How To Reduce Cockatiel Dust & Why It’s Important

Published by Joseph Calabrese on

If you own cockatiels, you know how dusty they are.

Sometimes, the often airborne dander can be a little too much to handle, especially if you don’t have an effective way to control it.

Excessive inhalation of this dust can be harmful.

Luckily, you’re about to learn 6 simple ways to reduce cockatiel dust within your home!

But first, I want to briefly explain why cockatiels are so dusty.

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Why Cockatiels Are So Darn Dusty

Cockatiels, as well as African grey parrots and cockatoos, are a lot dustier than most other birds commonly kept as pets.

These extra dusty birds are called “powder-down birds”.

They have extra feathers with super fine dust particles on them that act as a natural waterproof coating for the plumage. As well as these fine dust particles, cockatiels spread even more broken keratin sheaths, loose feathers, and dried skin throughout their plumage while preening.

When they decide to fluff up, they launch all this built-up dust into your once-clean atmosphere.

And most cockatiels fluff up quite frequently throughout the day.

Just imagine how much dust would be in the air after a full day of preening and fluffing!

After giving scratches to your bird, you’ll notice that your fingers are coated with the same super fine dust particles that coat the plumage of powder-down birds.

That’s good evidence as to just how dusty they really are.

How Cockatiel Dust Can Be Harmful

Cockatiel dust is only particularly harmful when inhaled excessively.

However, even small amounts of dander inhalation can be dangerous to people with existing respiratory issues, such as asthma or allergies for example.

Dust inhalation has the potential to both cause and aggravates respiratory problems.

Other birds can also suffer from allergic reactions when inhaling cockatiel dust, so it’s best to house any other birds that you own away from the cockatiels.

cockatiel dust
(Image Credit: Pixabay)

There is also another situation that can make parrot dust much more harmful…

If the cockatiel is sick with a disease called psittacosis, it can spread this disease to humans via its dust.

You can read more about psittacosis here if you like.

Luckily, there are ways you can greatly reduce the amount of dust that’s on your cockatiel and in the air.

6 Ways To Reduce Cockatiel Powder Within The Home

1) Bathe Your Cockatiel Regularly

Bathing your cockatiel on a regular basis will help to wash away loose dust, keratin sheaths, feathers, and dead skin from their body.

This ultimately makes them less dusty, which means less dust in the air and up your nose.

Try to bathe your cockatiel every 2 – 3 days or every day if possible.

I know that some birds enjoy daily baths while others will only take one weekly.

The more often they bathe, the less dusty they will be.

Related: 6 Ways To Bathe A Stubborn Cockatiel

2) Invest In An Air Purifier

You’ve likely heard this a million times if you’ve been searching for the solution to airborne bird dander, but most air purification systems are IDEAL for removing cockatiel dust from the atmosphere.

In case you don’t know, here’s how typical air purifiers work:

Air purifiers suck in dust-polluted air, collect the dust in a replaceable filter, and then deliver clean air back into the atmosphere.

They’re so effective that I know some people that keep one in every single room!

Click here to view the top 9 best air purifiers for bird owners.

best air purifier for bird owners

If you have one or plan to buy one, air purifiers are best used near your cockatiel’s cage or in the middle of the room.

This placement will ensure that all dust clusters get collected.

If you’re struggling with airborne dust or other pollutants, an air purifier will serve you and your birds quite well.

3) Wipe Down Surfaces Daily

Any surfaces that are often used by your cockatiel should be wiped down daily.

Some common places include:

  • Cage surfaces
  • Perches
  • Chairs
  • Couches

Anywhere they hang out and preen for long periods will naturally get a bit dusty.

Wipe down these surfaces with a damp rag or cloth to collect and discard fallen feathers and dust particles.

4) Vacuum Daily

A daily vacuum around the cage will pick up a lot of hidden feathers and tiny dust particles.

Just like the previous method, you should vacuum wherever your bird grooms for long periods.

If you have a tree stand or a play stand away from the cage, the floors beneath them should be vacuumed and wiped down daily.

Floor dust always makes its way back into the air, so it’s important to eliminate it.

If you stir up a cloud of dust while vacuuming, you can aim the vacuum cleaner toward airborne dust and it’ll pick it up.

how to reduce cockatiel dander
(Arthur the dusty fella)

5) Misting The Cage Liner Before Replacing It

The best way to get rid of cockatiel dust from the air is to prevent it from going airborne in the first place.

And a LOT of dander goes airborne when replacing the cage liner.

Before disturbing the liner, you should always give it a quick mist from a spray bottle.

This will make most of the feathers and fine dust particles stick to the paper (or whatever you use for cage liner), which prevents it from exploding in your face when replacing it.

I do this every time I replace my cockatiel’s cage liner, it always keeps the mess down!

6) Keep The Room Well Ventilated

Keeping fresh air circulating throughout the home is probably the easiest way to prevent excessive dust build-up.

All you need to do is crack open a window or two.

I just keep the back door open, it works well and it has a protective screen to stop my bird from flying away.

cockatiel powder

Not only will this blow dust bombs away from you and your birds, but it’ll also let some of those fine dust particles out.

Combine fresh air circulation with an air purifier and you’ll be on your way to having a dust-free home!

Note: If it’s really windy outside, it might be better to keep the windows closed as high winds can carry dust particles from outside through your windows or door.


Cockatiel dust dander can be harmful to you and your birds if large amounts remain in your home for long periods of time.

Inhaling excessive amounts of bird dust can cause or worsen respiratory issues.

For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend keeping cockatiels in the same household as someone dealing with serious lung or respiratory problems.

It just wouldn’t be good for them.

Luckily, these 6 methods can help get rid of some cockatiel dust within your household:

  • 1) Bathe your cockatiel regularly
  • 2) Use an air purifier in the bird room
  • 3) Wipe down areas used by the bird daily (cage, perches, chairs, anywhere they preen)
  • 4) Vacuum daily
  • 5) Mist the cage liner before replacing it (This will help dust and feathers stick to the liner, preventing it from exploding in your face)
  • 6) Keep the room well-ventilated by circulating fresh air

There are ways to keep a dust-free home while living with dusty birds, it just takes a bit of work.

Thank you for reading 🙂



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