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Hamster & Gerbil Cleanup & Grooming

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Gerbil and Hamster Grooming and Cleaning

Hamsters and gerbils can make great companions. Their playful and curious nature can be entertaining but can also create more work to clean them, their habitat and their toys. Unlike larger pets, small pets like hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas and guinea pigs typically don’t enjoy being wet or living in moist environments, so cleaning with water can present obstacles.

FAQs About Gerbil and Hamster Grooming and Cleaning

The first thing hamsters and gerbils need is a spacious hamster home and soft bedding—like Timothy hay. Many hamsters enjoy a habitat with tunnels already built for them. And once you have their cage and tunnels, you’ll also need hamster cage supplies like:

  • A water bottle
  • A food dish
  • A wheel
  • Toys
  • A house or hideaway
  • A critter potty (optional)
  • A litter scoop
  • Cage cleaner
  • Shampoo spray, dust or wipes
  • A hamster grooming kit
  • Of course, you’ll also need hamster food and treats to keep your pet well-fed. At Petco, we offer a variety of pre-mixed hamster and gerbil food full of vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruits and seeds that help provide the nutrients your small pet requires.

    As it’s not recommended to bathe them in water, you’ll also likely need hamster grooming solutions. A grooming kit that includes a shedding brush, nail clippers and a bristle brush can help keep your pet’s fur in good shape. A hamster or gerbil sand bath is typically enough to keep them clean, so you’ll want to purchase some bath dust. You can also find an instant shampoo that will help keep them clean and smelling fresh without requiring water.

    One of the most useful hamster or gerbil accessories for pet parents is a litter scoop. Sifting through layers of bedding for their small droppings can be time-consuming, but many litter scoops are designed to help separate the small pieces of litter and even smaller excrement.

    If you have the time, patience and initiative, you can train your small pet to use a critter potty. These small plastic enclosures contain critter litter and can be easier to clean than sifting through their habitat.

    Soiled bedding should be removed with a litter scoop daily to prevent bacteria from accumulating in your hamster or gerbil’s home. For the same reason, you should also clean food bowls and water bottles daily, and the entire habitat—including gerbil and hamster supplies in their home—should be cleaned once a month. Bedding should also be replaced weekly, including any food your pet has hidden around their house.

    To help ensure that your pet’s bowl, bottle and enclosure are clean of bacteria, you can use gerbil and hamster cleaning supplies available online and at your neighborhood Petco Pet Care Center. These sprays and wipes typically use natural ingredients and enzymes to clean without leaving a lingering scent or chemicals that could upset your hamster or gerbil.

    You can clean your non-porous gerbil and hamster cage supplies using one of the cleaning solutions on this page. Whether your accessories are porous or non-porous, you can also use soap and warm water for an effective clean.