Cleaning up the birdcage can be a very daunting task, as you always want to make sure you don’t “miss a spot” and also keep your companion bird’s safety and health as the first priority-so, we have laid out all you should know when it comes to cleaning up your bird’s cage.
In this article, we will show you some best practices to adopt when you are cleaning out your bird’s cage. The best thing to do is be thorough, use cleaners that are organic and safe for pets, and clean it out often so that health risks are kept to a minimum. There are daily, weekly and monthly tasks to complete, so keep on reading to learn what to do.
What Does Cleaning the Cage Entail?
The act of cleaning out your bird’s cage should be integrated into your daily routine, so that way it becomes easy to do, and you learn to do it faster in the repetition of the task.
Many people think it is hard to clean the cage, but not so when you make it part of your day. An easy routine makes it simple to keep your bird’s physical and mental health in good shape.
Larger birds’ cage must be cleaned weekly, meanwhile smaller birds’ cage can be done monthly. No matter where your bird cage is kept, it is susceptible to germs.
Therefore, we advise you to keep an eye on the cage and visually inspect it for any signs of fungus, bacteria, or diseases when you clean.
You should also inspect the cage for any dangerous, sharp edges or broken equipment. Also be sure that you check for any droppings, feathers, broken pieces of toys or the cage, and food debris.
To start, you should have all your supplies in place before the process begins. (We will show you a list of great supplies to have on hand for an easy cleaning process).
Most of the time, you will need a soft cloth or brush, and of course, water. (This will depend on the material that your birdcage is made of).
You should also make sure you have a disinfectant nearby that can be used to kill any germs that may have grown on the cage. One common disinfectant found in many households is bleach.
However, one must be EXTREMELY cautious in their use of bleach and it can NEVER be used a full strength-it should always be diluted with water.
We advise you to use a pet-friendly disinfectant or eco-friendly organic cleaner.
You, as the pet owner, should also take precaution and wear disposable gloves for your safety. Bird feces, old food, and any bacteria in the cage should not be handled with bare hands.
Be sure you have a place you can safely place your birds while they rest, and also be sure to remove their toys, feeding devices, and other accessories so that you can really get down into the nooks and crannies and clean it thoroughly.
In sum, here is what to know for the basics:
- Be sure that you have an eco or pet-friendly cleaner available
- Have a pair of disposable gloves on hand for your safety
- Make sure you can safely place your birds in an alternate cage or allow them to roam freely while you clean
- Also, have a place where toys and perches can go so you can clean thoroughly
Dusting and Disinfecting
In order to be sure that all cage components are thoroughly cleaned, you should wipe off any dust, bird feces, and other debris from perches, food and general activity from the surface.
If you are using a disinfectant, apply it carefully and leave it there for about ten minutes.
Even if you are using a pet or eco-friendly disinfectant, care must be taken to ensure that it is thoroughly rinsed off.
After you rinse it off, let it air dry while you clean off other cage components, like toys and perches.
- Make sure you are thorough
- Rinse off all cleaners thoroughly
- Look closely to get rid of all debris
Wipe Off the Cage Frame
In the event that your bird cage has dry debris like feces and old food, they must be carefully removed. If they are stuck, you must carefully scrub them off the cage.
You can use water to do this as well as a brush or cloth, depending on your material.
When you scrub, do it in such a way that you do not take off any surfaces or leave edges that could be harmful to the bird’s feathers.
Birdcage corners are hotspots for germs and are places where dirt loves to hide. As such, you should clean them off properly to make sure that the birds are not left open to infection.
You should use a cloth and some water to wipe off the top, side, and front of the cage, taking care to get in between the bars.
- Clean off the top, front and side of your cage
- Get into the corners
- Use a brush or a cloth
Taking Care of The Trays
Many modern bird cages feature trays that pull out on the bottom, and you should clean these on the regular, too.
The pull-out feature makes it very easy to clean off the bottom tray since you can just drag them right out and toss it into a garbage can. You should use water and a cloth to clean the bottom tray.
Be sure you wear gloves doing this, and visually inspect the droppings that you find to make sure they are of normal size and consistency.
This will help you determine if you need to get your bird to a vet. Be sure to disinfect this carefully for your birds’ good health.
- Make sure you wear gloves
- Use water and a soft cloth
- Check the droppings to ensure they are normal
As the cleaning process goes on, you should also be sure that any liners for the birdcage are removed and replaced each and every day.
The liners should be cleared away before you disinfect the cage. And, you should only replace the liners after the cage is dry so that the liner doesn’t get saturated.
You should also clean other accessories like toys in hot water with safe soap and then rinse them thoroughly in clean water.
Clean the surrounding areas of your cage, too-vacuum up any debris or old feathers that flew out of the cage. Sweep up before you vacuum.
- Sweep up before vacuuming
- Clean toys with safe soap and hot water, rinse with clean water
- Replace liners every day
Safe Cage Cleaning
So, we now have a good idea of what to expect when cleaning out the birdcage.
However, many of you are likely wondering, “What are some things I should do to make sure my birds are safe when I clean their cage?”
In this section, we will look at ways to keep your pet safe while you clean.
We are going to examine cleaners that are safe and ones to avoid, and how to help your pet relax while you clean his home.
Chemicals: The Good and The Bad
Bleach is a commonly used chemical when it comes to pet cages. However, you must be careful with this. We honestly advise to just stay away, because the risk isn’t worth it.
You should keep your bird away from the cage while you clean. Cover anything you do not want bleached, like clothing, furniture or carpets. Rinse the bleach with water only.
Do not mix with other cleaners. Ammonia and bleach absolutely do not mix and can cause a negative reaction.
However, if you prefer to use bleach, use these ratios:
- Use one cup of bleach to 9 cups of water
- Use .5 cup of bleach to 4.5 cups of water
- Use .25 cup of bleach to 2.25 cups of water
Green cleaners are the way to go. They are good for the environment and safer for pets.
Just because they are natural, however, does not mean you can be lax with the rinsing process. You must still be very thorough in your rinsing.
Look for the following brands online or at your local retailer:
- Seventh Generation
- Pure. Clean.
- Simple Green
- Nature’s Miracle
There are heaps of other brands out there, too. Look for cleaners that are plant-based. Do not use anything with tea-tree oil, as this is toxic to cats as well as birds.
You Can Make Your Own Cleaner
Got a few spare minutes and some basic household ingredients? Then you can make your very own cleaner that is safe around your birds. It is completely natural and works well.
Here is what you need to get started:
- A clean spray bottle-pick up a new one for a $1 and use it solely for your bird cleaner.
- 3 cups of water-hot!
- 3 tbsp of baking soda
- 2 tbsp of lemon juice
Lemon juice may seem strange to use in a cleaner for birds, but it will not harm them and has enzymes that act as a disinfecting agent to kill harmful bacteria and loosen and break organic materials.
You can buy lemons for this, or just buy some lemon juice at the store. Lemons are not even harmful to your birds as we show you in this article!
Use a marker to write on the front “Bird Cage Cleaner,” so your family knows not to use the spray bottle for other reasons.
Do not use an old cleaner bottle. Even if you wash it, the chemicals that were once inside still remain in trace amounts.
By the way, did you know that you can also clean the birdcage with vinegar? We show you how in this article!
10 Expert Tips for Cleaning Your Bird’s Cage
Now that you know the fundamentals of cleaning out your bird’s home, let’s get into some ways to make that whole process easier.
This section is devoted to showing you some “hacks” that will make this necessary chore more manageable.
Tip No. 1: Do Some Preventative Maintenance
Make your job a little easier by starting from the ground up. If you have a birdcage that rests on the floor, the first thing you should do is put a mat underneath the cage.
This way, you can protect the floor. You can simply pick up one of those mats that go under office swivel chairs. Or, use an old rug that nobody will miss.
This is especially very helpful for those of you that have your birdcages in rooms with carpeting-a plastic mat helps keep debris from getting ground into the carpet.
If you have a smaller birdcage that sits on a table, you can put a placemat underneath the cage to help keep things clean.
Tip No. 2: On Food Dishes
Do you have seed-eating companion birds? If so, there are a few ways you can keep things neat. Birdcage food bowls should not be more than halfway full.
Larger birds have a tendency to poke around for “perfect” pellets, and this leads to them throwing away perfectly good food pellets. This leads to increased costs.
To keep things neat and orderly in the food department, you can and should get separate food dishes for water and pellets.
You should have a few extra sets on hand so that you can change them out each day-daily changing of food and water bowls is a best practice.
And if you have seed, this helps because you can simply dump the seed from the previous bowl into the clean one and move on. It is a huge time saver, too!
Tip No. 3: Use Those Pellets
At this point you may be wondering why we are talking about pellets – after all, that deals with food, not cleaning! Actually, the use of pellets is related to the cleanliness of your birdcage.
By using pellets, you can keep your cage cleaner than you would if using seed.
Seed-based diets are not recommended as the way to nourish your bird, so even if the mess is not the issue, it is better that you integrate pellets into your bird’s daily feedings.
Tip No. 4: Keep Droppings Under Control
Birds have a cloaca. This means the combine defecation and urination into one single dropping. It looks black and white, the latter being the product of urination and the former that of defecation. This tends to harden up.
We already discussed some ways to remove these droppings. Here are some more ways to keep them to a minimum.
For smaller pet birds, put a folded piece of newspaper on the cage floor and then the food dishes on top of that. This will catch the stray food as well as keep the grate a bit cleaner. If you have extra money to spare, you might even invest in an anti-microbial paper for your cage.
It is made by T3 and is like kitchen paper that you cut out of the box-only it is designed to be sanitary for birds. You might even use paper towels or the Glad Press n’ Seal Wrap.
Tip No. 5: Consider a Bird Cage Steamer
A handheld steam cleaner is a nice tool to have around the house for cleaning upholstery, but did you ever think of using yours as a cleaner for your birdcage? This is great for those times when you have to deep clean the cage.
These little units are a great way to clean and disinfect the cage as well as the perches, toys, and food dishes that you use in the cage. The steam is concentrated and pressurized, and you can use it to go into those small nooks and crannies that you simply can’t get with a brush.
And a steamer utilizes a very small amount of water, so that means your stuff dries out a lot faster. This is great if you cannot get a towel into a place to dry it off.
You can get steamers with flexible hose attachments, or small capacity versions. It all depends on the size of the birds you keep.
For those with large parrots, get one with a large water reservoir. The units that come with hoses attached are great for those hard to reach spots. Check your favorite retailer for some good choices.
Tip No. 6: Clean Often!
One fellow bird owner once said, “The more you clean a cage, the less often you have to clean a cage.” While at first, this seems to make no sense, you will soon see why it’s a good adage to live by.
There are some things that have to be done every day. Doing it religiously will ensure an easier time once the big cleanings come up and will keep your bird in good health.
Every day, your bird’s food and water dish should be taken and cleaned with hot water and soap. Do this in a place that is different from your own food prep area.
Be sure to use eco-friendly dish soap or pet-safe soap.
Be sure that the food bowls are completely dry. Otherwise, mold can form on the pellets. For many pet owners, it is easier to have two or more sets of dishes, so there is always a clean one in reserve.
The water bottle should also be cleaned each day as well as the birdbath. You should also replace the cage liner each and every day.
Another note: Do not use colored newspaper-just the black and white parts-as the color in the inks can be harmful to birds.
Tip No. 7: Make Your Bird Comfortable
Perhaps the most important part of any cage-cleaning adventure is the living, breathing friend you are caring for – your pet birds!
You can make cleaning less stressful for your pets by figuring out what they like to do while you clean. Some birds like to oversee their owner cleaning as they are territorial.
They also like to see how their “safe space” is coming along-some birds may be anxious to get back inside as it is a place for rest and safety.
Some birds like to stay in the cage when it comes to daily cleanings. For the little stuff, like the daily liner changes and food bowl swaps, you can simply leave them inside and work around them.
Others may nip at your fingers when they see you come into the cage, and others may help you clean. It is best to see what your bird likes and then clean in a way that keeps them calm and stress-free.
Tip No. 8: Schedule Your Cleanings
Bird owners know that deep-cleaning the cage is not exactly the most fun thing to do. After all, you have to do a lot of work for those big cleanings!
The best way to motivate yourself, and to stay on track with your cleanings, is to schedule them for a specific day each month. Set a reminder on your phone or write it on your calendar.
This will help you know when you have to get ready for the big job. You will know it is coming, and you will be ready to handle the task.
Tip No. 9: Soak It!
Much like we clean dirty dishes by soaking them first, you can do the same thing with your bird cages. Smaller cages can be soaked in a bathtub or utility sink, and larger cages can go outside to be sprayed with a hose.
You can do this with your bird’s food dishes, too-soaking them in water that is hot and soapy will get the debris off in no time.
Tip No. 10: Old Sheets to The Rescue!
Earlier, we talked about how good it is to put down an office mat for those food and waste debris that happen. If you have a really large bird, try using an old sheet as a drop cloth. You can simply place the sheet under the cage. Then, it’s a breeze to shake it off outside and wash it.
Alternatively, some owners even place the sheet over the cage. Be careful with this, as your bird needs daylight when it is day time, and dark when it is night time.
Why You Should Clean the Cage
The bird’s cage is his home. Much like you desire a clean place to sleep, eat, and be comfortable, so does your pet bird.
Put yourself in his shoes-wouldn’t you like a place that’s clean and sanitary? Of course! So, keep everybody happy and healthy and clean the cage early and often.