How to Clean the Nasty Gunk out of Hummingbird Feeders


How long has it been since you cleaned out your hummingbird feeder?


Does your nasty feeder have hummingbirds looking at it cockeyed with contempt? Time to clean it out!


Let’s start by twisting off the bottom and cleaning the ports. Remember in elementary school when you saw the classic vinegar+ baking soda= volcano experiment?

Sprinkle some baking soda in the ports and then some vinegar (I used white, but apple cider vinegar would work fine too). Yuck! Look at all the gunk!

how to clean hummingbird feeder

Swish some hot water in there too.

clean hummingbird feeder

Use an old toothbrush (NOT your husband’s current one!) to scrub off stubborn gunk.

Now for the inside of the feeder.

how to clean out a hummingbird feeder

Get some uncooked rice. Yes, you read that right, rice. I have also read of people using gravel, but really, just something hard to agitate against the sides will work.

Add the rice and a bit of hot water and shake, shake, shake! This trick works great for the hard to reach spots.


Ewww! Yuck! So gross.

If some nastiness is still in there, you can try to reach it with that old toothbrush.


Rinse thoroughly, then fill with some homemade hummingbird nectar.

Now the hummingbirds can drink out of a clean feeder and I’m not grossed out by looking at it!

How long has it been since you last cleaned out your hummingbird feeders? How do you clean yours?


7 responses »

      • They go nuts over it – and after picking some of the red flowers and putting it in my house, and seeing ants all over them within minutes, I see how sweet they are!

      • Yikes! One of the hazards of bringing outside plants in as cut flowers or houseplants is the bugs. I brought a plant in recently, then found caterpillars on it!

  1. This is useful topic since I have read that hummingbirds also eat a significant amount of insects. So attract the hummingbirds smaller insects get done. Seems like a win-win to me. I do not like to use pesticide sprays if I can help it.

  2. Pingback: How to Make Hummingbird Nectar | Coffee to Compost

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