There are few things in life more infuriating than spending hours cleaning your beloved car, only to have a pesky bird or pigeon ruin your hard work with a fresh dropping. It can feel like these birds have been watching and waiting for the perfect moment to strike, and the moment you turn your back, SPLAT – there’s another mess to clean up. Sometimes it feels like it’s intentional, and you can almost hear them laughing at your misfortune.
Unfortunately, bird droppings are an unavoidable nuisance for car owners, and if left unattended, they can cause significant damage to your car’s paintwork. It’s crucial to know the do’s and don’ts of removing bird droppings safely and quickly to prevent any harm to your car.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the reasons why bird poop is bad for your car’s paint and provide you with the best course of action to take when the inevitable happens. By following these tips, you can save yourself from frustration and costly repairs down the road.
Why Do Birds Poop on Cars?
Birds poop on cars for a variety of reasons, including biological and environmental factors. One reason is that birds have poor aim, and when they need to poop, they simply do so wherever they happen to be. This means that if a bird is flying over your car, there’s a chance that it may release its droppings on your car’s roof or windshield.
Another reason why birds may poop on cars is that they use them as a perch or roosting spot. Birds are attracted to the warmth of car engines and the reflection in windows, making them an ideal place to rest. In some cases, birds may even mistake the shiny surface of a car as a body of water, leading them to fly over and defecate on it.
In addition to these biological factors, environmental factors can also play a role in why birds poop on cars. For example, birds may be more likely to target cars that are parked in areas with limited vegetation or natural perching spots. This is because these cars are often the tallest objects in the area, making them more visible and accessible to birds
Why you Don’t want Bird Poop on your Car
I’m sure many of us can relate to the annoyance of seeing our car covered in unsightly bird droppings. It’s not just about the risk of paint damage – those little stains can really ruin the appearance of a freshly cleaned car. Personally, I can’t help but mutter “for fuck sake” every time I see them on my paintwork.
Even if you drive a luxurious or expensive car, bird droppings can make it look cheap and dirty. It sends the message that you don’t care enough about your vehicle to keep it looking nice. But we know that’s not the case – after all, you’re here reading this post.
2)Bird Poop Will Damage the Paintwork
Bird droppings can be a real nightmare for car owners, and they can cause serious damage to your car’s paintwork if left untreated. The acidic nature of the droppings can eat away at the protective coating on the paint, leaving it exposed to the elements. This can cause the paint to lose its shine and luster, and eventually lead to permanent stains and discoloration that are difficult to remove.
But the damage doesn’t stop there. As bird droppings dry, they become harder and more difficult to remove. In fact, if left for too long, they can actually bond with the paint surface, making them nearly impossible to remove without causing further damage. Scrubbing or scraping at dried bird droppings can leave scratches or swirl marks on the paint, which can be expensive to repair.
Bird poop can also contain small rocks or debris that can scratch the surface of your car as you attempt to clean it. This can be especially problematic if you’re using a dry cloth or towel to wipe away the droppings, as the abrasive particles can cause microscopic scratches in the paint
3)It Can Be A Health Hazard
Bird droppings can pose a health hazard, as they may contain bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that can cause infections and illnesses in humans. Breathing in particles from dried bird droppings can lead to respiratory problems and diseases, such as histoplasmosis, a lung infection caused by a fungus that grows in bird droppings.
Additionally, touching or handling bird droppings can expose you to harmful pathogens, including Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause food poisoning and other health issues. Therefore, it’s important to wear gloves and a mask when cleaning bird droppings, and to thoroughly wash your hands and clothing afterward to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs
What are Paint Etchings Caused by Bird Poo?
Paint etchings caused by bird droppings are a common problem for car owners, and they can cause significant damage to a car’s paintwork if left untreated. The etchings are caused by the acidity in the bird droppings, which can eat away at the protective layers of the car’s paintwork. If left untreated, the etchings can cause permanent damage to the paint, requiring extensive repairs or even a full repaint of the affected area.
There are two main types of paint etchings caused by bird droppings: minor and major etchings.
Minor Paint Etchings:
Minor etchings are usually caused by bird droppings that have been left on the car’s paintwork for an extended period of time, but have not caused significant damage. They can typically be removed with a mild polishing compound or by using a clay bar to gently remove the affected area.
Major Paint Etchings:
Major etchings, on the other hand, are much more severe and occur when bird droppings have been left on the car’s paintwork for an extended period of time, causing the uric acid in the droppings to penetrate the clear coat and damage the paint layers underneath. Major etchings can be identified by their appearance, which is usually more severe than minor etchings and may involve pitting or peeling of the paint.
To treat major etchings, a professional detailing service may be required, as the damage is often too severe to be treated with standard polishing or clay bar techniques. The affected area may need to be wet sanded and repainted, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process.
Prevention is the best approach when it comes to paint etchings caused by bird droppings
What to do if a Bird Poops on Your Car?
There are certain do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to removing bird poop from your car’s paintwork. Let’s take a closer look at what actions you should take when the inevitable happens.
Things You Should Never Do
1)Never Scrub Dried Bird Poo.
It cannot be stressed enough that you should never attempt to remove dried bird poop from your car’s paintwork by wiping it off directly. Bird droppings contain abrasive materials such as sand, grit, small gravel, and even bones from their prey, which birds use to aid digestion.
When birds excrete these materials, they cause scratches on your car’s paint. If you try to wipe off dried bird poop, you will only end up grinding the abrasive materials into your paint, causing unsightly and permanent damage.
In addition, if the bird droppings are dry and have been left on the car for a long time, they may have bonded with the paint, making them more challenging to remove. Attempting to scrub off dried bird poop can cause even more damage, as it can also remove the protective clear coat layer on top of the paint, leaving your car vulnerable to further damage and deterioration. Therefore, it is crucial to use the right techniques and products to remove bird droppings without causing harm to your car’s paint.
2)Leave Sit for an extended period
Leaving bird droppings to sit on your car’s paintwork for an extended period of time can cause irreversible damage to the surface. The longer the bird poo sits on the paint, the harder it becomes, making it more difficult to remove. As you try to remove it, the hardened droppings can scratch the paint, leaving visible marks that can be costly to repair. Acting quickly to remove the bird poo is crucial, as it reduces the chances of damage to the paint.
As the bird droppings sit on the car, the acidity in them can cause the paint to break down, leading to etchings, discoloration, and other forms of damage that can be difficult to fix. Moreover, if the droppings are left on the car during hot weather, the sun’s heat can bake the droppings onto the surface, making it even more challenging to remove. Therefore, it is important to regularly check your car’s paint for bird droppings and to remove them as soon as possible to protect the paintwork from damage.
3)Use The Wrong Products for Cleaning
One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to remove bird droppings from their car’s paintwork is using the wrong cleaning products. While it may be tempting to grab the first cleaning product you see, it’s important to make sure that it’s safe to use on your car’s paint.
Using the wrong products can result in damage to the clear coat and paint, making the problem worse. For instance, using harsh chemical cleaners or household cleaning products that contain ammonia or bleach can strip off the protective wax coating and damage the paint. Instead, you should use specialized car cleaning products that are specifically designed for removing bird droppings
How To Remove Bird Poo From Your Car Safely
There are a couple of ways you can go about removing bird droppings from the surface of your car. Let’s take a look below, I have listed these in order of preference.
1) Do a full wash of the car
If you are dealing with multiple bird droppings on your car, it is best to wash the entire car rather than spot cleaning. This is especially true if you were parked under a tree or in an area where birds frequently visit. One effective method is to use a pre-wash step, such as snow foaming, to help loosen and soften the bird droppings before touching the paint.
Snow foam can be applied using a designated lance or hosepipe attachment and will soak into the droppings, making them easier to remove. If you do not have access to a snow foam lance, you can pre-spray the affected area with a diluted all-purpose cleaner, which will also help break down the droppings.
While doing a full wash may not be the most practical solution, it is the safest and most effective way to remove bird droppings from your car’s paintwork. However, if you are unable to do a full wash, there are other options to consider.
2) Quick Detailer / Waterless Wash Product + Microfiber Towel
Ok so you don’t have access to a hose or running water, your next best bet would be to use some sort of quick detailer or Waterless Wash Product to apply it to the bird droppings to soften them up before you try to remove them from the surface of the car. You will want to apply a good amount of the product to the affected area to make sure you soften every bit of the dropping.
I would then recommend applying some of the product to the microfiber towel or cloth before gently placing it over the bird poo. Tap the towel gently to encourage the fibres to pick up some of the excrement with the least effort possible. This will help to minimize wiping scratches. Once you have removed as much as you can using this method, apply some more quick detailer and gently wipe the remainder away.
3) Dedicated Bird Poo Wipes
You can get wipes designed to remove bird poop from cars, containing a special blend of chemicals that will neutralise the bird excrement and stop it from damaging your paint. Use it on the affected surface, following the instructions on the packaging, and then dispose of it. This is probably the most practical way of removing the bird poo, as you can just pop a pack of these in the car and take them with you wherever you go.
Check these out HERE
Tips for Keeping Bird Poop Off your Car
1)Watch Where You Park!
One effective way to reduce the likelihood of bird droppings on your car is by being mindful of where you park. Avoiding parking spots where birds typically congregate is the key to minimizing the risk of bird droppings. Some common spots to avoid parking include:
- Under trees: Birds often roost in trees, and they are likely to drop droppings on any parked cars beneath them.
- Near light posts or lamp poles: Birds often perch on these structures, providing them with an ideal vantage point from which to relieve themselves.
- Near the edge of buildings: Birds often perch on building ledges or gutters, and their droppings can easily find their way onto parked cars.
- Near dumpsters or trash cans: Birds are attracted to garbage, and they may congregate around dumpsters or trash cans. This can increase the likelihood of droppings on nearby cars.
- Near sailboat masts: Sailboat masts can provide a resting spot for birds, making it more likely that they will leave droppings on nearby parked cars.
- Under or near telephone wires: Birds often use telephone wires as perches, and they are likely to drop droppings on any parked cars beneath or near them.
By being mindful of where you park, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of bird droppings on your car.
2)Keep your paint protected
I would recommend keeping your car paint protected at all times using some quality wax or sealant. While wax offers limited protection against a juicy attack, it makes cleanup much easier. This will at least minimize the risk of damage occurring to the paintwork if this inevitably does happen. If you want to go all out with protection, you may want to consider a ceramic coating on your car. You can read my post on Ceramic Coating Here
3)Use a Car Cover
Using a car cover is an effective way to prevent bird poo on your car because it physically creates a barrier between the birds and your vehicle’s paintwork. This makes it much harder for birds to land on the car and deposit their droppings. Additionally, the cover will protect your car from other environmental elements, such as tree sap and pollen, which can also be damaging to the paintwork.
Choosing a breathable cover is important, as this will allow moisture to escape and prevent condensation from forming under the cover. Car covers come in a variety of materials, such as cotton, polyester, and nylon, with some even having specialized coatings to further enhance their protective properties. For vehicles that are left outdoors for longer periods, a car cover is a sensible and surefire solution for preventing bird poo and other damage to the paintwork.
There you have it, I think I have covered most of the basics of cleaning bird droppings from your car’s paintwork in a safe way, and what you can do to (try) prevent it from happening. If you have any of your tips or tricks I would love to hear them, so please let us know in the comments below.
Until next time,
About the Author – Darren O Hara
Darren is the founder of the DriveDetailed blog and is a keen detailing enthusiast living in the rainy south of Ireland. When he is not cleaning his car he is always researching ways he can improve his techniques and enjoys testing out out new products.
Darren currently drives an Audi TTRS and is a big fan of performance cars.
You can follow Darren on Instagram @darrenoharacork