How to Clean Bird Feeders to Keep Your Birds Safe

Bird feeders may attract birds of many types to your property and feed them throughout the winter months when they might otherwise go hungry. If you’ve suddenly realized that your feeders are looking a little dirty, it’s probably a good time to learn how to clean bird feeders. Don’t worry; cleaning bird feeders to keep them clear of mold or other dirt is simple.

This is crucial because it helps reduce disease transmission among birds who stop by for a snack. To maintain seed feeders and hummingbird feeders safe and clean, use the cleaning techniques outlined below.

Cleaning Seed Bird Feeders

It is critical to understand when to clean out birdhouses and feeders. As a general guideline, clean hanging bird feeders at least every two weeks, and more frequently if mold appears between cleanings. Ground feeders (which cardinals like) should be cleaned more regularly, roughly every other day.

Vinegar is an excellent bird feeder cleaner. Vinegar disinfects in addition to eliminating dirt and debris from the feeder; can destroy E. coli, salmonella, and other infections. Here’s how to use vinegar to clean bird feeders.

STEP 1: Empty the bird feeder and dispose of the filthy seeds carefully.

Begin by donning gloves to protect yourself from infections that birds may bring. Then, before you start cleaning your feeders, you must empty them. Tossing the seeds on the ground may cause them to grow or attract bugs. Put any unclean or moldy seeds in a sealable bag and discard them.

STEP 2: If feasible, disassemble the feeder and shake out any stray seed or debris.

If a bird feeder is composed of more than one component (such as squirrel-proof feeders), disassemble it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will allow you to clean each component more completely. If appropriate, give the feeder a thorough shake after dismantling it to remove any loose particles. You may also scrape off stuck-on crud with a pointed object, such as a screwdriver.

STEP 3: Soak the feeder in a mix of vinegar and water.

It is recommended that you clean bird feeders using distilled white vinegar rather than bleach. (Bleach is particularly hazardous to birds if not properly diluted.) In a bucket or tub large enough to contain a feeder, combine equal parts distilled white vinegar and warm water. Allow at least 10 minutes for each feeder to soak in the solution.

STEP 4: Using a bottle brush, scrub the feeder (optional).

If there is still filth on a bird feeder after soaking it in the vinegar and water solution, clean it off with a bottle brush. Return the feeder to the tub to soak for an additional 10 minutes after removing the debris.

STEP 5: Rinse, dry, and put the bird feeder back together.

Rinse the feeders with clean water to remove all of the vinegar. After that, place the feeders on a kitchen towel to dry thoroughly. The speed with which they dry is determined by the type of feeder used. Mesh feeders should be dry in a few hours, however, tube feeders may require many days. If necessary, you may leave a feeder out in the sun to minimize drying time. Reassemble the feeders after they have dried (where applicable).

STEP 6: Thoroughly clean the area surrounding the bird feeder.

Remember to clean the area surrounding your seed bird feeder as well. Keeping the ground beneath the feeder clean can lessen the likelihood of bugs or other animals encroaching on the birds’ dining area. You should also think about how to clean bird baths near the feeder; the same vinegar and water solution, as well as scrubbing and thorough washing, works just as well on bird baths.

How to Clean Bird Feeders to Keep Your Birds Safe

Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders

Vinegar is also excellent for cleaning hummingbird feeders. When considering how often to clean bird feeders for hummingbirds, keep in mind that they require more regular cleaning than bird seed feeders. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned every day since the sugar water in them quickly breeds germs. Continue reading to find out how to clean hummingbird feeders using vinegar and water.

STEP 1: Remove the feeder and drain the sugar water.

To protect yourself from infections that hummingbirds might transmit, put on gloves before touching any hummingbird feeders. Remove any remaining sugar water from the feeder and disassemble it. Completely dismantle the feeder so that you can carefully clean each component.

STEP 2: Soak the feeder in a vinegar-water solution.

Fill a bucket or tub halfway with warm water and distilled white vinegar. Allow all hummingbird feeder components to soak in the tub or bucket for at least 10 minutes.

STEP 3: Using bottle brushes, clean all of the feeder’s apertures and crevices.

Hummingbird feeders can be made up of multiple parts with tiny apertures. Using a bottle brush set with various brush sizes might assist guarantee that you are able to clean out the whole feeder. Pipe cleaners can also assist in getting into the feeder’s narrower places.

STEP 4: Rinse and dry all of the components entirely.

Rinse each component of the hummingbird feeder completely with cold water, taking care to eliminate any signs of vinegar. Lay the feeder parts out to dry on a kitchen towel or dish drying rack. The feeder should then be reassembled and filled with fresh sugar water.

Final Thoughts

It is vital to keep your seed bird feeders and hummingbird feeders clean in order to safeguard the health of the birds that frequent your yard. Remember to clean seed bird feeders every other week or sooner if you see mold. Hummingbird feeders must be cleaned on a regular basis since the sugar water in them can ferment and produce bacteria.


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