How To Get Rid Of Ferret Smell? Guide With Practical Tips


Do you know how to make ferrets not smell?

How about how to get rid of ferret smell?

In this post I want to share with you some of the reasons why would a ferret smell, what can you do about it and how can you control that smell. We will agree that ferrets are smelly creatures, but, they aren’t stinky. Their specific smell is different from other pets and most ferret owners love it, or at least, learned to live with it.

What Does A Ferret Smell Like?

A ferret smells like a wilderness. I know that it sounds crazy, but it is one of the associations I get when I smell a ferret. The smell is a special, musky odor you can’t find in any other pet. It is strong and it changes as the ferret changes, but it is not unpleasant.

What Do You Smell When You Smell A Ferret?

When you smell a ferret, you smell the oil a ferret produces all over his body. It is his natural body smell and you can’t get rid of it no matter what you do. But, you can control it and you can minimize it with a few practical steps.

What Do You Smell When You Smell A Ferret

There is one other smell a ferret produces and that smell is a bad odor. It is a smell from the anal glands. As you can see from the name, those two glands are located near the anus. They are only triggered when a ferret is super scared or super excited. If this topic has piqued your interest, read my post about Do Ferrets Smell?

How To Get Rid Of Ferret Smell?

Before we start with the guide, let’s think about the things you have to consider to make this task a successful one. If you want to know how to get rid of the ferret smell in the house, you have to cover everything. That means you have to think about the ferret body smell, the room your ferret is in, and the things your ferret sleeps in and even plays with.

Getting rid of the ferret smell doesn’t refer only to the ferret, it refers to everything around the ferret. That is why I am going to cover every part right below! First, we will start with the ferret himself.

How To Make Ferrets Not Smell?

If you want to reduce a ferret’s body smell, you have to focus on his health. The healthier the ferret, the weakest smell it is. Keeping your ferret healthy means giving your ferret proper nutrition, keeping his hormones in check with castration (chemical for example), and grooming him only when necessary.

Neuter/Spay Your Ferret

Ferret body smell is connected to hormones, which means that when a ferret is in heat, her/his smell will become more intense. So, to keep the smell under control, you can fix your ferret. But, just like with other pets, you can’t fix your ferret when he is too young. A good ferret veterinarian should perform this procedure. Also, you can choose between chemical castration and the one where a veterinarian performs a surgery.

Neuter Spay Your Ferret

Provide A Proper Nutrition

Ferrets are carnivores. They should only eat raw meat, bones, and organs. That means no veggies, no fruit, no grain, no legumes, no candy, no spices, etc. If you aren’t interested in feeding your ferrets raw nutrition, you can use high-quality kibble, but the kibble comes with a few requirements as well. It has to be a cat’s food because they have similar nutritional requirements.

reduce ferret odor with proper diet

Good cat kibble is one with at least 40% protein, grain-free, and around 75% animal ingredients.  With proper nutrition, you can reduce a ferret smell significantly. In just a few weeks you can turn your stinky ferret into a smelly ferret with a simple change of diet!

Don’t Bathe Your Ferret

The most common mistake people do when they want to get rid of the ferret smell is to bathe them. When you bathe a ferret, you are removing oil from his body. So, his body has to produce more oil to replace the ones you removed. Then you bathe him again, remove the oil and the body produces more.

dont bathe your ferret

So, it is a vicious circle that will result in very smelly and very irritated itchy skin on a ferret. To avoid that, don’t bathe your ferret unless you really have to. When that happens, read my post about bathing ferrets so you can check how and what to use during the bath.

How To Get Rid Of Ferret Odor In Rooms?

The smell present in a ferret room isn’t from a ferret. It is from the cage, hammocks, and toys your ferret uses. That is why you have to clean the room your ferret lives in regularly. That considers the ferret cage, the ferret hammocks, toys, even litter box.

Regularly Clean The Ferret Cage

Ferrets sleep more than 16 hours a day and 90% of their sleeping time happens in the cage. It is their home and besides sleeping, they are also eating, playing, and pooping there. So, make sure to clean the cage at least once a week.

Regularly Clean The Ferret Cage

I would also recommend you deep clean the entire cage (remove the platforms and ramps) once a month. When you are cleaning the ferret cage, make sure to remove the food stash your ferret made in the corner of the cage. That is also a source of odor you have to remove. Having a clean cage will greatly reduce the smell in the room.

Regularly Replace The Hammocks

Probably the smelliest part of the cage is the hammocks because ferrets are sleeping in them which means that their smell stays imprinted in the fabric. So, to keep the ferret odor in the room minimal, replace the hammocks at least once a week. If you have more ferrets, replace them every few days.

Regularly Replace The HammocksWhen you are washing ferret hammocks in the washing machine, don’t use fabric softener or any other additive. Use only mild washing detergent because others can irritate the ferret’s skin which will make them itch, which will lead to more oil being produced on the skin.

Regularly Clean The Litter Box

Another big source of the smell is the litter box so keep in mind to use high-quality ferret litter that can reduce odor. Besides that, you have to regularly clean the litter box too. Make sure to remove the poop and pee at least once a day if you have one or two ferrets. If you have more ferrets, clean the litter box at least two-three times.

Regularly Clean The Litter Box

When you are cleaning the cage, make sure to deep clean the litter box too. That doesn’t mean just remove poop and pee from it. Remove the old litter, clean the ferret litter box and replace the litter with a high-quality option.

How To Get Rid Of Ferret Smell In House?

If you want to get rid of the ferret smell in your house, you have to do the first two steps before you can move to the next level. You can’t remove the smell from your house if your ferret has a bad diet or if you don’t clean the cage your ferret lives in. If you can scratch those two steps from your to-do list, then we can continue with the entire house.

Keep The Cage Clean

I can’t express how important it is to keep the cage clean. Make sure the hammocks are fresh, the platforms and ramps are clean too. If you use cage liners, replace them the same day you replace the hammocks too. If you use a cover for the cage to keep the cage in the dark, make sure to replace it when you are deep cleaning the cage. That means at least once a month you can clean the ferret cage cover too.

Clean The Playpen

If you use a playpen for your ferrets, treat it like you would treat a ferret cage. If they are spending most of their time in the playpen, then clean it once a week at least. But, if you don’t use a playpen that often, then deep clean it after their playdate. When they aren’t using the playpen, clean it, then put it aside.

Vacuum The Room Your Ferret Uses

Vacuuming the ferret room will definitely reduce the smell. It is a good idea to vacuum the entire room because you might find stashes of food in random places. For example, behind the couch, under the cabinet, behind the bookshelf, etc. The food (especially raw meat) can smell bad and it can also attract all kinds of pests and bugs so you have to remove it immediately.

Air Out The House

By airing out the house, you are freshening up your home. This is a task you should do at least twice a day. Leave the windows open for around 10 minutes and you will feel the fresh air in your home. But, when you do that, put the ferret in the cage to keep him away from the windows.

Air Out The House

You should air out your home regardless of ferrets or other pets you have. It is a good and healthy way to remove dust, smell, and other particles from your home.


Do Descented Ferrets Still Smell?

Yes, descented ferrets still smell. When someone does that to a ferret, a person only removes the smell ferret produces from the anal glands. A pet ferret rarely uses anal glands for producing odor because they do it as a defense mechanism. If you want to read more about descenting and why you shouldn’t do it, read my post about descenting a ferret.

Do Male Ferrets Smell Worse Than Females?

Yes, intact male ferrets have a stronger smell than intact females, just like every other animal. If you want to know more about ferret smell, read my post about it here.


It is hard to imagine that a small animal like a ferret can stink up your entire house. The only way for a ferret to do that is if you don’t take care of him. If you keep his diet under control if you fix him/her and if you clean the house you can reduce the ferret smell by miles. Remember, a healthy ferret is a happy ferret! What are your thoughts about getting rid of the ferret smell? How do you reduce the smell? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section!

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Anja Delic
Anja is a Friendly Ferret owner and a ferret parent who is involved in the ferret world for more than 10 years. She started her Friendly Ferret blog when she got her first ferret Frida 8 years ago. In 2013, Friendly Ferret was recognized as a great source of information and it has become a good ferret brand for education, products, and fun. Since then, Anja was a part in many ferrets shows as a sponsor and as a judge, and she met many great and interesting people who share the same passion as her - ferrets. Anja is always opened for suggestions and advice, so if you have something to ask or say about ferrets, feel free to contact her on Instagram, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter or