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Don’t Let Bird Droppings Ruin Your Car Paint Job

Bird droppings

Spring is in the air and this weekend saw many of us getting out the car cleaning equipment and giving our vehicles a well-deserved seasonal clean.  Unfortunately, for those of us who have managed to get our car gleaming, Spring also means more birds are flying around or relaxing in the trees …. and that means the inevitable bird droppings.

At IPS Paint Supplies we are often asked what to do when bird droppings wreck your car’s paint job and we have many great products that can both clean and protect your paint surface from stains caused by bird droppings.

Our team has also come up with some advice in using these products as follows.

How Bird Droppings Damage Your Car Paint

Bird droppings (also known as Guano in the UK when this excrement comes from pigeons) can be highly toxic.  In fact, the pH level of bird excrement rivals that of acid rain. As soon as it touches the vehicle, it’s important to remove it quickly and safely as it can slowly penetrate the clear coat, creating a semi-permanent stain that will stand out on the paint surface.

This is because when it comes to the car painting process, the bare metal is treated with a chemical acid bath, which removes imperfections, oils, greases, and other contaminants. Then a primer is applied to the metal to provide a base-coating. Next, the paint is sprayed on top of the primer, usually two or three coats. Finally, a clear coating provides a hard layer of protection.

The problem is that clear coats are that hard and thin  which means that vehicle paint jobs are quickly exposed to contaminants that can cause significant damage, including bird droppings.

Like most waste products, bird waste is created by acids breaking down food. But birds do not have a normal digestion system. They instead use a cloaca, which uses urine or uric acid crystals to break down the bugs, insects, seeds, and other items they eat on a daily basis. Since most of the ‘stuff’ birds eat have acidic levels themselves, can create some highly volatile excrement.

The pH level of bird droppings ranges from 3.5 to 4.5 which can burn paint and clear coating on a vehicle. (Source).  This is the point where it starts to burn paint and clear coatings which is why it leaves a stain when it’s left on the paint or another surface for too long.

What’s more bird droppings are also incredibly sticky. This is what enables them to bond to the clear coat, especially on porous surfaces.   As the dropping stick, they can burn the top layer of whichever surface they land on.. This is another reason why it’s so crucial to remove bird droppings correctly as soon as you see it on the vehicle.

Removing Bird Droppings from Your Car Safely

There are a number of ways that you can remove bird droppings from your car in a safe manner with very little risk to your vehicle’s existing paint surface or clear coat.  Please note, these are DIY tips and when it comes to removing droppings from materials such as glass, vinyl, or plastic trim you should use specialty products for those materials.

  • WD-40 can be used to clean dried bird droppings from your car paintwork. This highly effective spray lubricant penetrates the excrement as it dries and sticks to the clear coat and can be rinsed or wiped away. For best results, make sure your car is not in direct sunlight. Let the surface temperature cool to ‘room temp’, then spray the compete area impacted with WD-40. Let it soak in for about a minute, then just wipe away with a damp cloth or microfiber cloth or rinse it off with a spray hose. We recommend that you use an automotive soap and wash mitt shortly after to remove residue.
  • Hot water mixed with baking soda can also remove bird droppings from your vehicle. You will just need a box of baking soda and around a litre of warm tap water. Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with a litre of warm water in a spray bottle and shake so that the powder mixes with the water.   Just spray the solution onto the bird droppings and allow it to soak for between 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse off with a hose. Like the WD-40 option above, complete the process by washing off the residue with automotive soap and a soft mitt.
  • Specialist bird dropping wipes are available which have been specifically developed to help remove bird droppings that have dried on your car paint. These tend to be made from ultra-soft bamboo and biodegradable materials that are soaked in a special formula that breaks down the uric acid found in bird droppings. These wipes should be used as directed by the manufacturer.
  • Quick detail sprays are suitable for removing bird droppings from a vehicle’s surfaces. The key is to make sure to use the appropriate sprays for the surface you are spraying. We suggest purchasing a spray which is suitable for automotive paint and clear coat surfaces and use a microfibre cloth when wiping the surface down.

And one thing to avoid is trying to scratch bird droppings off with your fingernails or other materials as this will damage the clear coat.

Repairing Damage Caused by Bird Droppings

If you’ve left it too late and bird droppings have left unnecessary stains on your paintwork, then you have a few options.  You can take your vehicle to an auto body shop for a touch up or respray; or you can call into the IPS Shop in Llansamlet and a member of our team with give you advice on which products we recommend to get rid of these stains.

To find out more about our products and services visit https://www.ipspaint.co.uk/ or call a member of our team on the number below:

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