As a bird owner, you know that birds can be messy creatures. Very messy creatures. If you have multiple birds (especially multiple large birds) you will soon feel the strain of the battle against the clean. Some days, you’ve just vacuumed and then wham bird seed all over the carpet. Not to mention the food flung on the walls, water spilled on the floor, pellets scattered across the carpet, and not to mention the dreaded bird poop on the floor.
It’s enough to make any sane person go crazy!
Over time, I’ve learned how to juggle multiple birds, multiple cages, and cleaning up after it all. Each time you are considering adding a new bird to your flock, stop and consider:
- How much time do I spend cleaning now?
- Am I prepared to double that time spent cleaning?
- Can I handle the extra mess?
There are many tricks to the trade, and a large part of it is finding out those little tricks that help cut down on the amount of time you spend cleaning up after your bird. I want to share with you 10 items I feel that each bird owner must have.
- A Shop Vac. Ok, you may think this is overkill. Trust me on this – you need one. I speak from experience. Before I invested in a shop vac for my house, I went through a vacuum or more per year. I even killed a Dyson! (they never lose suction? Really? Try cleaning up after 5 parrots with one.) Each vacuum burned out quickly due to the extreme rate of constant abusive use. Household vacuums really do not take kindly to constantly cleaning up bird seed, bird pellets, and wood splinters from around the bird cage. Especially if you have a larger bird that constantly chews, and spits wood splinters outside of the cage – how else are you going to clean the splinters out of the carpet? On your hands and knees? I don’t think so. I waited till Black Friday and got a huge shop vac for under $50. It lives in my garage, and comes into my house once a day for deep cleaning. After that, I may spot clean with my other vacuum that I use for normal, everyday household chores, but the Shop Vac is the one that cleans the bird room. I’ve had the Shop Vac for over a year, and its still going strong.
- A Steam Cleaner. Its pretty much impossible to clean up messes as they happen on your cage. I mean go around and wipe off the cage once a day with a damp paper towel – but there will come a time when you wondered what on earth your bird ate to make their poop that color, and how the heck it is in that extremely awkward place on the cage, and how it is already hard as cement. Scrubbing the cage with a sponge for 25 minutes to get that spot off can get old – real quick. I’ve invested in a Shark Hand Held Steam Cleaner, and it definitely is on my list of ‘must haves’ for bird owners. Instead of sitting at the cage, scrubbing away at that one tough stain, instead you simply fill the steamer with water and let it heat up. Remove your bird from the cage, turn the steam cleaner on that tough stain, and then wipe the mess away. It dislodges even the most caked on mess, and makes cleaning a breeze. Not to mention, you don’t have to use chemicals that may harm your bird, or buy Poop Off by the gallon.
- Office Chair Mats. For those unlucky enough to have birds and carpeted floors, I understand the pain of constantly trying to keep the carpet in nice condition with birds in the house. Sometimes, it seems impossible, especially if you have that annoying parrot that likes to projectile poop outside of the cage. Gross. I’ve solved the problem of constantly having to drag out my spot cleaner to clean the area around the bird cages. I went to Staples, and bought a couple of those large clear plastic mats that they sell to put under the chair in your office to make the chair roll easier. I stuck one under each bird cage (in some cases, for the larger cage, they may have 2 mats side by side). There is enough room that the majority of what comes out of the birds cage, goes on the mat instead of the carpet. It is so much easier to wipe clean a mat, then it is to scrub the carpet each time a mess appears. Plus, if the mat gets super dirty, you can take it outside, hose it down, and presto, its clean!
- Spot Cleaner. Since we are on the subject of carpets, I must recommend my other favorite cleaning agent. I have a spot remover, I think its made by Oxy Fresh. Anyhow, its a lovely foaming cleaner that provides little to no effort on my part, any time I discover a new bird stain on the floor. If my bird poops on the carpet, I simply wipe up the area with a paper towel, get my Oxy Fresh Foaming Spot Cleaner, spray the area with the cleaner, and then let it sit for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, take a paper towel or rag, and pat the area dry – and magically, the stain is gone!
- Newspaper storage containers. By now, I’m sure your neighbor/friend/co-worker knows you have birds, and probably is nice enough to donate their old newspapers to your bird cage cause. If you are like me, you generally have a nice stash of newspapers going. I keep all my newspapers in a plastic laundry basket in the garage, and then bring them in as necessary when it comes time to clean cages. However, that can get old a little quick, making constant trips to and from the garage, which increase my cleaning time. To make things easier (this works great especially if your cages have a shelf underneath for storage), I recommend investing in those canvas storage bins that are sold everywhere – they are about $10 apiece and come in a variety of colors. Generally they are medium sized, perfect to fit a couple stacks of folded newspaper. Place under the birds cage for quick and easy access, and then refill the bin as necessary.
- Plastic 3 Drawer Wide Cart. At least, thats what they are calling those things at Walmart.com. The ones I am talking about are the 3 drawer plastic storage shelves. They generally come in skinny or wide, the wider ones sit about 3 high, and the thinner ones sit about 4 high. These drawers make life so much easier when it comes to bird items. I actually recommend having one of each type – a skinny and a wide. I have a skinny 4 high shelf in my office, and whenever a bird destroys a toy and has parts left over, I strip the toy and throw the parts in the drawers. I also buy parts at bird shows and stick them in the drawers, and then when I need to build a toy, I can raid the drawers and easily find the parts I need. The second set of shelves, the wider ones, I would recommend using for bird toys, perches, and extra food dishes. Its much easier to sort out different toys and fill the drawers, then it is to pile the toys up on an empty shelf in a closet, because when it comes time to find that toy, you are generally faced with taking all the toys off the shelf, sorting through them, and then putting them big back in a big pile. Whereas these drawers are a great space saver, and an easy way to keep your house a little cleaner.
- Carpet Cleaner. I know we talked about ways to help keep your carpet clean, but no matter what you do, having pets will inevitably affect your carpet at some point in time. Lets face it, you really don’t want to have to call Stanley Steamer each time you need your carpets cleaned. Spend $100 and invest in a household carpet cleaner. I have one thats made by Hoover, and it does a great job. It takes care of 99% of major messes, and I have yet to see it leave any stains behind. *Tip – when buying a carpet cleaner, check out the ones that have an extra feature, generally referred to as a ‘deep clean’ feature.
- Air Purifier. If you have birds, especially dusty birds such as Cockatoos or Amazons, you need to invest in an air purifier. Dust birds = more cleaning. Cut back on some of the clean, and make your air healthier to breathe. Check out a HEPA based purifier, preferably one with a lifetime filter that you can simply rinse and reuse. HEPA filters can get costly if you have to replace them on a regular basis. If you have one or two birds, this may not be a big deal, however for those that have multiple birds (like myself), it may be more cost effective to not have to constantly replace filters. Placing the air purifier next to your birds cage, or in your bird room, will help reduce the amount of dust and dander that is floating around your house. * Especially recommended for people that have allergies.
- Fluppi. What the heck is a Fluppi? Only the greatest invention, ever. Its billed as the ‘Worlds Smallest Vacuum’, and is super handy to have around the house. Essentially, it is a hand held roller brush that will work on almost any surface, except for hardwood flooring. Why on earth does a handheld roller brush make my top 10 list? I’ve had a Fluppi in my house for the past 7 or so years. I’ve owned birds for slightly longer then that. I got a Fluppi at a flea market, thinking it might be handy to have around the house, and boy was I right. As anyone that has birds knows, as soon as you vacuum, the freakin’ birds make a mess with their seed or pellets, again. Why drag out the vacuum multiple times a day? Instead, I simply use my Fluppi over the area, where it picks up everything from tiny finch sized seed (I even tested it out on kitty litter, and it worked), to macaw sized pellets. Spending 5 minutes using the Fluppi to spot clean the bird mess takes about half the time it would as if I had to drag out the vacuum, plug it in, vacuum, unplug, wind up cord, and put it away. Not sure where to find a Fluppi? Contact me for more info.
- Magic Eraser. This little beauty is magic for walls, tile, and anything else that can get splashed by birdie mess. If you have semi gloss, eggshell, or high gloss walls – grab a magic eraser, rub over the mess on the wall (for example, fruit stains from feeding fresh fruits earlier in the day), and watch it disappear. I found out the hard way this will not work on walls that have been painted with a flat paint. However, Magic Erasers work on more then just walls… tile, linoleum, ceramic, you name it. Great for cleaning off tough stains on your PVC playstand.