Bird Feeder Cleaning Tips

If you are an avid gardener, then it wouldn’t be surprising to find a bird feeder or two somewhere on your property. Engaging in nature is an obvious pursuit. So it isn’t surprising that you are concerned with all of God’s creatures.

Bird Feeder
(Courtesy: Rainer Hungershausen at

Now that winter is approaching and most of the birds have departed for warmer climates, it is a great time to clean bird feeders.

You may not know it, but bird feeders are the ideal environment for bacteria, mold and other disease agents that can contaminate hungry birds. Once infected, birds can then spread the diseases to other yards, feeding stations, and the wildlife population. This is a common way epidemics arise that could wipe out entire bird nesting colonies. This terrible scenario can be avoided if people clean their bird feeders.

That’s not all. A dirty bird feeder can also cause a whole lot of other issues including foul odors that attract insects, mice, rats, and other unwanted critters. Moreover, the accumulation of grease and debris in the feeder can escape and contaminate your yard or garden. There may also be community rules you may not be aware of that could be violated to say nothing of the excessive wear and tear feeders experience through time that can lead to damage and unsafe conditions for the birds.

Cleaning a bird feeder is actually a very easy undertaking. However, some feeders are easier to clean than others. It is suggested that you select feeders that are easy to clean.  These are made of recycled plastic, metal, glazed ceramic, or glass. These types of materials will not absorb oils and other debris like a wooden feeder.

Items you will need for the task

• Towel to dry the feeder after rinsing.
• Cleaning solution. A homemade cleaner of one part bleach to nine parts of hot water is a great solution or you can purchase commercial bird feeder cleaners. Another alternative is unscented dish soap.
• Utility sink, washtub, or large basin. The bird feeder will have to be soaked first. So a large container is necessary to host the entire structure.
• Rubber gloves to protect from contamination.
• Stiff brush or old toothbrush. You can find stiff brushes in nature, garden, or pet stores.
• A stiff pipe cleaner. This tool is ideal for cleaning the feeding portholes.
• Clear, clean water to rinse the bird feeder thoroughly.

Steps to take to thoroughly clean the feeder.

1. Put on rubber gloves.
2. Remove any leftover seeds from the feeder.
3. Fill the utility sink, washtub, or large basin with a cleaning solution.
4. Submerge the feeder into the tub.
5. Use the toothbrush or stiff brush and stiff pipe cleaner to clean inside and outside the feeder. Be sure to include feeding ports, perches, lids, platforms, reservoirs, hooks, poles, and any other part where birds could perch or where bird feces may collect.
6. Thoroughly rinse the feeder for several seconds. Make sure there is no stuck-on debris, lingering cleansing suds, or chemical odors when you are done rinsing.
7. Dry the feeder completely. You can use a towel, but it may be best to let it dry in direct sunlight.
8. Fill the feeder with seed and replace.

Don’t forget to clean the area surrounding the feeder, too.

• Remove old or damp seed and seed hulls from beneath the feeder.
• Remove rotten fruit from trees where birds feed.
• Refresh mulch or gravel beneath feeders to cover droppings.
• Clean birdbaths, fences, and other perches.
• Trim grass short underneath feeders so that it will be easier to keep clean.

About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.