How to Clean Hummingbird Feeder Complete Step by Step Guide

Today we will talk about how to clean a hummingbird feeder. It is necessary to clean the hummingbird feeder regularly to prevent hummingbirds from any health issues. You need to rinse the feeder every time when you refill the feeder. For full cleaning, you can put all the parts of your feeder in hot water if your feeder handles the warm water without deforming. This can easily remove the sugar residue and rust from all parts of the feeder. You need to rinse the feeder after boiling to completely remove the sugar residue. But if your feeder doesn’t handle the boiled water, you need to use some other mild cleaners like vinegar, and peroxide, etc.

how to clean hummingbird feeder
how to clean hummingbird feeder

You need to soak the black molded parts more time with the vinegar and peroxide until the residue is completely cleaned. You can also use the diluted bleach to clean the feeder, but it can be dangerous for the hummingbirds, so be sure to completely remove the bleach before the refilling of the feeder. You should refill the nectar regularly and thoroughly clean the feeder once a month. The fermented nectar can damage the bird’s organs. Ferment nectar is always looking clean, but it’s dangerous for birds. Don’t wait for the cloudiness to change the nectar. If you neglect the feeder cleaning after the cloudiness, the black mold will appear after some days then the nectar becomes more damaging for the hummingbirds.

Steps to Clean Hummingbird Feeder:

1. Assemble all the supplies needed with dirty feeder

If you divide the whole cleaning process into small steps, it’s become easy for you. The first step involves the assembling of all those things which you need to clean your feeder with your dirty feeder.

Step 1 hummingbird feeder cleaning
Step 1 hummingbird feeder cleaning

1.1. Dirty hummingbird feeder

If the nectar is cloudy and the mold and other insects are inside the nectar, the feeder needs thorough cleaning now. You need to pull out this feeder for cleaning. You can clean multiple feeders at a time.

1.2. Large and small cleaning brushes

You need a large brush to clean the wider areas of the feeder. An old toothbrush can be used to clean the wider areas. Moreover, a small brush is needed to clean the narrower parts of the feeder like ports and some inside parts. A small bristle brush can be used to clean the tighter parts.

1.3. Soft Cloth

A soft cloth is needed to dry the feeder parts after a thorough cleaning. Moreover, you can also make the feeder attractive by wiping the soft cloth from the outer parts of the feeder. Don’t use this cloth again for any kitchen item to prevent any health hazards.

1.4. Cleaning Chemicals

You can also use the cleaning chemicals if your feeder is too much dirty.  You can use regular soap, vinegar, peroxides, and bleaches. But try to avoid these items due to the health issues of hummingbirds. But if you use these items, thoroughly clean your feeder before filling. You also need the boiling water if you are not using these chemicals.

2. Disassemble the Feeder:

Step 2 hummingbird feeder cleaning
Step 2 hummingbird feeder cleaning

When you have all the related things near you and ready to start cleaning, the first step is to disassemble the feeder. A feeder is usually consisting of two parts; the base parts and the filling tank. The base part further consists of ports, perches, and leakage proof of rubber, etc. You need carefully separate all these parts. Sometimes the nectar is crystallized in the filling tank due to which the base part is not separated easily; in that case, you can put your feeder in hot water for some time. Don’t try to detach any part with force; maybe its fix with feeder.

3. Drain old nectar

Drain all the old nectar from the bottle. Make sure to perform this outside, so the other parts are not affected. But don’t spoil the nectar near your feeder hanging place because it’s attracting the insects and Bees etc.

4. Scrub Reservoir

Scrub the inside of the feeder reservoir thoroughly with a mild soap solution. Clean the reservoir from outside as well. You can use the bottle brush to clean the reservoir from inside to ensure the proper cleaning of any mold. Now you can use the soft cloth to dry the reservoir from inside and outside. This soft cloth maintains the sparkling of your filling tank.

5. Drain Feeding ports

After the filling tank cleaning, you can move on to the feeding ports. Sometimes the nectar is also found in feeding ports; try to clean out the ports from nectar and mold or any clogs. You can run the hot water from the ports for thorough cleaning. Moreover, by running the hot water from ports, you can also check any blockage in the ports.

6. Scrub Feeding ports

Step 4 Scrub Hummingbird Feeder Cleaning
Step 4 Scrub Hummingbird Feeder Cleaning

You can use the small bristle brush to clean the ports from inside. Clean the ports from both sides, if possible, with bristle and make sure that any part of the bristle doesn’t break inside the port. Sometimes the ports are looking clean, but some mold or fungus is remaining inside the ports, which is very dangerous for hummingbirds. These fungus particles can quickly make cloudy to your new nectar. So thoroughly scrub the ports with a bristle brush.

7. Rinse thoroughly

After the thorough cleaning of all the feeder parts, rinse these parts for 10 to 15 seconds with clean water to remove the remaining chemicals from the feeder parts. This step becomes more critical when you use the soap, vinegar, or bleach to clean your feeder parts. Rinse the feeder parts from outside and inside until you feel there is no particle left on the parts. Rinsing also removes the other debris parts which remain on feeder parts during cleaning.

8. Dry thoroughly

You need to air dry all parts of the feeder before refilling the feeder to prevent the nectar from dilution. You can put all your feeder parts in the dish rack for some time. You can also use the soft cloth to wipe the feeder before putting them in the dish. The wiping process can help you dry the feeder parts more quickly. Moreover, cleaning ensures the shining of your feeder after the thorough cleaning.

9. Reassemble the Feeder

After thorough cleaning and drying of all the parts, you can reassemble all parts of the feeder accordingly. Make sure every part of the feeder is perfect and doesn’t break during the cleaning. Completely fit each part of the feeder to prevent the leakage.

10. Hang the Feeder

Step 10 Hang the feeder
Step 10 Hang the Feeder

After the reassembling, your feeder is now ready to hang for hummingbirds feeding. Refill your feeder with fresh nectar and don’t leave any drop of nectar outside the feeder; it will attract the bees and other insects. After refilling, you can hang your feeder on your perfect place to take the revenge of hummingbirds feeding.


Other Cleaning Methods:

As we discuss the thorough cleaning method for feeders above, but you can also use some simple techniques for rough cleaning. Soap and water cleaning is perfect for any feeder without using harmful chemicals. But sometimes you don’t have enough time to perform all the above steps for thorough cleaning.

1. Dishwasher cleaning

When you don’t have enough time, you can use the dishwasher to clean your feeder. But this process is only helpful when your feeder is made up of safe dishwasher material. This method is only recommended for the general cleaning, not for moldy feeders; you should use the thorough cleaning method for moldy feeders. You can also buy a unique feeder with a wide mouth and all the accessories for easy cleaning.

2. Cleaning without brushes

Sometimes you don’t have the brushes to clean your feeder and don’t know how to clean the mold without the brushes. Don’t worry; you can follow some simple steps to clean your moldy feeder.

  • You need some uncooked rice for this process. Take one spoon of uncooked rice and pour them inside the filling tank with soup. Soup will help the rice to bind together inside the filling tank.
  • Now put warm water inside the filling tank. After pouring the warm water, shake the tank by blocking the water from the filling tank mouth. Shake the filling tank until you ensure that the inside of the tank is thoroughly cleaned. The bind rice will remove the molds from the feeder inside.

Keep Clean the area around the feeder

When you are talking about the feeder cleaning, you also need to keep clean the nearby area around the feeder. You need to clean all those areas where the hummingbirds perch during the feeding. Because when the birds use the dirty perches, they will take the dirty things with itself towards the feeder. Sometimes the more hungry birds split the nectar all around the feeder, which attracts the insects and wasps, so it’s necessary to clean the surrounding areas regularly.  You can keep clean the nearby area by concentrating on some points:-

  • Remove all the splitting nectar from the feeder’s surroundings.
  • Remove the fallen and rotted fruits from the feeder’s surroundings.
  • Seal tight the feeder to prevent it from any leakage.

Trim the grass from Feeder surroundings, so it’s become easy to clean the surrounding.

By cleaning the surrounding area, you can attract more birds and provide them the nectar without any health hazards.

Maintaining your feeder depending upon the cleaning

You need to maintain your feeder condition depending upon the weather conditions. Unnecessary cleaning can decrease the life of your feeder.

You need to clean your feeder at the right frequency depending upon the season. You can clean the feeder frequently in the warmer months as compared to colder months. Sometimes the temperature is above 90F, so you need to replace the nectar twice a day in those conditions. Don’t place your feeder where it’s got the direct sunlight; it can damage your feeder more quickly. When the temperature of your area is moving down, you can also change the feeder cleaning frequency.

You can deep clean your feeder once a week to maintain your feeder strength. When you are using the boiled water to clean your feeder, make sure you don’t over boil your feeder, it can deform your feeder shape. When you use the vinegar or peroxide, don’t put your feeder more than an hour in these chemicals. They can damage your feeder and the bird’s health as well. Moreover, the bleach cleaning takes one part bleach and ten parts of water to prevent your feeder from health hazards.

How often Should I Need to Clean my Hummingbird Feeder?

Now you know everything about the feeder cleaning, but maybe one question is arising in your mind, which is “when I need to clean my feeder”? Generally, when we are talking about the feeder cleaning, we should replace the nectar every 3 to 3 days and roughly clean our feeder on each refilling.

However, when we talk about the feeder, it may depend upon the areas as well. There are some factors that play a role in feeders cleaning in different areas. Let’s talk about these factors:-

1. Climate

Every area has different climate changes which play a role in feeders cleaning timing. When we talk about the warmer areas, especially in summer, the nectar fermented more quickly as compared to colder regions. In these areas, the nectar needs to be replaced consistently to prevent your feeder form mold or fungus. Sometimes in colder regions, the nectar is freezing up inside the feeder, so you need to take care of that in colder regions.

2. Bird’s strength

Bird’s strength doesn’t link with your feeder cleaning directly, but you can make it your habit on every refill. When you have a large number of birds, your feeder will empty quickly, so you have a chance to clean your feeder on refilling. So don’t miss that chance, clean your feeder on every refill to prevent the birds from health hazards.


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