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wikiHow to Keep Algae from Growing in Bird Bath

The existence of algae in a birdbath is common; especially since algae spores can be transferred or deposited into your birdbath by the wind, bird feet, or even from nearby trees. To prevent algae from growing in your birdbath and from harming the birds and animals that visit, you must preserve the water and cleanliness of your birdbath regularly.


  1. Image titled Keep Algae from Growing in Bird Bath Step 1
    Transfer your birdbath to an open, shaded area away from trees. Algae spores transfer to your birdbath from objects that fall out of nearby trees and will grow at a faster rate when exposed to direct sunlight.
  2. Image titled Keep Algae from Growing in Bird Bath Step 2
    Replace the water in the birdbath daily. This will help keep the water fresh and prevent algae growth from spreading within the birdbath.
    • If your schedule does not allow you to replace the water daily, replace the water every 2 or 3 days to keep its freshness.
    • Depending on the birdbath, tip it over to dump the water into your yard or use a cup or bucket to scoop out and dispose the dirty water.
  3. Image titled Keep Algae from Growing in Bird Bath Step 3
    Scrub the inside your birdbath once a week. This will remove any algae spores that may recently have settled into your birdbath.
    • Dispose your birdbath of its water and use a stiff, nylon scrub brush to scrub the entire inside your birdbath.
    • Rinse the inside your birdbath with clean water to remove any remaining debris or algae spores that were scrubbed off. You may want to use a garden hose or bucket of water to aid in the rinsing.
    • Refill your birdbath with clean and fresh water.
  4. Image titled Keep Algae from Growing in Bird Bath Step 4
    Apply a cleaning solution to the inside your birdbath once a month. This practice will remove any existing algae spores that may not have been removed by scrubbing.
    • Mix 9 parts water with 1 part of distilled white vinegar. The natural acidic ingredients of vinegar will break down any existing algae, while not harming any birds or animals that visit your birdbath.
    • You can substitute bleach for vinegar; however, because it may potentially harm wildlife, you must rinse your birdbath thoroughly afterward to remove any remaining bleach components.
    • Pour the water and vinegar or bleach mixture into the birdbath, then use the nylon scrub brush to clean the insides of the bath.
    • Rinse the birdbath of all remaining vinegar or bleach using your garden hose or bucket.
    • Pour clean and fresh water into your birdbath after finishing the rinsing.


  • Although white vinegar will remove the algae from your birdbath, it does not contain properties that will remove bacteria or any other diseases that remain in your birdbath. Use the bleach method if you want to disinfect your birdbath.
  • To reduce health risks from bacteria contamination, you may want to wear a pair of cleaning gloves while you handle your birdbath. This will prevent any algae or fecal matter from birds or other animals from coming into direct contact with your skin.


  • Do not use a commercial algae-remover product in your birdbath because it may potentially harm the birds and other animals that visit your birdbath.

Things You'll Need

  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Distilled white vinegar or bleach
  • Cleaning gloves

Article Info

Categories: Birdwatching | Outdoor Water Features