Updated at: 06-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

The easiest approach to clean a bird bath entails giving the bowl numerous soaks to dissolve any stubborn residue, which can take up to four steps.

Emptying the unclean water and then scooping away any goop, algae, or scraping out excrement from the rim is the best method for cleaning a bird bath. Soak the bowl in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes, or use a harsher solution if the grime won’t budge. Use a brush or scour pad and water to remove soap residue before rinsing.

Cleaning Bird Baths

The greatest method to prevent algae from growing in a bird bath is with regular cleaning, so I won’t completely absolve you of culpability if you’ve let it get to this point.

If you clean your bird bath once a week during the summer and once a month during the colder months, you’ll have considerably less work to do and less mess to clean up.

Keeping this in mind, you should frequently replace the water in the bird bath and do so well in advance of cleaning the dish.

Dirty water in a bird bath won’t be as enticing to birds as water that has become covered with algae since birds are attracted to the sheen of the water.

A bird bath should be soaked in hot, soapy water to dissolve any stubborn debris, such as algae, before being cleaned. Algae may be almost scraped off with a long soak to soften it.

To remove the residue, goop, or algae that frequently stains the lip of the bowl, simply grab a soft or hard bristle brush and scrub.

Scrubbing the bowl of the bird bath with a scour may be necessary, as dish soap is required to produce a high-quality foam.

If you want to attract birds to your yard, it’s important to keep the bird bath clean and tidy at all times. All it takes is a fast rinse off every so often.

A half vinegar or bleach solution can be used to sanitize your bird bath, killing any bacteria and helping you to remove any stubborn residue.

Since the solar-powered fountain used to power the mechanism recycles the water, it is important to keep the bird bath water clean to prevent clogging.

Fill up bowl in soapy hot water

The best approach to clean a bird bath is to empty the bowl of any standing water and then scoop away any residual goop or algae.

Algae and other goop can be scraped off with a spoon, piece of wood, or other implement that can be discarded after use. The bird bath should be tipped over so that any slime or algae can run into a bucket or garbage bag.

The benefit of this method is that it does not necessitate painstakingly removing the gunk with a spoon.

Whether your bird bath is constructed of plastic resin, stone, metal, or glass, the first step in cleaning it is to fill the bowl with boiling hot soapy water.

The bowl can soak in this solution for up to 10 minutes, making it easier to remove any remaining residue or grime with a quick scrub.

If any birds have pooped on the rim of the bowl, though, you may have to get your hands dirty.

Soaking the bowl for a lengthy time can help soften any goop or bird feces, therefore it’s important to do so if any of it is visible on the bird bath.

You should not dump the dirty water over your grass, but instead dispose of it in a drain on or near your property.

Soft brush to scrub clean

Cleaning Bird Baths-2

It’s not often that I recommend using bleach to clean a bird bath, but if there’s any tenacious residue in the bowl, it might be necessary to do so now.

Bleach should be diluted before being used in a bird bath; the recommended ratio is 1 part bleach to 9 parts hot plain tap water, with the addition of dish soap for further sanitation. Seeing as how you’ll ultimately be re-soaking the bird bath in soapy water, bleach can now be used in it.

Let the part 1/9 homemade cleaning solution sit in the bird bath bowl for no more than three minutes, and then use a brush or scouring implement to remove any bird feces, stains, general water goop, or algae that has accumulated there.

Now, pour the bleach solution out of the bowl and down the sink, being careful not to splash yourself or the area surrounding the sink.

Once again, fill this bird bath bucket with simply boiling hot soapy water.

After another 10 minutes, scrub the bird bath bowl, rim, and sometimes the remainder of the outer bird bath with a soft brush or scour if it’s made of plastic, metal, or glass, and a hard brush if it’s made of cement or stone.

The bowl may require as much as three minutes of vigorous scrubbing to get a satisfactory level of cleanliness. You can now safely dispose of what is, presumably, clean water, down a public drain.

If you’re going to be using bleach, it’s important to wear protective gear like gloves and goggles when cleaning a bird bath.

Rinse off in clean water

Scrubbing is the best method for cleaning a bird bath, as using a high-powered hose setting or pressure washer can create too much splashing.

Bleach solutions should never be used with a high-pressure washer or hose, and you should always take precautions to avoid getting the bleach solution or any of the harmful goop or algae on your skin.

There have been at least three washes, possibly more, through which this bird bath has been thoroughly cleaned.

Right now, your top priority should be draining the bleach solution from the bird bath. It is important to keep in mind that bleach residue can be left behind, which can cause bleach to flow into clean bird bath water and then be consumed by wild birds.

In its place, only plain, boiling water must be used.

Carefully fill the bowl of the bird bath with hot water from the kitchen sink, and repeat this process several times to remove any trace of bleach or dish soap.

I lied when I claimed you wouldn’t have to dump the water from the bird bath basin again, because you will have to do so several more times if you want to get rid of the bleach and soap residue.

Sanitize in vinegar solution

Cleaning Bird Baths-3

I told you to use a bleach solution made from 1 part bleach to 9 parts water because I knew it would loosen the grime in the bird bath bowl that regular soap and water couldn’t get to.

However, you have never sterilized the bird bath before, so you can’t be confident that any bacteria or germs have been eliminated.

Some birds can be sickened by the presence of bacteria on the outside of a bird bath bowl and other toxins in the water.

Using soap or bleach can help get rid of some of it, but once the bird bath has dried out somewhat, a powerful yet safer vinegar solution can be used to kill any remaining bacteria.

Making a vinegar solution to clean bird baths is as simple as mixing 1 part vinegar with 4 parts hot water. For best results, fill the bird bath bowl again and soak it for up to 5 minutes to eliminate bacteria, so be sure to make plenty.

When the timer goes off, fill the bird bath with this vinegar solution, scrub it down with a sponge, and then empty the solution down the drain; it’s safe for kids to use.

Washing using hot water and a hose or pressure washer for extra force may help get rid of any lingering smell that might have been left behind by the scented bleach, soap, or vinegar.

Avoid using bleach to clean a cement bird bath if you can; instead, use this vinegar solution to disinfect and clean the bird bath, as concrete is more prone to stains than plastic or metal.


The best approach to clean a bird bath is, of course, to empty the bowl of any residual dirty or odorous water.

If you see any algae, water goop, or bird excrement, scrape it out into a garbage bag and dispose of it in a public drain away from your property.

Before filling the bird bath basin with scalding hot soapy water, give everything a good cleaning. If you soak it for at least 10 minutes, any leftover goop, algae, or poop stains should soften enough to be easily washed away.

Again pour the water from the bird bath bowl down a drain to see the extent of the mess.

Cleaning the bird bath basin, including the rim where bird feces often sits, is an essential part of maintaining a clean bird bath.

If the bird bath is still in bad shape, you can use a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) or a vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 4 parts water) to remove any remaining residue and kill any bacteria that is almost certainly present.

The safest bet is to start with a vinegar solution, no matter what material your bird bath is constructed of, while bleach should be avoided on concrete bird baths because it might leave a mark.

Soapy water in the bird bath bowl allows you to scrub it clean with a soft brush or scour on plastic or metal, but a cement bird bath would benefit from a firm bristle brush because it can take the extra elbow grease.

Now that you’ve emptied the clean water that may or may not have contained any nasty pieces, it’s time to give the bird bath a final rinsing in clean hot water to get rid of any lingering odor or bleach, vinegar, or soap residue.

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