How to Clean a Bird Bath

Offer clean water for backyard birds. Birding experts explain the best methods how to clean a bird bath and how to prevent algae from growing in the water.

Cardinals on a birdbathCourtesy Kerry Loving
Keep your bird bath clean to keep birds healthy and happy.

Janice Ruesch of Farport, New York, says, “I clean my bird baths many times during the summer, but it seems like they’re not actually getting clean. What is the proper way to clean a bird bath?”

Depending on the material your bird bath is made from, a mixture of water and bleach can be an effective cleaning solution. If you’re in doubt about how well the material will hold up, be sure to test a small area first before cleaning the whole bird bath.

Check out the best bird baths and fountains to attract birds.

How to Clean a Concrete Bird Bath

  1. If the bird bath is made of concrete, empty out the water.
  2. Using a hose with a high-pressure nozzle, spray off any built up algae or dirt.
  3. Add water to the bird bath until it’s almost full. Then add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of bleach.
  4. Cover the entire bath with a black trash bag to prevent any birds from getting to the bleach water.
  5. Allow it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the plastic bag.
  7. Carefully drain the bleach water mixture in a safe area.
  8. Then rinse the bath for a few minutes with fresh water until you can no longer detect the smell of bleach.

Learn how to attract birds to use a bird bath.

How to Clean a Bird Bath With Vinegar

You can also freshen up your backyard bird bath in a snap with vinegar. Just rinse off the surface and scrub out the basin with nine parts water to one part vinegar.

Psst—here’s what you need to know about wild bird diseases.

Prevent Algae Growth

Changing the water in your bird bath every few days will help keep algae from growing. This makes it easier to clean in the long run.

Learn how to clean hummingbird feeders.

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Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Kenn and Kimberly are the official Birds & Blooms bird experts. They are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world. When they're not traveling, they enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in their Northwest Ohio backyard.