Bird-Safe Cleaning Products and Air Purifiers for Birds

Pet birds can make a mess. And it's our job as their caregivers to clean up after them. However, it's important to do so using only bird-safe cleaning products and disinfectants. It's also ideal to provide clean air for your feathered friend via air purifiers for birds. 

Bird-safe cleaning products

A bird's respiratory system is very different from ours. Their lungs are connected to a series of air sacs that run throughout their bodies, even into their bones. Because of this, they absorb many more of the molecules they breathe in than mammals do. While humans only absorb about 30% of what we breathe in, birds absorb more than 90%. Consequently, it's critical never to use harsh chemical cleaners around birds, especially aerosolized ones.

Some bird-safe cleaning products include (but are not limited to):

  • Grapefruit seed extract or grapefruit essential oil mixed with water at 7 drops per quart
  • Organic apple cider vinegar mixed with water at a 1:1 ratio
  • Chlorhexidine solution in water (Be advised that once chlorhexidine is mixed with water, it is only good for 72 hours. So be sure to mix a new solution every time you clean rather than mixing it up all at once.)
  • Detergent-free soap in water

You can choose to wash your bird’s dishes with dish soap that contains detergents. But if you do so, be sure to rinse thoroughly, as detergents can be toxic to birds if ingested. Be vigilant to make sure no soap residue remains on the dishes, especially water dishes.

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If you have a bird with a contagious disease, such as psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) or avian bornavirus (ABV), you can use a quaternary ammonium compound (QAC) disinfectant cleaner or a cleaning product called Rescue to reduce the spread of harmful viruses and other pathogens to other birds. Depending on the disease, the ratio of water to disinfectant can change, so consult the manufacturer and an avian veterinarian for more information. 

Cleaning bird toys and supplies

Some people like to trade bird toys and supplies with other people who have birds to keep things fresh and interesting for their pets. You also can create bird toys by repurposing household items; purchasing items at thrift stores; and bringing in bird-safe pieces of wood, plants, and other objects from the outdoors. All of these are excellent ideas, but all items must be properly cleaned and disinfected before introducing them to birds. 

Toys made with paper and/or other organic matter should not be reused, as they are impossible to properly disinfect. Fabrics should be washed in hot water with Rescue. Less porous objects should be disinfected with the products listed above and set out in the sun for 48 hours.

Air purifiers for birds

Because birds have highly efficient respiratory systems, keeping their air clean is just as important as — if not more so — keeping their cage and supplies clean for optimal bird health. You can do this by making sure that their environment is well-ventilated and by placing a HEPA filtration system in every room where they live.

For maximum efficacy, air purifiers for birds should be kept running constantly. Change out the filters as frequently as the manufacturer recommends.

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