It’s important to remove bird droppings as quickly as possible to protect your finish from stains and etchings in the finish. Bird poop contains acids and rocks that can stain, etch, and scratch the paint job.
This article will address how to clean bird poop before and after it has dried, as well as how to remove stains or clear coat etchings.
Let’s dive into the details.
How To Remove Bird Poop From Car Paint
For fresh bird droppings, spray the area with a waterless wash or quick detailer and gently wipe away, being careful to avoid grinding rocks that may be in the droppings into the clear coat.
For dried bird poop, spray the area with a degreaser or adhesive remover and allow it to dwell and break down the dried dropping. Wipe away in a manner that will avoid scratching the finish.
If stains or etchings remain, a clay bar may be able to remove the stain. If etched, polishing will be required to correct the damage.
How long can you leave bird poop on your car?
It’s best not to leave bird poop on your car’s paint any longer than necessary. It’s especially urgent in hot weather. Just a couple of hours on a hot day can do permanent damage.
Heat will accelerate the damage that the uric acid in the poop can do to your finish. Even if you don’t think it’s particularly hot out, you’d be surprised how hot the surface of your vehicle’s paint can get even on cold days in direct sunlight.
What happens if you don't clean bird poop off your car?
The uric acid in bird droppings can do serious damage to your clear coat if it isn’t removed reasonably quickly. If left for more than a few hours in the hot sun, the bird poop can leave stains and etchings in the clear coat that can’t be washed away.
It’s easiest to remove bird droppings immediately. Dried bird poop needs to be removed carefully to avoid scratching the finish due to rocks birds eat to help with digestion.
Bird Poop Stains and Etchings
The acids from a birds digestive system and from the food they eat can be extremely damaging. The type of damage prolonged contact with a car’s paint surface can cause is surface level but it can actually burn through a surprising amount of the finish.
It takes time for the acid to begin breaking down the clear coat. Clean bird poop quickly to prevent this damage. If you’re unable to clean bird poop off your car before it does damage, you’ll need to use a lightly abrasive car polish, a clean microfiber cloth, and a polishing pad to lightly hand polish the spot.
Light bird poop stains shouldn’t take much effort to polish out of your vehicle’s paint. If you are unable to polish out the bird poop stain, you may need to step up to a rubbing compound.
Rubbing compounds are just polishes that have a coarser grit and will grind away the finish more quickly to expose undamaged clear coat beneath bird poop stains.
Care should be taken to not polish all the way through the clear coat and through to the base color coat. It would take quite a bit of effort to do this but can be done more easily on a crease or a seam in the body work.
How can I remove bird poop etchings and stains?
Cleaning bird poop stains and etchings requires polishing to remove. We’ll assume you’ve already removed any dry bird poop off the car.
Start by with a thorough wash to remove dirt and road grime from the surface of your vehicle’s paint. You want to start with a completely clean car to avoid leaning on a dirty spot and causing surface scratches.
We recommend following the 2 bucket method to minimize the chance of creating light scratches and swirl marks in the finish.
Clay bar the area of the bird poop stains to remove any residual bird poo that wasn’t previously removed.
Keep a spray bottle with plenty of clay lubricant handy and keep the affected area saturated to protect the finish and prevent marring.
Claying may help improve the stain but won’t likely remove stains completely and can’t do anything to improve any etching damage. Whether it makes any improvement or not, it prepares the paint surface and is necessary for the next step.
Now is time to try to polish out the stain or etching. While this job can be done by hand, a dual action polisher makes it significantly easier, is very safe, and gets better results.
Whether you choose to polish by hand or with a DA polisher, apply several drops to your polishing pad and dab around the affected area to spread the polish around and work it into the pad.
Make several passes over the damaged area, wipe away excess polish with a microfiber cloth and inspect your progress.
If you’ve removed the stain or etching you can move on. If not polish a bit more. If you still have quite a bit of work left to do you may want to step up to a rubbing compound and a cutting pad which are more aggressive.
If you used a compound you will need to follow compound with polish to smooth the surface and restore the shine that compounding dulls.
Buff away any polishing residue and move on to the next step.
Apply a coating of your paint protection of choice to protect your hard work and help prevent any future potential damage from bird poo.
Paint sealant, wax, or ceramic coating are all great solutions but for the best protection you’ll want to go with a ceramic coating. If your local birds have particularly caustic bird poop, even a ceramic coating may not be able to protect you completely so be prepared to get bird poop off your car as quickly as possible.
How can I protect my car from bird droppings?
There are a few tips we can provide but no matter your situation, removing bird poop off car paint quickly is the best course of action.
Let’s go over our top tips:
Keep Some Drop Wipes Handy
A company named Drop Wipes has created a wipe that is specifically designed to be kept in your car for convenience and used the moment you notice bird droppings on your car’s exterior.
We have no affiliation with Drop Wipes but this does sound like a convenient solution and worth checking out if you’re unfamiliar with them.
Keep Some Waterless Wash or Quick Detailer Spray Handy
Having a detailer spray of some kind and a microfiber cloth for cleaning bird poop or other surface contaminants is a smart idea.
Both waterless wash and car detailer spray contain lubricants that will help protect your car exterior from light scratches from rocks or seeds when you’re cleaning bird poop off your paintwork.
Apply A Ceramic Coating To Your Car’s Finish
A ceramic coating isn’t a perfect solution that’ll allow you to completely ignore bird droppings on your vehicle’s finish but it will make it easier to remove and at a minimum, make it easier to wipe off.
Even keeping your paint job wax or sealed will help prevent damage and give you a little more time to get bird droppings cleaned up before etching or stains set in.
Homemade Bird Poop Remover
Fresh bird poop that isn’t dry yet should be gently wiped away after thoroughly saturating the affected area with a cleaner like a waterless wash, degreaser, or all purpose cleaner.
Alternatively you could try flushing it with clean water from your garden hose. If there are any bits still stuck on the surface, you can then use a cleaner.
Dry bird poop needs to be moistened and broken down. This homemade bird poop remover will get the job done.
What You’ll Need:
- Spray Bottle
- Baking Soda – 3 tbsp
- Dish Soap – a few drops
- Hot Water
How To Use Homemade Bird Poop Remover:
- Fill a spray bottle with hot water and add a few drops of dish soap and 3 tbsp of baking soda.
- Thoroughly mix.
- Spray on the area and allow it to break down dry bird droppings for several minutes.
- Gently wipe away with a microfiber cloth, being careful not to scratch the finish.
Bird droppings are no joke. They’re the nemesis of car owners everywhere.
It’s essential to get bird poop off car paint as quickly as possible before the acids have a chance to stain or etch the clear coat.
You can get a car cover, but that isn’t really practical to use all the time. Or you can be careful where you park, but eventually you’re going to get bird droppings on your car’s paint. It’s just a matter of time.
Keep a quality paint protection on your finish and carry detailer spray and a microfiber cloth to tackle those random bird poos the moment you spot them. Waiting to clean them off later is playing Russian roulette with your vehicle’s finish.
Good luck and happy detailing.