Why Do Chinchillas Bathe in Dust? [An Easy Explanation]


I’m sure if you are a new chinchilla owner you are probably curious about many things such as why chinchillas bathe in dust.

It’s just the nature of being a pet owner.

We wall want to take care of our chinchillas the very best we can.

I remember one question I had in the beginning that really had me curious.

Why do chinchillas bathe in the dust?

After some research and going through the process, here is what I learned.

So why do chinchillas bathe in the dust? In the wild chinchillas take dust baths. It helps absorb natural oils and keep the fur and coat clean and healthy. Chinchillas have a very dense coat of fur. Water can cause health concerns for your chinchilla, so dust baths are critical and essential to keeping your chinchilla clean and the fur healthy.

Many other factors need to be considered when caring for your chinchilla.

Purchasing the correct dust and following a few other steps can ensure you are taking proper care of your furry friend.

Let’s dive into some more specifics and give you a full-scope view of how to properly bath your chinchilla to keep that fur silky, clean and healthy.

Why Do Chinchillas Bathe In Dust and What Kind of Dust is Best

I was clueless about this as well in the beginning.

What kind of dust do chinchillas bathe in?

You should always use store-purchased dust.

It is specifically created for chinchillas for the direct purpose of bathing.

Store-purchased dust will resemble the natural way chinchillas bathe in the wild.

Chinchilla dust is usually composed of volcanic ash and will cost 7.00-10.00 per container.

I personally use the Blue Beauty Chinchilla Dust (Link to Amazon).

It’s large containers that will last a few weeks if you afford your chinchilla 2-3 dust baths per week.

I typically place an order for 2 at a time and then restart the following month.

Makes life easy for me and my chin.

Don’t Make Common Mistakes With Your Chinchilla Dust Baths

Other dust-like substances have been tried and don’t get the job done for your chinchilla.

Don’t try using sand or other dust-like substances.

It’s an easy process picking the correct dust for your chinchilla.

Any dust designed specifically for chinchillas and commercially purchased will get the job done.

Anything that doesn’t fall into this category, should be avoided.


This above image is my chinchilla dust bath container and the dust I use.

How Much Dust Does A Chinchilla Need in A Bath?

I know, I was confused by this as well.

How much dust does a chinchilla need in a bath?

Chinchillas need at least 2 inches of dust in the bottom of the dust bath container or bowl.

No matter which method or container you use for the bath, 2 inches is the adequate amount of dust for your chinchilla to roll in and clean themselves.

If you haven’t purchased your dust bath container yet, I highly recommend something simple like the Kaytee Chinchilla Bath House (Link to Amazon).

Your chinchilla will get right in it and it’s great for keeping the dust from flying out onto the floor or into the air.

If you prefer, you can also reuse the dust after your chinchilla is silky clean.

You will want to make sure to remove any waste or poop from the dust if you intend on reusing.

After a few uses of the dust, it will begin to clump and show visual signs that it’s time for a new round of dust.

You can also choose to just change out the dust each time you give your chinchilla a bath.

Dust Bath Houses for Chinchillas

The dust bathhouses created specifically for chinchillas to roll around and get crazy with the dust are a joy to use and to watch your chinchilla roll around in.

All while getting nice clean and ready for some cuddles.

These baths are designed specifically to help enclose and trap the dust, so you don’t always have a huge mess of dust to wipe down or vacuum up after your chinchilla is done bathing.

Don’t be mistaken.

Although your chinchilla doesn’t smell and the dust bath should not be inside of the chinchilla cage doesn’t remove all cleaning duties off your plate.

You still have to clean your chinchilla cage daily for small items such as poop and weekly for larger items such as the bedding and shelves.

The houses usually come in plastic and are customizable.

You can pick from a wide variety of colors and sizes.

Here’s a quick video that you can see that shows my chinchilla taking one of her dust baths.

When Should I Give My Chinchilla a Dust Bath?

I had the same question at one point.

When should I give my chinchilla a dust bath?

Chinchillas should be offered a dust bath a minimum of 2 times per week.

Make sure it’s during active times of the day for your chinchilla and increase the number of dust baths if you feel the fur is oily or dirty.

If your curious about when active times for your chinchilla may be, you need to read up on when chinchillas sleep and what they do at night.

Unfortunately, these are some of the most alert and awake times your chinchilla will offer for some well-deserved dust bath time.

You also want to be careful not to overdo it.

Too many dust baths can irritate your chinchillas’ fur, skin, and possibly even ears and eyes.

You don’t want to dry them out.

Find a happy middle ground 2-3 times per week and your chinchilla should not only be happy but squeaky clean and ready to play!

I wouldn’t exceed 3 times a week at 20 minutes per bath.

More than this may dry out the chinchilla’s skin and fur and cause other issues.

The only time you may consider increasing is if you notice fur issues such as additional shedding.

Additionally, increase frequency if you are worried about potential fleas or other issues taking place on your chinchilla’s skin or fur.

What is Chinchilla Dust Made Of?

I wasn’t sure what chinchilla dust was made of either.

After some research, here’s what I learned.

Chinchilla dust resembles gray sand.

It depends which commercially purchased dust you choose.

Some chinchilla dust for baths is made of 100% pure volcanic mountain pumice.

This is what you want.

It strongly resembles exactly how the chinchilla would clean itself in the wild.

Chinchillas Love Dust Baths

Outside of all the frequently asked questions and reasons your chinchilla needs to take a dust bath, let’s not forget about another major factor we haven’t discussed.

Your chinchilla absolutely loves it.

It resembles what the chinchilla would naturally do in the wild to clean itself.

Not only that but watching a chinchilla take a bath in the chinchilla dust is enjoyable and humorous.

Try and watch a chinchilla roll around and shake in that dust without slipping out a smile or two.

This is part of what makes chinchillas such great pets.

They are just purely entertaining.

It’s a great time for you and your chinchilla so make sure to keep up with it and provide your chinchilla adequate amounts of time per week to roll around in the dust and naturally build your bond with your chinchilla.

How Much Does Chinchilla Dust Cost?

Giving your chinchilla the care he or she needs is relatively cheap.

Chinchilla dust is only about 5.00-15.00 depending on which dust you buy and where you buy it from.

A 2.5-pound jug of chinchilla dust by Kaytee ranges between about 10.50 and 15.00 per jug on Amazon.

Fairly cheap to let keep that chinchilla fur soft, silky and give your chinchilla 10-20 minutes of pure enjoyment.

Can You Give A Chinchilla A Bath?

Yes, you can give your chinchilla a bath.

But NOT in water.

This post should have made that very clear that dust baths are the only option for your chinchilla.

Chinchillas can’t dry water in the fur properly or timely.

This can cause your chinchilla to chill or get “chills”. In addition, wet fur can cause other health concerns for your chinchilla.

You can give your chinchilla a bath but only in chinchilla dust.

Never in water.

Can I Leave the Dust Bath in The Chinchilla Cage?

Yes, you can leave the dust bath in the chinchilla cage.

Don’t leave it longer than 20 minutes.

Chinchillas love the time in the dust bath.

To much time will cause the chinchilla’s skin and fur to dry out and cause irritation for your chinchilla.

It’s best to only offer the dust bath your chinchilla 2-3 times per week and for no more than 20 minutes at a time for the best results.

Personally, I wouldn’t leave the dust bath in the cage if you can avoid it.

Chinchillas can be conditioned nicely to enjoy their dust bath during playtime and placing the dust bath in the cage will allow dust to get into their food bowl or potentially clog water bottles among other issues.

This will leave your chinchilla plenty clean, smell free and plenty happy with the time he or she has had rolling around in that dust like a maniac.

Bust Out The Dust to Get Your Chinchilla Clean

To sum it all up, be sure to use the correct dust for your chinchilla, give him or her plenty of chances to roll around and get crazy for a bit a few times per week.

Whether that’s in a bowl or one of the fancy new dust houses, that’s completely your choice.

They love it and I’m sure that you will love it just as much as they do.

Be sure that if you have further questions or concerns about giving your chinchilla a dust bath to see my related questions that are below.

I always try to answer as much as possible to keep you as informed as possible to keep your chinchilla healthy and happy.

Do you have any related stories to dust baths with your chinchilla?

Any recommendations for all the other readers?

Drop a comment below.







Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 1 year old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know.

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