How To Clean A Birdbath

February 27, 2021 // 8 minutes read

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how to clean a birdbath

Have you ever wondered about the simplest and most effective ways to properly clean a birdbath? “How to clean a birdbath” has been weighing on my mind lately. So, I put in the time, did hours of research, and came up with some great answers that I shared below.

Keeping birdbaths clean requires a small amount of effort on your part. Combine one part bleach and nine parts water. Rinse the birdbath with this solution to loosen the stains and scrub the basin with a brush to eliminate dirt, mold, bugs, and algae buildup. Avoid using synthetic soaps and cleaners because they strip bird feathers of natural essential oils.

Next, I’ll provide detailed information about:

  • How to clean a birdbath, step-by-step
  • Materials to use
  • Birdbath cleaning equipment
  • Why cleaning your birdbath is necessary
  • How frequently to clean a birdbath
  • Minimizing birdbath dirt and grime

Let’s get to it without any further delay…

how to clean a birdbath
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Cleaning A Bird Bath: Step By Step Guidelines

Cleaning a birdbath is fairly self-explanatory. But there are certain steps to take to ensure you maintain a clean, healthy, and sanitary receptacle for your feathered friends.

The main steps include the following:

Step #1: Empty The Birdbath

Before we begin cleaning and scrubbing the bowl or fountain, it’s best to drain or dump out the old water.

Why? The water is likely old and stagnant at this point. There may be old birdseed, dirt, debris, and feces floating around in this liquid.

As you can imagine, stagnant and dirty water is unhealthy for the birds and it’s unhealthy for you and your loved ones as well. So, take a moment to empty the birdbath entirely.

You may need to tip over the birdbath to empty it out. Or, there might be a drain plug on the bottom of the birdbath that you can remove to drain the stagnant water.

Please do this before moving on to the next step in the cleaning process.

Step #2: Remove Large Debris From The Bowl

Next, it’s time to get your hands dirty so to speak. There’s nothing wrong with hard work and a little bit of elbow grease.

Look inside the bowl of your birdbath. What do you see? Do you see large deposits of contaminants like debris, feces, and spilled birdseed?

You can remove this debris using a few methods that include:

  • Scrub the large deposits with a scrub brush
  • Wipe them off with a disposable wash rag
  • Use a hose with a pressure washer attachment

Any of these methods will remove the large debris deposits. Don’t worry about getting it perfect because we still have a few more steps before we’re finished.

Step #3: Use A Bleach Solution To Scrub The Birdbath

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned combining one part bleach to nine parts water to create an effective cleaning solution. Now, I’d like you to take this cleaning solution and pour some into the birdbath.

Next, take your scrub brush and thoroughly scrub the entirety of the bowl and basin. Put enough necessary effort toward scrubbing to remove the dirt, grime, algae, and scum.

Is it difficult to clean even with the bleach solution? Your birdbath might be extremely dirty if this is the case. Take a break from scrubbing and allow the bleach solution to soak the birdbath for several minutes before trying again.

Here’s the thing…

You must keep a close eye on your birdbath while it’s soaking in the bleach solution. This bleach-filled water could harm the birds. So, keep the bath covered, or stand there and shoo the birds away if they attempt to land in the basin before it’s finished soaking.

You’re doing this for their safety. Do not be afraid to really scare them away if necessary.

Step #4: Rinse Out The Birdbath

Is your birdbath crystal-clear and clean now that you’ve soaked and scrubbed it? Good. I’m glad you did such an excellent job.

But your work isn’t done.

Now, it’s time to rinse out your birdbath. You have to remove the bleach and chlorine smell immediately. Otherwise, it will potentially harm or turn away your feathered friends.

Quite possibly, you may have a slight chlorine smell no matter how much you rinse the birdbath. Don’t worry if this is the case as long as the smell isn’t pungent or persistent. If the odor is so strong that it’s immediately noticeable, you must rinse it again to dilute the smell.

Also, continue rinsing the birdbath until chemical foaming from the bleach no longer persists. Once there’s no more foam, you’ll know that you’ve successfully completed your task.

Step #5: Dry Off The Birdbath In Direct Sunlight

Why bother drying the birdbath if you plan to fill it with water again? This is a great question, so I’ll fill you in on my reasoning.

Did you know that sunlight will break down chlorine? If chlorine bleach still remains in the bowl after rinsing, the sunlight will break it down and eliminate it. This will prevent accidentally contaminating the birdbath after you refill the water.

Step #6: Fill Your Birdbath With Water

Make sure the water is clean, fresh, and crystal-clear. The birds are going to love it and these beautiful winged creatures will begin enjoying your exciting birdbath again in no time.

Either use a hose, watering can, or bucket to quickly and easily refill the basin.

That’s all there is to it. Good job!

Are you more of a visual learner? Please watch the birdbath cleaning process from start to finish to receive visual instructions.

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Materials & Equipment To Use

  • Rubber gloves
  • Scrub brush
  • Disposable washcloth
  • Pressure washer attachment and hose
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Water

Why Is It Necessary To Clean My Birdbath?

Keeping your birdbath clean is necessary for a few reasons. Some things to consider include:

  • Birds drink from your birdbath. Keeping it clean means providing tasty and fresh water that they’ll enjoy.
  • Dirty water is associated with disease. Mosquitoes and gnats will drink this polluted water and potentially infect other birds, animals, and human beings.
  • Clean water is healthy and attractive to birds. Your freshly cleaned birdbath will attract a wide variety of backyard birds for your enjoyment.

How Frequently Should I Clean My Birdbath?

Certain factors will determine how frequently you should clean your birdbath. The most important factors include:

  • Water quality
  • Weather
  • Birdbath location
  • Birdbath usage

First, let’s consider the water quality. Does the water turn dirty and grimy quickly? Pay close attention to the water every day.

If it gets cloudy and filled with dirt in a day or two, you should clean the birdbath as soon as the mucky water appears.

How about the weather? Does it get really hot in your hometown? The water likely evaporates often if you reside in a very warm climate.

Or maybe the leaves fall from the trees in your backyard during autumn?

In certain situations, it’s best to clean your birdbath more often than not. The weather can potentially dictate how dirty your birdbath gets at certain times of the year.

The location of your birdbath also plays a role in how often you should clean it. If it’s located in an area that attracts lots of dirt and debris (i.e., tree branches, leaves, grime) then you should clean it as soon as you see that it’s dirty.

Finally, do lots of birds use your birdbath regularly? The more feathered friends you have using your birdbath, the more often you should clean it.

On average, most birdbath owners tend to clean them anywhere from 2-4 times per week. This ensures that the birdbath remains clean, sanitized, and healthy for your favorite winged friends that enjoy spending time in your backyard.

Minimizing Dirt and Grime In A Birdbath

Minimizing birdbath dirt and grime is more than possible. Following the next few steps should make it easy to accomplish:

  • Do not add fresh water on top of dirty or stagnant water. Dump out the old water and refill the basin with fresh new water.
  • Create distance between your birdfeeders and birdbath. This will prevent seeds from accidentally spilling into the birdbath water.
  • Keep your birdbath in the shade when possible. This slows evaporation and minimizes the amount of algae growth in your basin.
  • Place your birdbath in a debris free location. Keep it away from falling leaves, grass clippings, and other potential dirty hazards that could contaminate and muddy your birdbath water.
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