If Your Hummingbird Feeder Looks Cloudy, This Is What It Means

Follow these tips for maintaining seed and suet feeders to keep your backyard birds healthy in every season. Here's how to clean bird feeders.

A clean bird feeder is essential, and it’s definitely something to keep in mind when you’re buying or building a new one. In addition to how attractive the feeder looks, how sturdy it feels, and how much seed it holds, consider how to clean bird feeders.

When birds eating at feeders come in close proximity, the spread of bird disease is more likely. Summer heat and rains can cause seed and suet to spoil or mold much quicker, especially if your feeders are in the sun. Accumulated bird droppings also create an unhealthy environment.

How to Clean Bird Feeders

It’s important to keep feeders and the surrounding area clean to avoid spreading illness. Clean your seed and suet feeders thoroughly every few weeks (and even more often in hot and humid weather). Remove and discard any leftover seed. Spray and wipe feeders with a 10 percent bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water) and a stiff brush. Rinse well with clean water. Allow feeders to dry completely before filling and putting them back up.

Mild days in early spring are the perfect time to assess the condition of feeders that have been outside all winter. Check for cracks, broken perches or damaged baffles. Repair or replace them if necessary. It’s also the perfect time to give feeders a deep cleaning. Once or twice a season, take them down and give them a full wash with hot water and soap. Or run them through the dishwasher. Many birds feed on the ground, so be sure to sweep up the husks and dropped seeds under and around feeders.

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Alex Shoemaker
Alex Shoemaker is the Digital Newsletter Editor of Family Handyman.