Bird droppings are particularly difficult to remove from a car’s paint or glass. Worse, the droppings contain very abrasive and hard materials such as sand, stones, and seeds. These abrasives can score or scratch your paint or glass, causing expensive damage. The good news is there are safe ways to manage this common problem.
Cleaning Bird Poop - Start With Water and Patience
Bird droppings tend to dry or bake onto our cars’ finish or glass before we have time to manage the issue. At all costs, resist the urge to use a dry towel to wipe away the mess. The abrasives in the droppings will scratch paint and can even score glass. Once these scratches are created, dealing with them can be expensive and dangerous. Our top of page image shows scratches on a Mazda CX-5 that was improperly cleaned after a bird dropping incident.
The best course of action is to use a garden hose to remove the dropping. Spray liberally under pressure, and then give the spot about five minutes. Spray again. Then repeat. Use a sopping wet soft cloth to gently dab the area and remove what remains. Vigorous scrubbing will cause damage to your vehicle.
A self-serve car wash also has a good solution. Use the spray hose and then the bubble brush to deal with the spot if you are on the go and cannot get to your garden hose. A car wash can help, but the kind that touches your car will possibly swirl the abrasives, causing scratches, and the touch-free ones will not get the job done.
Do NOT Use WD-40 Or Other Solvents
Never use WD-40 on any part of your vehicle’s exterior. The solution is a miracle product, but it is not intended to be used this way and can cause damage. Other solvents, like those intended for use in the home, are also not a good choice.
Beware Bird Droppings On a Moonroof
Moonroofs are made of safety glass designed to be pre-stressed and to shatter into small pieces when broken. Micro-scratches like those that can occur from the sand in bird dropping wiped off a moonroof can cause small stress areas that can later cause the moonroof to shatter when heat and pressure are applied. Always clean bird droppings off of a moonroof with ample water and patience.
Best Protection - Wax or Ceramic Coatings
To protect your car’s finish, apply a wax product with a carnauba base annually or as frequently as you can afford. The wax offers protection from etching and also from abrasion. Ceramic coatings can also help. Neither product type will preclude proper removal.
One Last Note - Safety
Experts warn that dried bird droppings are harmful if inhaled. One more good reason to use the water jet method we suggest. Always wash up after you do this type of cleaning.
John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.
Image of shattered moonroof by John Goreham. Image of Mazda CX-5 scratched paint by John Goreham.