Products for Cleaning Pigeon Excrement

Buy Germ Clear™ Bird Droppings Disinfectant Cleaning Spray to help safely clean away bird dropping, excrement, faeces and areas dirtied by birds that have been nesting or roosting.

Ornikill Cleaning Agent

Whenever man comes into contact with pigeon excrement there is always the concern of pigeons and disease. Cleaning and sanitising products are normally recommended for use prior to the removal of pigeon excrement from perching or roosting areas and before the installation of deterrents or anti-perching products. The purpose of cleaning and disinfecting agents is to provide the user with some degree of protection against bacteria and organisms that are commonly associated with all species of wild birds. Bacteria and organisms are most commonly found in and around nests and particularly in areas that are heavily soiled with pigeon excrement. Bacteria and organisms that have the potential to be passed on to human beings are common to all birds, including garden birds, and not just birds such as pigeons and gulls with which diseases are commonly associated.

There are two types of cleaning solutions used to clean pigeon excrement: branded ornithological disinfectants that are designed to kill bacteria and organisms and simple cleaning agents that are just designed to clean. A good quality branded ornithological disinfectant will kill bacteria, fungi, protozoa, rickettsiales (an order of small proteobacteria also called ‘rickettsias’) and viral organisms, all of which are associated with the transfer of disease to human beings. For the majority of situations where pigeons have been perching on external ledges or architectural features and where basic soiling is the problem, Germ Clear™ Bird Droppings Disinfectant cleaning spray is all that is required in order to prepare a surface prior to the installation of anti-roosting products. To use a branded ornithological disinfectant in these circumstances is unnecessary. If, however, a roof void or attic space is being cleaned following years of roosting and breeding activity by feral pigeons or bats the use of an ornithological disinfectant would be appropriate, certainly as a precautionary measure. In these circumstances all live birds must be excluded from the roof void prior to any works being undertaken to remove excrement or nesting material. Once all live birds have been removed the whole area would be sprayed with a branded ornithological disinfectant. Once all the nesting material and excrement has been removed the area would then be re-sprayed.

When using any type of ornithological disinfectant the operator must be fully protected, with health and safety being the main consideration. It is therefore essential that a health and safety risk assessment is carried out prior to the use of any ornithological disinfectant. The brand-leading ornithological disinfectant in the UK is a product called Ornikill, which has quite stringent health and safety warnings associated with its use. It is therefore important to ensure that all the appropriate protective clothing recommended by the manufacturer is worn by the user. The operator should wear full-body protective overalls with a hood as well as protective rubber boots and rubber gloves. The operator should also wear protective eyewear and some type of facemask, the type being dictated by the extent of dust and dried excrement in the area concerned and the availability of ventilation. In some cases the operator may need to use breathing apparatus, certainly where there is an extremely large build-up of well-dried excrement that has been in situ for years rather than months.

The most common human diseases associated with contact with birds are salmonella, histoplasmosis and psittacosis. However, in a vast majority of cases where human beings have contracted one of these diseases it is as a result of close contact with caged birds, racing pigeons or birds kept in battery farms and not wild birds. It is a commonly held view that a human being has a much greater chance of contracting salmonella from eating supermarket chicken or eggs than from any type of contact with wild birds. One American bird control expert summed up the risks in the following statement to the Cincinnati Environment Advisory Council:

"The truth is that the vast majority of people are at little or no health risk from pigeons and probably have a greater chance of being struck by lightening than contracting a serious disease from pigeons."

Protective Clothing

Protective Clothing

Probably more important than the use of a disinfectant in an internal and poorly ventilated area that has been home to roosting birds is the use of water to damp down well-dried excrement prior to removal. When well-dried excrement is disturbed, by walking on it or moving it, dust is created which can interfere with the bronchial passages and may cause breathing difficulties. If well-dried excrement is dampened prior to removal (using a fine water sprayer) much of the dust will fall to the ground rather than become airborne, thus reducing the potential for inhalation by operatives. Once an area has been cleared of excrement, however, particularly if it has been used by a large colony of birds or bats, it may benefit from being sprayed with a branded ornithological disinfectant, even if this is done purely as a precaution.

There are a number of more basic cleaning solutions available, specifically designed for cleaning bird excrement, but there appears to be no good reason why these would be any more effective than Germ Clear™ Bird Droppings Disinfectant cleaning spray. The range of protective clothing on offer is also extensive. Tyvek Disposable Overalls

Tyvek Disposable

One of the most effective overalls for use in enclosed spaces such as roof voids, where heat may be a problem in summer, are Tyvek disposable overalls. These overalls are light to wear but have all the qualities required for use when moving well-dried pigeon excrement, including elasticated cuffs and hood to stop dust entering the suit. Nitrile gloves are chemically resistant (ideal for use with disinfectants),Latex Disposable Gloves

Latex Disposable Gloves

heavy-duty and flock lined making them ideal for prolonged use.

For applications where chemicals are not being used standard latex gloves are ideal and cost considerably less than Nitrile gloves. Goggles should always be worn, particularly in dusty conditions, to stop dust and grit entering the eyes. A standard disposable valved dust mask is recommended for external areas or internal areas with light soiling and a half-face respirator is recommended for all other applications. When Full Protective Body Suit

Full Protective Body Suit

using ornithological disinfectants a half-face respirator should always be used. In extreme conditions and where the operator is required to spend long periods working in dusty conditions breathing apparatus may be required.

For a majority of external applications there is no need to use any bird-specific cleaning agents unless large quantities of guano have built up over an extended period of time. Even in these applications, the use of a commercial bird-specific disinfectant is unlikely to offer much more protection to the property owner than cleaning down the same area with hot soapy water. For internal applications, particularly where there is an entrenched and long-standing problem, the use of a product such as Germ Clear™ Bird Droppings Disinfectant cleaning spray may be appropriate and may offer the property owner some additional peace of mind.

Back to top

DEFRA’s view:

The use of cleaning agents in a bird-control application is not discussed on the DEFRA website.

Back to top

Price range:

The following cleaning products are available from a leading UK supplier of pest control products:

  • PX Ornikill Disinfectant, £9.80 + VAT per litre. One litre makes up 50 litres of diluted solution at 1:50. Ornikill contains 1% Biguanide and QAC 5-8% v/w
  • Standard bird guano remover spray, £6.80 + VAT per 500ml
  • Nitrile gloves, £2.12 + VAT per pair
  • Latex disposable gloves, (per 100) £6.97 + VAT
  • Goggles (perspex shatterproof and scratch resistant), £5.34 + VAT
  • Valved disposable dust mask, £6.18 + VAT
  • Tyvek disposable suit, £10.86 + VAT
  • Half face respirator, £20.80 + VAT (filters extra)
  • Half face respirator filters, £10.04 + VAT per pair

Back to top

Comments from the Manufacturer/Distributor:

The following information is taken from the website of a leading supplier of Ornikill disinfectant in relation to usage of the product:

"As a biocide on surfaces: Use a 1:50 dilution of the product in clean water and mop, wipe or spray over the surfaces using a 5 litre pneumatic (pump action) sprayer fitted with a flat fan nozzle. This solution may be used on birds' landing, nesting or roosting areas as a preventive measure to protect workers operating on such surfaces.

  • Use a 1:50 dilution to wipe over the outer surfaces of re-useable PPE equipment e.g. gloves, boots and to treat outer surfaces of spray tanks.
  • Use a 1:50 dilution to treat implements e.g. shovels, chutes and bins.
  • Treatment of sub surfaces. At the end of clean-up operations, treat newly exposed sub-surfaces with a 1:50 dilution of PX Ornikill."

Back to top

Editorial comments:

Respirator Facemask

Respirator Facemask

Industrial cleaning agents for use with guano clearance may have an application in areas where entrenched roosting or perching problems are being experienced, but it is doubtful whether they are necessary prior to or following the installation of deterrents in external areas. The main application for the use of ornithological disinfectants would be in heavily soiled internal areas such as roof voids or disused rooms within an otherwise occupied building. In these applications a branded ornithological disinfectant such as Ornikill would be appropriate and its use would ensure that any and all bacteria associated with breeding colonies of birds are killed.

Health and safety is key when using any chemical solution and protective clothing is strongly recommended by the manufacturer of Ornikill. Health and safety advice provided with the product confirms that in the event that the product comes into contact with human skin the area must be Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile Gloves

washed thoroughly, all contaminated clothing removed and medical attention must be sought immediately. In the event that the product comes into contact with the eye, the eye must be irrigated for 15 minutes, all contaminated clothing must be removed and medical attention must be sought immediately. The manufacturer also confirms that a half-face respirator must be worn by the operative as well as gloves and goggles. These stipulations confirm that the product is clearly harmful to human beings and therefore must also be harmful to birds. Any product that requires the human eye to be irrigated for 15 minutes upon contact must cause similar problems in the avian eye.

Also commonly known as:

Guano removal, nitrile gloves, respirator, half-face respirator, Ornikill, goggles, protective suit, Tyvek disposable overalls, ornithological disinfectant, latex gloves, breathing apparatus, rubber boots.

Relevance to pigeon control:

Cleaning solutions are commonly used prior to the installation of deterrents or when cleaning a disused roost

Back to top