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The hummingbirds have gone south so I took my feeders down, gave them a good cleaning and put them away until next spring. Although I have a feeder that is smaller and easy to clean, the birds seem to like this old bottle feeder the best. I have had it for several years. It took me a long time to figure out an easy way to clean this bottle.
To clean inside, I used a rod, small paper towel and a tooth brush. I folded the paper towel and put it inside the bottle, then put hot soapy water in the bottle. Using the rod, I was able to move the paper towel around the bottom and sides of the bottle. Then using the tooth brush I moved the paper towel around the curved neck. Using tweezers, I pulled the paper towel out of the bottle.
I leave my hummingbird feeders out all year. We always have little hummers coming for a drink. Sometime they are frozen, but I just bring them in until they are thawed out and hang right back out. I never use soap when I clean them as that can make the little ones sick. Just hot water and q-tips
To clean the tiny holes in the bug and bee guards on my feeder, I use an old mascara wand that has been thoroughly cleaned. It works great for getting into small places!
To clean your hummingbird feeder, place some loose screws in the container with some hot soapy water and swirl them around. The screws will break away the grime buildup. Rinse well. Swirl it gently. Don't shake it because the screws might break the glass.
Source: I read this tip in "Country" magazine years ago and use it for cleaning my feeder.
By Betty from NC
Great idea! I use dry long grained rice the same way, but the screws probably are better since they are heavier than the rice and will pour out easier. Make sure the screws are washed and rinsed before using. I clean the port holes with a pipe cleaner. I would use white vinegar to clean the parts and then rinse well. Thanks for the advice.
I have experimented with making hummingbird feeders and have decided that purchasing an inexpensive feeder is not much higher in cost. One of the things to consider when buying (or making) a feeder is the ease in cleaning. Our local grocery store carries the Perky Pet line and the very simple feeders (usually under $5) have worked the best.
Speaking of cleaning, never use any type of soap to clean the feeder. Even if you think you have rinsed the feeder thoroughly even the most minute amount can injury the hummy. Just clean the feeder with very hot water and you can add a couple of drops of bleach. Rinse very well with hot water if you use bleach.
Another key is to only add enough food to last for one day, particularly if you are in a warm climate. This will ensure that you don't have any bacteria growing in the food. I use 4 parts water to 1 part sugar to make the solution, heat it in the microwave to just below the boiling point, place it in a covered glass container and refrigerate. Just take out what you need for 1 day (or 2), depending on the amount of hummies coming to the feeder it may be a very small amount.
Please do NOT put food coloring in the water. Studies have shown that this is not beneficial and can actually be harmful. Also never use honey or artificial sweeteners. Just plain old sugar works best. Since almost all of the feeders have a red base the hummies are drawn to the feeder without much work on your part.
By Lilly M. from NW Michigan
To remove mildew from the hummingbird feeder bottle, place a bunch of small nails inside the bottle. Add a little hot, soapy water and gently shake the nails back and forth across the inside edges of the bottle. The nails will loosen all the mildew buildup.
I found a simple and thrifty way to clean the feeding holes in the hummingbird feeder. When the holes get clogged up, run a twist tie through them a couple of times and then run hot water through them. It works every time.
To clean the test-tube style hummingbird feeder, get a cotton bore mop from a gun store cleaning section. It fits perfect in the tube to get out gunk and is reusable, costs about $1.00