The Sky Is Falling!

By Sharon Naylor

March 17, 2014 4 min read

It never fails. As soon as you get your car cleaned, waxed and looking like new, a bird from overhead delivers an unwelcome splatter right on your hood. And that unwelcome splatter needs to be removed immediately. Otherwise it can eat into your vehicle's paint and cause damage, reducing your car's value.

Just what is it in the bird droppings that make the mess so dangerous? According to Alyson Kalhagen, veterinary technician and avian specialist, when birds expel their waste, "urine and feces are expelled at the same time. Unlike mammals and other types of animals, a bird's droppings are not normally solid." Liquid, including uric acid, is eliminated as well, since a bird's anatomy does not have a separate mechanism for eliminating liquid waste. So you get a toxic mixture of materials landing on your car.

Don rubber gloves and protective eyewear so that the elements of bird droppings are not in contact with your skin or eyes. And if you're washing your car by hand, remove the bird droppings before plunging that dirty sponge back into your bucket of soapy water. You don't want the contaminated water and making contact with your hands, especially if you have any cuts on your fingers, hands or arms.

Here are the top tips for removing bird droppings from your vehicle:

--One commonly recommended remedy is shaking up a bottle of unsalted, unflavored seltzer and then pouring the fizzy liquid over the bird droppings. After the seltzer has bubbled over the spot for a few seconds, gently wipe away the droppings using a microfiber cloth. Then pour fresh water over the surface to rinse away any remaining seltzer or debris.

--Don't just wipe away droppings with a wet towel, say Tony and Michele Hamer, About.com's guides to classic cars. Doing so can scratch your car's paint. "Birds use gravel to digest their food, and this grit is one of the major components of what you will be wiping into your paint," they warn.

--The Hamers say that if you didn't see the bird dropping right away, and it's now dried onto your car's surface, "any good paint polish can be used to fix the damage it's caused with a fair amount of rubbing. It's better to start with a fine polishing compound or scratch remover, followed by a good coat of wax."

--Another remedy for dried-on bird droppings, suggested by the car-care site Auto Geek, is taking a clean microfiber cloth, folding it into fourths, spraying one side with your favorite car detailing cleaner spray and then placing that wet layer on top of the dried bird droppings. Next, pour water on top of the microfiber cloth pad until it is saturated but not to the point where water is streaking off the car surface. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes for the water to liquefy the droppings and so that the cloth can attract any grit. Next, gently gather the microfiber cloth, removing the bird droppings beneath. Do not rub the droppings over the paint. Rinse the area well once it is cleaned.

--If you notice that the bird droppings have caused etching in your paint surface, it's a good idea to take your car in to a quality car detailing shop for a proper cleaning and a polish with high gloss. Your car might require a paint touch-up if the damage is severe.

The Hamers also suggest finding a different place to park your car if you are outside of a garage bay. Parking your vehicle under a shady tree places it right in the line of fire.

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