Sometimes, on occasion, things get dirty around here. Shocked? Understandable. But it is true. With fourteen animals running in and out of the house and the mud pit that the back yard becomes during the long rainy season, it's a wonder you can tell the inside from the outside at all. Sometimes it seems easier just to throw down some straw in the living room and hose everything down come summer.
Alas, I am outvoted and we are forced to clean. Not only do we have the usual chores - sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, etc - but we also have all the animal related chores which include (but are not limited to) scrubbing pet dishes; washing duck diapers; keeping all the various dog, cat chicken, duck, rabbit, bird and squirrel foods stocked up; keeping cat and rabbit litter boxes cleaned out and shampooing the carpets when the dogs run in with muddy feet. (You know you have a lot of pets when the purchase of an industrial carpet cleaner is like Christmas morning.)
In addition to keeping the bird feeders full all year, they also need to be cleaned out regularly, which brings me to my tip. Hummingbird feeders are particularly troublesome to clean out, having such a narrow little opening so we here on the Unfarm have come up with a handy, reusable, eco-friendly cleaner.
Grit. We bought a small bag of grit (small rocks) from the feed store that we keep in an old peanut butter jar. When it's time to clean the feeder, pour in a small handful of grit, add some water and a little soap, plug the hole with your thumb and shake the feeder. You'll probably have to swirl it around and shake it fairly hard, but the rocks act as little scrubbers inside the jar, getting any dirt or mildew cleaned off. When the feeder is clean simply pour the rocks out into the jar to use next time. Since the rocks sink to the bottom, you can pour out most of the water and then let what's left evaporate with the lid off. You can buy small amounts of grit from the bulk bins in a feed store, it's relatively cheap and it's infinitely reusable. Plus, chemical free!
There you have it: hopefully at least one of your chores will be a little easier. Now if I could only find a way to use gravel to clean the rest of the house...