Bird Poop On Cars: Why It Happens & How To Get It Off (6 Methods)

Our vehicles are exposed to a whole lot of different contaminants and pollutants on a daily basis, many of which we can’t do all that much to avoid.

Pollen, exhaust smog, grime, road salt, tree sap — you name it. Unless you wrap your car in cling film before leaving home, a lot of it is really unavoidable.

The good news is that most of the aforementioned debris isn’t too visible. That doesn’t mean they aren’t harmful to you or your vehicle, but you can wait a while between washes.

This isn’t true of everything your vehicle can get hit with when you’re out and about, though.

Close up on a red car's door with bird droppings on it

“No! There’s a ton of bird poop on my car! Gross!”. Sounds familiar? I know it does for me!

In this article, we’ll be talking about animal waste that can get on your vehicle — specifically, bird poop stains. Not only is it repulsive to look at, but enough of it can turn your car into an eyesore. And, the worst part is that cleaning it off may not be as straightforward a task as you might think.

All sorts of viable questions might be going through your head right now, such as: Is it better to remove bird poop stains from my car when it’s still wet or runny, or should I wait for it to become dried to a crisp? How can I prevent my automobile from becoming a regular target for bird droppings? Why do these winged pests choose our automobiles as bathrooms, anyways?

In the following sections, we’ll answer all of these questions and more. You’ll learn how to distinguish between the different varieties of waste and why they’re bad for your paint job, and we’ll also discuss all the methods you can use to get rid of bird poop on your car.

We’ve also listed the techniques you should avoid using, since these might make an already bad situation even worse.

What Is Bird Poop? What Are the Different Types of Bird Poop?

Not all the waste produced by these animals is identical. You might have noticed this for yourself if you deal with this problem regularly.

Without going into too much detail, avians don’t have the same equipment as we do. Rather than two orifices down below, they have one multipurpose opening.

This part is known as the cloaca. It serves as the entrance for the digestive, reproductive, and urinary systems. Everything the animal excretes from eggs to urine and feces will emerge from there.

Anything a bird produces that is waste falls under the umbrella term of droppings. Aside from urine and feces, they also produce urates.

This substance originates inside the kidneys. It consists of concentrated uric acid, a byproduct of the breakdown of certain proteins.

Unfortunately for your automobile, all three types are usually released together. They can be expelled separately, but it’s less common.

We’ll delve into how to identify each — for those of you reading this who might be a little too curious. Remember that the size and appearance may vary slightly based on species and health.

Interestingly, all droppings tend to have little to no smell. As a matter of fact, an odor could indicate that the offending avian is sick.

Feces

Feces are the only solid type of droppings.

When they’re fresh, the color can range from brown to dark green. Once they’ve dried, they’ll look black or dark brown.

Urine

Urine is a clear, colorless liquid. It’s the least offensive type of dropping, although it’s typically mixed with feces and urates.

Urates

These droppings appear chalky in texture, and they’re creamy white in color and opaque.

Urates remain the same color as they harden and dry.

Why Do Birds Poop on Cars?

If your vehicle is frequently bombed by droppings, this is a question you’ve probably asked yourself too many times before.

Are you unknowingly advertising your car as an avian waste disposal center? Why does it seem like you get hit more often than others?

To begin with, it’s not personal. Just like rodents and other small creatures, they go whenever they feel like it.

The larger the species, the less often it will produce droppings. The most common bird species are on the smaller end of the scale (e.g. sparrows, pigeons, etc).

During flight or while settled down, droppings can be released anytime. Just like anything else at ground level, your vehicle can get struck every so often, and you might just be out of luck.

What Happens If You Leave Bird Droppings on Your Car?

Bird poop damage on cars is very real, especially if it becomes dry bird poop, so this is a very important consideration to make.

It’s only natural to want to delay a potentially nasty cleaning job as long as possible because – well – we’re all busy with other life stuff, but it’s really not a wise thing to do.

Ignoring the splatters can be bad for both you and your vehicle. There are health risks to think about, as well as car paint damage from bird droppings on cars. (Take it from us: it can become very hard to recover the car paint afterwards).

Droppings won’t add much to your vehicle’s appearance either!

Health Hazard

Avian droppings can be a health hazard. Viruses like avian influenza type A are spread in the saliva, feces, and mucus of the infected animal.

If the waste is on your door jamb, you could come into contact with it by accident.

Family members with weak immune systems, or children, are at a greater risk.

Corrosive to Metal

Droppings are a known decaying agent for outdoor metal structures (e.g. statues). They’re composed of, and can produce, corrosive compounds as they rot.

Examples include uric acid (urine) and the nitrogenous wastes found in urates.

You shouldn’t leave them to eat away at your paint job.

Dull Patches on Paint

The topmost layer of automotive paint lacquer can be affected by heat. If temperatures are sweltering enough, it can soften slightly.

Don’t forget that droppings harden after a while. The lacquer underneath the waste can develop the same imprint or texture.

This won’t leave a patch that’s instantly noticeable. Nevertheless, the area may appear duller than the surrounding surface.

Unsightly to Look At

Even the nicest-looking vehicle can be marred by a sizeable clump of droppings.

Those of you who are especially proud of your cars will want to get the waste off quickly.

What Should I Avoid Doing When Trying to Get Rid of Bird Poop From Cars?

Now that we’ve covered the “what you should do” part, we want to warn you away from a couple of techniques that are likely to do more harm than good to an already bad situation.

The goal is to get your automobile spotless without causing serious damage.

Powerful Chemicals

Droppings that have hardened into a crisp won’t come off easily. It can be tempting to reach for the strongest chemical you have to remove them, but that’s not a good idea.

Powerful bleaches, grout-eating gels, and similar products could make for a speedy cleanup. At the same time, these substances can eat through your paint and plastics.

It isn’t worth risking potentially irreparable damage just to get rid of bird poop from your vehicle. A little extra work is worth it to protect your vehicle.

Coca Cola or Other Sodas

Using soda to dissolve droppings might be effective and cheap, but this success could come at a cost if you leave any residue behind.

Soft drinks are acidic, meaning you don’t want them anywhere near your car. Given enough time, certain sodas can even corrode aluminum.

Sharp Tools

Don’t use a razor edge or other sharp tools to scrape off droppings. No matter how cautious you are, you could end up scratching the surface underneath.

How Can I Clean Fresh Bird Poop off My Car?

Perhaps you caught the bird in the act – superb timing! Or, perhaps you’ve just come out to your vehicle and found fresh droppings. This is the best case scenario, as the waste won’t have a chance to decompose just yet.

Keep the following steps and tips to clean bird poop off your car if it’s still fresh.

Gather Equipment Needed

  • Gloves.
  • Paper towels.
  • Bucket.
  • Car shampoo or mild detergent.
  • Access to a water source.
  • Sponge.
  • Microfiber towel.

Glove Up

Remember that avian waste can be packed with bacteria. Get your gloves on.

Wipe the Mess Away

Tear out a sheet or two from your roll of paper towels.

Wipe from the bottom up to prevent it oozing down your vehicle, and press the sheets down firmly.

Lift the mass up and away, scrunching the towel up in a ball.

Get Rid of Leftovers

Wipe away any leftover droppings that you didn’t catch. Toss all the dirty paper towels in the trash.

Wash the Area

Wash the surface thoroughly with your detergent of choice and water.

Dry it Off

Dry and polish the surface you just cleaned with your microfiber cloth.

How Can I Clean Bird Poop off my Upholstery?

Some of you may be wondering how droppings could end up on your upholstery, but it’s definitely possible!

Convertible owners and those with sunroofs may find this especially relevant.

Gather Equipment Needed

  • Gloves.
  • Laundry detergent.
  • Access to a water source.
  • Bucket.
  • Microfiber cloths.
  • Plastic scraper (or old nail file).
  • Paper towels.

Avoid Smears

First of all, don’t panic. Repress your first instinct to get a tissue out and wipe at the mess — you’re more likely to smear it that way.

If you’re out of the house and have limited supplies, you may not have a choice. Wipe the splatter off as carefully as possible.

Take the time to wash your hands afterward. You can complete the cleaning process when you’re back at home.

For those of you who are near their own homes (or a friend’s), wait a moment and give the splatter some time to solidify. You don’t want it to be rock hard, but you also don’t want it to be a goopy mass.

Scrape Droppings Off

Hold a paper towel underneath the droppings if they’re on an upright surface. If not, keep them handy — you’ll need them shortly.

Using your plastic scraper, loosen the bulk of the mass from your upholstery. Use your paper towels to get rid of the big pieces.

Dilute Laundry Detergent

Add a drop or two of laundry detergent to a few cups of water. Mix the two together inside your bucket.

Clean Off Stains

Dip your microfiber cloth into the diluted laundry detergent, and wring it out and wipe over the affected area.

Do your best to avoid sweeping motions. Try to keep the cloth over the stained part and nowhere else so you don’t spread the waste.

You may have to repeat this step a few times, so keep going until the stain has disappeared.

Rinse

Bring out a fresh microfiber cloth and wet it with plain water. Essentially, you’ll want a damp cloth. Wring it out and wipe over the upholstery you just cleaned.

Air Dry

Leave the wet patch of upholstery to dry out. You may want to close your sunroof or put up your roof at this point.

How to Use WD-40 to Remove Bird Poop from Your Car

Many of you likely already have a canister of WD-40 at home.

This penetrating oil is safe to apply to your vehicle’s exterior, and it can help to loosen age-old droppings that are tough to remove.

With this method, you won’t need anything else, aside from a few basic supplies.

Gather Equipment Needed

  • WD-40.
  • Gloves.
  • Paper towels.
  • Car shampoo or mild detergent.
  • Access to a water source.
  • Sponge.
  • Bucket.

Safety First

Put your gloves on before getting started.

Spray WD-40

Spray a generous amount of WD-40 on the dropping.

If you’re working with a vertical surface (e.g. a door), keep a paper towel nearby. You can hold it underneath to catch any drips.

Let It Sit

Let the WD-40 take effect.

For bird droppings that have been on your vehicle for a long time, you may want to give it at least one minute.

Wipe Off

Try wiping the dropping off with a paper towel. The bulk of the mass should come off without a struggle.

Use Your Sponge

Fill up a bucket with water and your car shampoo. Remove any leftover pieces with your sponge.

Rinse

Rinse off the soap and examine the surface. If you see that it’s still greasy from the WD-40, or there’s any waste residue, wash it again.

Dry and Polish

Dry off the part you just cleaned with a microfiber cloth and polish it.

How to Use Baking Soda to Remove Bird Poop

If you don’t have WD-40 available to use and you don’t want to buy one just for the purpose of this task, you can also use baking soda, the traditional all-purpose cleaner.

It should work on dried droppings, whether they’re recent or old.

Gather Equipment Needed

  • Gloves.
  • Baking soda.
  • Spray bottle.
  • Car shampoo or mild detergent.
  • Access to a water source.
  • Sponge.
  • Bucket.

Prepare the Solution

Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with half a quart of water, and pour the solution into a clean spray bottle.

Gloves On

Don your protective equipment — gloves will shield you from bacteria.

Treat the Droppings

Spray the dried poop with the baking soda mixture.

Wait for a While

If the waste is a couple of days old, a few minutes should be sufficient. For older dried waste, wait for 5–10 minutes.

The longer you let it sit, the more it will loosen the mess.

Wipe Away

Use a paper towel to remove most of the solid bird mess.

Wash the Area

Wash off any residue with your sponge and car shampoo or mild detergent.

Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the surface off with clean water. You can also use a wet cloth if you don’t want to wet surrounding areas.

Dry and Polish

Dry off the freshly washed car surface. You can also polish it for extra effect, if you want.

How to Use Car Detail Spray to Remove Bird Poop

Detailer sprays work to eradicate traces of mild to moderate contamination.

You can rest assured it won’t harm your car paint when used properly, and it’s a quick method to use as well.

Gather Equipment Needed

  • Gloves.
  • Car detailing spray.
  • Paper towels.
  • Microfiber cloth.

First, Gloves On

Ensure your hands are protected, and put your gloves on before anything else.

Spray the Droppings with Detailer

Apply your detail spray to the droppings. Don’t leave any part of the mess dry.

Take a Moment

Wait for a brief moment. If the poop has been on your vehicle for weeks, give it a minute or so.

Wipe Residue Off

The detailer should have dissolved most of the poop. If any spots are leftover, remove them with a paper towel.

Re-Apply Detailer and Polish

Spray a small quantity of detailer (if needed) on the area. Polish it with a cloth as you would normally.

Think About Buying Bird Poop Car Wipes

Yes, you read that correctly! There’s a cleaning product specifically designed for removing bird poop off car paint surface, and it doesn’t have to be a topical stain remover if you don’t want to go down that route.

Bird poop car wipes are great to keep in your trunk or cabin to wipe off droppings as soon as they’re found, and avoid having a headache to deal with as time goes by and the problem becomes a more difficult one to deal with.

You may want to buy a pack of cleaning wipe or two if birds target your car a lot.

Going to a Professional for Bird Poop on Car Paint: What to Expect

If you’re too squeamish to handle the job on your own, or you don’t have the time to take this task up yourself, you have two choices: You can either go to a gas station car wash, or to a professional detailer.

Bear in mind, though, that these aren’t permanent solutions. Your vehicle will likely be hit again at some point, and you’ll have to go through this process once more.

In other words, you should only consider these options if your car is covered trunk-to-grille in bird excrement.

Car Wash

Some car washes have big scrub brushes available. Make use of one to loosen the dried poop before you take your vehicle through the wash.

Or, ask an employee if the wash offers manual scrub downs. This is just a precaution to make sure that no waste remains on your vehicle.

Professional Detailer

A professional detailing shop will get your car poop-free. The only role you’ll play in the process is dropping your vehicle off.

The downside is that it will cost you much more than the average car wash. You can expect to pay anywhere from 50 dollars to upwards of 150 dollars.

The expense will depend on the size of your vehicle and the business itself. You may be charged extra fees if your vehicle is shellacked in bird poop.

How to Prevent Bird Poop from Getting on Your Car

There’s no absolutely guaranteed method of preventing bird poop from striking your automobile at any time, so you can’t swerve out of the way every time you spot a passing pigeon.

With that being said, there’s still a lot that you can do to protect your vehicle from bird poop when it’s stationary.

Watch Where You Park

Before you park, take a look around. Is there a tree right above you full of singing sparrows? How about a building close by that’s covered in black and white splatters?

These are indicators that the area is a popular site for birds. You’ll want to steer clear of leaving your vehicle in these sorts of areas.

Use a Car Cover

It isn’t always possible to be selective when it comes to parking, and you may oftentimes be obliged to park in locations that are hotspots for avian activity.

If this is the case, buy yourself a sturdy, easily washable cover for your car. You’ll have to clean waste off it periodically, but less frequently than on your car itself.

Conclusion

By now, you probably know more about avian droppings than you ever wanted to.

You’re also informed about the risks they can pose to your vehicle. On top of this, you’re now also aware about how that waste can be hazardous to whoever comes into contact with it.

We know that no one looks forward to cleaning off bird poop on cars, but it’s something we all have to do at one point or another.

It’s still preferable over having dull patches on your car paint to look at every day, or having a family member become ill because of this.

You have lots of methods to choose from to get rid of this mess, so there’s something out there that works for everybody, regardless of the situation you’re in and the circumstances you’re dealing with.

So, pick one of these methods and get to work — the faster you get this stuff off your vehicle, the better!

Kyle Palmer

From childhood go karting and motocross, to collecting and obsessing over scalextric, matchbox and radio controlled cars, I've always had an obsession with cars.Learning through manuals, books, trial and error, and more knowledgeable family members, I've also enjoyed tinkering with the mechanics and electronics of any vehicles I've owned.Now, over 3 decades later, I've started this site as a place for me to share my knowledge, to teach others how to care for and maintain their vehicles themselves, at home, so they can get the most of their vehicles and save a pretty penny compared to always seeking out professional help.

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