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Lyric Wild Bird Food // Lyric Learning Center // Birdfood and Feeders // How to Clean Your Bird Feeder

How to Clean Your Bird Feeder

Tube feeders can be completely disassembled washed in your kitchen sink.
Tube feeders can be completely disassembled and
washed in your kitchen sink.
iStock/Thinkstock

Cleaning your bird feeders regularly helps keep your backyard birds healthy and can help prevent the spread of diseases.

Cleaning seed feeders

Clean your feeders about once every two weeks, more often during times of heavy use or wet weather (or if there have been reports of salmonella in your area). Moldy or decomposing seeds and hulls that accumulate on feeder trays can make birds sick. Bird droppings and other contaminants may also spread infectious bird diseases. Clean the ground below your feeders, too, to prevent a build-up of hulls, uneaten seeds, and other waste.

To clean your feeder, take it apart and hand wash either with soap and boiling water or with a dilute bleach solution (no more than 1 part bleach to 9 parts water). Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry before refilling.

Maintaining hummingbird feeders

Change sugar water at least every 3 to 5 days to prevent mold and deadly fermentation, and more frequently during hot weather. Clean feeders at least once a week with hot water and a bottle brush. Don’t use soap or a detergent. You can also clean hummingbird feeders by filling with a dilute bleach solution, but make sure to rinse them thoroughly and allow them to air dry before refilling.

Don’t put oil or other sticky substances around feeding ports to deter bees; you might contaminate the nectar. If bees, wasps, or ants become a problem, try moving the feeder.

How do I clean my feeders in winter?

Even in winter it’s important to keep feeders clean in order to keep birds healthy
Even in winter it’s important to keep feeders clean in
order to keep birds healthy.
Todd Galbraith

Cleaning feeders in winter can be challenging, especially in the colder climates where outdoor spouts need to be turned off in winter to prevent freezing.

Here are a few tips for cleaning feeders in winter:

Consider purchasing tube feeders that can be completely disassembled and washed in a diluted bleach solution in the kitchen sink or put in the dishwasher.

Wash suet feeders and hummingbird feeders in a sink or dishwasher.

Use platform feeders with removable trays that can be brought inside and washed in the kitchen sink or dishwasher.

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