From wood chips to newspaper shreddings, recycled paper to cotton, there are many different product avenues you can take when it comes to small pet bedding materials.
Some of the most popular bedding materials used are Aspen chips. Never use Cedar or Pine, as Cedar can cause splintering and soreness of the paws, and Pine can be inhaled and cause breathing problems in small caged animals such as gerbils, mice, hamsters and even guinea pigs.
Aspen bedding comes in a variety of sizes, scents and even colors. For hamsters, gerbils and mice, you will need to change the bedding in the cage once every two weeks, and do a deep clean with warm water (but no soap, as that can hurt your hamster) once every month. Rats, rabbits and guinea pigs will need their cages cleaned at least once weekly, and deep cleaned every two to three weeks.
If you are looking for bedding that will last a little bit longer than Aspen shavings, you can buy Kaytee Soft-Sorbent Bedding, which is made out of recycled newspaper pellets. These are great for indoor animals. It reduces the smell, retains water better than other brands of bedding and is still pretty affordable.
The last alternative to hamster bedding is CAREFRESH Pet Bedding. This is the most expensive of the options, but also the most long-lasting. It is hypoallergenic, soft and non toxic. The cotton-like softness helps protect sensitive skin.
While any of these can be good option for you and your small pet, it all boils down to personal preference. Go out, try a few products and find what works for you.