We are going to spend a few paragraphs talking about bird poop.
You know—the sort that’ll likely land on your freshly washed Camry or Pacifica after its springtime bath.
Bird poop is bad for your paint. It dries on hard, can etch your clear coat, and becomes cement-like if it gets baked on by the sun. Bird poop can also contain acids and other chemicals that can eat away at the surface of your car.
“Never, ever, ever scrub the poop.”
But, on its own, bird poop isn’t as bad for your car’s paint as the way most people try to clean it.
Two problems here.
First, bird poop is poop which makes it gross and means you’ll want it gone so fast—so you’ll probably rush, work more hurriedly than carefully, and probably use the wrong stuff for the job. You may even try to scrub the poop away, which is literally the worst thing. And since it’s poop and that’s gross, you’ll probably try to scrub pretty aggressively.
This ties into the second problem— which is that bird poop is abrasive. That’s because birds are ridiculous, and eat things like pebbles, sand, and seed-shell fragments. Scrub too vigorously, and that sandpapery bird poop stain will leave your Crystal Grey Metallic looking like it’s just had a going-over by Freddy Kreuger.
There’s a right and a wrong way to handle bird poop—and generally, the first few ideas that pop into your mind when you first discover it are the ‘wrong’ things.
So, do not wet a paper towel and start wiping. Do not attack the poop with a direct blast from a pressure washer. Do not grab the nearest household cleaner and apply it to the poop and your paint.
And if you read nothing else on this page? Never, ever, ever scrub the poop.
The correct steps for damage-free bird-poop removal are outlined next.
First, calm yourself. This works best when you’re relaxed.
Next, obtain several clean, soft rags or a wash sponge, a pail, car-wash soap, and the hose.
Next, get your car somewhere cool and shady, and soak the poop with a concentrated mixture of car-wash soap and the warmest possible water by pouring and dabbing the mixture gently onto the poop.
Don’t be shy: get the poop nice and wet. Soak it fully. Then soak it some more.
With this completed, go cut the grass, make lunch, play some Call of Duty, or give your mother a call.
Return to the poop, perhaps in 30 minutes. Grab a rag or sponge and wet the poop again, using the same car wash solution as before. Count to ten.
Now, you will test the poop, which involves touching it.
Using literally the lightest touch known to mankind, wipe at the edge of the bird poop stain. If it comes off as you (very) lightly rub with your rag or sponge, continue to work, slowly and gently, to remove it.
If some portion of the poop proves more difficult to remove, re-soak the entire thing for another 30 minutes, and try again. Repeat as needed.
As the soaking eventually softens and dissolves the poop, you’ll be able to remove it with a very light touch. All the while, keep the poop wet, keep your touch light, and rotate or fold your cloth or sponge to ensure you’re always working with a clean surface.
Finally, DO NOT we repeat DO NOT scrub the poop. Work as if it you’re trying to remove a very abrasive, very sticky substance from your paint at all steps—since this is precisely what you’re doing.