Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders The Right Way & Often

Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders the Right Way & Often

Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders Is Very Important!

What Should You Know About Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders? 

  • Cleaning hummingbird feeders is a very important task. 
  • Syrup feeders need to be kept clean and full. 
  • The little Hummingbird is a feisty and fussy diner! 
  • If a good maintenance regimen is followed, bird watching in your backyard will be more rewarding.
Multiple images of hummingbirds drinking at hummingbird feeders. Text reads "how to clean hummingbird feeders. Wash well & often. Keeping Hummers Healthy."

You Will Need To Follow: 3 Steps To Help Hummingbirds Stay Healthy

  1. Know What Equipment You Will Need
  2. Learn How Feeders Should Be Cleaned
  3. Know How Often Nectar Feeders Need Cleaning

1. What Equipment Will You Need for Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders?

  • use quality made feeders
  • 2 tubs or pails, one for washing and one for rinsing
  • bleach or vinegar
  • a few drops of dish detergent. (Some sources say not to use soap, but rinsing the feeders thoroughly solves any problems with using soap.)
  • different sizes of brushes like bottle brushes, port brushes, and a curled brush to reach in under the port end of the feeder.
  • fresh syrup

Nectar Feeder Brushes ~ My Top Picks 

Droll Yankees 021964801205 HUM Hummer Plus Brush, 9 Inch, Black
  • 9, hummer plus Hummingbird feeder brush, natural bristles, for use with all Hummingbird feeders & most tube feeder ports
  • Adds Extra shine to your product
  • Manufactured in China

Last update on 2020-10-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Songbird Essentials SE607 Best Hummer Brush Kit (Set of 1)
  • Brush Kit
  • Cleans Hummingbird and oriole feeders

Last update on 2020-10-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hummer's Galore, Hummingbird Feeder Cleaner
  • Two brushes included as a set
  • 16.5" total length to reach deep inside your feeder
  • Curved 5" bristles at bottom for thoroughly cleaning bottom of feeder

Last update on 2020-10-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. How Should Hummingbird Feeders Be Cleaned?

Cleaning and Care of  Your Hummingbird Feeder

Maintenance of hummer feeders will take some care and cleaning.

Use warm water and vinegar, or warm water with a drop of bleach and a couple of drops of dish detergent.

Take note that detergent and soaps may interfere with some vacuum type feeders.

I have also heard of people putting uncooked rice with water in the feeder and shaking vigorously to clean out any mold that may have grown in the feeder.

Whatever solution is used great care should be taken to thoroughly rinse it out.

This Is How I Clean My Feeders

  • I clean mine outside so as not to contaminate the sinks inside the house. Salmonella poisoning can be a real threat.
  • I use the garden hose and two pails, one for washing and one for rinsing.
  • In the washing pail, I use two drops of dish detergent for the stickiness and two drops of bleach for disinfecting. A quarter cup of vinegar can also be used.
  • I have several different size brushes for cleaning my various types of bird feeders. Having different sizes of brushes makes getting into all the “nooks & crannies” much better and does a thorough job.
  • I rinse by immersion in the rinse pail and then I hose each part down after.
  • I clean all of the syrup feeders (making sure they are rinsed very well and then any seed feeders that need cleaning next, changing the water in the pails as needed.
  • Doing it outside takes care of the risk of salmonella poisoning and other bacteria worries. I use rubber gloves and my pails and brushes stay outside. 
  • This method makes it safe, quick, and easy.

3. How Often Should You Clean Your Feeder?

Many people are concerned with how often their nectar feeder needs to be cleaned. This will largely be determined by five factors:

  1. Seasonal temperature.
  2. How effective pest control is managed.
  3. How often the feeder is being emptied.
  4. How much shade a feeder receives.
  5. How many birds feed from the feeders.

Cleaning Hummingbird feeders should be performed thoroughly at least once a week, at a minimum, in moderate temperatures. 

In hot weather, every two or three days will be necessary to prevent the syrup from fermenting and producing mold.

It may even be necessary to clean them every day and fill with fresh syrup daily if you have a lot of birds and it is very hot.

A picture of a bird at a hummingbird feeder with text that reads "how often to clean hummingbird feeders?"
Always Best To Clean More Often, Than Not Enough

If hummingbird food sits in very hot sun most of the day then mold or fermentation will begin to develop.

It is not advisable to refill your feeder when it is empty without cleaning it first. A small amount left in a feeder for only a couple of hours will ferment much quicker.

Cleaning hummingbird feeders may not be a fun job but it is necessary for keeping our little “jewels” healthy!

If pests are a problem to the point of driving the Hummers away, then find answers here.

Read next: Do Hummingbirds Sleep?


There is a lot to know about Feeding Hummingbirds, find more below & in sidebar.

  • Keeping Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing in colder climates is very possible and I have some great info that will help you do this successfully.
  • Hummingbird Food “The Energy Drink” This mixture is a very simple syrup solution, but you need to mix it in proper proportions or risk harming these little birds.
  • Hummingbird Plants Produce flowers that are suited for Hummingbird beaks with elongated, bell-shaped flowers and if they are wildflowers and not hybrids produce lots of nectar. 

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