rid of.

Can I Clean My Hamster’s Enclosure With Dish Soap?

You can use a mild soap to clean your Hamster’s enclosure. Make sure they are not scented.

Dilute the dish soap with water before you use it. Also, it is better to use white vinegar.

Sources: Effects of aqueous cinnamon extract, Research Gate,  Biology and Diseases of HamstersDehydration In Hamsters, Hyperadrenocorticism in Three Teddy Bear 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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