Shit happens. Literally. After all, you just did a search for bird poop on car because shit happened.
And since you’re reading this, you’re obviously concerned about what said bird poop can (and will!) do to your car’s finish.
Can bird droppings damage car paint?
Bird poop is one of the most common causes of damage to your car’s finish. Mostly because it’s virtually unavoidable. Birds are everywhere and are constantly dropping poop bombs on the world below them. Jerks.
The bigger reason why bird poop on cars is such a problem is because bird poop has uric acid in it. For those of you who didn’t pay attention in biology class (don’t worry, I didn’t either) uric acid is in pee.
Now here’s the thing that will make you go hmmm…. Birds don’t pee. Seriously. They only have one form of excrement. Bird poop is actually a combination of both poop and pee. Must be nice to only have one “out” hole. I don’t know why, but I think I’m a little jealous.
Now let’s take a look at a couple facts that make bird poop on your car such a bad thing.
Bird poop is sticky
You just learned that the uric acid in pee is bad for your car. My brother has peed on my car before (don’t ask). But his pee is liquid and it just sheets off the paint. So while it technically is damaging, his pee doesn’t bond to the surface.
Bird poop, on the other hand, sticks and dries and lets the acid do its harm.
Acid eats away at stuff
The acid in bird poop can start damaging your car’s finish within hours! And the longer it stays, the more damage it can do. This is especially true when the outdoor temperature fluctuates. As your car heats up, your paint expands and contracts and the bird poop engrains itself more and more into the finish and makes it deteriorate.
How long can you leave bird poop on your car?
Remember what you just learned: bird poop on a car can begin doing damage within hours.
So as soon as you see bird poop on your car, remove it ASAP!!!
Now there’s no need to be dangerous about it. You don’t have to pull over in traffic if a pigeon plop hits your hood on the highway. It’s not like the poop is going to instantly melt off your paint.
But if you notice that a bird left a deposit on your car while you were at work, don’t let it sit until the weekend when you were planning to wash your car.
You should clean it off as soon as you get home or even in the parking lot if you have something to clean with.
How to remove bird poop on a car
If you’ve been reading up on the topic, there’s all kinds of suggestions out there. People suggest WD-40, club soda, baking soda and water, etc.
It blows my mind that nobody talks about this, but the best thing to remove bird poop from your car is….
Yes, it’s just that simple. Here’s why…
You always have it at home. And often while you’re out.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out somewhere and come back to my car to find fresh bird poop on my car. So I just crack open the water bottle I have in my car and clean it up right away.
Time is of the essence with bird poop on car. And water is generally close by. So clean is up ASAP!
Bird poop cleaning: proper technique
So now that you know about the miracle bird poop cleaner (aka water), let’s talk about technique.
Have you ever eaten a clam and had sand in it? Me too.
Know who else eats clams?
And when that clam-eating seagull poops on your car, he’s plopping sand on it too.
Ever get purple poo on your car?
It’s purple because the bird has been eating berries. So there’s a good chance there’s seeds in that purple plop.
Bottom line is this: bird poop often has grit in it. So you need to take great care cleaning it off. If you’re not careful there’s a good chance you’ll scratch or create swirl marks on your car’s finish.
Don’t just take a wet towel and start scrubbing the poop on your car!
The best thing to do is pour some water directly on the bird poop. Then wet down your towel (or napkin, paper towel, or whatever you have handy) thoroughly and let it sit on top of the bird poop spot for a few minutes.
Then check the poop to make sure it’s nice and wet (eww) and gently wipe it off with the damp towel. Use a lifting motion and don’t ever press down and scrub the poo spot.
Pour on more water for an extra rinse and give it another wipe with a clean towel. Lubrication is key here.
Speaking of lubrication, I want to touch on an even better way to clean bird poop off a car.
A different option to clean up
Quick detailer is a better way to clean bird poop from your car. I didn’t lead with it because not everybody has quick detailer handy. Quick detailer generally has cleaning agents, lubrication, and surface protectant in it. So it’s safer and easier to use that plain water.
So if you have a bottle of quick detailer in your garage or maybe even in your trunk, use it instead of water. And when you spray on the product, use the same removal technique I described earlier – dampen the poo and remove it with a lifting motion.
What if the bird poop leaves a mark?
So what happens if you weren’t able to clean off the poop fast enough and it leaves a mark?
No worries. There’s hope.
A skilled auto detailer can likely remove the stain with a polisher and some cutting compound. The detailer will basically remove a tiny layer of your car’s paint in the affected area and then apply a protective coating over the spot.
This process is basically paint correction. If you’re not familiar with paint correction, check out this post I wrote for an easy-to-understand explanation.
If you are skilled with a polisher, you can likely remove the bird poop stain yourself. It’s not a difficult thing to do. But if you’ve never done it before, be careful and be sure to follow the instructions of your chosen polisher AND the cutting and polishing products you use.
What can I do to prevent bird poop on my car?
Aside from parking in a closed garage or using a car cover, there’s not much you can do.
But if you must park outside in a spot that gets continuously bombed by cardinal crap, seagull scat, and finch feces, the best thing for you to do is keep your car waxed or coated in a ceramic coating.
Wax and ceramic coating create an invisible layer of protection on your car. Often referred to as a sacrificial layer, your wax or coating will protect your car’s clear coat and paint from the damaging effects of the uric acid in bird poop.
In addition, keeping your car waxed or ceramic coated will make the clean up process easier. Think about how rain beads up on your car after a fresh wax job. Sticky bird poop won’t adhere as tightly to your car’s slippery waxy surface… so cleanup is a breeze!
I’ll say it one last time, (bird) shit happens, and will continue to happen on your car. When it does, waste zero time getting it off. Grab some water, let it soak in to the dookie spot, then carefully remove it with a lifting motion. If you have quick detailer handy, use that instead of water to remove the poop. And keep your car’s finish waxed or coated in ceramic coating for added protection.