Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Clean a Pet Bird: 7 Simple Steps (With Pictures)

yellow bird in bird bath

Birds aren’t like cats. They don’t spend half their day meticulously cleaning themselves. If you’re a new bird owner, you might be wondering what you can do to keep your new pet clean. While most birds can take care of their grooming needs themselves, they occasionally need a hand from their owners.

Keep reading to find our guide on how to clean your bird.


How to Clean a Bird (7 Steps)

1. Be Patient

The number one way to scare and traumatize your bird from bath time is to force him into bathing when he’s not ready. Birds will bathe on their own time when they’re ready.

2. Provide a Bath

Try attaching a little bath basin to the side of his cage or a bowl of water at the bottom so he can pick and choose when he’s ready to try bathing himself. The water shouldn’t be too cold or too warm but instead at a comfortable room temperature.

Your bird might prefer bathing in your sink over in his cage. Pool lukewarm water into your sink and let his natural instincts take over. If your bird is quite small, pour some water into your cupped hands and let him try bathing there.

budgie on a bird bath green bird
Image Credit: Vyaseleva Elena, Shutterstock

3. Shower Together

Another option for cleaning your bird is to bring him into the shower with you. Birds are naturally social creatures, and many will enjoy having a shower with their owners. You can find avian-specific shower perches and sprayers to use during your showers.

If you decide to try showering together, you’ll need to exercise extreme patience. Your bird may benefit from watching you in the shower before you try taking him in there with you. He can then see that a shower is a safe place.

4. Mist With Water

If your bird doesn’t take a bath in his cage and doesn’t like showering with you, you can try misting him with water. Use warm water in a brand-new spray bottle to ensure there is no chemical residue from other products that could be unknowingly poisoning your bird.

orange bird canary in bird bath
Image Credit: Stanislav71, Shutterstock

5. Use Water Only

While there are bird shampoos on the market, they aren’t necessary to get your bird clean. They don’t have shampoo in the wild, so they don’t need it in captivity. Birds produce a special oil from their uropygial gland that they use during preening. This oil can become stripped if you use harsh soaps and detergents.

6. Dry Off

When your bird has finished their bath, they’ll start drying on their own. Your job is to make sure that the room they’re drying off in is a comfortable temperature. Do not use a hairdryer as it can burn their skin. Air drying will allow the feathers to dry and rearrange themselves naturally. This will help their features to become waterproof again after their bath.

You can try to expedite the process by stroking him in the direction of his feathers if he allows you to.

Birds take quite a while to try off so make sure you bathe him during the morning or afternoon, so he has time to dry off before bed. We recommend choosing a time of day when it’s warm to ensure your bird won’t get a chill during or after his bath.

Don’t fret if you notice your bird’s chest shivering when he gets out of the bath. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s cold. Shivering is a natural process that helps your bird generate body heat so they can dry their feathers better.

7. Clean Their Cage

It’s no secret that birds are messy little things. They poop wherever they want and drop food and feathers all over the place. If you want to keep your bird clean after his bath, you need to make sure you’re doing your due diligence with your cage cleaning duties.

Do a quick spot clean every day to remove droppings and food, and commit to doing a deep lean once every week. You can use an enzyme spray from the pet store to clean and neutralize odors. A white vinegar and water mixture is another great DIY cleaner you can use to clean your cage.

Lutino peach faced lovebird in a cage
Image Credit: Anita_Morgan, Pixabay

How Often Should I Bathe My Bird?

You can offer your bird a bath every day. Some will enjoy a daily bath, while others will prefer only to bathe on occasion. It’s best to encourage him to bathe often to keep his feathers and skin looking and feeling healthier. The dry air in our homes from our heating and air conditioning systems is not conducive to healthy feathers.

If this is your first time bathing him, try offering a bath one or two times a week until they get the hang of bath time.

divider-birdsFinal Thoughts

It’s important to build a grooming routine that your bird enjoys. Don’t force him into bathing if he’s not ready yet. With a little bit of patience and encouragement, your bird should learn to enjoy bath time.

Featured Image Credit: VitCOM, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets