What can be more annoying than to return to your parked car, having left it clean and gleaming, only to find a seagull has flown by and dropped a present of guano all down the car door?! Or perhaps you have parked in the shade of a tree and come back to find the car roof is covered in bird droppings. So how do you get rid of them?
Fresh Bird Droppings
If the droppings are fresh, the best thing to do is to clean it off before it dries and rinse off the residue, but if already set’, it can prove more difficult. Whatever you do, don’t use a paper towel or even a tissue to do the cleaning because even the softest of tissues contain fibres which can damage the paintwork of your car when combined with the scratchy texture of bird poo. Unless you carry with you a pure soft cotton cloth, leave well alone until you reach home, even if it means leaving the droppings to harden.
Bird droppings are extremely acidic and also often contain coarse roughage or grit which has passed through the bird’s digestive tract. It is this grit, in combination the abrasive surface of paper which will scratch the surface layer of the car.
If left to harden, however, bird droppings can have a devastating affect. The longer the faeces are on the car, the more the paintwork is eaten into by the acid. This not only strips the paint finish but can also fade the colour.
Removing the Droppings
Removing droppings from cars requires a little patience. First, the aim of the game is to soften the droppings so that they can be washed off. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is to spray the offending area with some low-sodium or distilled fresh water. This is water in its softest’ state, containing the least amount of impurities. If carbonated, the fizz’ will help to lift the dirt, whilst the moisture will soften the excrement. Merely wet and leave for a few minutes to soak into the dirt. If the patch is very difficult to shift, simply repeat several times as needed. It can also help to add a little non-abrasive surfactant such as a soft soap or a PH-balanced, organic based oil. This acts as a lubricant and softener. After a few minutes, simply wash off the bird droppings using a hose.
Washing the Car
After cleaning the bird droppings off the car, take the opportunity to continue washing the whole of the bodywork. Using lots of water together with a pure cotton cloth or soft sponge, wash with non-petroleum based washing liquid, preferably one specifically designed for use on cars. Make sure any soap doesn’t have a chance to dry on the body of the car, and then rinse again with fresh water.
Drying the Car
Next, dry the car well with a chamois leather cloth or sheepskin to ensure no mineral deposits are left on the metal and examine the area where the droppings were.
If bird droppings have damaged the paintwork of the car, a good quality scratch remover will take out the abrasions whilst a fine polishing compound will restore the shine. The best and most detailed approach is to check the entire car for other minor scratches and abrasions at the same time as treating the area affected by bird muck.
Removing Scratches Caused by Bird Droppings
To remove scratches left by faecal matter, use a small amount of abrasive paste (such as those found in scratch repair kits or even toothpaste can be used), a clay bar or gently apply a little fine rubbing compound onto the area. Avoid cutting polishes, as they will be too intensive and could do further damage. Very carefully rub out the scratch being extremely careful not to apply too much pressure for danger of penetrating the clear-coat layer of the paintwork, which is likely to be the only part affected. Once again, use a pure cotton soft cloth to do this job.
Polish and Wax
After polishing, it is a good idea to give the car a protective layer of wax to prevent further damage. Once more, a fresh, pure cotton applicator should be used and apply in straight lines (not in circular movements) backwards and forwards. Then buff in the same way with a clean cloth, to a good shine. Depending on which kind of wax is used (a liquid or paste), the finish will last between 8 and 16 weeks, but for a longer-lasting finish a sealant could also be applied.