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How to Clean Your Parrot-Safe Home

Cleaning up after a parrot is no easy task. It can sometimes seem like there’s no shortage of bowls, perches, and cage surfaces to scrub down. But if you’re reading this article, you’re in luck: we want to help simplify your routine. We’ll go over the terms “cleaning” and “disinfecting,” talk about our favorite products, and suggest some practical techniques to take the confusion out of parrot-safe cleaning.

Have you run into this parrot-safe cleaning conundrum? Many popular home cleaning products aren’t safe for use around birds, but the non-toxic alternatives don’t seem very effective or accessible. Not to fear! Here are our tried-and-true tips to make parrot-safe cleaning seem like less of a chore.

Is "cleaning" different from "disinfecting?"

Yes! Per the EPA (1), products marketed as “cleaners” simply help remove dirt and organic materials from surfaces, while “disinfectants” kill viruses and bacteria.

This doesn’t mean cleaning is worse then disinfecting, or vice versa–there’s a time and place for everything. In most cases, you will be looking to “clean” and we generally reserve disinfection for specific times when there are viruses/bacteria we are looking to eliminate. 

When to "clean" and when to "disinfect"?

Reserve disinfecting for when you are looking to kill specific organisms.

In general, some hot water and a good scrub brush is going will get the job done but sometimes we are specifically looking to eliminate viruses and bacteria that may be lingering on surfaces because we want to prevent any contagious disease from spreading in our flock.

 

Here are some examples of when a targeted disinfection would be recommended:

  • You bought a used cage from someone else that was used by another bird of unknown medical history. 
  • One of your birds tested positive for a contagious illness and you want to give that cage to another bird to use instead.

What cleaning and disinfecting products are safe to use around parrots?

Original Dawn dish soap, the Pet Crate and Cage Cleaner from Oxyfresh, hot water, and some good brushes and sponges will help you tackle nearly all household messes.

Dawn dish soap is a great cleaner. While it isn’t designed to kill viruses and bacteria, it can make them easier to wash away, and it’s gentle enough to use daily on surfaces like food and water bowls. Make sure to rinse well so no soap is left behind. 

We currently use the Pet Crate and Cage Cleaner from Oxyfresh because its active ingredient is stabilized chlorine dioxide. Per the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) Watchbird magazine, scientists have known for decades that stabilized chlorine dioxide is safe for use around birds while simultaneously neutralizing harmful bacteria and viruses, like E. Coli and avian polyomavirus (2). It’s one of the most effective parrot-safe disinfectants on the market today.

Note: Chlorine dioxide cleaners need to be diluted to be safe for use. Do not use more concentrated versions of chlorine dioxide. 

There are products designed specifically to tackle bird poop messes, like this Poop-Off bird-dropping remover. You might also want to invest in some sponges for scrubbing and a bucket to tote around your hot water. 

 

It’s up to you, of course, to decide on the products that work best for you and your birds. But these basics should give you a reliable, cost-effective starting point. 

How should I keep my parrot’s cage clean?

Rather than tackling everything at once, it might be helpful to clean the components of your bird’s cage (and surfaces in your home) at different times, and in different ways.

1.) Food and water bowls

Food and water bowls should be cleaned at least once a day and if they’ve been contaminated with fecal matter. 

Soak food and water bowls in hot water with Dawn dish soap. When all the food debris is soft enough to remove, use the rough side of a sponge to thoroughly clean the bowl and remove any bacterial biofilm that might have formed on the surface. Rinse well to remove any soap residue.

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2.) Perches

First, you may be able to strategically arrange the perches in your bird’s cage so they don’t accumulate a lot of poop. Outside of that, use a hard bristle brush and some hot water to remove poop, then put the perches out in a sunny spot or wipe dry so they dry as fast as possible and don’t begin to mold.

3.) Cages

For quick weekly cleanings, you can usually get by with wiping the cage bars down with a bit of hot water. For deep cleanings, disassemble your cage, place the pieces into the bathtub, and use hot water and a scrub brush to remove visible grime. Then spray the pieces down with Pet Crate and Cage Cleaner from Oxyfresh, soak for three to five minutes, and rinse off with hot water. Wipe dry to prevent rust. 

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4.) Sinks and bathtubs

For porcelain, ceramic, and stainless steel surfaces, add a couple drops of Original Dawn dish soap to a cloth or sponge and clean any soiled areas. Rinse with water and wipe dry. A mild, safe detergent can be used on these surfaces because they are non-porous and can be rinsed completely clean, leaving no residue.

5.) Floors, doors, and windowsills
First, use a broom or vacuum to remove large debris. Then use a product like the Pet Crate and Cage Cleaner from Oxyfresh to soak any dried poop before wiping it clean. Go over the surface once more with a damp paper towel. 

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Wrapping up...

Cleaning is a necessary part of birdkeeping. Luckily, with the right products and know-how, it’s possible to make the chore a lot more manageable. If you’re looking for more info on making your budgie’s home safe and comfortable, check out our other articles on parrot cages and equipment. Lastly, be sure to follow us on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook so you never miss out on new content!

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Literature Cited

  1. What’s the difference between products that disinfect, sanitize, and clean surfaces? EPA (2022). https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/whats-difference-between-products-disinfect-sanitize-and-clean-surfaces
  2. Bishop, R. A New Cage and Aviary Disinfectant. AFA Watchbird Magazine, 26(6), (1999). https://watchbird-ojs-tamu.tdl.org/watchbird/index.php/watchbird/article/view/1395
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