How to scrub a duck
I was talking to my friend Kirby the other day about the environmental impacts of oil spills. One of the first things that popped into my head was an image of people washing off ducks drenched in oil with Dawn dish soap.
The washing ducks commercials must be one of the most iconic and effective advertisements of all time. I admit that this commercial has influenced my consumer behaviour and urged me to pick up a bottle of Dawn at the grocery store to help these greasy birds on the tv.
But while Dawn has established that it is an effective remedy for washing ducks, I don’t think that Dawn commercials have equipped me with the skills or knowledge base to clean my own oily duck at home. As such, I have put together a beginners guide for how to scrub a duck.
1. Prepare a bath for your duck
There are two ways of going about this. If you plan to show your duck at a festival the next day, you should consider preparing three baths of water. The first bath will contain warm water with Dawn dish soap, the second will contain warm water for rinsing, and the final bath will contain room temperature water for a final rinse. Using three baths will assure that there will be no remaining suds on your duck that could potentially compromise its performance at the festival.
Note: if you have a white duck, you can also add some bluing to the third tub to make its feathers brighter. However, if you add too much bluing, your duck will turn blue.
If you are not planning to show your duck, Backyardchickens.com says that a kiddie pool with lukewarm water should suffice. In this case, you should fill your pool with water and then add a few drops of Dawn dish soap. This method does not guarantee that all the suds will be washed off your duck, but if you’re just casually washing a duck, this should be fine.
In both scenarios, the water in the bath should be enough to comfortably fit the duck where its full lower body is submerged. Do not put the duck’s head under the water.
2. Vigorously scrub the feathers
According to veterinarian Heather Nevill, it's important to vigorously scrub your duck and really “agitate the feathers in the water” in order to clean the duck effectively.
Dawn’s research team aspires to find the perfect balance between a strong cleaner and a detergent that is soft on skin. After many years of sleepless nights in the Dawn lab, you no longer have to worry about irritating your duck’s skin.The current formula for Dawn dish soap is gentle on skin while being tough on oil.
3. Set your duck free
If you have completed the previous two steps, your duck should now be oil free. Now it’s time to dab the water off your duck with a soft towel and set them free.
At this stage, it is important to start to familiarize yourself with the wildlife rescue centers in your area that can help reintegrate your duck into the wild. After your duck gets out of the bath, you should put them in a box and bring them to the rescue center of your choice.