Can I clean a birdcage with a steam cleaner?



It was not by mistake that miners once carried caged canaries down into mine shafts with them. Birds are susceptible to toxic gases and fumes. That’s because their respiratory system is designed to be efficient in the exchange of gases, which helps provide the oxygen they needs to fly.

According to an article published in Environ Health Perspectives, it his helpful to science that the avian respiratory system is different from that of mammals: “The anatomy, physiology, and mechanics of the avian respiratory system are distinctly different from that of mammals. We suggest that due to their unique respiratory apparatus, birds may represent valuable experimental models in the study of respiratory toxicosis.”


What this means is that your cat, the famous and ferocious birder that it is, is not the most hazardous thing in your house for your bird.

With the popularity of exotic birds as pets, it is important to remember that these creatures have very sensitive systems, and chemicals, gases, and fumes can be deadly. So keep your pet in an area that is free from toxic gases and chemicals and avoid the following:

  • Chemicals and bleach found in cleaners and disinfectants
  • Glues, paints, and nail polish
  • Pesticides
  • Smoke, including tobacco, vape, and e-cigs
  • Perfumes in personal care products, scented candles, and air fresheners
  • Self-cleaning ovens and nonstick cookware fumes
  • Carbon monoxide from fires, automobile exhaust, and central heating units
  • Foreign manufactured products, cages, and toys can include lead paint

Pet Place Birds and Toxic Fumes

Some plants are also poisonous to your bird.  Lily of the Valley, Oleander, Rhododendron, Yew, and foxglove are examples.

Toxic foods include Avocado, salt, caffeine, chocolate fruit pits and apple seeds, onions, garlic, chocolate, fat, and Xylitol.

Beauty of Birds Plants and Foods Toxic to Birds


Symptoms Your Bird Has Been Poisoned

Here are some, but not all, symptoms of poisoning:

  • Open-mouthed abdominal breathing and tail bobbing
  • Inability to fly, climb, or perch
  • Change in pitch, voice loss, or wheezing
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Discharge from the nostrils and eyes
  • Swelling around the head, occasionally spreading to the eyes
  • A change in beak and feet color, which could mean your bird is close to death

If you notice any of these symptoms, move your bird into fresh air immediately, take them to the Avian Veterinarian, and consult professionals.

Bird Supplies Symptoms of Poisoning

The ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center, 24-hour emergency information at 888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435).



Cage hygiene is important to both your bird and you. Your bird may not show symptoms of infection, but infected birds shed their bacteria in their urine and feces. These particles can be inhaled or ingested by birds and people.

Many diseases can be spread from bird droppings, or contact with your bird, including but not limited to: Salmonella, Cryptococcosis, Histoplasmosis, Psittacosis, and Avian Influenza.

For the health and safety of you and your feathered friend, it is important to stay on top of the cleaning and maintenance of the birdcage, perches, and toys.

Daily cleaning should include changing the cage liner, cleaning food and water dishes, and wiping down surfaces.

Weekly cleaning should include cleaning the cage tray, the grate, perches, and toys.

Monthly cleaning should be a deep clean, getting the bars and cracks.

The Spruce Pets Cleaning Birdcage

Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after handling your bird or cleaning the cage. Wearing a mask while cleaning can reduce inhalation of the particles and bacteria found in cage droppings.

Do not use sponges since they carry and spread bacteria.


A dry steam vapor cleaner is the perfect tool to accomplish all your cage cleaning tasks while disinfecting the cage using only tap water. Yes, that is correct! Ordinary tap Water!

The proprietary TANCS® technology that is at the heart of all Ladybug steam vapor systems is scientifically proven by major universities and laboratories across the nation to kill the microbes and bacteria that are harmful to you and your bird. In fact, laboratory tests have proven that the TANCS® kills a very broad range of pathogens, including Avian Influenza, Salmonella, MRSA, and C. Difficile in seven seconds or less.


To read the peer-reviewed research behind TANCS®, click here.


Normally when cleaning your birdcage you must wash, rinse, and wait for it to dry. When you use dry steam vapor, you are doing these things in one easy step. Unlike traditional steam that is mostly water, dry steam vapor is only 5% water. Not only does the surface of what is cleaned dry almost immediately, steam vapor does not leave behind a residue that assists the growth of new bacteria.

To clean the birdcage without a single chemical, first put your bird in a different location. Then remove all perches, toys, bowls, and the tray and liner. Use the small nozzle brush to clean the cage, tray, bars, perches, toys, and food dishes. For larger cages, or larger surfaces, use the triangle brush with filler pad and towel. Use the low volume setting, because that is the hottest steam, and it is the heat that does the work. Additionally, the low volume will also avoid blowing debris around. Because steam vapor particles are so tiny, they will reach all the cracks and crevices of the cage – and kill all the bacteria.

Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird droppings.  If your bird cage is in a carpeted area, or there is a possibility of bird droppings getting into your carpet, it would also be good to use the Ladybug with TANCS® to steam the carpet before vacuuming, minimizing the chances of moving these spores into the air to breathe when vacuuming.

To do this most effectively, use a large rectangular brush with a filler pad and a towel attached.  Move the brush a little slower than vacuuming using a low to medium steam volume setting.  Move the brush in two directions getting both sides of the carpet fibers.

With the cage free of bacteria that causes smells, you will no longer need air fresheners that emit hazardous air pollutants known not only to harm your bird but also to cause ongoing irritation of the throat and airways in humans.