How to Clean Bird Feeders with Vinegar?

How to clean bird feeders with vinegar

For centuries, vinegar has been used as a preservative agent because of its acid content. Like other popular preserved food such as yoghurt and soya beans, vinegar has active microorganisms, which converts other components into something else like sugar and then to acetic acid.

Chemically, vinegar content is composed of 5 to 20 percent acetic acid, natural flavors and water. Because of this acid content, its antiseptic component, it is use to disinfect surfaces hence an answer to some cleaning problems. Knowing how to clean bird feeders with vinegar will not only save you money for expensive cleaning remedies but also for medical expenses from bird flu.

Historically, Hippocrates used vinegar as an antiseptic for wounds, the doctor of medicine since the 420 B.C making vinegar as a great cleaning agent.

Technically, it can be tasking to clean those tiny bird feeder tubes, especially when our friendly feathery friends enjoyed doing the ‘the number two’ while feeding on the birdseeds.

cleaning bird feeders with vinegar

For bird enthusiasts, cleaning your bird feeder at least once a month is important in keeping the birds healthy. In fact, bird expert Annie Bond explained that for some birds, such as the hummingbird, must be cleaned once every four days.

Keeping it clean will result deter the possibility of Aspergillus Fumigatus, a kind of fungi that grows on dirty feeders. The fungi cause respiratory infections in birds.

However, it is important to note that while being clean is a priority, all cleaning agents used must not be harmful to the birds. Thus, non-toxic solutions such as vinegar and baking soda may be your best choices. The use of the wonder liquid vinegar makes the chore easier and eventually safer for birds.

So how do you clean bird feeders with vinegar?

Here are three easy cleaning tips!


Step 1: It is important to clean the bird surface of the feeders outside the house. Fill a big tub with enough water and using an outdoor hose, clean the dried saliva or bird poop from the feeder’s exterior. You can use a squirt of odorless liquid soap and a small cup of distilled vinegar to serve as antiseptic. You can scrub it lightly.

Because it is impossible to know where the birds migrated from, remember to use gloves while doing all of these to protect yourself from any transferrable diseases.

Step 2: After cleaning the surface, it is important to thoroughly clean the interior parts of the bird feeder as well. To do this, soak the feeder in the same big tub with a fresh mix of liquid soap and vinegar. Using a bottle scrubber, scrub the part you can reach and rinse thoroughly using a high-pressure hose.  Again, even it looks clean, do not attempt to do this without gloves. A simple contact to H5N1 virus is enough to transmit it from birds to human.

Step 3: After it is rinsed and dried a bit, fill the tub with 4 cups of regular vinegar and clean water. Soak the feeder for at least one hour. Make sure that the tub is filled to the brim. After one hour, thoroughly rinse the feeder and let it dry under the sun. If there’s no sun (especially during winter), dry the feeder using hair dryer before filling it up with fresh batch of birdseeds.

Many birders agree that the reason for the use of vinegar is not just to protect the birds but to protect humans who live nearby. Infected birds can transmit the deadly H5N1 or commonly known as Avian Influenza through their nasal secretions, saliva and bird poop. These are normally left behind or get stuck into the surfaces of the bird feeder.


H5N1 became a pandemic disease since a transfer from bird to humans was documented in 1997.

Aside from Avian Flu, other diseases that can possibly get stuck into the feeder are salmonella, trichomoniasis, aspergillosis. Such diseases can be transferred easily during crowding feeding time. Rubbing of infected feathers and secretions can also make birds vulnerable to other parasites such as mites and lice.

For this, coming up with natural solutions to clean your bird feeder such as vinegar is not only a good and effective way to disinfect the surfaces of the feeder and reduce the transmission of these diseases.

Lastly, do not compromise the soaking time. The more time it gets submerged in the solution, the better it is for both you and the birds. To ensure that birds still has bird feeders to snack from while you are cleaning and disinfecting, rotate the habit of bird feeder cleaning every month.

While you are figuring out the most efficient way of cleaning your bird feeder with vinegar (scrubbing, rinsing, drying it out), you also need to observe the birds coming to your backyard feeder. If you notice any anomaly such as a bird being sick or if there are sick birds in the vicinity, stop the feeding and call the wildlife officials immediately.

A sick bird does not eat enthusiastically and may show signs of weakness. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than keeping yourself and the birds healthy.

How to Clean Bird Feeders with Vinegar?
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