How to Clean a Bird Feeder


Keeping Feeders Clean & Healthy; Tips for Routine Maintenance

Bird lovers should do regular inspections of feeders, and clean them at least once a month.

1. Food safety
After any rain, be sure to take a good look at your feeders. Wind can force water inside and the food will need replaced before it spoils. This is a good time to give the feeders a thorough scrubbing. See tips in the link at the bottom of this article. Food should never sit in a feeder for more than 2 weeks. Even in dry weather, the sun will take its toll.

2. Check for Feeder Damages
If any of your feeders are damaged, you can bring CLEAN* feeders by for us to look at and we can tell you if repairs are possible. For some models, we can order parts at a reasonable cost and try to get them back in working order. We order parts once a month, so we'd get them onto the next order.
(* For safe handling by our team, please remove seed and wash feeders before bringing them to us.)

Feeder Cleaning Tips

Responsible bird feeding includes cleaning feeders on a regular basis. In this video we show you how to do it using common household cleaners like dish soap and bleach.

A good feeder brush will make the task easy. Brushes and other feeder accessories are available in-store or on our MyWBU online store.

List of supplies needed to clean your bird feeder:

Dish Soap
Tube Feeder Brush
Scrub Brush
Bleach – regular household bleach
Measuring Cup

Steps to Properly Clean Your Bird Feeder:

Discard old food and debris from the feeder
Fill tub/container with water and some dish soap
Thoroughly scrub the feeder with brushes/rags
Thoroughly rinse all parts
Use a tub/container to create a bleach solution of nine (9) parts water to one (1) part bleach
Soak feeder for a few minutes rotating it to submerge all parts
Remove from bleach solution and thoroughly rinse all parts
Let the feeder dry completely
Refill with fresh food

Here are some general guidelines to follow when caring for your wooden feeders, copper feeders, or tube feeders.

Wooden Feeder Care
Wooden feeders will naturally fade over the years. It is not necessary to treat wood feeders with any products; however, if you wish to maintain the appearance of your feeder, you can follow these simple directions.

Cedar Feeders
This type of wood is widely used for outside use because of its excellent weathering properties that are naturally found in the wood as it grows. Under normal conditions this wood remains functional for many years without. However, it will fade in color as it weathers. If you would like to maintain the attractiveness of the wood, you can give it a coat of wood sealer or linseed oil every few years. It is important to apply water-soluble stain or wood sealer to the outside area of the feeder only. Never apply directly to the eating surface of the bird feeder.

Pine Feeders
Pine feeders weather nicely but will fade with time. Apply linseed oil or a water soluble stain every few years as needed, if desired.

Copper adds warmth and color that cannot be duplicated by any other type of metal. It has the advantage of being highly corrosion resistant. Copper discolors rapidly to a pale green if nothing is done to preserve the color. To restore the brilliant luster of your copper feeder you will need to follow these steps: Polish the copper with a copper cleaner/varnish. Seal the copper with a clear lacquer.

Tube-Style Feeders
To clean seed tube and finch feeders, simply use a brush and warm water. WBU brand tubes have a Quick Clean® removable bottom to make accessing all part easy. If mold or debris is present, use a solution of nine parts water to one part bleach, rinse well, dry and refill with fresh seed. Cleaning your feeders will help them look better longer, and it decreases the possibility of spreading sickness and disease among your birds.