For prospective bird owners, the act of cleaning a birdcage is an extremely daunting prospect.
A large metal structure full of nooks and crannies, the task ahead of you seems so big that it’s often difficult to just work out where to start.
But while it might be tempting to just give it a quick wipe down once in a blue moon, a birdcage actually requires incredibly frequent sanitisation to keep your bird as healthy as possible.
Without constant maintenance, birdcages can become hives of bacteria and build-up. This will very quickly make your pet seriously ill.
But don’t worry if you feel suddenly overwhelmed at the task ahead of you. We’ve put together an extensive and easy-to-follow guide on how to care for your cage on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Yes, it’s a chore, but once you break down the steps and work out a regular routine, cleaning the cage can eventually become a fast and efficient process that ensures your bird has a serene, spotless home!
What you need to clean a birdcage
So that you’re prepared for weekly cleanups, you’ll need to have various cleaning and cage items to help you through the process:
- Cage Liners: This can be newspaper pages or paper liner
- Paper Towels or Wipes: If using wet wipes, ensure they won’t cause any harmful toxic fumes
- A Towel: For drying off cage areas and items
- Bird-safe disinfectant: Check it is good for birds, as some are only made for cats and dogs
- Scrubbing brush or strong toothbrush
- Spare accessories and bowls: For when you need to remove current ones for cleaning
- Pet Carrier or Spare Cage: For when you have to remove a bird from the cage
A note on disinfectant
Before randomly coating your cage in disinfectant, it’s important to be aware of how sensitive birds are to toxic fumes. Therefore it’s very important that birds are removed from the room while you are cleaning and that you always rinse and dry every cage item thoroughly.
Always use pet-safe disinfectants. To use disinfectant effectively, apply to an item in a well-ventilated area and then leave for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. To protect your hands and eyes from coming into contact, use rubber gloves and goggles.
Normal household bleach is perfectly suitable for use in bird cages. But you do need to really dilute it and rinse it so it can be more of a faff.
Daily birdcage cleaning routine
Owning a bird is no walk in the park. Keeping up with regular cage maintenance can seem like a really difficult challenge.
However, we promise that these cleaning instructions will take just a few minutes of your time each day. Which is a small sacrifice for what could add years to your precious parrot’s life! An unclean cage can put your birdies at risk of infection and so you need to do some regular tidying to ensure their home is fresh and free of germs.
Change cage liner
While an unchanged liner unsurprisingly gives off a terrible odour, it also promotes a terribly unhygienic environment for your pet, which can make them very sick. It’s therefore essential that the liner of your birdcage is replaced daily, as it’s not exactly pleasant for your fledgeling to have to walk around in its own droppings. Make sure to use things like newspaper pages which can be easily replaced and are more cost-efficient than a paper liner.
Washing the dishes
Everybody hates washing dishes. So much so that we humans had to invent the humble dishwasher to help ease our pain. But it’s not just humans who need constantly clean cutlery and unfortunately for you, birds need their dishes cleaned daily too!
To prevent harmful bacteria from festering in your birdy’s food, wash their food and water dishes in hot, soapy water or mild dish detergent every day. If you’re using a water bottle, make sure to also get in there with a bottle brush to give their drink dispenser a good scour! Once they’re all washed, you merely need to ensure the dishes are bone dry. Adding seed or pellets to a damp bowl is a quick recipe for mould!
If you really love your bird, you’ve likely got your cage jam-packed with toys, swings and perches for them to play on. And just like everything else in the cage, they get dirty very quickly!
Things like birdbaths need to be removed and washed in disinfectant daily before being refilled with fresh water. Otherwise, your bird will just be bathing in yesterday’s murky water. Make sure to also keep an eye on any droppings which have accumulated on toys and perches, and try to keep on top of their cleanliness by wiping them down.
Using damp paper towels or toxin-free wet wipes, clean the surfaces of your cage to keep it looking spotless. Try to get right in between the bars and attack any mess before it becomes a stubborn stain. If you find paper towels aren’t doing the trick, you might want to invest in a bird-safe cage cleaner instead
Outside the cage
A lot of feathers and food often find their way outside the cage. This leaves the surrounding area smothered in seeds and other unwanted debris. To protect any carpeted surfaces, you can use a birdcage apron or plastic liner around the outside of your cage for easier cleanup or just vacuum or sweep the area.
Weekly birdcage cleaning routine
Naturally, there’s a lot to be getting on with for the cleaning routine listed above. You could be forgiven for missing out on some of the later steps when you’re starting out.
Therefore, it is a good idea to be strict on yourself and set aside one day a week in which you can fully devote yourself to a thorough birdcage cleanse! Because if you want your bird to live a healthy, happy lifestyle, they need to be in a germ and bacteria-free environment.
Clean the cage tray
All birdcages should use a retractable tray at their base. This allows you to easily cover it with liner and remove droppings and food debris on a regular basis.
However, there’s no guarantee that your liner will mop up everything. So it’s best to remove the tray fully and give it a deep cleanse at least once a week. Scrub with damp paper towels and some birdcage cleaner before drying and replacing back in the cage with a fresh liner.
Clean grate (if applicable)
To prevent birds from walking on their own droppings, some cages contain a deeper plastic base with a grate that suspends over their tray. This grate acts as the floor for your birds while allowing droppings to easily pass through and fall to the bottom of the tray.
But unless you’ve got a bird with hawkeye aim, remnants of droppings will eventually catch on the bars of your grate. This means it desperately needs a weekly wash. The easiest way to clean it is by letting it soak in hot, soapy water and then giving it a good scrub to get rid of any dried droppings. As always, make sure to dry it properly before returning it to the cage.
Perch and accessory cleanse
While you probably should have been wiping down any accessories on a daily basis, you can be forgiven for missing a spot every now and then. That’s why it’s probably a good idea to remove things like perches and toys once a week and give them a proper soak and scrub.
If you have wooden perches, you’ll quickly notice that they take a fair amount of time to dry. So it’s often a good idea to have some cheap backup perches while you go about your deep cleaning. Having backups will also ensure your bird doesn’t have to be fully removed from their home while you play maid!
Monthy birdcage cleaning routine
Bored of cleaning yet? Well, then we regret to inform you that you’re still not done.
With daily and weekly maintenance duties on top of, the only job that remains is to make sure the cage itself remains free of nasty bacteria buildup. Thankfully though, this is a job that only needs to be completed once in a while. So perhaps pencil it in for the last or first day of every month.
Removing your bird
Naturally, you can’t really wash your cage if Tweetie Pie is still in there. So you’ll need to remove your bird to get to the job at hand. If you’re happy with your winged wonder flying around the house then this isn’t too much of a task. Otherwise, you’ll have to place them in a pet carrier or substitute cage.
Remove accessories & grate
Take your grate and all your toys and perches out of the cage, and if they require a deep soak now’s a perfect time!
How you choose to clean your cage is up to you, but your two options are almost exclusively hose or bathtub! Which one you choose may come down to personal preference or just simply the activity your cage size will allow. For smaller cages, a bath soak is probably best, and for larger cages, it’s probably more suitable to take them outside and spray the cage off with the hose.
Once submerged in the bath or hosed off, your cage will, unsurprisingly, need scrubbing with a good quality brush. Make sure to get in every crack and crevice of the base and bars, using a birdcage cleanser for any particularly hard to remove gunk.
As has been the case throughout this cleaning guide, once washed and scoured, you’ll need to ensure your cage is bone dry! Wipe down with a towel and leave to dry for an hour or more before returning your chick back home! You can then move all their accessories back in, as well as remember to reline their tray!
If the area surrounding your cage is tiled or vinyl flooring, now is probably a good time to wash and disinfect the flooring around your cage, as all kinds of mess will likely have spilt out at some point!