Sand bath for hamsters: What they are and how to set one up

Hamster in sand bath
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A sand bath for hamsters may sound like a strange way to keep clean, but believe it or not, regularly rolling around in sand not only removes grease and dirt from your pocket pet’s skin, it also does a great job of deterring parasites from setting up camp in their fur.

While hamsters are very clean creatures who do a great job of grooming themselves, most hammy’s love rolling about and playing in dry sand. On top of being a fun way to amuse themselves and give their mental wellbeing a boost, sand is a wonderful way to give them a helping hand in keeping their fur clean.

An essential part of the best hamster cage setup, giving your fur friend regular access to a sand bath in their enclosure will ensure they stay happy and healthy. And unlike the kind of bath we give our canine companions, sand baths require no water or shampoo and are super easy to set up.

Check out our guide to the best hamster toys or read on to discover everything you need to know about sand baths for hamsters, including whether they’re a necessity and how to set one up. 

What is a sand bath for hamsters?

A sand bath isn’t the typical kind of bath that you’re probably used to giving yourself and other pets. It doesn’t involve any water or lathering agents and is basically just a container that’s been filled with hamster-safe sand.

With a normal bath, shampoo is mixed with water to cleanse the hair of dirt, excess oils and debris. With a hamster bath, the sand does all the work, removing grease and grime from your pocket pets fur as they roll about in it.

Does my hamster need a sand bath?

Hamsters do not like water baths, and for good reason - water washes away the natural oils in your hammy’s coat that protect the skin and removing these can result in all sorts of problems, ranging from irritation to infection. 

Technically, hamsters don’t need sand baths as they’re wonderfully hygienic little creatures who do a great job of keeping their coats clean. But from time to time, even the most fastidious groomers can look a bit grubby and that’s where providing your hammy with access to a sand bath can come in handy.

Besides, even if your fur friend isn’t dirty, letting them frolick about in a sand bath every few days can work wonders for their wellbeing. Hamsters get a great deal of joy from rolling around in sand, so letting them indulge in this fun pastime can be a fantastic way of giving their mental health a boost.

How to make a sand bath for hamsters

Hamster using sand bath

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You’ll be delighted to learn that making a sand bath for your pocket pet couldn’t be easier - or more affordable. All you need to pull together the perfect sand bath is the right kind of container (shallow, clean and big enough for your hammy to move around in) and some pet-friendly sand.

Unlike chinchilla dust baths, it’s really important that you stick to sand-based products that are safe for hamsters to roll about in as anything dust-based has the potential to cause your fur friend respiratory problems.

Here are a few of our favorite options for containers and sand that you can use for making your bath: 

Niteangel Small Animal Sand Bath Box

Niteangel Small Animal Sand Bath Box
Available in a variety of different shapes, this beautifully crafted, high-quality sand bath box has a transparent design that lets you watch your hammy happily frolicking about. Made with acrylic materials and a birch wood lid, it’s a breeze to clean and is compatible with the Niteangel climbing bridge to give your pocket pet easy access in and out.

BUCATSTATE Hamster Sand Bath

BUCATSTATE Hamster Sand Bath
Clear and transparent, this hamster sand bath has an easy to clean arc design and comes with a side entrance and deep bottom to prevent sand from overflowing. The medium size is suitable for dwarf hamsters and the large is ideal for syrian hamsters. 

Supreme Tiny Friends Farm Bathing Sand

Supreme Tiny Friends Farm Bathing Sand
Made with the highest quality ingredients, this 2.2 pound bag of bathing sand is dust and bacteria free and naturally absorbent. 

Niteangel Hamster Desert Bath Sand

Niteangel Hamster Desert Bath Sand
Made from real desert sand, this soft and delicate mix will feel incredibly gentle on your fur friends skin and does a great job of absorbing urine. Free from fragrances and colors, it’s suitable for grooming, play and relaxation. 

When it comes to how much sand to put into the container that you’re using, you want enough that your hammy can roll about without their body coming into contact with the bottom or sides of the sand bath container. Don’t fill it to the brim, but make sure there’s a decent amount in there for them to be comfortable.

Cleaning your hamsters sand bath

It’s important that you clean your hamster's sand bath regularly as dwarf hamsters in particular will often spend ages rolling around in the sand, which means it’s going to get dirty fairly quickly. Not to mention the fact that they’ll also likely use it as a toilet!

Depending on how often you let your fur friend take a bath, we recommend using a mesh sifter every few days to a week to remove debris and urine-clumped sand. The sand itself can either be washed and dried every month and reused or you can replace it with fresh sand. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.