Cleaning Bird Houses


Properly cleaning bird houses is an essential part of being a good bird landlord and ensures that nesting birds will continue to return to your real estate year after year.

Dirty Houses

A dirty bird house can harbor mites, bacteria, insects, and even rodents or snakes that can be dangerous and deadly to both adult and nestling birds. Dirty houses are also more susceptible to damage and are less attractive to nesting birds; in fact, some bird species will not return to a house with an old nest. By cleaning bird houses, you can help protect your backyard birds and encourage them to choose your houses to raise their families.

Ideally, bird houses should be cleaned after each brood of young birds has left the nest. For bird species that raise several broods of chicks each year, several cleanings may be necessary. For other species, a single cleaning at the end of the summer is sufficient.

How to Clean a Bird House

Cleaning a bird house is similar to cleaning a bird feeder, and just as essential to keep birds healthy.

1. Remove all old nesting material, eggshells, feathers and other material from the bird house, scraping away feces or other debris if necessary.

2. Scrub the interior of the house with a weak bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water), including thoroughly cleaning around any drainage holes and the entrance hole.

3. Rinse the house thoroughly in clean water and allow to dry completely in the sun.


Tips for Cleaning Bird Houses

When cleaning your bird houses, roosting boxes, or nesting platforms...

  • Disassemble the house if necessary for thorough cleaning, or choose houses with sliding or swiveling panels to make cleaning easier.
  • Examine the house carefully and make any necessary repairs before reusing it.
  • Consider leaving bird houses up year round to serve as winter roosting sites, but remember to clean them again in the spring before nesting begins.

Clean bird houses are safe bird houses, and by taking steps to keep the houses tidy, you invite more bird families to take up residence.

- Article courtesy of Melissa Mayntz

Be sure to check back to for more information, projects and tips. Visit your local Agway where you'll find everything you need, year-round, for your home, lawn, garden, farm, pet and wild birding needs. Each Agway location is independently owned and operated and as such products and pricing vary by store.