If you have birds for a pet, you know that they are fun, engaging pets but they come with a stack of responsibilities. Primary among them is maintaining a clean home for them. That’s not the home they share with you but rather the cage they are kept in.
Keeping a clean cage is not difficult and if done regularly, need not be a time consuming or expensive task either.
Can I Clean My Birdcage With Vinegar? Vinegar is one of the best products to use for cleaning your birdcage. It contains Ascetic acid which is a natural disinfectant, and when mixed with water, it is the perfect non-toxic, readily available and inexpensive option for cleaning bird cages.
A vinegar solution is the most popular disinfectant amongst bird owners. The many benefits of vinegar outweigh the aversion some people may have to its rather pungent smell and all of them swear by its efficacy.
A bird’s respiratory and digestive systems are a lot more sensitive than many other pets’ so something around the house that may not affect cats and dogs may have life-threatening consequences on your feathered family member.
Using vinegar as a cleaning agent around the bird is advantageous for many reasons.
Use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar only
There are approximately 21 kinds of vinegar available in the market, and not all of them are suitable for cleaning purposes.
Use only white vinegar (like this one) or apple cider vinegar (like this one) for disinfection purposes. Apple cider vinegar can be used organic or non-organic depending on what suits you.
Other kinds of vinegar have different acidic content and are not of the right composition for disinfection purposes.
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant
As mentioned earlier, vinegar contains Acetic acid which is a natural disinfectant. It kills the bacteria lurking around the cage on perches, in food and water bowls and on toys.
However, please know that certain bacteria, like staphylococcus, are not affected by vinegar. On the bright side, it’s uncommon for these bacteria to get a hold if you’re regular and thorough in cleaning out the cage and everything in it.
Perches, toys and food and water bowls that your bird is coming in contact with in a play area or those placed around the house for free-flying birds need to be cleaned as regularly and thoroughly as the cage itself.
Vinegar contains no ammonia
Ammonia is an alkaline product and vinegar is acidic. Ammonia fumes can be deadly for birds and should never be used in a house that has avian pets.
Use the right ratio
Use the right proportion for making the solution as too vinegary a solution can also make your bird uncomfortable with its fumes and residual taste.
Make the solution in a 1:1 ratio. I cup of vinegar mixed with 1 cup of tap water used from a spray bottle should be enough to clean one cage weekly.
If you feel the cage is too dirty, you can use a stronger solution but wash it off with regular water and dry completely before putting your bird back in the cage.
The residue left behind by a vinegar solution is harmless to birds, but as mentioned above, in moderation.
Remember, some birds use their mouth as an extra limb for climbing and their feet for holding on to food. Residual vinegar can be consumed while playing with toys, climbing around the cage or while eating food that a bird is holding on to with its feet.
Some vinegar being ingested can help with slow crops or in maintaining the pH of your pet’s system, but there is such a thing as too much vinegar for parrots.
Use vinegar to soften hardened droppings
If the bird droppings are hardened on the grate or on the perches, soak a cotton pad with vinegar and place on the soiled spot for a while. This will allow it to soften enough for you to clean with a brush or hose off with a pressure wash.
Many of the cleaning solutions and disinfectants available in the market contain ingredients that are harmful to your parrot and also to the environment.
Our planet needs all the help it can get to stay healthy, and humans using eco-friendly products is one small step to that end.
Vinegar solutions are an all-natural product and harmless to the environment, which means it’s a win-win situation for everyone around!
A homemade vinegar solution placed in a spray bottle is free of the chemicals that are present in aerosol cans, and don’t have the super strong fumes that commercial disinfectants like PineSol do.
These chemicals and strong fumes can be deadly for birds, keep them out of your house if you have birds around.
However, as we mentioned above, don’t use a very concentrated vinegar solution around your birds. The fumes given off can overwhelm a bird’s sensitive respiratory system.
Never add bleach or ammonia
This goes without saying, but it’s always better to reinforce. Bleach and ammonia are toxic for birds in the smallest of quantities. Never mix either chemical into the vinegar solution, no matter how dirty the cage, perches or toys.
Find some other ways of cleaning them or replace them if they are beyond cleaning with the vinegar and water solution.
Heated vinegar debate
There is a story on the internet of a bird dying after its owners ran vinegar through the dishwasher. Citing this example, there are many sites and forums discussing whether fumes from hot vinegar are harmful to birds.
We don’t know how true the original story is or the merits of either side of the debate, but would definitely say it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. To be on the safe side, do not heat vinegar near a bird.
If you must do it to clean your home or any appliance, make sure your bird is not in the same room, and air it out properly once you’re done.
More Cleaning tips!
Let’s face it, cleaning a birdcage isn’t really what one would call fun, right? Tha’s why it is best to have an arsenal of tricks to get done with the work as quickly and efficiently as possible.
We want to help you with that! Here are a couple of articles that will help you regardless of the type of bird you have:
- 10 Easy Birdcage Cleaning Tips You Will Love
- Budgies are messy – Just do this!
- How to feed a parrot blueberries while minimizing the mess!
How frequently should I clean my bird’s cage? It depends on the number of birds you have and their size. The bigger the number and size, the more frequently you should clean. Daily removal of liners and leftover food is a must, weekly disinfecting and monthly deep cleans are a general rule for clean cages.
Can I add vinegar to my bird’s diet? Theoretically, yes, you can. A few drops of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar added to your bird’s water bowl can help control the growth of harmful yeast and bacteria in the bird’s body. However, you should always check with your avian vet before adding it to your pet’s diet.