How to clean bird feathers.

How to clean bird feathers. When feathers have been stained or dirtied in some way, they can be cleaned without much hassle. Easiest is to clean feathers in a pre-soak before washing in a large volume of water.

Pre-soak consists of a generous amount of warm water mixed with either soap (recommended) or detergent and soaks for 10 minutes maximum (after this time feathers become too soft).

How to clean bird feathers

Collectors who love to work with feathers on arts and crafts projects for example, have found themselves in a sticky situation at some point little particles of dirt and grit that stick to their work are the bane of their existence! They’ve found that gently swishing the feathers through a mild soap solution helps eliminate these little biters. In addition, it’s essential that the collected items be dried properly before they’re used because wet materials can introduce many nasty pathogens.

Wash with Lukewarm water

After the feathers are soaked, wash them thoroughly under the tap with lukewarm water until all signs of soap/detergent are gone.

If feathers still smell like soap/detergent after rinsing, leave them out to dry on paper towels, preferably outside. If feathers smell clean but slimy continue reading.

This is the trickiest part, feathers that smell slimy are feathers that have been rinsed several times and still feel slippery.

This means they’re coated with soap residue on the inside, feathers can only be fixed by being washed in a large volume of freshwater until all signs of soap/detergent are gone.

If feathers still smell like soap after rinsing, leave them out to dry on paper towels, preferably outside. To make it easier for yourself; feathers should at least be rinsed twice before going into a larger volume of freshwater, but three times would greatly increase changes feathers will come out clean.

After feathers have been thoroughly rinsed under running tap water feathers should no longer smell slimy. If feathers still smell like slimy soap, feathers were not rinsed enough and need to go through another rinse cycle.

If feathers have been dirtied with oil: feathers can be washed in a pre-soak of warm water and dishwashing liquid instead of soap (dishwashing liquid cuts through oil better than soap).

After the pre-soak follow instructions as written above for cleaning feathers that smell like soap/detergent.

After feathers come out clean they should all be left to dry on paper towels or outside if possible.

Do not store dirty or wet feathers

Feathers must be completely dry before storing them away! Cleaning bird feathers is easy and for most birds, needs to done once every few weeks.


How to clean bird feathers. Clean feathers will have a clean fresh smell and feel soft, feathers that still smell slimy or have an oily sheen to them are not yet clean. Never use any product on feathers other than soap/detergent or ones recommended by a professional breeder or pet store retailer.

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