"Many disinfectants emit toxic fumes and should be used only with adequate ventilation and never near a bird.  Disinfectants should be thoroughly rinsed from an enclosure to prevent the bird from contacting residual compounds."

"Avian Medicine: Principles and Application," Ritchie, Harrison, and Harrison, Wingers Publishing, Inc., 1994

Following is a list of common disinfectants and attributes of each.
When using any disinfectant make sure you have good ventilation and make sure that items are thoroughly rinsed and dried before allowing your birds access to them.
REMEMBER: Any disinfectant can be dangerous to your birds if used improperly!
Soaps and Detergents Reduce the attraction of greases and dirt to an object.
Bleach Can destroy many, if not most, microorganisms including bacteria and viruses. Has limited activity against the spores produced by some bacteria and fungi. Ineffective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Effectiveness is reduced by organic debris, extremes in pH, exposure to sunlight, or evaporation. Use in good ventilation. Mix 1/2 cup bleach per gallon of water and soak items for 30 minutes. Do not use the granulated chlorine used in swimming pools.
Dent-A-Gene Effective against many microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Fumes are toxic to living tissue, including skin, eyes, and lungs. Inactivated by organic debris and exposure to sunlight. Use in good ventilation.
Chlorhexidine (Nolvasan) Relatively non-toxic to skin and non-corrosive. Good activity against many bacteria, yeast, and some enveloped viruses. Has limited activity against some bacteria (particularly Pseudomonas), spores produced by mycobacteria and non-enveloped viruses. Ineffective in the presence of organic debris and has limited stability. Must be made fresh at least once per day. May have potential carcinogenic effects.
Glutaraldehyde (Wavicide) Quickly inactivates many microbial agents, many viruses, and chlamydia. Effective against many viruses even in the presence of organic debris and are stable as a working solution from two weeks to a month. Has widespread effects in humans and animals, including irritation to eyes, respiratory tract, and skin. Some are corrosive to metal. Should not be mixed with ammonia, phenols, chlorine, or bleach.
Iodines (Betadine) Frequently used as antiseptics for cleaning wounds and skin. Limited toxic vapors. Effective for many bacteria, some viruses, and fungi. Toxic if ingested, may cause drying and cracking of skin. Not effective against all strains of Pseudomonas and not effective against some viruses. Not effective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. May be rapidly inactivated by the presence of organic debris.
Phenols (Lysol) Can inactivate many bacteria (including Pseudomonas and mycobacteria) fungi and some viruses. Vary in activity based on the presence of organic matter and on the temperature, concentration and pH of the disinfectant solution. Toxic to many tissues, irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, and may be particularly toxic to cats and reptiles. Wear protective gloves because these compounds are corrosive to the skin. Also keep these disinfectants away from your eyes.
Quaternary Ammonium (Roccal-D) May function as a detergent and help remove debris from objects. Inactivate many types of bacteria, some viruses, and chlamydia. Inactivated by organic debris and contact with soaps. Not effective for spores, mycobacteria or fungi. May have reduced efficacy against many nonenveloped viruses and Pseudomonas. Difficult to rinse from some surfaces and frequently leave a slimy residue. Ingestion and possibly inhalation can cause respiratory paralysis and death. NOT recommended for objects that will be in direct contact with birds, such as anesthesia equipment, food or water bowls, feeding utensils.
Wood Tar Distillates (Pine-Sol) Low toxicity but are poor disinfectants. May be used in some cases to facilitate cleaning of inanimate surfaces prior to disinfecting.
Alcohols 70% ethyl alcohol inactivates many bacteria and viruses provided sufficient contact time (up to 20 minutes). Performs best in the presence of moisture. Fumes can be irritating to eyes and mucus membranes.


"The Bird Care Book" by Sheldon L. Gerstenfeld, V.M.D.
"The Parrot in Health and Illness" by Bonnie Munro Doane
"The Complete Bird Owner's Handbook" by Gary A. Gallerstein, D.V.M.
"Avian Viruses:  Function and Control" by Branson W. Ritchie, D.V.M., Ph.D.
"Avian Medicine:  Principles and Application" by Ritchie, Harrison and Harrison