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Birdbath Cleaning

August 3 2017 at 11:35 AM
Indy Steve  (Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

My bath is made of resin not concrete and has a build up of algae and scales , seemingly like the algae was locked up in the scales. I had been using fountec as an algae eliminator but over time the buildup has gotten to the point I had to clean it better as the fountec was no longer working. I had tried different chemicals on the bath to very little success so I finally went to a steel bristled brush which has a metal blade on the reverse side. When working on resin you do need to be careful to not put too much downward pressure as you can bust thru the resin, but back and forth pressure is ok. My goal was mainly to remove as much of the scaling as possible and for the most part have accomplished this. It may need another round of cleaning. Another tip would be to use copper pennies made before 1983 as they have more copper in them. Currently using 3 pennies from the 70s and seem to be doing the job.

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my ultimate cleaning weapon
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Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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Dan
(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 3 2017, 12:20 PM 

I've tried using old pennies, but it doesn't seem to help. I just scrub and jet-rinse my bath when it begins to turn green. Once the green begins to return immediately, I soak the bath in a 20:1 bleach solution.
East-central Iowa
Zone 5a

 
 
Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 4 2017, 2:23 PM 

The old pennies continue to keep my bath clean. Perhaps it is the good cleaning I gave it first allowing the copper pennies to work. I run my fingers thru the water and feel no slime, also no buildup on the wiggler.

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Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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Pete
(Login Sundodger)
Hummingbirders 2010

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 5 2017, 12:02 PM 

Steve, I don't think you should continue using that brush on that resin. It will damage it. I use 10% bleach spray solution if it starts building up. Take the bath away so the birds can't get to it. Spray it, let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Let dry, rinse again 3 times and let dry again.

If you get a real bad build up Barkeepers Friend would be a good choice for a real deep safe cleaning. Plastic bristle brush or 0000(4 ought) steel wool. The Barkeepers Friend has wood bleach in it and will need to be rinsed real good but that stuff works magic on many delicate surfaces without damaging them.
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Green Bay, WI
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Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 5 2017, 4:26 PM 

Pete

Appreciate your input, but I dont wish to use bleach on my bath. The bath is already damaged from the scaling and yes the bristles will mar the resin some but I can deal with it.
Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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Joni
(Login Yodlei44)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 8 2017, 10:53 AM 

Never tried the penny trick but heard it works on snails/slugs near the base of hostas. I have hard water & although I don't find the white residue common of hard water, my water will turn orange if not dumped within 1-2 days. I just use one of those stiff, plastic scrub wands bought at Menards & found all over.

Wonder what I did with my Water Wiggler?? I have 2 & haven't seen them so must be packed deep away somewhere.

Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5b
[linked image]

 
 
Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 12 2017, 4:20 PM 

OK update 9 days later using only pennies in my birdbath.

So clear hard to tell the water level is up to the rim, using cedar shims for leveling.

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Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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Joe M.
(Login flhummer)
Hummingbirder 2012

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 12 2017, 4:58 PM 

FYI---- the most recent years of penny minting uses a composition of more than 90% zinc, only about 5-6% copper. Zinc is also known to have antibacterial properties so it might not effect the use pennies as an effective antibacterial agent in a birdbath. I never knew!

My preference, since I'm a "penny pincher" is to use waste copper electrical wiring. Just strip the sheathing off and coil 4-5" wire, perfect substitute for a penny. Of course I can't imagine the birds drinking the water since it tastes horrible in my opinion.



Joe M.
Lakeland, FL


    
This message has been edited by flhummer on Aug 12, 2017 5:13 PM


 
 
Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 12 2017, 5:55 PM 

Thats why the pennies I use are made pre 1980.

ON another note I drink only water from artesian wells , lucky to have one within 15 minutes of home. Doesnt cost a cent for the use of it either. When I run out I refill my 7 gal. jugs.
Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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Marilyn Gruber
(Login MarilynGruber)
Hummingbird Lover 2015

Birdbath Cleaning

August 13 2017, 12:57 PM 

Steve,

I just finished cleaning my two birdbaths (one the red fountain) and put the pennies to use. I had a hard time finding good old pennies but after going through lots of change, I found enough dated before 1980. I sure hope I have success as cleaning out the birdbaths all the time gets "old" real fast! I will use Pete's idea at the end of the season to clean them well and then paint my red fountain as during year two of use, it is chipping around the top area of the light, not too bad other places as I had coated it with a clear finish. Still waiting for a visit to it though. Others on the red fountain facebook page do have success and pictures posted of the ruby throated using it so I am not giving up.

Marilyn
Marilyn Gruber
Wisconsin
Zone 5

 
 
Fran
(Login happyhummer)
Hummingbird Lover 2015

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 13 2017, 1:34 PM 

Trying your penny trick for my sparrow birdbath, and so far it's working! Thanks for the info!

Fran
Lakeview, OR
Zone 4/5

 
 
Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 13 2017, 6:46 PM 

My red fountain has developed a leak and all the water has run out, so far have not found the location of the leak. Dont know if they will replace the fountain or if I will need to seal the leak once found.
Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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Joni
(Login Yodlei44)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 13 2017, 8:37 PM 

Bummer, Steve! Hope you can find it. Still haven't found the UV sealer out. Think I'll buy it on-line tonight.

Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5b
[linked image]

 
 
Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 15 2017, 6:58 PM 

Joni

The mystery continues. After letting the fountain sit for a couple of days decided to try to find the leak, bit by bit I filled the tank expecting water to start leaking. I have it sitting about a foot off the ground on one of the wire mesh cases so I can see-- cannot see anything leaking. I have to watch the fountain closely as before when the water came out it was barely above the pump, scary and glad I discovered it in time. Possible it was tilted just enough for the water from the tank not to recycle back into the tank.

8-16 tank still holding water so Im guessing it has to be sitting perfectly level or this could happen, just lucky the pump is ok.
Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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This message has been edited by SteveWnindy on Aug 16, 2017 2:48 PM


 
 
Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 16 2017, 5:10 PM 

Joni and others

The following is to show how my red fountain looks now. I put 5 coats of Krylon clear coat before using this spring. Looks good still except where water sits and flows. Also using the penny method no green algae shows. This fountain has sat in full sun to this point.

Wsiopoa.jpg

uoAcPOh.jpg

uekJpPd.jpg
Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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This message has been edited by SteveWnindy on Aug 16, 2017 5:15 PM


 
 

Cathy P (Downers Grove, IL Zone 5b)
(Login Bazuhi)
Hummingbird Lover 2014

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 19 2017, 12:48 PM 

My baths get full of algea but I power blast it out
I am not to concerned as the birds don't care and I
don't want to use anything cause I have tons of honey
bees that are always on my bird baths
Cathy P
A Hummingbird Fan in Downers Grove, Illinois
Zone 5a
bazuhi@sbcglobal.net
See My Hummingbird Gardens and Plants
https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Ps-Hummingbird-Gardens-885457968170727/photos_stream?tab=photos_albums
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Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Birdbath Cleaning

August 23 2017, 7:32 PM 

I continue to be pleased with the penny method on both of my fountains, not even a sign of algae on either. Because of that the baths remain clean and it seems as if it is the algae that causes the problem with my pump previously. Im thinking the build up of algae on the workings of the pump caused the problem on a previous pump on my red fountain.
Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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