Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Keep Your Hummingbird Feeder Clean?

Keeping hummingbird feeders clean is essential to maintaining their health and well-being. While many commercial cleaning products are available in the market, many bird enthusiasts have turned to natural remedies such as apple cider vinegar. But is it a safe and effective option?

Yes, apple cider vinegar can be used to clean hummingbird feeders. In fact, it is a natural and effective solution for removing mold and bacteria build-up.

In this article, I will discuss in detail how to use apple cider vinegar to clean hummingbird feeders.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe to Use for Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders?

Hummingbirds are attracted to the sweet nectar offered by feeders. However, the sugar-based substance can easily get contaminated with bacteria, putting the birds at risk of infections.

One of the natural solutions to clean hummingbird feeders is apple cider vinegar, which effectively removes mold and bacteria build-up. This eco-friendly solution is easy to use and can be mixed with water to create a cleaning solution.

Also, apple cider vinegar has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help keep the feeder clean and safe for your feathered friends. It is acidic, which makes it effective in killing bacteria, molds, and other microorganisms.

Before using it, make sure to rinse the feeder properly with warm water, remove any visible dirt, and soak it in a mixture of water and vinegar. But be careful not to use too much vinegar as it can damage the feeder’s materials. Cleaning hummingbird feeders regularly is essential to keep these cute birds healthy and happy.

Cleaning Your Hummingbird Feeder with Apple Cider Vinegar

Cleaning your hummingbird feeder with apple cider vinegar is a simple process that can help maintain a clean and safe feeding environment for the birds. Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning your hummingbird feeder using apple cider vinegar:

Gather the Necessary Supplies

  • Apple cider vinegar (unfiltered, raw, and organic)
  • Warm water
  • Soft-bristle brush or bottle brush
  • Clean cloth or sponge
  • Toothbrush (optional for hard-to-reach areas)
  • Mild dish soap (optional)

Disassemble the Feeder

Carefully disassemble the hummingbird feeder, separating the different parts for thorough cleaning. This typically includes the reservoir, feeding ports, perches, and removable components.

Empty and Dispose of Any Remaining Nectar

Pour out any leftover nectar from the feeder. Discard the old nectar and rinse the reservoir and other parts with warm water to remove any remaining residue.

Prepare the Cleaning Solution

Create a cleaning solution in a clean container or sink by mixing one-part vinegar with two-part warm water.. The vinegar is a natural cleaning agent and helps remove mold, bacteria, and mineral deposits.

Soak the Feeder Parts

Place the disassembled feeder parts in the cleaning solution and let them soak for 15-20 minutes. This helps to loosen any stubborn deposits and sanitize the components.

Scrub and Rinse

Using a soft-bristle brush or bottle brush, gently scrub the feeder parts, paying close attention to the feeding ports, reservoir, and other crevices. For hard-to-reach areas, a toothbrush can be helpful.

Ensure thorough cleaning of all surfaces. You can add a small amount of mild dish soap to the brush for additional cleaning power.

Rinse with Clean Water

Rinse all the feeder parts thoroughly with clean water, ensuring no vinegar or soap residue remains. This is crucial to avoid lingering tastes or scents that may deter hummingbirds.

Dry and Reassemble

After rinsing, use a clean cloth or sponge to dry the feeder parts completely. Ensure that all components are free of moisture before reassembling the feeder.

Refill with Fresh Nectar

Once the feeder is completely dry, fill it with fresh hummingbird nectar prepared according to the recommended recipe. Hang the feeder in its usual location, away from direct sunlight and predators, and enjoy watching the hummingbirds return to feed.

The Benefits of Using Apple Cider Vinegar to Clean Hummingbird Feeder

Using apple cider vinegar as a cleaning agent for hummingbird feeders can offer several benefits. Here are some advantages of using apple cider vinegar for cleaning hummingbird feeders:

Natural and Non-Toxic

Apple cider vinegar is a natural and non-toxic cleaning agent, making it a safer alternative to chemical-based cleaners. It does not leave behind harmful residues that could be detrimental to the health of hummingbirds.

Antimicrobial Properties

Apple cider vinegar possesses antimicrobial properties that can help kill bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms that may develop in hummingbird feeders. Regular cleaning with apple cider vinegar can inhibit the growth of harmful pathogens and ensure a clean feeding environment for hummingbirds.

Easy to Use

Apple cider vinegar is readily available in most households and easy to use to clean hummingbird feeders. Simply dilute it with water (a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water is commonly recommended), and use it to scrub the feeder, removing any residue or buildup.

Effective Against Calcium Deposits

Hummingbird feeders may develop mineral deposits from the sugar water solution over time. Apple cider vinegar can effectively break down and remove these calcium deposits, helping to keep the feeder clean and clear.

Environmentally Friendly

Using apple cider vinegar for cleaning hummingbird feeders is an environmentally friendly choice. It avoids the use of harsh chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and wildlife.

Will Using Apple Cider Vinegar Help Keep Bees Away from My Hummingbird Feeder?

Using apple cider vinegar is a natural method for keeping bees away from hummingbird feeders. The strong scent of the vinegar repels bees, while the birds are not affected by it. By placing a small dish of apple cider vinegar near the feeder, you can prevent bees from swarming and ensure a peaceful feeding environment for the hummingbirds.


As bird enthusiasts, it’s our responsibility to maintain a clean and safe feeding environment for hummingbirds. Apple cider vinegar can be a valuable tool in our feeder-cleaning arsenal. Its antimicrobial properties effectively kill bacteria and fungi that can thrive in sugar water, ensuring our feathered friends are healthy and happy.

However, it’s essential to use it correctly and dilute it appropriately. Do not use it as a substitute for hot, soapy water and a brush when cleaning your feeder. It’s also important to rinse the feeder thoroughly before refilling it with fresh sugar water.

Remember to clean your feeder frequently, every three to five days, depending on the weather conditions. With some attention and effort, we can provide a safe and welcoming place for hummingbirds in our backyard, and apple cider vinegar can help us achieve that.



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