Cleaning a bird feeder

How to clean bird feeders

Clean bird feeders regularly, to keep them clear of bacteria and fungal spores.

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Bacteria and fungal spores can quickly build on up bird feeders, bird baths and bird tables, which can spread infections among garden birds.

Clean your feeders regularly to minimise the risk of infection, and move your bird table around the garden to prevent a build up of disease in any one area.

Here’s how to clean your bird feeder.

You will need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Bottle brush
  • Bucket
  • Detergent
  • Veterinary disinfectant

Total time:

Step 1

Wearing rubber gloves, empty the feeder of its contents and dispose of them in a bin. Don’t reuse the food or compost it, as it could be harbouring harmful bacteria.


Step 2

Fill a bucket with hot, soapy water. Thoroughly clean the feeder with a brush, scrubbing off any residual food and droppings.


Step 3

Rinse with cold water, preferably under an outside tap. Leave the feeder to stand, allowing it to dry completely.


Step 4

Finally, spray the feeder with a veterinary disinfectant, which should kill any remaining infectious agents. Rinse the feeder again and allow to dry completely, before refilling.


Kate Bradbury says

If you’ve had your feeders for a long time, it might be worth investing in a new set. The design of feeders has come a long way in recent years, and may now have fully detachable parts, making them much easier to clean. Also, in summer, when birds are less likely to rely on supplementary food, prevent bird food from becoming mouldy by only part-filling feeders.

Kate Bradbury