How to Clean a Birdbath

Birding experts reveal the proper way to clean a dirty birdbath and how to prevent algae from growing in the water.

Cardinals on a birdbathCourtesy Kerry Loving
Cardinals perch on a birdbath.

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

Depending on the material your birdbath 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. Check out the best birdbaths to attract birds.

If the bath is made of concrete, empty it out. Using a hose with a high-pressure nozzle, spray off any built up algae or dirt. Add water to the bath until it’s almost full. Then add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of bleach.

Cover the entire bath with a black trash bag to prevent any birds from getting to the bleach water. Allow it to soak for 10-15 minutes. Remove the plastic bag. Carefully drain the bleach water mix in a safe area. Then rinse the bath for a few minutes until you can no longer detect the smell of bleach.

Keeping Your Birdbath Clean

Changing the water in your birdbath every few days will help keep algae from growing. This makes it easier to clean in the long run. Learn how to attract birds to use a birdbath.

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.