Hummingbird feeders have to be cleaned and refilled regularly, since the sugar solution ferments quickly outdoors.

Some bird experts recommend going to extra lengths – such as boiling the solution – to make it last longer. But I find that during a hot summer, the stuff goes bad (or gets buggy) in 3-4 days no matter what.

Instead of spending time trying to make the perfect nectar, I set out to develop a system that gets fresh nectar to my birds in five minutes flat. And I don’t mean those tricks on TV, where it only takes five minutes if you’ve laid out and pre-measured everything beforehand. I mean FIVE MINUTES, from start to finish. And yes, I timed it! With this system, you can refresh the nectar as often as needed.

    Got your stopwatch ready? It’s as simple as:

    Step #1: Pour Sugar in Measuring Cup

    Grab a 2-cup measure (or whatever you’ve got) and pour in about 1/2 cup sugar (a quarter full). If you’re trying to attract birds to a new feeder, you can increase the sugar up to 1 cup (half full).

    Step #2: Add Hot Water to Measuring Cup

    Fill the cup halfway with hot tap water, and stir until the sugar’s completely dissolved. Add a little more water if needed to dissolve all the sugar.

    Step #3: Add Ice Cubes to Measuring Cup

    Fill the cup the rest of the way (to the 2-cup line) with ice cubes, and set it aside to cool.

    Step #4: Clean Hummingbird Feeder

    Take down your feeder, dump it out, and rinse it thoroughly with hot water. I keep a little scrub brush by my sink, to get the dirt and mold out of the seams. If it’s super-dirty, I add some dish soap, but I find that if I do it frequently, a quick scrub with hot water is all it needs.

    If you’re super-savvy, you can just put this feeder in the dishwasher and pull out a fresh one! If you’re spending more than two minutes cleaning your feeder, you should buy a new one – the flat ones are very easy to clean and top-rack dishwasher safe.

    Step #5: Fill Hummingbird Feeder with Nectar

    Stir your nectar, and pour it in. Don’t worry about the leftover slivers of ice – pour them in, or pour them out, whichever you prefer. They won’t last long anyway.

    Step #6: Hang Hummingbird Feeder

    Re-hang your feeder, and get on with life! I replace the nectar about every other day now, and both the birds and I are very happy.

    Further Information

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    Danny Lipford


    Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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