Here is my revised list of six cleaning suggestions to show you how to keep your hummingbird feeder clean and safe for the birds to use.
Disassembling the feeder so that the pieces can be immersed in hot soapy water is the first step in the essential hummingbird feeder cleaning guidelines. This is necessary before using vinegar as a disinfectant to eliminate the bacteria. Keep up with this routine once or twice a week, paying special attention to the port wells and other hard-to-reach spots.
You don’t need me to bore you with a lengthy lesson on how to clean hummingbird feeders; just follow my streamlined cleaning suggestions.
My cleaning suggestions for hummingbird feeders go from most important to least, but you should give some thought to them all.
Cleaning a hummingbird feeder twice a week will keep the most obstinate debris from cementing to the surface over the course of its lifetime.
The hummingbird feeder just needs to be submerged in hot soapy water cleaning up to ten minutes, or twenty minutes if you have the time. Only then can the sugar water’s sticky sweetness and dirt be rinsed away.
Putting sugar on the outside of the hummingbird feeder will attract bees, which will make getting rid of them a much more time-consuming and annoying process.
It is recommended to use soap while cleaning a hummingbird feeder, but a safe vinegar cleaning solution will also do the trick.
Even the best hummingbird feeders on the market have their limitations, and a glass feeder can be cleaned in the same manner that cheaper plastic feeders can.
To clean a hummingbird feeder thoroughly, it is necessary to disassemble it as much as possible so that each component can be soaked in water before being washed.
1. Fully disassemble feeders
When it comes to cleaning a hummingbird feeder, disassembling it is the best option.
Although this is no longer possible, most hummingbird feeders on the market can be taken apart in some fashion.
Unscrewing the nectar mix container (which is likely made of glass or transparent plastic) and its accompanying refill cap or base with several port wells is required.
Except for the flower feeding wells and, potentially, the bee protection if it has been installed, not much else can be pulled out or removed.
Although it would be preferable to disassemble the perches, this is not always possible due to differences in perch design.
If you choose to disassemble a hummingbird feeder, or any other kind of feeder, you should have the instructions handy so you can easily reassemble it.
The greatest advice I can give for keeping a hummingbird feeder clean is to take it apart, either in its entirety or in sections, and clean each part separately.
2. Safe soap dish bubble bath
Cleaning a hummingbird feeder is similar to cleaning the dishes or wiping off a persistent residue from a household item.
Cleaning a hummingbird feeder requires a bit more effort, as you’ll want to eliminate any bacteria or viruses present. This is best accomplished by taking a long, hot bath with plenty of bubbles.
In this hypothetical wash, dish soap would serve as the cleaning agent, and the plastic bowl used to rinse the feeder would be set aside for use only with wild bird supplies.
The hummingbird feeder won’t be nearly as effective if you soak it whole, so disassemble as much of it as you can.
If you want to clean your hummingbird feeder without worrying about the long-term consequences of household chemicals on wildlife, a soak in a dish of soapy water is your best bet.
This built-up filth can only be removed from the hummingbird feeder once it has been softened under the heat of a hot bubble bath, which will take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
This is not so much a novel cleaning trick as an obvious one that is often disregarded and thus makes it more difficult to get rid of all dirt and filth.
3. Disinfect with part vinegar solution
Once you’ve cleaned the hummingbird feeder thoroughly and gotten rid of the bulk of the filth and residue, you can move on to disinfecting it.
It’s not always necessary, but if you notice mold or bacteria growing on the feeder, it’s time to clean it using a safe disinfectant solution.
Even if dark vinegar can be used, you shouldn’t bother because the stronger odor will make it more difficult to clean the feeder and may even cause permanent discoloration to the plastic.
When it comes to cleaning up after your backyard birds, the only safe option is white vinegar.
Because there isn’t enough of it to go around, you should dilute white vinegar with water.
This would result in a potent solution capable of killing any bacteria or germs present, though it is important to note that not everything can be eradicated. This allows me to state that it is 99.9 percent effective at eliminating bacteria and viruses, as this claim is made by well-known manufacturers of similar products.
Cleaning solutions that contain bleach or other chemicals should never be used on hummingbird feeders; the residue from these cleaners could be consumed by the birds when they drink the sugar water.
4. Clean feeders twice weekly
This isn’t so much a cleaning method for hummingbird feeders as it is a helpful hint that can make everyone’s lives easier.
Regular cleaning of hummingbird feeders is essential to preventing the buildup of bacteria and other germs on the outside of the feeders, which is why they should be washed frequently.
Bacteria can quickly multiply in an unclean hummingbird feeder, posing a health risk to the birds who feed from it.
Bacteria can grow rapidly in a hummingbird feeder, therefore it’s recommended that you clean it at least twice a week. However, it is only the case if you keep the feeder stocked with fresh sugar water mixture more frequently than you clean it.
If you live in a hot and humid place like Texas, I recommend cleaning your hummingbird feeder every three days instead of every two.
When cleaning the hummingbird feeder, it’s important to remove any debris as soon as possible to prevent the growth of bacteria that could lead to a smell or an unpleasant taste in the food.
5. Wash off soap or smell
In the process of washing any species of hummingbird, it’s easy to forget to rid the feeder of soap residue.
Hummingbird feeders benefit from a bubble bath followed by a soapy scrub with a scourer, brush, or cloth because the suds penetrate the tiny cracks and crevices that are difficult to see otherwise.
Once the soap is removed from the feeder, the bubbles are trapped in inaccessible crevices where they might grow and spread.
As a result, the soap may end up discoloring the bottle’s plastic construction or clouding the transparent viewing window of the hummingbird feeder.
The soap solution left in the hummingbird feeder must be washed out regularly to prevent corrosion.
Without first removing the soap, the soap could dissolve into the sugar water solution, making it unfit for hummingbirds to consume.
Most importantly, after washing the feeder with a vinegar solution, you should wash it again as soon as possible to get rid of the potent smell that can be left behind.
6. Brush all intricate areas
Finally, it’s recommended that you disassemble the feeder, either completely or partially, depending on its design.
Then, and only then, should the feeder’s most intricate portions be combed through with a fine brush or soft head toothbrush.
The port wells, also known as feeding holes, are an often-overlooked area. If you want to remove the hardened sugar buildup, you’ll need to place a comb or other fine cleaning instrument into this opening and run water over it.
It’s not simple, and it’s not always practicable, but you can at least try to clean these wells properly by flushing hot soapy water through them.
The artificial nectar flowers, which are attached to the port wells, may be removed so that they can be cleaned with soap and water or vinegar and lemon juice.
Like the clip-on replica flowers, bee guards at the port well entrance are removable and may be cleaned in the same way.
Hummingbirds are likely to use the perches underneath all this while they feed, therefore it’s important to clean them well as they’re not likely to be removable.