How to clean bird feeders for feathered friends   

Man and child with bird feeder

Having a feathered friend or two flapping about is fantastic. The birdsong. The connection with nature. But the constant pooping? Not so much. There are ways to find peace with the poop and gloop that gather on the feeder, though. It’s a completely natural process, after all, and is easy to deal with once you know how to clean bird feeders 

How often should you clean your feeders? 

When getting into the nitty-gritty of how often to clean bird feeders, the first thing to note is to try to avoid leaving the gunk lying around for too long. This isn’t one of those jobs you want to put off, as the longer it’s left the harder it’ll be to get the poop off. So, if you see something splodgey, it’s best to act quickly. 


Tip: When it comes to cleaning jobs, scraping away bird poo is pretty high on the grossness scale, but with Plenty kitchen towel the task is made easier. It’s super-absorbent, so a single sheet is enough to wipe away the poop. And It’s great for wet strength too, so is perfect for wiping your feeder clean of gunk. And that deserves a fist bump (or wing bump, in this case).     


We’re focussing on poop here – but you also want to be cleaning bird feeder surfaces of old food, too. It’s all gross stuff and can lead to a build-up of bacteria. Cleaning feeders on a weekly or bi-weekly basis is a good idea if you can. 


The best way to clean bird feeders’ surrounds 

You might be a first time bird enthusiast or a fan for years, but we can all learn how to clean bird feeders more effectively. And while it’s not necessarily the most pleasant experience, it shouldn’t take too long. Here’s one of the easiest ways to clean bird feeder surrounds: 

  1. If you’ve got a hanging feeder, remove it and get rid of any remaining food.  
  2. They can get pretty gunky, so soaking in a bucket of hot soapy water is a good idea. Hopefully that’ll remove most of the grime. 
  3. Gloves on. Give the surrounds a good scrub with a brush to remove any sludge and slime. Wipe away with kitchen towel. 
  4. Really stubborn gross-ness? Have you got a power hose? Give it a blast. If not, repeat the above process. This is a good point to mention how often to clean bird feeders again. The more regularly you do it, the easier it’ll be.  
  5. Rinse thoroughly and leave to dry. 

The best way to clean bird feeders’ perches 

Perches are prime spots for poop. Makes sense really. So this is an area that needs close attention. And although it might sound like a really foul job, not quite as nasty as you thought – and it’s really easy. Here’s what you need to do: 


  1. Scrape off any dry, crusty poop. Something scrape-y should do the job. A pick, file, old butter knife… anything you’re OK using on bird poo. Or, for wooden perches, grab a bit of sandpaper and rub away the evidence. 
  2. All gone? If not, then back to our old friend – hot soapy water. Submerge the perch if you can and give it a good scrub. It’s important to get all the grime off all parts, so that bacteria doesn’t build up. 
  3. Dry the perch. Although plastic perches dry quickly, wooden ones don’t, so it’s good to have a couple and rotate them when cleaning. 

How to remove old food, ready for the new  

If you notice any food looking particularly funky, or the birds turning their beaks up, it’s definitely time to change it. Don’t feel bad, though – there’s a whole host of reasons it may have spoiled, or that the birds aren’t having it. Whether you’re going to try a new seed mix or replace like for fresh like, here’s how to go about it: 


  1. Dig, pick, shake and scrape all the old food out. 
  2. Thoroughly clean. We wouldn’t eat our dinner off of a bean-stained plate, so it’s no surprise birds wouldn’t eat theirs off of a feeder crusted in sunflower seed scumminess!  
  3. Once the feeding slot, box, tube [enter your own term here] is completely clean and dry – it’s essential it’s dry – add the new food. 

Quick note on the dryness here. It’s massively important. If the feeder contains moisture the food will spoil a lot quicker. That can’t always be helped, but you’ll prolong the life of the food if the feeder is thoroughly dry. 

First time bird lover or seasoned spotter, these cleaning bird feeder tips will help you keep yours fresh for your feathered friends. It’s time to clear away the gunk with ease. And perhaps be thankful it landed on the feeder, and not on your head! 

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