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Washing your pet is seen as a common thing to do for most household name pets. Dogs especially obviously need a good wash quite frequently so many people ask if this same principle applies for hamsters. Often people ask how to wash a hamster assuming that it is a normal thing to do. So, are you able to bathe hamsters in the same way as dogs?

The answer is a resounding No.

Hamsters are extremely clean hamsters, the natural oils in their skin and their self-grooming means that they are able to maintain a natural smell. This article will tell you all about how to keep a clean hamster and how to get your hamster clean in certain circumstances.

How to make your hamster smell better

Many people may want to wash their hamster due to them smelling, hamsters do not usually have an offensive smell so the best solution to preventing your hamster from smelling is more regular cleanings of their cage. Spot-cleaning as well as a full clean once a week will make a massive amount of difference and will help your hamster smell completely natural once again.

The Dangers of washing your Hamster

Bathing your hamster in water can be extremely dangerous and carries quite a few risks:

It can make them seriously ill

As was discussed in one of our previous articles, temperature changes can hurt hamsters by giving them colds. Having a cold may be harmless for humans but for hamsters there is a definite danger of death. The rapid temperature change that comes with giving your hamster a bath means that bathing your hamster must be avoided if possible.

It can remove their natural oils

The natural oils that cover your hamsters fur are essential to keeping them, ironically, clean and healthy. Baths can easily wash off these natural oils and leave them with all kinds of problems. Water baths can damage a hamsters skin by removing these oils as well.

The bathing process can be dangerous

Hamsters are not meant to be washed in water and therefore the actually process of bathing them can carry some dangers as well. Hamsters can’t swim very well and therefore can drown, they will be extremely stressed during the process as well and this can lead to stress-related illnesses such as Wet Tail.

Can I ever wash my hamsters?

Despite all of these problems that come with bathing your hamster, there is certain situations where you could bath your hamster: This can be if your hamster has something stuck on their fur which is potentially dangerous, such as acid or white spirit, If your hamster has anything toxic such as chocolate or honey on their coat or if they are covered with something sticky such as chewing gum. This is why we are providing a guide on how to clean a hamster.

Make sure that you have exhausted all methods of cleaning first, such as using scissors to cut the part of the fur that has the toxic substance on.

Wondering what size wheel your hamster needs? Check out our latest article

Hamster sand baths – The alternative to water

Before you bath a hamster, try and put in a sand bath for them to roll around in. These sand baths could remove the toxic substance from the fur and hamsters enjoy rolling around in the sand. This is the best way to clean a hamster as it is natural and doesn’t change their temperature.

How to clean a hamster

Once again. Remember that you must only bath your hamster in water if necessary, consider getting veterinary advice before doing this.

So, how do you wash a hamster? Fill a bowl with lukewarm water to around a couple of centimeters. Place the hamster in the bowl and draw water onto them extremely gently, ensure that you keep the water away from their face. The RSPCA suggest that you can use a toothbrush to clean the affected area, this will help you be more precise and it will minimise the amount of water needed.

If water won’t remove the substance then use mild unscented pet shampoo, make sure that this doesn’t touch the hamster’s face either. Then rinse off the hamster with lukewarm water and remove all the shampoo that you have placed on the hamster. Then pet them dry with a soft towel and place them make in their cage. Put extra bedding in the house to keep them warm.

Try to do all of this on a warm cage as hamsters can get cold extremely quickly.


So in conclusion, it is not recommended to wash your hamster. but for very specific problems it may be needed. If you are asking if you feel the need to wash your hamster then the answer is to do it very carefully and to ensure that the hamster does not get cold as this can be dangerous.

Have you had to wash your hamster before? Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments section as always!