No matter how carefully you protect your car, you can’t keep it covered all the time—and of all the accidental messes that can end up on your vehicle, bird poop is one of the worst. It doesn’t just look bad, either. Left too long, the high pH of bird droppings can degrade your clear coat and bleach your paint. Knowing how to clean bird poop from your car the right way will keep your paint looking good in the long term.
The good news is, there are a few surefire ways to get that unsightly white splotch off of your car without ruining your paint. Read on below for the 6 best ways to remove bird droppings from your vehicle.
Option 1: Bird dropping remover
Unsurprisingly, there are products out there designed for this very problem. They come in both spray and wipe forms and usually cost between $10 and $25, depending on the product. Road kill bug remover sprays will also serve the same purpose: removing the dried-on gunk without damaging your paint.
The advantage of these sprays is that they’re very effective and easy to use. In most cases, you can fully remove the stain in 15 minutes or less. The disadvantage is it means buying a specialty product, albeit a fairly affordable one.
Option 2: Club soda
If you’re looking for more of a home-made solution, simple club soda or seltzer water can often do the trick. It’s the carbonation that does it, reacting with the acids in the droppings and breaking them down so they can be wiped away with a cloth.
Pour the soda directly on the stain to get the full carbonation effect. After it sits for a couple of minutes it should wipe right off. If you don’t have club soda, don’t use cola or other flavored soda as an alternative. The colorings, flavorings, and sugar in these drinks can actually damage your paint further.
Now this method won’t work for old droppings—you’ll have the best luck removing bird poop that hit your car within the last 24 hours. If you get to it quickly, though, it’s a simple and cheap solution that won’t require a trip to the automotive store.
Option 3: Baking soda-based DIY cleaner
For a DIY solution that can clear away even dried-on stains, baking soda is your answer. Like other cleaners, it reacts to the acidity of the bird poop, helping to loosen it from the paint.
Pour 2 tablespoons of baking soda into a spray bottle. Squirt in a small amount of dish soap then fill the spray bottle with hot water and give it a shake. Once it’s all mixed up, spray the stain and let it soak for about 10 minutes before rinsing.
Depending on the size and age of the stain, you may need to repeat the process a few times to fully remove the bird poop. This does make it a more labor-intensive method. On the plus side, it’s affordable and bio-friendly.
Option 4: WD-40
Among the 200+ uses WD-40 has for your car is removing dried bird droppings without causing paint damage. Just spray it on, let it sit for a minute, and wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. Just like the club soda, this works better the fresher the stain is. It’s a handy product to have on hand regardless, though, so it’s worth getting a can if you don’t have some already.
Option 5: Car detailing spray
Detailing sprays are designed to remove a wide variety of blemishes from car paint, including bugs, water spots—and, of course, bird poop. Many of them use a simple spray-on application and are easy to apply and wipe off with a microfiber cloth.
This is the most expensive option on the list, but it’s the best choice if you believe the bird poop has caused paint damage. Many detailing sprays can remove minor scratches and etching, as well as restoring any shine lost through damage to the clear coat.
Option 6: Bird cage cleaners
It’s rare you’ll find something for your car at the pet store, but it does make a certain kind of sense: who needs to clean up more bird poop than owners of pet birds? Bird cage cleaning sprays cost about as much as the automotive products above. Their main advantage is they’re designed to be bio-friendly and safe to use around pets and kids.
How to clean bird poop from car upholstery
The tips above are all about removing droppings from your car’s exterior—by far the most likely place you’ll find them, to be sure. But if drive a convertible (or even a car with a sunroof) you might find yourself in the unfortunate situation of cleaning bird droppings from your seats or floor.
Unlike bird droppings on your paint, it’s best to let stains on the upholstery dry. Once it has, use a putty knife or nail file to gently scrape the droppings off. Chip away as much as you can then wipe it with a dry cloth until all that’s left is a chalky, white residue.
The birdcage clean sprays mentioned above are great at removing the white stain bird poop leaves on upholstery. With a bit of scrubbing, you can clear away even older stains. You can also use an unscented laundry detergent, though that will require more rinsing to fully remove it. After you’ve removed the stain, put up the top and open the windows to let it air dry.
The next time your car is the target of a passing flock, there’s no need to despair. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to eradicate the evidence without a lot of effort.