Keeping your feeders clean and hygienic is a vital aspect of feeding the birds. Not only are hummers more likely to imbibe from a consistently clean feeding station, but it’s healthier for them as well.
Most hummingbirds would rather go without food than drink nectar that has gone bad, so it’s important to keep your feeder clean if you want to continue enjoying their visits.
You will know your feeder needs a cleaning when the nectar is cloudy or discolored or has floating insects or debris.
It also needs a cleaning if the feeding ports are clogged or mold is growing on the feeder. You can clean one feeder at a time or multiple feeders at once.
- Empty the Feeder
When it’s time to clean your feeder, start by pouring out and discarding any unconsumed nectar and flushing the empty bottle with hot water.
You should never reuse nectar because it does spoil, especially in warm weather.
- Disassemble the Feeder
Carefully remove the base and detach all connected parts to disassemble the feeder as much as possible.
Detach insect guards, perches, ant moats, and any other removable parts so the feeder can be thoroughly cleaned.
- Soak the Feeder
Mix hot water and dish soap in a container or sink to create a mild cleaning solution. Place all of the feeder parts into the solution and allow them to soak for 1-2 hours.
This will loosen the nectar residue and any mold buildup on the interior of the feeder and make it easier to scrub.
- Scrub the Feeder
Clean the inside of the bottle and base thoroughly, removing any remaining nectar residue and paying extra attention to spots with mold.
Be sure to scrub the other feeder parts, such as feeding ports, the cap, and bee guards.
- Rinse Thoroughly
Rinse the reservoir, base, and ports thoroughly with clear, clean water for at least 10 seconds to remove all soap residue.
Rinse both the inside and outside of the feeder until there is no feeling or odor of soap remaining.
- Dry Thoroughly
Allow the feeder to air-dry thoroughly so nectar is not diluted when it is refilled. You can put the feeder parts in a dish drying rack or lay them out on a dry cloth or paper towels.
To help the feeder dry more quickly, wipe each piece down with a dry cloth before allowing it to air dry the rest of the way.