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

When To Clean Out Bird Houses

Anything intended for use by wildlife must be cleaned out before it can be used again, or it risks becoming bad and being useless forever.

Remove any old nesting materials, such as straw or brittle grass, from your Bluebird house. Pay special attention to removing any bonded material from the walls by washing it with hot soapy water and, if necessary, a bleach solution. In August, after you’ve confirmed that all of the birds have flown the coop, it’s time to do a thorough cleaning.

Undoubtedly, you must clear up your Bluebird bird house, with the only exception being if you are certain it was never utilized.

To nest, bluebirds use the dried grass and straw provided by the bird house. Condensation generally dampens the inner box, leading to rot developing in the interior walls made of wood, which, if it were a professionally built bird home, would presumably be constructed in Cedar.

It is your responsibility from this point forward to clean out your birdhouse at least once per year.

Even if you know for a fact that the box wasn’t used, cleaning your bird home is a good idea just in case it was occupied by birds over the cold season.

Cleaning your Bluebird house is a breeze; all you need is some dish soap dissolved in hot water. The Bluebird house can be mounted on a tree or its original wooden post after simply being allowed to air dry.

Removing the metal mesh and lining the bottom of your specialized Bluebird box allows you to not only soak it, but also get to the bottom to wipe off any residual debris.

Now is the time to scrub the entry hole, drainage holes, and ventilation in the birdhouse’s roof, as well as the four inner walls.

Clean out matter of hygiene

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The Bluebird house must be sanitized to prevent any bacteria from spreading to the nesting material or food that the parents will bring to their young.

Even if it’s unlikely that other birds will reuse a nest in your bird house, it can happen (especially with Bluebirds), therefore it’s best to clear it out before the next breeding season.

Bluebird bird houses in particular are breeding grounds for bacteria because of the use of dirty nesting material, which may or may not be entirely organic.

Typically constructed from straw and dried grass, bird houses may sometimes include other non-durable materials.

The food the parents bring back to the nest for the chicks would fall in between these layers of nesting material, eventually making its way to the bottom of the bird house, where it would go undiscovered for the duration of their stay.

Even if parent birds clean the bird home by removing the feces, some feces will inevitably remain behind.

Cleaning a Bluebird box requires removing all nesting material and disinfecting the box with boiling soapy water, just as you would if you were cleaning it for any other species.

August is time to clean

Although bluebirds can start nesting as early as February, the best time to see them is in April, May, or even June.

This means that you shouldn’t clean out your Bluebird house until early August.

One reason for this is that bluebirds have been known to overstay their welcome in bird houses, especially if they nest later in the year and their nesting cycle extends for an extra month or two.

It’s important to remember that even if the box looks empty, there could still be bluebird eggs or hatchlings within.

If this were to happen, the parents might become frightened and abandon their eggs permanently.

In my opinion, August is the absolute latest you can wait to clean out a Bluebird house before it can be utilized again.

Bluebirds are known to reuse nests in the wild, so it’s possible that your bird house will be visited by roosting birds during winter.

Quick clean under 10 minutes

You shouldn’t stress too much about keeping your Bluebird box clean because doing so takes no more than ten minutes and won’t cost you a dime.

Set aside a bowl in your kitchen and fill it with hot water and dish soap to use just for cleaning bird feeders, baths, and other backyard bird products.

If you want to clean the Bluebird house with hot water, you should take it down from the post or tree trunk it is attached to.

Remove any remaining nesting material from the birdhouse and dispose of it in the garbage.

Then, the hot water would be poured into the wooden box to soften the remaining, tenacious material bonded to the inside walls.

Wearing protective gloves at all times, scrape the inside of the wall and dump the mess onto the floor at this point. Careful painting is required on a bird house if it is to be left untreated if it is to mix in with its environment.

Finally, after hanging it outside to dry, reattach the Bluebird house.

To maintain your Bluebird house, you may need to clean the metal mesh that lines the bottom, or take it out and drill new holes for ventilation and drainage.

Repeat process every year

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If you want to get rid of the task of cleaning out your Bluebird house once and for all, you should do it as soon as possible.

If you want to attract and keep wild birds to your backyard, you’ll need to keep the bird houses you provide for them clean each year.

Combinations that are brand-new It’s unlikely that bluebirds will return to your bird home until late winter or early spring, around February or April.

If you want to attract bluebirds, one of the few backyard bird species that roost in a bird home, you’ll need to make some space for them and give the house a good cleaning to get rid of any germs that may have built up.

It’s important to be prepared for the possibility that a large number of bluebirds will use the birdhouse as a roost during the winter months.

The Bluebirds you helped in the spring are very likely to return to your birdhouse year after year.

Make sure you lay the groundwork for this to happen again next year and the year after that by not making too many adjustments. When a bird house has proven successful the first time around, it may not be as inviting the second time around if you move it or use a different type of bird house.


Cleaning out your Bluebird house can be a thrilling experience since you get to see the inside after it has been lived in by the birds.

Inside the box, there is probably a beautiful organic nest made of dried grass and straw.

The hatchlings’ shattered blue shells would sit atop the bale of straw.

Sadly, the awe must give way to grafting since you will need to remove this nesting material (after photographing it, if you so like) and then sterilize the area with boiling water and dish detergent.

If you really need to eliminate all chance of bacteria survival, you can use a bleach solution that is 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.

If you want other Bluebirds to utilize your Bluebird house, you’ll need to clean it out.

Even though Bluebirds can reuse the same nesting box year after year, it is still important to remove any old nesting materials before giving it a good cleaning.

Cleaning the bird home is a simple annual task that can be accomplished in under ten minutes using only hot water, soap, and a bowl.

Once the Bluebird parents and their young have flown the coop in early August, the cycle would begin again until the next nest is built.

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