7 Cents To Prevent Algae From Growing In Your Birdbath

Over time a birdbath can slowly have algae growing in it. However, copper pennies in bird baths may help you solve this problem.


The back bird bath has algae buildup in it but still needs periodic cleaning with a scrubbing brush, although the job is much easier in the bird bath, which has copper in it.

Using of Vinegar

The simplest way to do this is to empty and scrub the birdbath weekly with a stiff brush. You can also add a few drops of Bleach-free disinfectant to the vinegar with a gallon of water.

The vinegar mixture will act as a disinfectant and help to remove any build-up on the sides of the bird bath.  

Make up your vinegar solution of 1 part vinegar to 9 parts water. This can be varied; some other guides recommend 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water.  

No matter which substance you use, always start by dumping out the old water and gathering some basic supplies like rubber gloves, a bucket or bowl, a designated scrub brush, and your cleaning product.

Parrots feeding on a tray atop a stump.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @galah.press

When you are done, rinse the bird bath with clean, running water to clean away any vinegar. You should now allow the bird bath to dry completely.

Add a small amount of olive oil and let them soak in their cleaning solutions to really loosen up and get rid of any debris, and it can help keep your bird’s feathers healthy.

Be sure to clean the area around and below your bird feeders; those areas are also a hub for bacteria, mold, pests, and diseases. Regularly sweep up and dispose of old seeds, hulls, and feathers. 

If you feel like you need a little extra cleaning power to tackle a tough stain, try using baking soda. 

How frequently you need to clean them will depend on how many birds are making pit stops in your yard, so keep a close eye and create a cleaning schedule based on the number of birds visiting. 

Properties of Copper

A bit of copper has biostatic properties that make it incompatible with the type of algae. Due to this, a basin, bird bath, container, bathroom sink, or copper sink will not trigger algae growth. 

But still, the stone bird bath must be regularly cleaned as excess copper in a bird’s drinking water may lead to poisoning and death.

Another reason for keeping bird bath water clean is that the still or warm water in bird baths can be a mosquito breeding ground if it is allowed to rest undisturbed.

Don’t forget to check your water features regularly — at least once a week — for debris, and continue to refill fountains to ensure that the water pump is always completely covered. 

In the winter, when the hoses are shut down, I use watering cans. 

If you place good luck coins made of copper on a concrete bird bath, there will be a lower amount of algae buildup. However, it does not ensure a 100% algae-free and bacteria-free bird bath.

By simply placing 7 to 10 copper coins pre-1982 into “normal size” birdbaths, the copper… a natural algaecide, will help control the red algae “extremely well with the exception of those times when the temperatures stay above 90 for extended periods.” [allthingsplants.com]

Do this work and Ideas? Comments from our Facebook page:

  • “I really didn’t think this would work, but I thought, what have I got to lose? I searched my change jar for 7 old pennies, put them in the birdbath, and waited. To my surprise, it worked!”
  • “Pennies before 1982. Cut tulips will also stand up when copper pennies are dropped in the vase.”
  • “One capful of apple cider vinegar in a bird bath provides vitamins and minerals to birds and helps prevent algae growth.”

If you’ve got a decent amount of direct sunlight on the bird bath throughout the day, this is the solution! You just put it in, and when the sun comes out, the fountain starts on its own. 

If you want your yard to be a welcoming place for birds, there are a few things you should do, including making your windows bird-safe, keeping bird feeders clean, and regularly cleaning bird baths.  

Does it work for you? You’ll have to try it out! More at:

Prevent Birdbath Algae

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