(exerpt from my care manual)
Textile vs. Particulate Bedding
The debate of what bedding is best for pet hedgehogs has been ongoing since they were first imported. The general consensus is that fabric liners are the safest, most comfortable, and most cost effective choice. The extensive list of problems with shavings and paper products make them an unpopular choice with many hedgehog owners.
Liners: Cage liners are made from fabric to fit the bottom of the cage. These are changed twice a week or so, and are washable. Most fabrics are durable and the liners will last a very long time. You will likely only need to buy them once for your hedgie's life. They can be made of fleece (most popular), flannel, corduroy, or vellux. Vellux is more easily shredded if your hedgie decides to dig. Fleece also seems to like to make little “pills” of fluff which you may find caught on your hedgie's nails or in his quills. Fleece and vellux do not need to be hemmed at the edges because they will not fray. Flannel or corduroy should be hemmed so no loose threads can catch limbs. Light colored liners are great for monitoring a hedgie's health, because you can easily notice any blood or unusual changes in urine or feces. Some people don't like the idea of washing something covered in hedgie poop in the same washer that they do their clothes. That is a personal preference but if you shake off the liners, they should not be too bad.
Pros: Comfortable for hedgie, easy to change, cost effective, also, easy to notice health problems.
Cons: Can smell if not changed often, possible washing inconvenience.
Shavings: If you are using shavings, you will want a cage with a base several inches deep so they don't spill out everywhere. Aspen shavings are the safest to use, with kiln-dried pine in second as acceptable. Aspen shavings are the only phenol-free shavings available. This is the reason for not using cedar or any untreated pine or other type of shavings. The aromatic oils are toxic to small animals and cause awful respiratory problems. With kiln-dried pine, most of these phenols are removed, but some are still there after the treatment. Another effect of these oils is a rise in liver enzymes which *******? Shavings can be messy and dusty, but for someone more concerned for odor control this may be a popular choice. Remember that you shouldn't ever put off cleaning to the point where you are relying on the wood scent to keep the smell down. You should spot clean daily and completely clean the cage and replace shavings once a week or so.
Pros: Allows a hedgie to dig.
Cons: Messy, dusty, pieces can get caught in male parts, can harbor mites, can have harmful phenols.
Paper bedding: CareFresh and Yesterday's News are two popular recycled paper products. These beddings are similar to shavings, but without the phenols. They are often extremely dusty and can contribute to dry skin. Some hedgehogs decide that the bedding is tasty and will eat it. This is dangerous and can cause a potentially fatal blockage. If you notice your hedgie eating the bedding at all, switch to something that they decide doesn't taste good.
Pros: Less harsh on the respiratory system as shavings
Other bedding: Corn cob is not recommended. It does not absorb urine, and molds easily. The pieces are also easy to get stuck uncomfortably in a male's penile sheath. Using no bedding at all is not a good idea because whatever surface that you would use instead would likely get cold and not be comfortable. As previously clarified, hedgehogs must not be kept on wire floors because their feet and nails are not made for them and is painful to walk on.