How to Clean a Bird Cage for Small Birds

How to Clean a Bird Cage1 How to Clean a Bird Cage for Small Birds

Even small birds like Mika a 28 gm Parrotlet are messy. Learn How to Clean a Small Bird Cage

By Diane Burroughs

So.  You’ve got a small parrot and you’re wondering how to clean a bird cage.  Cockatiels, parakeets, parrotlets and lovebirds are precious but messy pets.  Dogs & cats shed but they aren’t seriously messy eaters.  You can throw blankets in the washer and vacuum a bit more than usual with a do.  But small birds toss seed, produce a lot of dusty feather dander and birds are poop machines!  On top of that they love to chew and shred their small bird toys and every time they flap their wings they “stuff” covers the surrounding area.  This article is about how to keep your small birds living area clean and how to clean a bird cage.

Our sweet 28 gm Parrotlet, Mika, is terribly untidy.  Mika lives in a Prevue Clean Life Bird Cage in the living room.  We set the bird cage on a small table, near a window.  Like many small birds, Mika prefers seeds and grains.  She prefers a mix of Goldenfeast Petite Hookbill, spray millet and warm cooked foods.  Cleaning up finely chopped seed hulls is a daily chore.  Mika is an over-preener so we constantly contend with tiny drifting feather barbs.  And, of course, a tiny 28 gm. bird poops about every 10 minutes.  That’s just the way her tiny body is made!

All birds are messy and here are the four dreadful culprits!

  1. Food droppers – Did you know that like bee’s, in nature birds are the seed droppers and ground fertilizers of nature?  They drop food parts of vegetation and seeds and fertilize the ground beneath them.  Well,  this behavior  makes for a messy bird cage area.
  2. Flying seed hulls – When birds crack seeds open, the lightweight hulls are left behind.  Every time your bird flaps its wings, seed hulls fly all over the place.
  3. Feather debris – Floating feathers, feather barbs, feather sheath and dust are a daily chore, even for small birds.
  4. Frequent poopers:  The smaller the body the more frequent the poop.  While their poop may be small, it is still a nuisance.
How to clean a bird cage 2 How to Clean a Bird Cage for Small Birds

Covered food dishes and seed guards are indispensable for preventing bird mess.

Preventing the mess saves cleaning time!

Prior to covering how to clean a bird cage, we’d like to address preventing as much of the mess as possible.  While we don’t know of any bird supplies that completely eliminate bird mess, containing as much of the debris as possible will offer a lot of relief.  There are several bird supplies for small bird cages that help contain or prevent messes in and around the bird cage.

  1. Covered food dishes such as the Tidy Seed No Mess Bird Feeder or the Seed Corral help a lot by keeping food and seed hulls inside a covered bowl so that debris doesn’t fly all over the place every time that your bird flaps its wings.  These no mess feeders requier your bird to step inside of a clear box to eat where they can’t perch over their food.  Food and seed hulls fall back into the feeder.
  2. Seed Guards come in washable cotton or nylon varieties and fit around the perimeter of the bird cage.  Seed guards deflects floating feathers and food back into the tray where you can easily toss it in the trash.  Our experience is that they contain about 50% of the mess.
  3. Shower perches  made especially for small birds like the Happy Perch allow you to wash the dust and feather debris right down the drain so it doesn’t end up on your floor.  Most birds in nature bathe daily to keep feathers in tip top condition so even if your bird resists showers, it will get used to them in a matter of time.  In addition to washing a lot of the floating debris down the drain, daily showers help condition your birds skin.
  4. Cage Liners save a lot of time because you can simply roll them up and toss all of that dust in the trash.  We prefer waxed tray liners that resist bacterial growth since they don’t absorb moisture from droppings or splashed water.  If you lay a stack of 5- 7 tray liners inside the bird cage tray, you can quickly remove the top soiled one each day.


Bird Cage Cleaning Supplies
 Popular Brands Approximate Cost 
Short Bristle Scrub Brushes Crevice Brush and Large Brush $8 – $10
Metal Grate Scraper  $3 – $5
Enzyme Bird Poop Remover Poop Off Spray or Wipes, Poop Swoop Wipes, Aviclean  $9+
Disinfecting Cage Cleaner Pet Focus  $15+
Broom and Dust Pan  $15+
Hepa Filter Vacuum Dirt Devil  $50+
Steam Mop with microfiber pad Shark – Eureka – Bissell – Haan  $99 – $169


  • Short Bristled Scrub Brushes:  It’s helpful to have both a small crevice brush and a larger stiff, short nylon bristled brush to remove dried poop from cage grates, bars andand crevices.
  • Metal Blade Grate Scrapers remove dried on poop from bottom grate quickly and easily
  • Bird Safe cleaning solutions.
    • Enzyme Bird Poop Remover is perfect for daily and weekly cleaning.  It almost instantly dissolves and removes acidic bird poop.
    • Disinfecting Bird Cage Cleaning Formula is recommended for monthly or more cage cleaning, depending on the size of the bird and how much food and poop splatter is on the cage.
  • Small hepa filter vacuums quickly suck up feather dust and dander and dried food debris.  Very fine sheath and feather dust is trapped in the hepa filter
  • A steam mop for hard floor surfaces quickly and efficiently cleans up the mess on vinyl, laminate and tile flooring.  Use the metal bladed poop / grate scrapper to loosen as much poop off a tile floor as possible to speed cleaning.  Metal bristles make quick clean up of grout lines.

Bird Cage Cleaning Tasks

Daily Cleaning (10 minutes) Weekly Cleaning (20-30 minutes) Monthly Cleaning(30-60 minutes)
  • Change tray paper
  • Wipe down table top if cage is on a table
  • Sweep or vacuum mess around bird cage
  • Clean water dish and fill with fresh water
  • Provide fresh food
  • Scrub droppings off of bars and bottom grate
  • Remove droppings or food splatters with Aviclean Cage Cleaning Formula
  • Remove tray, scrape off droppings and clean debris
  • Add 7 – 10 new cage liners to tray and re-insert
  • Shake dust out of seed skirt
  • Thoroughly wash cups
  • Inspect all toys for safety
  • Thoroughly vacuum and/or steam mop hard surfaced floors
  • In addition to the weekly cleaning regime do…
  • Remove plastic bottom of cage and disinfect with Pet Focus, rinse and dry
  • Soak, scrub and rinse perches with disinfectant
  • Scrub and Wipe the interior of the cage down thoroughly to insure your bird has clean surfaces to climb on



About Diane Burroughs

Diane Burroughs, founded in 1998. A bird lover who is owned by African Grey's, a Moluccan, a Parrotlet and a Red-Bellied Parrot, Diane is dedicated to improving the lives of pet birds with vet-approved parrot tested supplies and expert bird care articles.

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