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

Cleaning a suet feeder of its greasy buildup is similar to removing grease from dishware.

Submerge the suet feeder in a hot, soapy bath for 10-20 minutes. Use only dish soap. Dish soap needs time to break down the oil before you can clean it off with a cloth to get rid of suet or bird excrement. A mix of equal parts vinegar and water is an effective and safe degreaser that also kills microorganisms.

Homemade Bird Cage Cleaner

To avoid having to spend extra time cleaning, I recommend switching to peanut butter or seed as soon as possible once you start using a suet bird feeder because the grease it produces is more difficult to remove.

It also means that any suet residue or bird excrement stains on the interior or exterior of the suet bird feeder won’t have time to set in.

A degreasing dish soap is all you need to clean a greasy feeder, which is what will happen if you feed fattier birds. It’s convenient for use on bird feeders because it’s accessible, inexpensive, and simple to apply.

Keep in mind that any dish soap used to clean the suet feeder should be rinsed thoroughly to avoid staining the feeder or posing a health risk to the birds.

Soaking the bird excrement or obstinate suet in a bowl of boiling hot water for a long time might soften the dung or suet and allow the grease to dissolve partially or completely.

If any grease is still there after this extended soak, simply wipe it away with a cloth; if a stubborn accumulation of suet cannot be removed, apply a scour.

Use a soft bristle brush to get rid of any suet residue that got stuck in a corner, but be careful not to make a mess.

White vinegar and boiling water in a 1:1 ratio is a tried and true recipe for a powerful yet effective cleaning solution. To eliminate any lingering stink, you’ll need to soak the suet feeder in a bowl of this homemade cleaner before rinsing it thoroughly.

Using a cleaning solution formulated with vinegar increases the likelihood that the suet grease layer and any stickiness will be eliminated, and it is also designed to be effective against bacteria.

Keep in mind that this method can be used to clean any type of suet feeder, so you can feel confident giving it to the birds in your garden.

Long soak in hot soapy water

Homemade Bird Cage Cleaner-2

A long soak is the first step in removing the sticky coating from a suet bird feeder.

In order to remove the grease from the plastic coated wire cage, a 10 minute soak in a hot soapy water is generally sufficient. If after 20 minutes there is still suet on the feeder, soak it some more.

If you start cleaning a suet bird feeder before giving it a good soak, you may find that the sticky residue won’t soften, requiring additional effort to lift.

To clean up the grease left behind by the bird suet, apply some dish soap.

The bird feeder will be submerged in a hot, soapy bowl specifically designed for cleaning bird feeders.

And that’s all; after letting the hot water sit long enough, even the most obstinate residue will soften.

Cleaning the suet bird feeder is the next step after that.

Cloth is preferred to clean

After soaking a suet feeder in hot, soapy water, the next step in cleaning it is to scrub down the entire thing, making sure to get in between the wires on the inside and outside.

To remove residue, insert the cloth into the space where the wires meet.

The suet bird feeder’s lid can be lifted, but the rest of the feeder must be dismantled in order to be cleaned.

Scrubbing with what would normally be a throwaway cloth won’t be a problem because the prolonged soak will soften the surface.

Nothing used in your kitchen can be washed and reused, but the cloth you’ll be using isn’t going to be disposable.

Scrubbing stubborn residue off the plastic wiring with a scour may be necessary in some cases; however, you should be careful not to scratch the surface.

When all else fails, a soft bristle brush can help you pick off stubborn residue, but be careful not to splash yourself in the process; the bristles can provide a splashing effect, and any debris that lands on your face could be accidentally ingested.

The brush can be washed outside and reused throughout the week, but any cleaning cloths or scours should be thrown away.

Rinse off soap residue

Homemade Bird Cage Cleaner-3

Not removing all of the soap residue from a dirty suet bird feeder coated in stubborn oil is far more harmful.

Even if it won’t kill them, wild birds shouldn’t eat soap because it can create gastrointestinal problems.

Just like with any other bird feeder, you’ll want to rinse off any soap residue after cleaning.

Oftentimes, soap that has been left behind is not removed because it has dried in clumps or seeped into inaccessible crevices. Soap residue typically dries out white, however this is no guarantee.

This leftover soap residue must be removed immediately while the soap is still wet.

It’s time to dump the soapy water out of the bowl and start over with fresh hot water.

Shake the suet bird feeder vigorously in the bowl of clear water, then remove it and give it a final washing to get rid of any remaining water.

Once you’ve finished cleaning the suet bird feeder, let it out in the sun to dry while you wash the cleaning instruments or dispose of the used cloths and scours.

Clean in vinegar solution

There is no way for me to say whether or not cleaning grease coated suet feeders will be effective in your specific situation.

Therefore, I recommend that you take it a step further by using white vinegar in conjunction with clean hot water as an additional grease cleaning remedy.

White vinegar and boiling hot clear water are the starting ingredients.

Cleaning the suet feeders, which have a tendency to retain grease in inaccessible places, is as simple as submerging them in a basin of vinegar cleaning solution.

Soak the bird feeder in soapy hot water for at least 10 minutes, or until the grease has dissolved into the solution; at this point, any remaining suet or bird dung can be easily scraped off the cage feeder.

Vinegar solutions can be used to disinfect bird feeders and are safe, inexpensive, and quick to use when cleaning suet feeders.

If you’ve tried washing your greasy bird feeder in hot soapy water and it still doesn’t seem clean, try letting the suet feeder dry completely and then soaking it in a vinegar solution, which is just as effective but more safer.

In any case, you’ll want to give the suet feeder one last washing to get rid of the vinegar solution and any lingering odor.

To summarize

A safe yet readily available household degreasing product is the best way to clean suet feeders of any kind.

Fortunately, dishwashing soap can be utilized for this purpose with no additional cleaning chemical being required.

Suet bird feeders should first be soaked in a hot, soapy water bath for 10–20 minutes, which should be enough time for most of the oil to dissolve.

After soaking the suet feeder in a bowl of hot soapy water, take it out and wash the outside and the confined inside with a cloth — or a scour if stubborn residue refuses to come off in the water.

A soft bristle brush can get into the nooks and crannies of the plastic-coated wiring that makes up the suet feeder cage’s design in a way that a cloth cannot.

When you’re done, wash the suet feeder in a dish of hot water to get rid of any remaining soap.

If after doing this you still see a thin coating of oil on the suet feeder, you can use a more powerful yet safe to dissolve cleaning solution, such as vinegar. While simultaneously ensuring that all microorganisms are eliminated.

You can easily make a safe cleaning solution for bird feeders by mixing equal parts white vinegar and clean, hot water. The ratio should be 1:1.

Put the offending suet feeder into the bowl of vinegar solution for 10-20 minutes, then wipe it down with a cloth and give it one last rinse to get rid of the vinegar’s faint odor.

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