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How to Clean Bird Feeders with Vinegar

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Installing a bird feeder station in your backyard can be a fun and rewarding experience. Apart from bringing color and activity, it also helps preserve the wild birds and nature in general. However, as time goes by, bird wastes and other forms of dirt accumulates, which means cleaning the structure is needed. And cleaning can be done using a readily accessible primary ingredient, vinegar.

But how to clean bird feeders with vinegar? How effective is this kitchen item in removing dirt and making the bird feeder clean? These questions will be answered along with other information in cleaning bird feeders the right way using vinegar as the primary cleaning agent. If you are unsure how to clean the bird feeder now, read this article from start to finish and be equipped with knowledge on how to do it properly.


Why Vinegar is an Excellent Cleaning Agent for Bird Feeders?

Through the years, vinegar has gained an excellent reputation of being an all-around cleaner. Many people are using a vinegar solution in cleaning different parts of the home. Whether it’s the countertop, sink, or other home surfaces, vinegar can help in eliminating foul odors and removing dirt. Also, the best thing about vinegar is that it can be mixed with other ingredients such as baking soda to clean difficult surfaces.

I was always impressed by vinegar and its ability as a cleaning agent. It can physically remove dirt, debris, and even germs located on different surfaces. But what impressed me is it also comes with some disinfecting properties as it contains 5 percent acetic acid, which is known for dissolving various types of dirt, debris, and grimes. It can even kill certain types of pathogens such as salmonella and E. Coli.

Because of the properties stated above, vinegar can also help in cleaning bird feeders in your backyard. Being a cleaning can help remove all the bird wastes and other forms of dirt inside and outside the bird feeder station. Also, having some disinfecting properties can help to remove some germs found on the structure. You will just have to combine this excellent ingredient with other cleaning agents to increase its effectiveness.

How to Clean a Bird Feeder

According to the National Audubon Society, an N.G.O. protecting birds and the places they need, cleaning a bird feeder should be done twice a month. Now, if you find sick birds in your bird feeding station, then the cleaning effort should be increased to maximize the removal of all dirt. If you are not familiar with cleaning a bird feeder, please check out the steps below:

Emptying the Bird Feeder Station

The first step is to make the bird feeder empty from everything. This action means removing all the birdseed inside the feeder. Once all the seeds are removed, your next step is essential: to throw the seeds in the right place. Those wet and momaking a baby mockingbird formulaldy seeds should be put safely in a plastic bag before throwing them out in the trash.

Also, please be careful of spreading the seeds in the garden are because they might germinate. Another thing to remember is to avoid spreading the seeds in your backyard, thinking that the birds will eat them because they might unintentionally invite rodents and pests apart from the birds.

Soaking the Bird Feeder

The next step is to soak the bird feeder in hot water with mild soap. The purpose of doing this step will remove all the dirt, including bird droppings and food remnants. If you feel that this dirt is too hard to remove, I suggest soaking it in boiling water to increase the effectiveness of the cleaning process.

If you are using suet bird feeders, dish soap can be used to degrease and cutting through the suet film and stickiness. Soaking it for 15 minutes can loosen all the remnants, but if it is too hard, soak it a little longer. This action will help loosen all the seeds that are stuck in the bottom.

Scrubbing the Bird Feeder

After soaking your bird feeder, the next step is to upgrade the cleaning process by scrubbing the surface of the bird feeder. You can use a stiff brush to remove all the dirt and remnants that were not removed during the soaking process. If you are using a tube feeder, a bottle brush, or a specialized tube feeder brush, remove all the dirt inside effectively.

After ensuring that all the dirt is removed, the next step is to rinse the bird feeder by spraying it with water. If you feel that there are still dirt and remnants that are not removed, you can repeat the soaking and scrubbing process a few times until you get a well-cleaned bird feeder.

Disinfect with Vinegar

Once all the dirt is removed, the next step is to disinfect the bird feeder to remove all the germs on the surface. This step is where the vinegar is of great use as a disinfectant. You can create a vinegar disinfecting solution by mixing 50 percent water and 50 percent vinegar. You will need to soak the bird feeder for about 10 minutes minimum to maximize the effect. Once the disinfecting process is finished, rinse the bird feeder with water to remove the vinegar solution.

Drying the Bird Feeder

After cleaning the bird feeder, the next step is to dry it before refilling the feeder station with seeds. If you are using tube feeders, it may take a day or two before it will be dried up. However, if you have a mesh feeder, it will dry quickly in a few hours. You can also quicken the drying process by exposing them to the sunlight. You can check if the bord feeder is dry by overturning it to ensure no water remains.

Cleaning the Area Around the Feeder

Once the bird feeder is cleaned, you can also clean the area around and below them. If there are seeds and other forms of dirt, make sure to remove them and clean the area. Cleaning the ground below the feeder and surrounding it will prevent other unwanted creatures from invading your bird feeder station.


Learning how to clean bird feeders with vinegar can be an excellent alternative apart from using a commercial product. Vinegar is a natural solution and has been proven to clean and remove dirt on any surface. Its disinfecting properties can help in keeping the bird feeder clean and free from germs.

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