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How to Clean a Small Pet's Cage

It's not the best part of owning a pet, but somebody's gotta do it.


  • Step 1: Put your pet in a safe, enclosed place where he can stay while you clean his cage. An empty, dry bathtub or an empty wastebasket—clean, of course!—works well.
  • Step 2: Take all the toys, food dishes, and water bottles out of the cage.
  • Step 3: Dump the dirty bedding from the cage into a garbage bag.
  • Step 4: Using paper towels, remove any clumped bedding that's stuck to the bottom of the cage. Animals often use the corners of cages as their bathrooms.
  • Step 5: Soak a paper towel or dishtowel with water and a bit of mild soap. Use it to wipe out the entire interior of the cage—all the nooks and crannies.
  • TIP: If the cage still smells after you've washed it, you can wipe it down with a solution of equal parts of white vinegar and water. Then rinse it thoroughly.
  • Step 6: Use paper towels or a clean dishtowel to dry the cage completely.
  • Step 7: Line the cage with a few inches of clean, new bedding.
  • TIP: Pine and cedar shavings contain chemicals that can be harmful to small animals, so don't use them.
  • Step 8: Clean your pet's plastic toys, food dishes, and water bottle with mild soap and warm water, then rinse and dry them thoroughly.
  • Step 9: Replace any cardboard tubes, paper towels, and other nesting materials.
  • Step 10: Fill the dishes with new food, and put new water in the water bottle.
  • Step 11: Put the toys, food dishes, and water bottle back in the cage.
  • TIP: Rearranging your pet's toys and bowls each time you clean the cage gives him something new to explore.
  • Step 12: Use a dustpan and brush or vacuum cleaner to sweep up the floor or surface around or under the cage.
  • Step 13: Return your pet to his sparkling-clean quarters—and watch as he starts rearranging everything the way he wants it!
  • FACT: In the wild, hamsters dig and live in tunnels up to three feet deep.

You Will Need

  • An empty
  • dry bathtub
  • A large garbage bag
  • Paper towels or dishtowels
  • Dishwashing detergent or other mild soap
  • Clean beddingu2014aspen shavings
  • pelleted paper
  • or hay
  • And a dustpan and brush or vacuum cleaner
  • White vinegar

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