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How to Clean a Concrete Birdbath?

how to clean a concrete bird bath

A concrete birdbath in the center of one’s garden can add a lot of character and beauty. However, once it gets a bit dirty, the birdbath will start to look quite unappealing. If you know how to clean a concrete birdbath properly, it will retain its aesthetics and attract more birds to come and use it.

Cleaning concrete might look tough, but if you have the right tools, and you know how to use them properly, you will breeze right through this chore and go back to watching your avian visitors from your porch.

To help you with this task, here are a couple of foolproof ways you can keep your birdbath looking immaculate.

Step-by-Step Guide

Deep Scrubbing with Soap and Water

This is the most basic way of cleaning concrete birdbaths. You just need regular detergent and a stiff scrub brush to restore your birdbath to almost new. To make it even easier, you can add a bit of bleach to the cleaning solution.

What to prepare:

  • A stiff brush
  • A garden hose
  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • Detergent
  • 1 tablespoon of bleach per bucket of water (optional)

Detailed Steps:

Step 1: Clear the birdbath of debris. For first-timers, clearing the birdbath of all debris is important. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Remove the stagnant water and pick out all of the twigs, leaves, and other debris inside the birdbath.

Step 2: Start scrubbing. Once the birdbath is empty, you can start scrubbing the bowl thoroughly. Apply a liberal amount of detergent into the bowl with some clean water, and then proceed to use the stiff brush to clean the surface thoroughly. Rinse the bowl, and scrub again with detergent if you deem it needed.

Step 3: Rinse the birdbath and allow it to dry completely. Rinse the inside of the birdbath thoroughly. Ensure that there are no traces of detergent left inside the bowl as it could be poisonous to the birds. While you are waiting for the bowl to dry, this is a good time to clean the base using soap and water as well.

Step 4: Refill the birdbath with clean water. Once the birdbath is completely dry, point your garden hose in it and refill it with fresh water. To attract even more birds to use the bath, place a birdseed dish nearby.

Note: If you want the cleaning solution to be more effective at removing dirt and stains, you can add a tablespoon of bleach to every pail of water that you are using. This is also one of the best ways how to clean algae from concrete bird bath.

Using a Vinegar Solution

If you are worried about leaving detergent and/or bleach residue on your birdbath that might harm your little feathered friends, you can use white vinegar instead. This method will require a bit more elbow grease, but this will be better for the environment.

What to prepare:

  • A stiff heavy-duty scrub brush
  • A garden hose
  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • Vinegar

Detailed Steps:

Step 1: Remove the larger pieces of dirt and debris. Wear your rubber gloves and carefully pick out the larger pieces of dirt and debris that are in the birdbath. You will need rubber gloves because you will be handling more than just twigs and leaves. Birds also poop in the birdbath, so it would be best to keep yourself safe.

Step 2: Scoop out the dirty water. Get an old ladle and scoop out the dirty water and throw it down the storm drain. Or if you want, you can use it to water your flowers. Bird poop is a great fertilizer.

Step 3: Pour vinegar solution into the basin. Mix 1 part white vinegar with 9 parts water. Pour the solution into the basin. Make sure that you have enough to almost fill the basin. Let the vinegar solution soak for around 15 minutes or so. You should cover the birdbath so that the birds won’t drink from it.

Step 4: Scrub the basin thoroughly. Grab your brush and get to scrubbing the concrete basin. After letting the bird bath soak in the acidic solution, the deep-seated dirt and grime will be easier to scrub off the surface of the concrete.

Step 5: Rinse the basin and let it dry. Once you are satisfied with how clean the birdbath is already, you can dump out the vinegar solution and rinse the basin thoroughly using your garden hose. You can also scrub the basin even more while rinsing. Let the basin dry completely before refilling it with clean water.

Using a Pressure Washer

One of the easiest ways how to clean a cement bird bath is by blasting it with a pressure washer. This method is also undoubtedly the most fun.

What to prepare:

  • A pressure washer
  • A garden hose
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles

Detailed steps:

Step 1: Remove all the dirt and debris from the birdbath. Put on your rubber gloves and proceed to empty the birdbath of all the dirt and debris that it collected so far. After picking out the debris, empty the birdbath by either scooping out the water and throwing it away, or you can just tip the birdbath on its side and let the water seep into the grass.

Step 2: Proceed with power washing. With the birdbath still tilted on its side, you can start power washing it. Connect the power washer to your garden hose. Power it up and go to town on your birdbath. Make sure that you are wearing safety goggles or glasses to protect your eyes in case the pressure washer kicks up bits of debris.

Step 3: Stand the birdbath back up and refill. Since you did not use any detergent (the pressure of the water alone should clean the concrete sufficiently), you can immediately refill the birdbath after cleaning. Stand the birdbath back up and fill it again with clean water.

Why Do You Need to Clean Your Birdbath Regularly?

how to clean algae from concrete bird bath

You will need to clean your birdbath thoroughly at least once a month, and more frequently when there are lots of birds using it. Birds are not just using the birdbath for taking baths. They also poop in the water. When the amount of solid waste in the water gets a bit too high, it will turn toxic for the birds because it has become a cesspool of bacteria.

In addition, birds shed their feathers and they end up in the water as well. If the birdbath is placed near trees and bushes, twigs and leaves can also end up in the water. And because of the moisture, it will cause the organic material to rot, which means it will add harmful bacteria to the water.

Algae is also another problem. If your birdbath is exposed to direct sunlight for hours at a time, it can encourage the growth of algae. This will turn the surface of the birdbath and the water contained inside a sickly green color. Algae are not necessarily toxic but it makes your birdbath look unsightly.


Knowing how to clean a concrete birdbath properly will help ensure that your garden fixture will always look its best. In addition, a clean birdbath will be more attractive for birds.

It is not that hard to clean a concrete birdbath thoroughly. Sure, it can be a bit disgusting, especially if you haven’t cleaned the birdbath in months, but the process itself is not that complicated. To make the successive cleaning sessions easier for you, just make sure that you clean your birdbath at least once a month.

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