Car Advice

How to remove bird poo from you car

Bird poo can damage your car’s paintwork if you don’t remove it quickly and it’s left to bake on in the sun, here’s how to remove bird poo from your car.

Back when I was a kid, every weekend, almost without fail my old man would draft me in to help wash and clean the family car. And when I say, clean, I mean the level of detailing required would see me cleaning the wheels with a toothbrush if necessary.

By the time the old man had finished waxing and polishing the car it literally gleamed as if it was covered in a film of liquid. The paint almost looked as if you could dip your hand into it. And then 10 minutes later there’d be a spot or two of bird poo on the thing.

And this happened without fail. Every weekend. See, we had a blackbird living in a tree beside the driveway and it would chow down on berries from the ivy covering the fence and then empty itself all over the freshly cleaned car. It led the old man to declare after one particularly nasty bombardment that he’d ‘chop the bl#4dy tree down’. He didn’t.

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I’m sure you’ve all been in a similar situation. Freshly cleaned car and then a bid comes along and ruins it. Or you’ve parked your car in the shade on a hot day and return to find the same tree is used by all the local birds as a public toilet. So, what do you do.

First, let’s explain why bird poo is so harmful. And that is because it’s very acidic which is capable of eating through any wax you’ve applied to your vehicle as a sacrificial layer. If left to bake on in the sun, this will eventually reach the paint itself and, depending on what the bird’s been eating, potentially etch the paintwork to the point where a professional will be required to cut and polish the surface to expose new paintwork and blend the areas.

Okay, two different scenarios but it’s the same approach. If you’re at home and notice bird poo on your vehicle the first thing to do is not to try and wipe it off. See, occasionally, bird poo contains bits of seed that, when wiped, can scratch your vehicle’s paintwork.

Grab your hose and turn the nozzle to the mist setting and soak the bird poo to soften it. Keep going until the bird poo becomes almost liquid. In most instances, if the poo is fresh you’ll be able to hose it carefully off your vehicle. If it’s baked on then soften it as much as you can. Then, put on a pair of gloves and take a clean microfibre cloth and use it to pick up the poo rather than trying to wipe it off. Keep turning the cloth so that you’re only using a clean part of it until all of the poo is removed.

Once you’ve removed the mess and the surface is clean, you’ll want to apply some spray-on wax to ensure the area is protected again.

Now for scenario two, if you’re out and about and don’t have a hose, don’t think you can wait until later to remove the mess. So, always carry in your vehicle a couple of microfibre cloths and some waterless car wash. Like you would with a hose, spray the waterless wash onto the bird poo until it’s saturated and then leave it to soak in for a minute or two. And then reapply until the mess becomes loose. Then pick up as much of it as you can.

Once the area is cleaned, spray some more waterless wash on the area and then give it a wipe over with the clean microfibre cloth.

If you’re planning on washing your car and it’s covered in bird poo, the same principle applies. You don’t want to just dive in with a soapy sponge because you could scratch the surface of your vehicle. You’ll want to use a hose to soften the mess and cool down the surface of your vehicle. Once you’ve done that, you could squeeze some of the soapy water onto the bird poo to help with softening and loosening it. Then use a cloth and try and pick up as much of the mess as possible before hosing down the vehicle again. Don’t ever rise the bird poo covered cloth into your car washing bucket, and when cleaning bird poo always make sure you’re wearing gloves.

 


Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.