Removing Bird Poop from a Vehicle’s Paint: A How-To for Those in Auto Detailing Training
Car lovers and enthusiasts typically go to great lengths to ensure that their cars are in excellent condition, making sure it feels great and looks spotless. Despite some of these efforts, car exteriors can still get dirty—affected by accumulated dirt and water stains from changing weather conditions. They’re also susceptible to another common problem—bird droppings.
Contrary to what some might think, bird droppings leave a huge impact on car paint when left untreated. Those who have tried removing the stains will know that it isn’t quite so simple, and acting quickly is a crucial factor. Here’s a quick guide on how best to remove and manage bird dropping stains for those studying auto detailing!
Understanding the Damage that Bird Droppings Leave on Car Paint
It’s commonly accepted that bird droppings on a vehicle is unhygienic—and, understandably, can be visually upsetting. However, bird droppings also create an adverse reaction when coming into contact with a vehicle’s paint job. Because bird droppings contain uric acid, they can be quite acidic (with a pH scale ranging from 3 to 4.5). This is bad news for a paint job, especially since uric acid acts as a corrosive substance. In this way, it can cut through the car’s wax coating and easily damage the paint.
For those who don’t know, there are actually two types of bird droppings—each type approached and cleaned differently. The first is referred to as “topical stain etchings,” which look faded and shallow, usually easy to get rid of. Simply using a cloth with some polish and pressure should get the job done. The other type, called “fractured or wrinkled etchings,” is much harder to clean. Here, it’s best to avoid applying pressure since it can damage the paint and expose the base coating.
Useful Tips for Cleaning Bird Droppings on Car Exteriors
As previously mentioned, acting quickly is incredibly important. Using a wet cloth (microfiber works best) is a solid go-to plan of action when cleaning shallow or faded droppings. If the stains are too stubborn to clean, consider applying a vehicle-safe cleaning solution or relying on bird dropping wipes. Alternatively, you can use a car detailer spray—designed to prolong the longevity of the car’s wax or paint sealant, adding extra shine while simplifying the cleaning process. The spray will break down the stains for easy cleaning with a microfiber cloth.
Another tip that those in auto detailing training should keep in mind, is to study the diameter of the stain. If it’s less than an inch wide, then a dual-action polisher can be applied (followed by sanding via 1000 or 2000 grit sandpaper). If the stain is larger, then a fine-cut cleaner can be used instead (along with the application of 3000 grit wet/dry sandpaper). In the case of stains on cloth convertible tops, it’s advised to scrape the stain and soak the roof completely before applying proper upholstery cleaner (vacuuming or patting dry once complete). These tips should prove effective when cleaning bird droppings.
Preventative Measures for Those with Auto Detailing Careers
For those who don’t have a garage roof or can’t park indoors, living with bird droppings on a car’s exterior can be a stark reality. However, auto body detailers can recommend certain preventative measures to lower the odds and increase protection. For instance, car covers can be a great layer of defence against bird droppings—with the added bonus of shielding the car from sunlight, falling leaves and branches, and various stains or damage from weather conditions.
By applying wax or ceramic coating, those with auto detailing careers can further protect a car from damage caused by bird droppings. Drivers will still need to clean the droppings but can relax knowing that the surface of their car is fortified—preventing rapid deterioration. Ultimately, auto detailers will need to understand the impact and type of bird droppings in order to properly approach the task.
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