6 Ways to Remove Bird Poop From Your Car (& How to Protect the Paint) 

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Last Updated on July 27, 2021

Do you appreciate your car and make reasonable efforts to keep it clean? If so, little can be more annoying than to walk up and find fresh bird droppings on the paint.

Bird wastes contain uric acid and can damage paint. But don’t despair. If you act quickly, you can get bird poop off your car and damage can almost always be avoided. And in this article we’ll cover some steps you can take to beat the bird poop battle.

Important
As tempting as it may be to simply take your car through an automatic car wash (touchless car washes are the exception), DON'T DO IT!

The spinning brushes and giant hanging sponge strips can "automatically" scratch up your paint by spreading around the gritty bird poop or whatever is already on those brushes/strips.

See Also: How to Remove Car Decals From Paint or Glass

How to Clean Bird Poop off Your Car

get bird poop off car

The methods below will offer a quick remedy for most bird dropping events. But keep in mind that if not dealt with quickly, the acidic residue will begin to attack your car’s clear coat and paint.

Also keep in mind that sunlight, especially on a hot day, can accelerate the chemical reaction at the paint surface. Speedy removal of the bird poop is the key here.

Note: Bird wastes can contain abrasive sand and grit. So any process to clean away bird poop must be done gently to avoid scratching the paint.

Method #1 – Hose and Car Shampoo

Scenario:  You parked your vehicle beneath a tree with a bird’s nest. And the adult birds feeding the kids have left a large area of droppings on the paint and glass.

An immediate counterattack for the affected area with your garden hose and car shampoo is your best bet. Sprayed on water will dissolve and loosen the bird droppings. Try to get as much of the bird droppings off as possible before going to the next step.

In a shady location, a quick wash with a quality car washing soap (Honeydew Snow Foam and Meguiar’s Gold Class are my favorites) will do the trick. Hand dry your car as appropriate.

Method #2 – Quick Detailer Spray

detailer spray to remove bird droppings

“Quick detailer” type sprays are very effective in removing recent bird droppings. Two of the best are Griot’s Garage Speed Shine or Meguiar’s Quik Detailer. Keep a bottle in the trunk of your car so you can take care of the problem when away from home.

Spray the droppings generously and allow the fluid to soak for a few minutes. Spray a second time. Wipe gently with a clean microfiber cloth. Apply the detailing spray a third time and with a clean cloth polish the affected area.

Note: If the car is generally dirty, cleaning bird poop in a small area must be done carefully. Should you aggressively rub the area with a wet sponge, any entrapped dirt in the sponge can scratch the paint or clearcoat surface.

In this situation, rinsing the area with flowing water from a hose while gently wiping with a wet sponge can be effective and minimize the risk of scratches.

Related: 6 Tips for DIY Car Detailing

Method #3 – Warm Water

A subset of Method #1 above for when you don’t have car washing capability at your house, apartment, or business. Bring out a watering can or pitcher filled with warm water. Generously rinse the affected area on your car. Don’t let it dry. Give it a second rinse.

Follow immediately with a gentle hand wash of the area. Use a small bucket with warm water, car wash soap, and a soft sponge. Refill your watering can and rinse the area thoroughly. Wipe dry with a soft clean terry cloth towel or clean chamois.

Note: Never use household detergents including dishwashing soap (even in small amounts) to clean your car exterior.

Such detergents are powerful and will strip wax or other protective coatings from your car’s finish. Car wash soaps are specially developed to avoid stripping wax and will be kind to your car’s clear coat and paint.

Method #4 – Homemade Bird Poop Remover

clean bird crap from paint

A homemade bird dropping remover can also be effective. Using a 1 quart (32 oz.) spray bottle, mix distilled water with two tablespoons of baking soda. Stir well. Add 1/2 teaspoon of your preferred car wash soap (recommendations in Method #1 above).

With rinse water handy, soak the affected area using the spray bottle. Allow it to set for a minute then spray again. Do not let this area dry. Soak a soft sponge with this cleaner and gently wipe off the bird poop. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and hand dry.

Method #5 – Spider/Bird Dropping Spray

If the affected area is small, use of a commercial cleaner specifically mixed for spider and bird droppings can work very well. Several such cleaners are available online and at some auto parts stores.

Star Brite is a well-respected brand that will clean the surface without any damage. Follow the instructions on the container.

Method #6 – Convertible Top Cleaner

What about bird poop on fabrics? Cloth convertible tops and upholstery with bird poop stains can be cleaned this way:

First, purchase a suitable convertible top or upholstery cleaner (Chemical Guys and Meguiar’s make good ones). Alternatively, most auto parts stores will have some type as well.

Note: Vinyl fabrics may require a different type of cleaner so be sure to check your cleaning product for material compatibility prior to use. Also first do a color test with the cleaner on an inconspicuous area of the fabric. Some cleaners may dissolve and remove the fabric dye leaving a bleached out spot.

First, using a soft flexible plastic scraper, gently scrape away the dried deposit. Now, follow the cleaning product’s directions. Generally you will be advised to wet the roof completely with clean water before applying the convertible top cleaner.

Localized cleaning is not advised because the cleaning product will remove dirt along with the bird excrement and leave a visible clean spot when you are done. Not good. You must wash the entire top. Then rinse thoroughly with clean water. 

For upholstery areas, scrape off the poop deposit as described above and then use a Shop Vac or similar to suck up the bits and pieces.

Bird poop spots will clean up without scrubbing the whole interior because the seats and cloth trim will not have the convertible top’s accumulated outdoor dirt. After cleaning the spots they can be dried with the shop vacuum’s suction or by patting with a clean dry towel.

See Also: Best Spray-In Truck Bedliner Kits

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Off the Bird Droppings?

bird poop etching

As mentioned earlier, bird droppings contain acid. If left on the paint, damage will result. It could be as severe as the paint etching away through the clear coat and right down to the surface of the car body.

Fabric damage, if any, would be less severe. For this reason, expeditiously cleaning away bird droppings from your car’s exterior is essential.

Even letting bird poop sit on your windshield or moonroof can cause etching in the glass that can’t simply be washed off.

Those who wrap their car or have parts of it sprayed with Plasti-Dip need to remove bird droppings ASAP as permanent damage to the wrap/coating can result. It’s not a simply matter of polishing/buffing the stain off as you would with paint.

See Also: How to Remove Scratches and Etching From Your Windshield

What to Do if Bird Poop Damages Your Car’s Paint

Minor etching or dulling of the clear coat or paint can generally be corrected using a polishing compound available at most auto parts stores. Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is a good, cheap option.

Follow the product’s directions for use. Major etching through the paint to the metal (or fiberglass) below can only be corrected by a quality body shop.

See Also: Removing Plasti Dip From Wheels (Quick and Easy Methods)

Can Bird Droppings Eat Through the Clear Coat?

Clear coated finishes provide a first barrier to the acid effects of bird droppings. But if not soon removed, the bird wastes can eat through the clear coat and bring damage to the paint as described above.

How to Protect Your Car From Bird Droppings

bird poop stains

There are a variety of options you can consider using to protect the exterior of your car, truck, SUV, motorcyle, or RV. These can help with the bird dropping problem and offer other benefits as well.

#1 – Use Your Home Garage

Storing your car in your home garage is the most obvious defense against bird droppings. I am frequently surprised to see lovely vehicles worth $40,000 or more sitting outdoors while a few hundred bucks worth of kids’ toys and yard tools fill the garage. 

I realize it’s convenient to have that space for toys and tools, but the first cost of a car would seem to demand priority treatment. Garaged cars are also out of the weather, stay cleaner and are cool to hop into on a sultry summer day. 

#2 – Use a Parking Garage

When in town, use a parking garage (if available) instead of parking in an outdoor lot or on the street. Get your car under cover. This will also keep the car cooler for your ride home. 

#3 – Avoid Parking Under Trees

If you must park outdoors, stay away from trees. Yes, trees provide cool shade. That’s nice. But birds like them and can perch up there and target your shiny new ride.

If you’d like the shade a tree can offer, consider the angle of the sunlight from that tree, and where it will go over the time you’ll be out of the car. Park accordingly. Just doing this can often provide shade benefits without the bird problem.

In addition to trees, avoid parking under light poles when in a parking lot. While you can’t get as many birds on top of a light pole, they still love to perch there. Of course, the added safety of being under a light pole at night should be a bigger priority for many.

#4 – Use a Car Cover

If you don’t have a garage, a car cover may be an option. A custom fit cover would be best. But they are not cheap. Prices range to $400 or more. Sure, cheap universal fit covers are available, but they are simply inappropriate to defend your costly dream car and could in some cases result in paint damage.

Cover materials for outdoor use must be rainproof but breathable to allow condensation to escape. Made of several layers, a soft flexible material must be provided against your car’s paint. A snug fit is essential to prevent the cover from flapping in the wind and possibly damaging the paint.

Related: Best Car Covers to Protect Against the Elements

Car Cover Advantages

Protection from the birds. Additionally, you get protection from the following: fading effects of sunlight; falling leaf and small branch accumulations; frosted windows on cold mornings; rain, snow, and even hail.

Car Cover Disadvantages

A cover can be a pain to remove and then reinstall each day especially in high winds. It will be heavy and awkward to handle when dripping wet. Storage is required where your cover can be spread out to dry; it cannot be simply folded and tossed below your deck. 

Make sure your car is clean when you put the cover on. If it is not, dragging the cover to put on or take off can scratch the paint, especially if the cover is wet. And because a cover is basically made of fabric, it is nearly impossible to make it theft proof. 

Last, depending on where you live, summertime insects may prefer to congregate beneath your car cover overnight. This can be very annoying when you remove that cover on a dewy morning. 

#5 – Apply a Car Wax or Ceramic Coating

Bird poop can be defeated with proper use of exterior protection products for your car’s finish. There are an abundance of excellent car wax and ceramic coating products available from your auto parts store and online for this purpose.

Favorite Products:

Properly applied, many of these products provide a bird poop barrier. Yes, you will still have to remove those evil droppings, but the risk of rapid clear coat and paint damage can be greatly reduced.

Wax

Wax works well, is cheap, and easy to apply. Unfortunately, it only lasts at most for a few months. Products to use will declare their benefits on the packaging or container. Carnauba waxes, silicone-based coatings, synthetic surface treatments, etc., all offer a significant measure of protection.

These days, car waxes are easier to apply than ever. You often just spray on (to a just-washed and dried car) and wipe away with a microfiber cloth. Note that spray-on waxes don’t last as long as other types but they’re hard to beat for ease of application.

Ceramic Coating

Nothing beats the longevity of ceramic coating. Where a was may last a few weeks or maybe months, a properly applied ceramic coating can last a year or more. The biggest downside is cost and a more difficult application.

For this reason, it’s usually recommended to let the pros handle ceramic coating where they can also do paint correction prior to application. But, if you prefer to do it yourself, there are a few excellent products available. CQuartz is one of the better DIY ceramic coating brands.

In general, avoid anything in the $20-$30 range even if it states “ceramic coating” as their benefits will be no better than a typical wax.

No matter which product you choose (wax or ceramic coating), the objective is to attain a durable surface that glistens. The evidence of surface protection will be seen when water beads on the hood, roof and rear deck and blows away at highway speeds.

Also, properly treated paint surfaces wash far more easily. Indeed, dirt often can be rinsed off with water from a garden hose.

In sum, through careful car care and planning, bird poop can be deleted from your worst nightmare list. Give some thought to the recommendations here and act as your time and financial budgets permit.

 

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