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Clean Bird Feeders and Baths

Our wildlife experts suggest cleaning your bird feeders at least twice a year, ideally in spring and fall, to help protect the health of the visiting birds.

The feeders should also be emptied and cleaned any time the seed gets wet, is contaminated by bird droppings or when mold appears.

Bird baths should be rinsed and refilled with fresh water daily and cleaned once a week. To clean your feeders and bird baths, wear disposable rubber or vinyl gloves and take the following steps:

  • Empty out the feeder or bath. Disassemble the feeder as much as possible and rinse the feeder or bath with a sharp stream of water to wash away left-over seed, droppings and other debris.
  • Wash the feeder or bath in a bleach water solution of about 1 ½ cups of bleach to one gallon of water.
  • Scrub the feeder or bath with a stiff brush. Specially-designed bird feeder and bird bath cleaning brushes are available that can make this task easier. Or, you can use an old bottle-brush or toothbrush.
  • Let the feeder or bath soak in the bleach-water for at least five minutes. For bird baths, be sure to cover the bath with a piece of cardboard or something similar to keep the birds from drinking or bathing in the bleach solution during the cleaning process.
  • Rinse the feeder or bath with fresh water and let it dry COMPLETELY before filling it with fresh seed or water. Avoid getting the bleach solution on landscape plantings.

Also, clean up fallen seeds and shells from the ground beneath your feeders. These seeds can become contaminated by bird droppings and make birds sick.