How to Clean Purple Martin Houses

How to Clean Purple Martin Houses
The purple martin is a migratory bird that returns to North America to nest and lay eggs. East of the Rocky Mountains, these birds are almost entirely reliant on man to provide them with suitable sites for nests, and many people have taken an interest in providing the purple martins with birdhouses. However, keeping the birdhouses suitable for nesting means cleaning them once in a while.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rubber gloves Paint scraper Bleach Pail Scrub brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paint scraper
  • Bleach
  • Pail
  • Scrub brush
Step 1
Wait until your purple martin colony has left for the season.
Step 2
Lower the birdhouse if the design permits it. Otherwise, get a ladder and climb up to the house.
Step 3
Put on rubber gloves and open the house. Scoop out the old nesting material--pine needles, straw, etc.--for disposal.
Step 4
Use a paint scraper to remove any encrusted bird droppings from the house.
Step 5
Mix a solution that is 10 percent household bleach and 90 percent water in a pail. If your bleach is concentrated, adjust the proportions accordingly.
Step 6
Scrub the inside of the birdhouse with the diluted bleach solution, then rinse it out with a hose or by hauling up a pail or two of clean water.
Step 7
Leave the house open to dry in the sun for at least a day or two.
Step 8
Close the house. If you lowered it for access, put it back up. Some owners plug their birdhouses until the martins are expected to return. If you leave the house open and in place, you will need to check it prior to the martins' expected arrival to make sure no other birds have moved in.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.