Kittens can be messy, but “less is more” is the general rule when it comes to cleaning them. Over-bathed kittens can develop dry skin or become cold if not dried properly. Here are the levels of cleaning depending on how messy the kitten is:
Spot cleaning: Use a baby or pet wipe, or a warm damp cloth and gently wipe the mess. For kittens with food stuck to their face, only use a warm damp cloth.
Half bath: Fill a bowl or sink with 1-2 inches of warm water. Only bathe the messy part of the kitten (such as its rear end). If needed, use baby or pet shampoo, or Dawn dish soap. Use a cup to scoop water and gently rinse off any soap. Thoroughly dry the wet parts of the kitten with a towel and/or blow dryer on low until the fur is completely dry.
Full bath: If the kitten needs a more thorough bath, make sure you do not get water on its head, especially the eyes, nose, and ears!