Birds need a safe place to drink and bathe that is why they are attracted to bird baths. It is not enough to have a functional bird bath in the middle of your garden, the water should also be clean as well as the surface of the basin. Dirty water can make the birds sick and they can spread diseases to other birds in their flock.
Keeping a bird bath means doing maintenance work as well to keep the water safe for birds to consume and bathe in. Below are the specific steps on how to clean a concrete bird bath.
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Steps to Clean a Concrete Bird Bath
Before cleaning the bird bath, prepare all the things that you need:
- a pair of rubber gloves,
- a heavy-duty brush or scrubber
- a hose or a pressure washer
- a pail and a black trash bag
For the cleaning solution you may use either vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda or bleach. We will discuss later how to use each of these specific cleaning agents.
Step 1: Discard the dirty water from the bird bath.
Remove all the solid materials that are floating on the water. Wear rubber gloves while doing this.
If you have a stone bird bath, it will be quite heavy so just tip the bird bath to discard the water on the ground beside it. If your bird bath basin is detachable, you can empty it by pouring the water on nearby plants.
Step 2: Remove the remaining debris.
You can do this by spraying a jet of water using your hose for 10-15 seconds to remove all the remaining dirt, debris and organic slime that is sticking on the dirty cement bird bath.
Step 3: Use a cleaning solution
Your choice of cleaning agent will depend on your preference and the availability in your household or the nearest store. Others will swear that the best way to clean is using bleach but there are other options that are just as effective if you want to do it without bleach.
- With vinegar
Mix white vinegar and water in the ratio of 1: 8. Pour the solution in the basin and let it stand for a few minutes before scrubbing with a brush. Rinse thoroughly with water.
- With Hydrogen Peroxide
This is done using a 1:1 ratio of water with peroxide. Let the solution stay for 5-10 minutes in the bird bath. Cover the basin with a black garbage bag to keep birds from drinking the solution.
Scrub the dirt thoroughly after soaking using a brush. If you have to clean a cement bird bath, do it gently because over scrubbing can thin out the layer of sealer and water can seep into the concrete. This will cause damage such as cracks on your bird bath.
Rinse generously with water and make sure none of the hydrogen peroxide bird bath cleaning mixture remains.
- With baking soda
Baking soda is another option if you don’t want to use bleach and you prefer a bird bath cleaner safe for birds.
Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the surface of the bird bath including the rim.
Then, scrub the surface with baking soda meticulously until it is clean. Make sure you rinse thoroughly until no trace of the powder remains.
- With bleach
Mix ¾ cups of bleach to every gallon of water. Leave the solution to soak in the bird bath basin before doing a deep clean and seal with a black trash bag.
Remove the bag after 10-15 minutes of soaking and drain the water with bleach. It is best to drain it in a pail and discard it away because bleach is harmful for plants especially if your bird bath is located in the middle of a garden bed.
Once the water is drained, rinse with a high-pressure nozzle to remove the remaining solution.
Step 4: Allow the bird bath to dry out in the sun.
Sunlight is a good disinfectant. Leaving it out under the sun will serve a dual purpose of drying and making sure your concrete bird bath is germ-free.
Step 5: Refill with clean water.
Make sure the bird bath is completely dry before refilling it with clean water. The water should be at most 2 inches deep. Voila! After this last step your birdbath is ready and safe again for your birds to enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why clean a dirty bird bath?
If you want birds to come to your garden you need to keep a concrete bird bath clean.
A dirty bird bath can house a plethora of infectious agents such as bacteria, fungus and species of amoeba. These can cause serious diseases that can easily spread among the birds that frequent your garden. That’s why it is important to clean your bird bath regularly.
How often should you clean a bird bath?
As a rule of thumb, bird bath maintenance cleaning should be done 2-3 times per week and the water should be replaced as often as needed especially when a lot of birds are using it.
It should be deep cleaned at least every 2 weeks or when there are visible signs of algae growth.
During hot weather like in summer, the bird bath will markedly discolor faster and should be cleaned every week. In the fall, when there are plenty of falling leaves that may get into the bird bath, you may find yourself cleaning more often than usual.
What is the best cleaner for bird baths?
The answer to this may vary from one bird bath owner to the other. Solutions without bleach are preferred by others who own concrete bird baths that may have inlays as part of the design and are sensitive to abrasive chemicals.
Bleach may be the best way when dealing with stubborn and hard to remove stains.
Can you pressure wash a concrete bird bath?
Concrete bird baths are very sturdy and made of cement so using a pressure wash is safe and can help in effectively removing sticky debris on the basin without having to scrub it.
How do copper pennies keep a birdbath clean?
Placing a handful of copper pennies in bird bath can prevent algae from growing in your bird bath. The ideal pennies to use are those from 1982 or earlier since they are predominantly made of copper.
What is the advantage of a concrete bird bath?
Concrete bird baths are strong and durable and will last longer than other types of bird bath. They are heavier but stable and not easily moveable. That’s why one has to decide on the proper location when placing it in the garden.
Having a concrete bird bath in your garden comes with the responsibility of maintaining its cleanliness for the regular flock of birds that depend on it for water.
Birds need clean water and they enjoy bathing in fresh water as well. Now that you know how to clean a concrete bird bath, the birds in your garden will surely keep returning and enjoy hanging out in your immaculate bird bath.