Walk into any home with a pet and you’ll likely find at least one pack of baby wipes in the cleaning closet.
Wet wipes are versatile and designed to be agreeable to an infant’s sensitive skin. As a result, many people use baby wipes to clean animal fur.
Baby wipes are often devoid of perfumes, but this doesn’t make them chemical-free.
Use small animal wipes on hamsters, which can be found in any reputable pet store. They’ll perform the same role as baby wipes without leaving unwanted residue on your hamster’s fur or causing allergies.
In an ideal world, you’ll never need to consider the use of baby wipes on your hamster. Hamsters are fastidiously clean and usually take care of their own grooming needs.
All the same, avoid using baby wipes on hamsters when emergency clean-ups are required.
Can Hamsters Have Baby Wipes?
Baby wipes are a cleaning cupboard staple for most homes, regardless of whether we have children or not. Many of us use baby wipes for general spot cleaning around the house, and homes with pets find them especially helpful.
The main reason we use baby wipes on pets is that they’re gentle. Baby wipes are usually marketed as soft, durable, and devoid of harmful chemicals or perfumes. If they’re safe for babies, they’re traditionally considered safe for pets.
There are three core purposes for the use of baby wipes on and around hamsters:
- Washing: Bathing your hamster, especially if covered in substrate or poop.
- Play: Giving the hamster something to play with, destroy and chew in the cage. That’s because baby wipes are usually much tougher than standard tissues.
- Cage cleaning: Cleaning should be conducted once a week, with daily spot cleaning.
Only use pet-specialist wipes for your hamster care, primarily as a safety precaution.
Are Hamsters Allergic to Baby Wipes?
Hamsters are unlikely to be allergic to the material used in baby wipes.
Equally, most people use baby wipes on animals over traditional moist towelettes because of the supposed absence of chemicals within. Baby wipes rarely contain perfumes that could irritate the skin.
Alas, baby wipes aren’t wholly devoid of compounds, making it possible for a hamster to be allergic to baby wipes. The use of a preservative named methylisothiazolinone, for example, is namechecked by Dermatitis as a common allergen.
If your hamster is allergic to methylisothiazolinone, or anything else found in a wet wipe, it will experience dry, itchy, and cracked skin. Comfort your hamster by rubbing a little olive oil into the skin to offer moisture and, of course, cease using wet wipes at once.
Can You Bathe a Hamster with Baby Wipes?
If your hamster starts to smell, you may be tempted to clean it up with wet wipes.
While hamsters are fussy about their cleanliness, they have strong-smelling urine, which can create quite an aroma if you are behind on cage cleaning.
Hamsters shouldn’t be bathed with soap and water unless instructed by a vet. In truth, you shouldn’t even need to use a wet wipe. If you provide your hamster with a sand bath in its cage, it’ll use this to keep clean.
Fill a small vessel with chinchilla bathing dust (not beach sand) and watch your hamster dig, roll, and play in this makeshift sandpit. As well as having fun, your hamster will clear its fur of oils and dirt – including urine or feces – that has clung to its coat.
Baby wipes can be used for very occasional spot cleaning of a hamster. Be aware that baby wipes can leave a residue on hamster fur. Your hamster will be keen to wash this off and dive straight back into a sand bath.
Can Hamsters Chew and Destroy Baby Wipes?
Put a tissue into your pet’s cage, and it will immediately get to work on shredding and seemingly eating the material. The hamster is putting the tissue into its cheeks and using it for bedding.
A hamster won’t necessarily be able to do with this a baby wipe as it’ll be too tough. This may create a fun challenge to destroy the baby wipe, but it’s also a choking hazard. The hamster may attempt to stuff its cheeks with too large a piece of material.
A baby wipe could serve as a small cooling mat on a hot summer’s day. Place a baby wipe on the floor of a cage like a beach towel, and your hamster may enjoy laying on it.
Can You Use Baby Wipes To Clean A Hamster Cage?
Unscented baby wipes can be used to clean a hamster’s cage.
You’ll still need to apply water afterward and scrub away any residue. As mentioned, your hamster’s skin may react poorly to any remnants of chemicals.
The other issue with using baby wipes for this task is the environmental impact. You cannot re-use baby wipes that have been in contact with a hamster cage, especially during a deep clean. Every wipe will need to be used once and then tossed away.
If this jars with your lifestyle, just stick with a wet cloth that can be washed after use. Along with appropriate antibacterial cleaning materials, this will be just as effective. It may also encourage you to complete a deeper clean than baby wipes will allow.
Alternatives to Baby Wipes for Hamsters
If you spend any time in pet stores, you’ll notice alternatives to baby wipes available for sale. These will look identical to the baby wipes you buy in a supermarket but will likely be branded as ‘pet wipes’ or ‘small animal wipes.’
You’d be forgiven for being cynical about this, assuming that these products are simply relabeling an existing product and attempting to cash in on animal lovers. The truth is that pet-specific wipes are different from traditional baby wipes.
The fundamental variance is the chemicals contained within the wipe. Baby wipes contain ingredients that soothe human skin but are not intended to be ingested. That’s not a concern as babies tend not to lick and consume every inch of their skin.
Animal fur is a different story. If you use a baby wipe on your hamster, it’ll still groom itself afterward. That means your hamster is potentially swallowing all manner of moisturizers, alcohol, and essential oils.
On the other hand, pet wipes contain none of these additional ingredients. They’re essentially plain, moist towelettes designed exclusively for spot cleaning fur and a habitat.
Now, this answers one question but raises another. If animal wipes are essentially just wet tissue, why spend money on them rather than just applying a washcloth to your hamster in times of need?
That’s a matter of personal choice for you as an owner. Some people prefer to use an animal wipe on their hamsters as it’s softer and temperature appropriate. The wipes rarely retail for more than $2-3, so we consider them worthwhile.
Overall, pet-specific wipes are a safer option than even the most organic of baby wipes. Baby wipes are gentle, but they’re just not designed with the needs of small animals in mind.