Birdwatching and Feeding them have always been my hobby since I was 10 years old and since then many people have asked me the same question “how can I clean my hummingbird feeder”?
The question is simple and even most common for the people who really do care about their hummers and want to keep their feeder clean and fresh always.
Even if you have an unclean nectar then hummingbirds would go away without even drinking the nectar. So, if you like birdwatching and want hummingbirds to keep visiting your backyards or garden then you need a clean feeder.
This guide is all about how to keep your hummingbird feeder clean. But before you jump into cleaning the feeder you need certain materials, tools and equipment.
Materials and Tools Required
- Small Bristle Brush
- Bottle Brush
- Dish Soap
- Soft and Clean Cloth
How to clean Hummingbird feeder – Steps to keep your hummingbird feeder clean and fresh always-
Step 1- Empty your Hummingbird feeder
Before your start cleaning the feeder, empty the unconsumed nectar and flush it with hot water. Do not store the unconsumed nectar as it gets spoiled, especially in summer.
Step 2- Disassembling your feeder
Cleaning becomes much easier when you completely take apart your hummingbird feeder. However, there are some old models of feeders that don’t completely disassemble but at the same time there are feeders like …. which can be completely disassembled, and you can easily clean the feeding ports and guards.
Step 3 – Soaking the feeder in dish soap cleaning solution or Vinegar Solution
Take hot water and dish soap or vinegar in a container and prepare a cleaning solution. Put all the disassembled parts of the feeder into the container for 1-2 hours to soak. This will make the nectar residue and even mold build-up easy cleanable.
I personally like Vinegar solution as it is natural cleaning agent and kill all sorts of germs.
Step 4 – Scrubbing the feeder
In this step you need a Droll Yankees hummingbird brush (I use this brush) or a bottle cleaning brush to scrub the inside of the hummingbird feeder bottle. Pay attention to the parts that contains mold and scrub that well.
If your feeder has parts that can’t be reached with the brush, then fill it with the dish soap and shake it well. Also, remember to scrub bee guards and feeding ports.
Step 5 – Rinse your hummingbird feeder
Once you finish scrubbing all the parts of the feeder, rinse them with cold water. Rinsing would remove any sort of soap and dirt.
If not rinsed well, the nectar would taste like soap and hummingbirds would not feed that.
Step 6 – Air dry the feeder
You can now put all the parts of the feeder on a towel and leave it to air dry. Air drying also removes any sort of soap smell from the feeder.
Step 7 – Reassemble the feeder
Reassemble the feeder as it is cleaned and air dried. Fix all the parts and replace if any of the part is broken or needs replacement.
Step 8 – Hang the feeder
Now that your hummingbird feeder is cleaned and reassembled, you can fill it with hummingbird nectar and hang it to your garden or backyard.
How often should I clean the hummingbird feeder?
Well, the answer to this question is simple but varies for people living in different parts of the world.
I clean my hummingbird feeder weekly or biweekly. But if you live in a place which is too hot then you must clean them once in every 2 days. In cold weather, you can clean the feeder weekly or biweekly.
The nectar gets spoiled in hot and humid climate too often and just replacing the nectar with the fresh one doesn’t remove the smell of the spoilt nectar.
It is better to hang the feeder facing north or in shade. If you hang your feeder in your garden find a shady tree.
Yesterday, someone asked me how would I know that the nectar has spoiled? I know most of us have this problem when we are starting.
If you look once at the water sugar solution, you will understand. Here’s what you have to look at-
- If you see fermentation in the nectar or the nectar doesn’t look clear, then change it.
- If you see anything black or green inside or around the feeder, clean the feeder as that can be mold or fungus.
- If you see any insect or ant inside the solution, change the nectar. However, this is not common but small ants make their way anyhow as they are attracted to sugar.
Why you should clean the hummingbird feeder?
The feeders hold the nectar that hummingbirds ingest. Just think that if you were a hummingbird would you drink a nectar that is spoilt and have floating insects or contains mold, fungus and bacteria.
I am sure your answer would be “No”.
The same goes with hummingbirds.
Sugar has the tendency to break down over time and then it leads to growth of bacteria and fungus. This makes the nectar bad for hummingbirds.
Also, sugar water crystallizes over time that ruins the feeder and you might need to get a new once quite often. Cleaning it regularly makes the feeder last long.
Who doesn’t want hummers in their backyard or in the garden? But at the same time providing nectar for them brings more hummers and you can enjoy the bird watching whenever you want.
At the same time, cleaning becomes and essential part and if you are fond of hummers then you never hesitate to do it.
But if you are too busy and can’t take out enough time to clean the hummingbird feeder then there are other ways to attract them.
You can plant flowers that attract hummingbirds and provide nectar to them whole summer.
What should I use to clean a hummingbird feeder?
You can use dish soap, vinegar, or bleach solution to clean your hummingbird feeder. But I would recommend you use vinegar or soap solution as bleach is a chemical solution and it won’t be safe for hummingbirds.
Which feeder is easier to clean?
There are two different types of feeders – dish feeder and bottle feeder. I have used both and therefore I would say that dish feeder is easier to clean but bottle feeder looks more attractive.
How often should I change nectar in the hummingbird feeder?
You must change the liquid in the hummingbird feeder once in 2 days in hot weather and once a week during mild weather. However, you can fill the feeder with nectar as soon as it gets over.