How To Sanitize Hamster Toys

Hamsters, and other small pets, can get their toys pretty dirty. Your hamster’s toys should be getting cleaned after they’re switched out of the cage for different toys, or on a monthly basis.

There are two categories of toys; the plastic toys and the natural toys. They have different cleaning methods, and here I’ll explain the easiest ways to clean your plastic and natural toys, with some safe, homemade cleaners.

The Best Pet-Safe Cleaners

When you think of a pet-safe cleaner a spray bottle from the pet store probably comes to mind. Those ‘pet-safe’ cleaners are sometimes harmful to hamsters due to the chemicals and strong scents. Hamsters, and other small animals, have very sensitive respiratory systems, and these sprays could easily be harmful to your small pet.

Well, if a store bought cleaner shouldn’t be used, then what should? Well there are two main cleaners small pet owners use, the first is dishsoap and warm water. Dish soap and warm water are a safe cleaner to use, however I wouldn’t recommend using a strong citrus scented soap. This mix is especially good for soaking items with a strong odor. You will want to thoroughly rinse the items with water after using soap.

The second cleaner is vinegar and water. There are many different solutions of vinegar and water, 50/50, 1/3, or 1/4 for example. You don’t want to be using plain vinegar, because the smell would be overpowering. Only use White Vinegar, no other kind is suitable. Since the solution is watered down it doesn’t necessarily need rinsing, but you can if you’d like.

Plastic: Method #1

The first method of cleaning plastic is soaking it in warm soapy water. This method is very effective for removing stuck-on urine, or deodorizing items. Simply get a tub or bowl suitably sized for the items, and soak them in the suddy water. Rinse well after, and drip-drying or toweling off the items is fine.

Plastic: Method #2

The second method of plastic cleaning is using a vinegar/water solution. What I find works best is putting the mix in a spray bottle and spraying the items down. Leave them to soak for a few minutes, and rinse with plain water if desired. Either drip-dry or towel off the items until dry. This method seems to work well for sanitizing items that have pee on them, but isn’t as good in the deodorizing department.

Natural: Method #1

Method one of cleaning natural items is baking. I’ve baked wood before, and I have some advice for you: don’t bake your wood at a higher temperature than 350, or you may experience some levels of smoke, like I did. I don’t want to discourage this method of sanitizing, I just recommend baking natural items at 350f for about 30 minutes, and stay nearby. Baking is a great way to kill germs, but it does not deodorize or remove urine, so if that’s what you’re looking to do check out this next cleaning method.

Natural: Method #2

The best way to sanitize, deodorize, and remove urine from natural, wooden toys is to soak them in a vinegar/water solution. The mix should be 50/50 water and vinegar. Get a large enough tub or bowl for the items, and soak the toys for about 1-2 hours. You will need to get them dry ASAP, so put them on a rack, and if possible by a heater or fan.


  • Clean your pet’s toys on a monthly basis.
  • Store bought cleaners can be harmful due to chemicals and strong odors.
  • You can clean plastic toys with soap/warm water or a vinegar/water solution.
  • Natural items can be sanitized by baking them at 350f for about 30 minutes.
  • Another way to clean natural toys is by soaking them in a vinegar/water solution for 1-2 hours, and drip-drying them.

I love hearing about people taking care of their pets, if you currently or just started using any of these methods leave your experiences down below in the comments. If you’re interested in more hamster-related content be sure to like this post and follow the blog, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with more small pet care, DIYs, recipes, cage setups, stories and more, have a ham-tastic day!

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