How to Clean a Hermit Crab


Hermit crab keepers often disagree about whether bathing is essential and if so, how often to bathe their crab. Current recommendations are once a week, but you may wish to install a bathing area in your hermit crab's habitat so the crab can choose. Hermit crabs need to be bathed regularly so that dirt and debris are removed from their claws. The process of bathing a hermit crab is fairly simple. You just need to set up the bath and then place the hermit crab inside and then the crab will bathe itself from there. Make sure to take safety precautions, like removing chlorine from water prior to the bath. A good bathing schedule will keep your hermit crab healthy and happy.

Part 1
Setting Up a Hermit Crab Bath

Setting Up a Hermit Crab Bath on How to Clean a Hermit Crab

1
The container will need to be big enough that your crab can completely submerge itself in the water. A small Tupperware container would work well. You can also use a bowl from your kitchen.[1] Make sure any container you select is clean. You want your hermit crab to bathe in a clean environment. You can quickly clean your container with soap and water prior to placing your hermit crab inside of it.

Setting Up a Hermit Crab Bath on How to Clean a Hermit Crab

2
You can buy a sea salt mixture at a pet store or make one at home. If you choose to make your own, do not simply mix salt and water. The sea salt mixture is prepared in a specific way to help clean a hermit crab.[2][3] You will need to use chlorine free aquarium water in your sea salt mixture. For every gallon of water, use half a cup of sea salt. If you buy a sea salt mixture from a pet store, how you prepare the mixture varies. You will have to follow the instructions on the package that came with your mixture.

Setting Up a Hermit Crab Bath on How to Clean a Hermit Crab

3
Once you have prepared your mixture, you can transfer it to your container. Make sure to add enough water that your crab can fully submerge itself in the sea salt mixture.[4] Leave the bath sitting out for a bit. You should not bathe your hermit crab until the water is at room temperature.

Part 2
Keeping Your Crab Safe

Keeping Your Crab Safe on How to Clean a Hermit Crab

1
Chlorine can be very harmful to hermit crabs. Aquarium water may not contain chlorine. However, if you cannot find chlorine free water, you will need to remove the chlorine yourself.[5][6] You can purchase a solution to remove chlorine from water at a pet store. Follow the instructions carefully. Usually, you only need to use a few drops to remove chlorine from a gallon of water. You can store extra water in your fridge to bathe your crab in the future.

Keeping Your Crab Safe on How to Clean a Hermit Crab

2
Crabs that have just molted have an exoskeleton smell on them. If you have other crabs, they may want to feed on a freshly molted crab. You should bathe a crab shortly after it molts to prevent this if you have multiple crabs in one tank.[7]

Keeping Your Crab Safe on How to Clean a Hermit Crab

3
You want to make sure the area is safe. In the event your crab crawls out of the container, you want it to be safe.[8] If possible, bathe your crab on the floor. Crabs cannot see downward, and may not be able to tell where the edge of the table is. Keep anything toxic, like pesticides, away from the area where you're bathing your crab.

Part 3
Bathing Your Crab

Bathing Your Crab on How to Clean a Hermit Crab

1
It is safe to pick up the hermit crab by the shell. Use your dominant hand to do so. Place your other hand just below the crab. Stretch out your hand and hold it with your palm facing up.[9] Make sure to stretch your hand as much as you can. You want your skin to be flat. A hermit crab my pinch loose skin. Hermit crabs will not feel secure if there is not a surface beneath them when being held. It's important to keep your outstretched below the crab as you transfer your crab to the water.

Bathing Your Crab on How to Clean a Hermit Crab

2
You do not need to bathe your hermit crab yourself. A hermit crab will use the salt water to bathe itself.[10] Allow your crab to use the bath as long as it needs. Do not remove your hermit crab until it stops bathing itself. If you've never bathed your crab before, it may take a bit to come out of its shell. Have patience.

Bathing Your Crab on How to Clean a Hermit Crab

3
Pick your crab up by its shell again. Remember to keep one outstretched hand below the crab.[11] Place your crab back in its aquarium.