How Do You Clean a Bird Feeder?

Cleaning your bird feeders may be one of the most tedious things that come with trying to attract birds to your feeder. Luckily for you, we have several tips, tricks, and products that can turn this chore into a few simple steps that increase the amount of traffic your feeder will get from our healthy feathered friends.

Why Do I Need to Clean My Bird Feeder?

A clean bird feeder prevents germs and bacteria from hanging around, potentially harming your backyard birds. With time and high temperatures, the dangers of stale, rotten or funky food are increased and your feeders will require more frequent cleanings. Keep in mind that areas of your backyard with lots of sunshine will spoil your seed more quickly — the same goes for nectar, fruits, etc. Place your feeders in areas with moderate sunshine and adequate shade.

Which Feeders are Easy to Clean?

Before you go out and begin your search for a feeder, it’s important to understand certain feeders are easier to clean than others. There are three types of feeders that you can narrow your search to if you are trying to find quick-clean styles:

Tube Feeders: These types of feeders are some of the easiest to clean, as all you really need is some soap and warm water. Simply take the top off the tube and place your feeder into a bucket of warm water. Add about a teaspoon of liquid soap, and allow it to soak for about 10 minutes before taking it out and rinsing in clean water. Once dry, you can add your new seed to your sparkling-clean feeder — it’s as simple as that.

Window Feeders: These feeders are also incredibly easy to clean. Typically, you’ll only need to give the feeder a wipe or two with a cloth that has been soaked in warm water and soap. You can also take the same approach as with tube feeders and soak your feeder in warm water and soap if there are trouble spots of dirt or grime. These feeders, along with being incredibly easy to install, will never leave you frustrated or overwhelmed with the amount of clean up.

Hopper Feeders: Hopper feeders provide a tray, where the feed sits, that can be easily removed for simple cleaning using the same method of soaking mentioned above. Once the tray is out, a quick wipe down of the rest of the feeder will lead to a perfectly fresh and clean set up for our feathered friends to come and feast while keeping them healthy and happy all summer long. As always, remember to allow the feeder plenty of time to dry off.


While all of these feeders will help alleviate the time and frustration that comes with cleaning and maintaining your feeders, and keeping our bird friends healthy, there are also plenty of steps that you can take if you don’t have these specific feeders. We have some tips and tricks that you can employ yourself.

Pro Tips for Clean Feeders

Clean with a schedule: Having a regular cleaning schedule will help reduce the time spent cleaning all of your feeders as the longer you allow that dirt and grime to sit on your feeder, the more time you will have to devote to cleaning it off. Feeders should be cleaned at least once every two weeks to avoid spoiled seed or nectar and a buildup of grime, which would certainly render your feeder unattractive to feeding birds.

Keep it sanitary: Be sure to use the right equipment and cleaning solutions while you are cleaning your feeder to ensure you keep that birds that flock to your backyard will stay healthy and fully fed. Most importantly, you’ll need rubber gloves, a good cleaning solution (either bleach or at least dish soap), and a brush of some sort. Allow both the inside and outside of your feeder to dry before refilling it to prevent any mold or mildew. Once the feeder is completely dry, fill ‘er up. Fresh, long-lasting seed will keep the feathered friends in your backyard or garden healthier.


Not just the feeders: Keeping your feeders clean is incredibly important, but there are also other steps you can take around your feeder to make the space more inviting, safe, and populated with healthy birds. Cleaning out old seed or fruit from underneath your feeder will tidy up the surrounding area. Be sure to change out seed, fruit or nectar every few days, depending on your climate, so the local birds have fresh food. Lastly, try placing a birdbath near your feeders to encourage the birds to grab a drink or rinse off, which often leads to repeat visitors.

Picking up one of these easy-to-clean feeders, all of which are available on our site here, will help you save time and prevent the birds from getting sick or diseased. However, even if you don’t want to go out and purchase one of these specific feeders, or already have a feeder of your own, the tips above can help any Bird Nerd keep their feeders in tip-top shape, allowing your feathered friends to stay happy and healthy throughout the feeding season.

Videos courtesy of Lesley the Bird Nerd.