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Plenty of things can affect your car’s appearance. They include oxidation that causes rust, peeling from a poor paint job, fading due to prolonged sun exposure, scratches and dings from debris and tree branches, and vandalism. As if all of those nuisances weren’t enough, you also have to contend with bird poop ruining your car.

Bird droppings are not only unsightly but also destructive to your vehicle’s paint. Here’s why bird poop is so bad for your car, how you can safeguard it against poop-related paint issues, and the maintenance steps to keep it looking good as new.

Why is bird poop so bad for car paint?

Bird poop on a car
Bird poop on a car in Miami Beach, Florida | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Bird droppings represent one of the major causes of aesthetic damage to various outdoor materials. Unlike mammals with a bladder or stomach that separates liquids from solids, birds have digestive systems that work differently. Their droppings contain high uric acid levels because their ingested waste collects in one place. 

The whitish color in their excrement is mainly uric acid excreted by the kidneys into the cloaca, where the waste empties. Due to high acidity levels ranging from a pH of 3.5 to 4.5, uric acid is corrosive enough to eat through paint.

The corrosion can be worse during the summer, when the heat on the surface of the hood or roof of a car combines with uric acid, causing paint damage as deep as 1 to 2 millimeters. Bear in mind that your vehicle’s paint is approximately 4 to 6 mils, and it takes only 48 hours for a splatter of caked-in bird poop to ruin your car’s paint and clear coat.

How to clean bird poop off your car without ruining the paint

The best way to keep your vehicle bird poop–free is to clean the soiled area with a mixture of two tablespoons of baking soda, lukewarm water, and dish soap. You can also use multipurpose WD-40 spray or Goo Gone to loosen the droppings and bugs from your vehicle.

In addition, the carbonation from seltzer water or club soda will quickly break down the poop’s natural acidic qualities. Just be careful to use a microfiber cloth because anything coarser might damage your car’s paint job, rubber sealants, or wax.

Another option: Apply a few spritzes of a specialty car detailer spray, or wipe the car’s exterior with biodegradable Drop Wipes, automotive expert Scotty Kilmer advises. That will prevent wrinkled etching and remedy stains caused by bird droppings.

Can wrapping your car protect it from avian excrement?

Though it’s virtually impossible to stop bird poop from hitting your car while driving, you can take preventative measures. One is to wrap your vehicle. In addition to protecting your car’s exterior from scratches, professionally installed car wrap will help keep the original paintwork intact.

Regardless of the reasons, custom vehicle wrapping costs can be much cheaper than repainting, and because the colors are durable and long-lasting, wrap adds to a vehicle’s resale value. Additionally, caring for a wrap is the same as caring for paint. For instance, you should still try to wipe bird droppings off as soon as possible, limit the time your vehicle stays in the sun, and use a breathable outdoor car cover to mitigate wrap damage.

According to Wrapworks, never use chemical-based solvents, oil-based cleaners, harsh kitchen and bathroom degreasers, oven cleaners, orange oil, or engine degreaser on your wrapped car. You can also make cleanup easier while safeguarding your paint from bird damage by getting your car waxed.

Note that it’s natural for birds to relieve themselves when perched in trees and use droppings to mark their territory. But did you know your vehicle’s color could be the reason your vehicle gets poo-bombed more than others?

Red, blue, and high-gloss colors like silver and black attract birds the most. Additionally, birds poop when they’re afraid. Seeing their reflection in windows, side-view mirrors, and car windshields often scares them, prompting them to relieve themselves.

RELATED: Step by Step: How to Properly Detail the Outside of Your Car


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