Hamsters are fun, small, adorable pets to have. However, if you’re a hamster owner already, you know how quickly the cage can get overwhelmingly smelly. Our little friends only have their cages to call home, so it’s up to us to keep them as clean and odor-free as possible.
The right bedding can make a difference in your hamster’s comfort. Our noses can also benefit from bedding with efficient odor control. To help you find the right one for your critter, we rounded up our favorite beddings for hamster smells and odors. These detailed reviews can help you compare and contrast each product so you know which you like the best. If you still can’t decide, the buyer’s guide has more information on selecting hamster bedding.
A Quick Look at Our 2022 Favorites
The 9 Best Beddings for Hamster Smells and Odors
1. Frisco Small Animal Bedding — Best Overall
The Frisco Small Animal Bedding is made from paper and is 99.9% dust-free. Your hamster will breathe cleaner air, and you’ll have less dust around the cage. This bedding is pillowy soft and can absorb six times its dry weight. It expands to three times its regular size to keep your hamster’s cage dry, comfortable, and odor-free.
The bedding contains no fragrance, and it’s good at trapping daily odors before they become overwhelming. When it’s changed regularly and replaced with fresh bedding, it works to create a healthy, odor-free environment for small animals. The Frisco Small Animal Bedding is our pick for the best overall bedding for hamster smells and odors because it effectively traps liquids and odors while providing hamsters with soft, comfortable places to sleep.
2. Carefresh Small Animal Bedding — Best Value
The Carefresh Small Animal Bedding is the best bedding for hamster smells and odors for the money. This paper bedding absorbs three times more liquid than wood shavings. The paper fiber, called Comfyfluff, is a renewable resource that is biodegradable and compostable, making it an eco-friendly option. It’s soft and comfortable, so it gives your hamster all the comfort they need to make a cozy bed for themselves.
This dust-free bedding uses a special formula to stop and suppress overpowering odors for up to 10 days. It doesn’t easily fall apart or stick to the bottom or sides of your hamster’s cage when you’re cleaning it out.
The biggest issue that hamster owners had with this bedding was its smell. The odor of the bedding is harsh and overpowering to some.
3. ComfyCritter Small Animal Bedding — Premium Choice
ComfyCritter Small Animal Bedding is made from natural wheat straw and specially manufactured to remove as much dust as possible. This bedding is soft, virtually dust-free, and highly absorbent. It’s also 100% sustainable and eco-friendly. The straw is harvested yearly, and the product does not require trees to be cut down to make it. It’s biodegradable and compostable.
This bedding is a healthy option for animals that live near it and don’t just use it as litter. For animals like hamsters, which like to burrow and sleep in nests, it’s soft and comfortable. It’s suitable for use with rabbits, ferrets, hedgehogs, and other small animals too, including reptiles. This is a more expensive option than some others on this list, but it can be an ideal choice for multi-pet households. Some reports say that this bedding also makes a great garden mulch after it’s used.
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4. Kaytee Clean & Cozy Small Animal Bedding
This Kaytee Clean & Cozy Small Animal Bedding is made from FDA-approved paper and is 20% more absorbent than other brands. It’s fragrance-free and contains no harmful chemicals, so you can trust that your hamster is safe when they’re burrowed in it to sleep. It’s lightweight, making it easy for hamsters to build nests.
This bedding is a dusty option even though it claims to be dust-free. It sheds white lint, and some hamster owners sift this bedding before use. It also doesn’t have the same odor-control abilities as many others on this list. It’s soft, comfortable, and absorbent, but it is lacking in a few important areas when it comes to bedding.
5. Vitakraft Fresh World Small Animal Bedding
The Vitakraft Fresh World Small Animal Bedding is made of super-soft 100% recycled paper crumbles. It absorbs three times its weight in liquid and offers superior odor control. This bedding is safe, non-toxic, and unbleached.
Due to this brand’s odor-blocking formula, it quickly absorbs and controls odors for up to 14 days. It’s dustier than some other brands, at only 99.5% dust-free. There are a few reports of dust in the cage, and the bedding can cling to pets if it’s wet. The upside is that some cages were able to go a week before needing to be changed due to this bedding’s odor-control capabilities.
6. Living World Fresh ‘n Comfy Small Animal Bedding
The environmentally-friendly Living World Fresh ‘n Comfy Small Animal Bedding contains baking soda for even stronger odor control and more absorbency. It’s safe and comfortable for hamsters, without any ingredients that could be inhaled and cause respiratory distress, like phenols or scented oils. Since the bedding is highly absorbent and controls odors, you can go longer between cage cleanings.
Made from biodegradable, recycled paper, this bedding provides a close replica of a hamster’s natural environment. It’s easy to burrow in or use to build a nest. Some hamster owners like this bedding’s long-lasting ability. Others found it to be too dusty.
7. Oxbow Pure Comfort Small Animal Bedding
The Oxbow Pure Comfort Small Animal Bedding can absorb up to 800% of its weight in liquid. This gives the bedding extra odor-control capabilities and makes for easy cleanup. Since it’s made of pure, never-printed paper, there is little dust. It gives your hamster a soft, hygienic place to sleep where they can breathe easily.
The product comes compressed in the package, and there are reports of it being difficult to separate and spread. It’s also not as soft as some other beddings on this list, but some hamster owners continue to use it anyway because of the odor control that it provides.
8. PetsPick Uber Soft Pet Bedding
This colorful PetsPick Uber Soft Pet Bedding absorbs up to six times its weight. This is an all-natural bedding with no artificial or harmful chemical additives. It offers odor control for up to 14 days. This comfortable bedding is made from food-grade paper fibers for safety and softness.
Eco-friendly and 99.9% dust-free, this bedding provides a fresh home for your small animal. Hamsters can easily build nests and burrow in these paper particles while they naturally control odors.
The biggest issue with this bedding is that it starts to flatten after use. When this happens, it can be fluffed up, but it starts to flatten again quickly. A little of this product goes a long way, though, so one package should last for multiple cage cleanings.
9. Fresh News Recycled Paper Small Animal Bedding
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The Fresh News Recycled Paper Small Animal Bedding contains an ammonia locker to keep your hamster’s cage fresh. It eliminates odors on contact and controls smells. It’s 99% dust-free and 100% non-allergenic, making both your and your hamster’s home cleaner.
This bedding is made from 100% recycled paper and is safe for all animals. It can also be composted after it’s used because it is completely biodegradable. The paper has moisture-locking abilities that absorb quickly and neutralize odors.
The bedding tends to stick when it’s wet, so it can be difficult to remove from the bottom of the cage. It also sticks to animals as they come in contact with it.
Buyer’s Guide – The Best Bedding for Hamster Smells & Odors
Finding the right bedding for your hamster is important for many reasons. It should be comfortable because this is the only option that your pet has for sleeping. It should control odors because hamsters and other small animals have to share their living space with their waste. Finally, it should be safe and non-toxic.
The wrong bedding can make your hamster uncomfortable or worse, sick. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a bedding.
The best bedding will be able to absorb and hold large amounts of liquid. Hamsters that rest in their own urine can get infections. The bedding should keep your hamster dry and warm. A strong absorption power is ideal.
Scented beddings are controversial because they are thought to cause illnesses in hamsters and small animals. It can be tempting to purchase artificially scented bedding because it will hide some of the odor, but unscented bedding is best. With the right odor control bedding, there’s no need for masking scent anyway.
Beddings that have strong absorption power will generally have good odor control too. Remember that no bedding will be able to keep your hamster’s cage odor-free forever. Regular cleanings combined with the right bedding will keep odors to a minimum.
A bedding with the least amount of dust that you can find is ideal. Not only can your hamster breathe the dust in, but it can spread in your house outside of the hamster’s enclosure. This can be difficult to clean, not to mention frustrating. The dust can also settle on your hamster’s food, giving them no choice but to consume it.
This will depend on how many pets you have that use the bedding and how often you clean the cage. Some packages are only enough for single cleanings. The bedding is usually compacted into the package and expands once it’s broken apart and taken out. Once the package is open, make sure you have a proper place to store it between uses if you’re not getting single-use packages. Stored bedding should be kept in a cool, dry place. It can absorb any moisture that it comes in contact with.
Things to Avoid
While pine and cedar shavings are popular choices because of their odor-control power, they can be sharp and uncomfortable for your hamster to sleep on. If they splinter into sharp pieces, this can also be dangerous for your little critter. Abrasive shavings on hamster skin and feet can cause cuts, which can lead to infections and pain. Hamsters love to burrow, and they should be able to comfortably rest without getting hurt.
Sometimes, hamster urine can react with these shavings, creating a foul odor and making it unpleasant for your hamster to breathe in. Non-toxic, soft beddings without any added scents are ideal.
Some beddings are eco-friendly and completely biodegradable. This means instead of dumping the soiled bedding into the trash can, it can be composted or recycled. Used bedding can be put in your garden or flower pots for added fertilizer or used to fill holes in the soil.
Can’t I Just Use Newspaper or Paper Towels?
Hamster bedding is necessary because it’s more than just absorbency that’s needed. While newspaper and paper towels may soak up urine, they won’t provide any odor control or comfort for your hamster.
Hamster bedding is necessary. Newspaper and paper towels can be harmful to your hamster if they’re eaten. In the wild, hamsters would burrow and build nests to sleep in. They require these actions to feel comfortable and safe. Without doing so, they can get anxious and not be able to fully relax. Newspaper and paper towels don’t give them that burrowing feeling.
How Often Do I Change Hamster Bedding?
This depends on the type of bedding that you buy and how many hamsters you have. Some beddings can give up to 14 days of odor control, but you should always make sure the bedding is clean enough for your hamster to live in.
Some beddings require weekly changes. The frequency at which you change the bedding is up to you, but make sure to keep it as clean as possible. Hamsters are fastidious groomers and like to be clean.
Our best overall choice for hamster bedding is Frisco Small Animal Bedding. It’s soft and highly absorbent and contains no added fragrance. For high-quality bedding at an affordable price, we like Carefresh Small Animal Bedding. It’s eco-friendly and controls odors for up to 10 days.
Whichever bedding you choose, know that you can always try another if your choice doesn’t turn out to be what you’d hoped for. There are many options out there, so you will be sure to find one that works for you.
Featured Image Credit: FUN FUN PHOTO, Shutterstock