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How To Clean Rust Off Your Parrot's Cage

As we all know, parrots climb, scratch and chew everything they can get hold of and this includes their cage bars.  The paint on their cage or aviary then becomes worn and  over time will peel off.  Peeling paint and rust is not just unattractive, it can also hurt your parrot if ingested over a period of time.  Restore your parrot cage by removing the old paint and rust and then apply a fresh coat of bird-safe paint. Remember to use only non-toxic paint that is free of volatile organic compounds, zinc or lead as these can kill a bird.


  • Sandblaster or wire brush
  • Steel wool pad
  • White vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Garden hose
  • Drop cloth or newspaper
  • Non-toxic, VOC-free spray paint and primer

What to do:

  • Remove your parrot and everything else from his cage and relocate him to a temporary cage where he can live for seven days or more
  • Remove the old paint from the cage bars with a sandblaster or scrub off with a wire brush
  • Make sure that you do not leave any paint behind as this will ensure than any new paint layers will peel off
  • Clean off any rust with a steel wool pad soaked in white vinegar
  • Clean the cage with a bleach and water solution before rinsing thoroughly with a garden hose
  • Allow the cage to dry
  • Lay down a drop cloth or sheets of newspaper either outside or in a well-ventilated indoor area and place the cage on top to avoid accidentally painting anything else
  • Shake a can of spray primer well, put the nozzle up to the cage bars and spray a thin layer of primer on the bars. Ensure that you cover all of the bars on the inside, outside, top and bottom.  Make sure there is no bare metal left and allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer's directions
  • Spray on a thin layer of non-toxic spray paint in the same manner and allow the paint to dry according to the manufacturer's directions
  • Apply two or three more thin layers of paint
  • Let the paint cure for a week or longer before returning your parrot to his cage
  • Follow any additional directions on drying and curing time as non-toxic paint is only safe for birds when the paint is fully cured
  • The fumes from wet paint can be hazardous to your parrot