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How Often Should You Bathe A Parrot? (Wash vs. Spray)

Last Updated on: 7th November 2023, 12:45 pm

Parrots get food, sticky fruit juice, dirt, and poop on their beak, claws, and feathers.

Aside from cleaning the skin and keeping feathers looking vibrant, bathing is a source of enrichment for parrots. All birds enjoy splashing around in the water and preening their feathers.

Parrots that get dirty can be bathed once or twice weekly in the sink or shower in lukewarm water.

If a parrot needs a quick clean due to getting something on its feathers, like sticky food, use a damp cloth to wipe the area down. Bathing is natural and enjoyable for parrots, improving their mood.

Do Parrots Clean Themselves?

Since parrots wash their feathers, it may seem redundant to bathe them. After all, they preen by tugging at their feathers and running them through their beak.

Parrots ruffle their feathers and nuzzle against their skin to remove debris, maintaining their cleanliness.

Wild parrots bathe in rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. They dowse themselves in water, splash around, and ruffle their feathers to get the water underneath their plumage. This will:

  • Clean out dirt and debris that parrots can’t remove.
  • Wash away feather dust that accumulates.
  • Remove fluids, secretions, and excess oils.
  • Clean off food and liquid from their heads that the beak can’t reach.
  • Wash away bacteria, fungal spores, and airborne particles.

Give the parrot access to water to carry out this routine.

how to dry your parrot after a bath

When To Bathe A Parrot

Establish a weekly bathing routine to maintain the parrot’s cleanliness and hygiene. This will keep the parrot’s skin and feathers clean and remove dander (feather dust).

Use the following approach:

  • For the parrot that keeps itself clean. A bath every 2 weeks will suffice.
  • Parrots that eat messy food or don’t rigorously preen. Once-weekly bathing.
  • After spending time at the bottom of the cage, the parrot smells. Twice-weekly bathing.

Parrots shouldn’t be bathed daily because they need to develop a natural coating of oil or powder over their feathers. Bird dust protects their feathers from harm.

Parrots are messy animals, so they may get dirty while playing in their cage or eating juicy food.

How To Bathe A Parrot

Don’t use a hose or submerge a parrot in the bathtub. Likewise, you can’t scrub a parrot down or rub it with your hands. Here are the different options:


Parrots are well-equipped to handle their cleaning needs and instinctively know what to do.

You’ll need to provide a bath, which could be the:

  • Kitchen or bathroom sink.
  • Shower.
  • Bathtub.

Water encourages parrots to splash, flap their wings, and preen their feathers.

Sink or Bath

Fill the sink with lukewarm water. The level can reach the parrot’s chest, but no higher. Set the parrot in the water, and it’ll begin splashing or moving around in the sink.

If it needs encouragement, sprinkle water down its back and moisten its feathers with your hand. The parrot will eventually dip itself in the water and begin splashing.


Mist the parrot to simulate rain because this will encourage preening. It’ll ruffle its feathers and flap its wings before using its beak to tug at individual feathers.

It may be startled by the initial mist. Once it adjusts, it’ll enjoy this bathing routine.

Moist Cloth Wash

If a parrot dislikes standing water or is startled by the faucet, use a wet cloth to clean the parrot. This is an option when the parrot only requires spot cleaning.

parrot shivering after bath

Can You Use Soap On Parrots?

You can use Dawn dish soap if a parrot is dirty and needs sanitizing.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dawn dish soap is chosen by many rescue organizations, including the Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research organization.

Rinse the parrot, as any leftover soap can lead to skin irritation and digestive discomfort.

How To Dry A Parrot After A Bath

Once the parrot finishes bathing, it shouldn’t remain wet.

Parrots can dry themselves, as this will lead to preening behavior. They’ll shake and ruffle their feathers, aligning them and ensuring they’re correctly positioned.

When a parrot needs to dry off faster in a cold home, lightly pat down its feathers with a soft towel. Don’t ruffle its feathers or move the towel against the grain.

Put the parrot in a warm room. No matter how cold the parrot seems, don’t use a hairdryer, as excessive heat can be harmful. Also, the loud noise could be frightening.

Most hairdryers have a non-stick (Teflon) coating on the inside that gives off invisible, odorless fumes that are harmless to humans but highly toxic to birds.

Parrot Shivering After Bath

After a bath, you may observe the parrot shaking or shivering. While this may be a sign of chill, it usually means the parrot is drying naturally.

The parrot contracts the muscles around its keel (breastbone), which generates heat so it can dry off. Vigorous shaking of the feathers may be part of its preening ritual.

If the shaking continues and the parrot fluffs up its feathers and withdraws, it’s likely feeling chilly.

Mist birds occasionally to encourage preening. Then, let a parrot bathe once or twice weekly if it’s dirty.