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Hummingbird Feeder Cleaning Tips

Cleaning hummingbird feeders will prevent bacteria from growing and keep the hummingbirds that visit your backyard healthy and safe.

Susan Day
Posted: March 15, 2013, 1:15 p.m. PST

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If your hummingbird feeders have black, moldy gunk, you’re not cleaning them often enough.
Excerpted from "Ambrosia for the Hummingbird Gods” in "Popular Birding Series: Hummingbirds,” published by BirdChannel.com publisher I-5 Publishing LLC.

Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned when the hummingbird nectar becomes cloudy or when they’re empty. During hot weather, hummingbird feeders should be cleaned daily or every two to three days.

Usually, a flush with hot tap water and a thorough swish with a brush will do the trick. Some hummingbird feeders, though, can be washed in a dishwasher.

A bottle brush works fine for bottle-type bird feeders. You can buy some with curved bristles that reach tough spots in curved basin-type feeders or others shaped like mascara makeup brushes for nectar ports.

If your hummingbird feeders have black, moldy gunk, you’re not cleaning them often enough. A long soak in 1 part household bleach and 9 parts water should take care of it. Some birdwatchers clean their hummingbird feeders in a vinegar and water solution. Other birders fill a bird feeder with rice and water and give it a good shake, while some like to use enzyme cleaners.

Hummingbirds are seasonal in most areas. It’s a good practice to thoroughly clean your hummingbird feeders if you take them down after fall migration. Let the bird feeders air-dry, and store them in a dry place over the winter. That way, your hummingbird feeders will be ready in the spring, and all you’ll have to do is whip up a batch of hummingbird nectar and fill them.


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Posted: March 15, 2013, 1:15 p.m. PST

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