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How to Wash a Duck

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Three wash tubs

  • Soap

  • Soft toothbrush

  • Vinegar

  • Towel

  • Drying cage

If you intend to wash your duck for a poultry show, it is a good idea to practice on a duck that you will not be showing, so that you get used to the process. When you do wash the show duck, do so a day before the exhibit. After washing, return it to a clean pen with clean shavings or straw. Keep the room temperature between 80 and 90 F during bath time.

Set three tubs out on a counter. Each tub should be large enough to comfortably fit the duck.

Fill the first two tubs with warm water, approximately 95 F. Fill the third tub with room-temperature water. The water should be deep enough so that the duck can stand in the tub with its body submerged and head out of the water.

Add enough soap to the first tub to make it sudsy. Recommended detergents include Casteel soap, Cheer, Ivory and Lux flakes. Add about 1/4 cup of vinegar to the second tub.

Pick up the duck with both your hands, holding it so it cannot flap its wings. Set it in the first tub with the suds. Allow it to stand in the tub and never put its head under water.

Continue holding the duck with one hand while using your second hand to gently scrub its wings. Use a small toothbrush and work the soapy water through its feathers. Move the brush from the base to feather tip.

Pick the duck up with both hands and lift it out of the first tub after washing. Place it in the second tub to remove the soap. Vinegar water helps cut through the soap. Remove as much soap as possible, using the water from this tub.

Pick the duck up with both hands and lift it out of the second tub, then place it in the last tub for its final rinse. Use your hands to work the water gently through its feathers.

Remove the duck from the rinse tub, place it on a large towel and gently dry. Place the duck in a drying cage, in a warm room away from drafts.


  • If it is a white duck, add some bluing, such as Boraten, to the third tub. Then fill a fourth tub with room-temperature water for the final rinse. This will “whiten” the duck's feathers. Add just enough bluing to the water to tint the water blue; if too much bluing is added, the feathers will take on a blue tint.