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Housekeeping tips for rats, hamsters, and mice

Housecleaning tips for small pets

With special thanks to Katherine Milligan

We all know how important it is to keep our small pet's living area clean and sanitary. Rats, hamsters, and mice are no exception. Keeping our tiny friends' enclosures clean is essential to their health and well-being. But would you want to live in a house that's only cleaned when it starts to smell and have to sit and play in your own poo? Yeah, me, either. Therefore today, we're discussing housecleaning tips for rats, hamsters, and mice.

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Depending on whether your rats, hamsters, and mice live with others (not all rodents want a roomie), the more frequently you tidy their home. It comes with the territory. If I had ten kids (yeah… no), I’d have to clean more than if I had one. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

Before cleaning, move the residents

For our first of several housekeeping tips, while our rattie, hammie, and mousie friends think we need supervision while cleaning their house, you don’t. Move your precious pets to a safe temporary enclosure first. You can even use the carrier to transport them to your trusted exotic vet.

Every day

We should be checking for poop and wet bedding or even completely removing the soiled bedding and replacing it with clean and new. Humans flush for a reason. Rats, hamsters, and mice can’t do that. So they depend on you to do it for them. So if bedding is soaked, remove and replace it. 

Give their cage a quick wipe-down with something non-toxic and pet friendly. We recommend either unscented baby wipes or a 50/50 white vinegar/water solution. 

Finally, replace all their food and water, including clean bowls and water bottles… this should be a no-brainer. Like you, all small animals need 24/7 access to food and water.

Every week

No matter how many tiny friends we have, one of our housecleaning tips is to deep clean their enclosure weekly. Replace all bedding, cage accessories, and food/water containers, no matter what. Even if you use high-quality, more absorbent bedding (which we highly recommend), as urine is soaked up, the cage will have higher amounts of ammonia, which is dangerous for rats’, hamsters’, and mice’s respiratory systems.

Cage accessories and all food/water containers should be wiped down outside of the cage by immersing in hot, soapy water, a thorough hot water rinse, and thoroughly dry before re-entering the habitat. Carefully check the food containers for food residue before adding fresh food. Any residue can cause bacterial growth.

Every month

Our next suggestion for our housekeeping tips addresses the deepest clean of all, i.e., the monthly clean. We recommend dismantling their enclosure for this process. First, the entire cage should be sprayed with a vinegar/water solution. Then, rinse the enclosure parts in hot water to ensure that all residue is gone. For everything else, follow the weekly cleaning steps.

Et voila! A super clean rattie, hammy, or mousie habitat.

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In closing, the last housekeeping tips we recommend writing down (and keeping, yes, keeping) a schedule for your cleanings. It doesn’t matter if you use a paper calendar or one on your smartphone. It's helpful, especially before you have that mental alarm clock, to let you know when you're due for a weekly or monthly cleaning.

Clean = better. But not when you’re using toxic chemicals to clean, so stay away from those. And never use air fresheners. I beg you. They’re toxic, too. But, on the other hand, if you do these things, it shows your rats, hamsters, and mice you love them even more (if that's possible). So let's always think of them and give them the comfiest, safe space to live in.

DISCLAIMER: The links and information are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Small Pet Select of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual.

VETERINARY DISCLAIMERWe are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice.  If your pet is acting unwell, you have concerns for their well being, or before adding any new product, please contact your veterinarian immediately. 

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