Home » Can I Wash My Parrot with Shampoo or Soap?
can I use shampoo on my parrot?

Can I Wash My Parrot with Shampoo or Soap?

Dirt, grime, and filth can accumulate on your parrot’s feathers, affecting their natural vibrancy and waterproofing qualities. That’s why you might want to know if you can use soap or shampoo to clean parrots.

If a parrot has oil, chemicals, or stubborn stains on its feathers, you can use Dawn soap to remove these substances without harming the skin. You can use diluted baby shampoo on an infant parrot that’s fed liquid formula. This will remove any food debris, sticky substances, and grime that land on the feathers.

Adult parrots don’t need to be cleaned with shampoo or soap as they wash in clean water, using their beaks to remove any dirt and debris. You only need to provide a shallow water dish or wipe down your parrot using a clean cloth and some lukewarm water. The oils naturally produced by parrots will take care of the feathers and skin.

Do Parrots Clean Themselves?

Parrots need to keep their feathers clean.

According to the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, parrots achieve this by preening their feathers with their beaks, removing dirt, debris, and parasites.

Parrots spread natural oils throughout the feathers, keeping them flexible and waterproof. Preening is essential for:

  • Moisturizing the feathers, making them strong enough to withstand the stress of flight
  • Aligning feathers to insulate and protect against extreme temperatures
  • Removing parasites and lice to prevent disease, protecting the flock
  • Removing old, tough sheaths from molting feathers
  • Making the feathers look healthier, increasing the chances of attracting a mate

Most parrots clean their feathers by bathing, which softens dirt and skin and encourages preening.

In the wild, rainfall washes away any unwanted substances. Dirty feathers are a problem, causing parrots to scratch and pluck at them. This commonly leads to feather loss and painful sores.

Can I Use Shampoo on My Parrot?

Shampoo’s not recommended for cleaning adult parrots because it strips the feathers of their natural oils.

In addition, most human shampoos are too harsh for a parrot’s skin. Shampoos also contain perfumes and other added ingredients that may be harmful to your parrot’s respiratory system.

can you use baby shampoo on parrots?

Can You Use Baby Shampoo on Parrots?

Baby shampoo is gentler than other shampoos. However, most parrots won’t need it unless they’re filthy.

However, baby parrots may fare better with a small amount of baby shampoo after being hand-fed to prevent parrot formula from drying on the feathers. Feces will also become sticky during this stage.

Dilute the baby shampoo that you intend to use and only use lukewarm water.

Can You Wash Parrots with Soap?

Many household varieties of soap contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical that can irritate the skin of birds. Soap dries out the skin and feathers.

Is Dawn Soap Safe For Parrots?

Dawn soap is considered the best soap for birds. It’s gentle enough that it won’t compromise your parrot’s eyes, skin, and feathers. While experts agree that it’s safe to use, it shouldn’t be used every time you wash your parrot.

Can You Wash Parrots with Murphy’s Oil Soap?

Murphy’s Oil Soap Original Formula shouldn’t be used to clean oil, grime, grease, dirt, and stubborn marks off parrots’ feathers. It can cause skin and eye irritation, or nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea if ingested.

However, diluted Murphy’s soap is considered non-toxic for cleaning the cage and toys of parrots.

How To Make Homemade Bird Shampoo

We’ve established that you shouldn’t use standard household shampoos on parrots, except for removing oil. So, you might want to make a parrot-safe shampoo. You can do this with apple cider vinegar (ACV).

By using natural apple cider vinegar, you can preserve the health of your parrot’s skin and feathers while giving it a deeper clean. Follow these steps to make your own ACV bird shampoo:

  1. Empty a shampoo bottle and clean it using a gentle soap and hot water.
  2. Dilute ¼ cup of ACV and ½ cup of water into the bottle and shake it to combine the ingredients.
  3. Pour the solution over your parrots, being careful to avoid the mouth, eyes, ears, and nare. Alternatively, place the solution into a spray bottle and mist it over your parrot.

An ACV solution can even soothe your parrot’s dry skin from where it’s scratched at any mites.

Olive oil is another way to soothe dry skin. It’s better than using harsh shampoos and soaps, but only use it on the affected patches to avoid affecting the feathers’ waterproof properties.

can you wash parrots with soap?

How To Bathe A Parrot

You can bathe your parrot every couple of weeks or once a month. Here are some effective bathing methods:


Run a clean cloth under lukewarm water before wringing out any excess moisture. Gently rub down the wings and body, being sure to cover all areas.

Spray Bottle

Fill a spray bottle with lukewarm water, lightly misting it all over your parrot. It won’t be as thorough as using a washcloth, but it’s a good in-between cleaning method when your parrot gets dirty.

Sink or Bath

Add a shallow amount of lukewarm water to the sink and allow your parrot to splash around to clean itself.

Alternatively, put a shallow dish of water in your parrot’s cage to bathe in. Most parrots enjoy jumping into the water and will get on with washing themselves without human assistance.

Parrots rarely need shampoos and soaps to get clean. The natural oils keep the feathers strong and healthy, while parrots manually remove dirt and debris from them when they preen.