How to Clean a Bird Bath

One of the joys of looking out the patio door or quietly sitting on your back deck is to see birds frolicking in the bird bath. They’ll splash about and then perch on the edge, fluffing and preening their feathers. Birds also drink from the birdbath. Filling the birdbath with fresh water daily should be a part of your plant-watering routine. Maybe you have noticed how dirty it can become, especially in the heat of the summer. That’s why it’s important to know how to clean a bird bath.

Bird bath placement

A birdbath placed near a shrub(s) with a little bit of shade throughout the day is a great place for birds to cool off. The birds can disappear into the bushes at any hint of danger.

Over time, if lots of birds are frequenting your bird bath, the water can become stagnant, attracting bacteria and maybe even algae growth. While it isn’t a super involved process, once you learn how to clean a bird bath, you’ll attract birds to the yard and ensure they leave healthy.

How to clean a bird bath

The first step is to get rid of any stagnant water that is in the bird bath. This might be a two-person job. Many birdbaths are in two pieces, so it’s easy to lift the bowl (with help) to dump it out. Remove any debris, like bird poop, feathers, and leaves or other garden debris. A heavy spray of water from your hose nozzle should help with this part.

Next, use a stiff bristle scrub brush to give your bird bath a good wash. You might want to wear rubber gloves. Instead of using soap or bleach to clean the bird bath, the National Audubon Society recommends scrubbing it with nine parts water to one-part vinegar. You might want to let the solution soak for a few minutes. Be sure to stay close to the bird bath so no birds sneak in!

Pour the vinegar solution into a bucket and dispose of it when you’re done cleaning. Use the heavy nozzle spray to rinse the bowl of your bird bath. Allow it to dry before refilling.

Fill your bird bath with fresh water. Refill it every day or every other day, depending on how much water is lost to evaporation in the summer or how much rain you’ve had. Keep a special eye on the bird bath during fall migration when you might have more birds discovering your yard.

Consider cleaning your bird bath every few weeks, or more often if it’s being used more than usual.