Birds are messy. If you develop a daily routine, it will be easier to keep your bird's area neat. It's easier to scrape off or wipe off small amounts of dropping on cage grids daily than it is to clean a huge mess later.
- Each day, change cage papers, wipe down messy cage bars, wash out and dry food dishes and vacuum or sweep around the bird's area. Many people find that having two sets of dishes is helpful. They can fill one while cleaning and drying the second set.
- Every few weeks, thoroughly wash off the cage with a mild bleach solution (9 parts water to 1 part bleach), soak dishes in the same bleach solution for about 15 minutes, and wash out the cage pan. Launder cage covers frequently, and on a regular basis deep clean the bird's environment, washing off walls or wall coverings, floorboards and any accumulation of dust or dirt.
- Protect the area around your bird's cage from flying food particles and exploratory nibbling. You might want to put heavy plastic or an office supply chair pad under the bird's cage, for example. Screening, heavy plastic, sheets or shower curtains can protect a wall and be easily cleaned or removed.
- If you have one of the dusty species of parrots (cockatiels, cockatoos, or african greys) you may want to consider running an air filter in the area the bird's cage to protect both their health and yours. Air filters with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter are very efficient.
Birds have extensive respiratory systems that are sensitive to strong cleaning products.
- They should not be exposed to harsh chemicals or fumes. Fumes from self-cleaning ovens may be harmful or even fatal. Scented candles used to mask odors can be harmful or fatal to birds as well.
- If your bird has difficulty breathing, ventilate the area by opening windows, or remove the bird from the room. You should take your bird to see a veterinarian if it has been exposed to extensive smoke, fumes or chemicals.
- Learn to clean with safe products, such as baking soda, vinegar, salt, lemon juice and household bleach (used in a well ventilated area). Baking soda and borax absorb odors. For room fresheners, consider putting out bowls of citrus fruit, cinnamon and cloves, or fresh pine branches.
- Insect sprays containing pyrethrins are toxic to birds and other animals. If you must spray with potentially harmful chemicals, you should find a place for your bird to spend a few days away from home when you spray and for a few days afterwards to avoid disaster.