How to Remove Tree Sap & Bird Droppings

How to clean bird droppings and tree sap from a car

Tree sap and bird droppings are two common nuisances that can damage your car’s paintwork. Remove them quickly to maintain your car’s appearance and value. In this article, we’ll discuss techniques for removing both tree sap and bird droppings.

Tree Sap Removal

Identify the Type of Sap

Sap can be either hardened or fresh. Removal methods vary depending on the type.

Methods for Sap Removal

  • Rubbing alcohol – an effective and affordable sap removal method. It can dissolve and break down the sap, allowing you to wipe it away easily.
  • Commercial sap remover – Several commercial sap removers are available on the market. They are specifically formulated to dissolve tree sap without damaging your car’s paint.
  • Mineral spirits – also known as paint thinner, can help remove stubborn tree sap. However, use caution and test a small area first, as it may cause damage to certain paint types.
  • WD-40 – versatile lubricant that can also be used to remove tree sap. It is a safer option compared to mineral spirits but still should be used cautiously.

Step-by-Step Sap Removal Process

  1. Apply chosen method to a microfiber cloth.
  2. Gently dab or rub the affected area.
  3. Wipe off the residue and clean the area with water.
  4. Dry the area with a clean cloth.

Tips to Prevent Sap Damage

  • Park away from trees
  • Use a car cover

Bird Dropping Removal

Understand Bird Dropping Composition

Bird droppings are acidic, which can damage your car’s paint.

Methods for Bird Dropping Removal

  • Warm water and microfiber cloth – Using a microfiber cloth dampened with warm water can help soften bird droppings, making them easier to remove. Apply gentle pressure to avoid scratching the paint.
  • Car-specific wet wipes – Car-specific wet wipes, also known as auto wipes, are pre-moistened with a gentle cleaning solution that can effectively remove bird droppings. Keep a pack in your car for easy access when needed.
  • Club soda – Club soda, or carbonated water, can help lift bird droppings from your car’s paint due to its effervescence. Pour a small amount onto the dropping and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away.
  • Commercial bird dropping remover – Similar to sap removers, there are commercial bird dropping removers available. These products are designed to dissolve and lift bird droppings without damaging your car’s paint.
  • Baking Soda and Water – A mixture of baking soda and water can help neutralize the acidity of bird droppings, making them easier to remove. Apply the mixture to the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off.

Step-by-Step Bird Dropping Removal Process

  1. Apply chosen method to a microfiber cloth.
  2. Gently dab or rub the affected area.
  3. Rinse the area with water.
  4. Dry the area with a clean cloth.

Tips to Prevent Bird Dropping Damage

  • Park away from bird-heavy areas
  • Use a car cover

Additional Tips for Sap and Bird Dropping Removal

Timing is Crucial

Removing sap and bird droppings as soon as possible is key to preventing damage to your car’s paint. The longer these substances remain on your car, the more likely they are to cause harm.

Use a Lubricant

Using a lubricant, such as a quick detailer spray, can help minimize the risk of scratching your car’s paint when removing sap or bird droppings.

Test a Small Area First

When using a new product or method, always test it on a small, inconspicuous area of your car first to ensure it won’t damage the paint.

Work in the Shade

Working in a shaded area can help prevent the sap or bird droppings from drying out too quickly, making them easier to remove.

Preventive Measures

Regular Car Washing

Regularly washing your car can help prevent the buildup of sap and bird droppings, making them easier to remove when they do occur.

Using Car Wax or Paint Sealant

Applying car wax or paint sealant can create a protective barrier between your car’s paint and potential damage from sap and bird droppings.

Parking Away from Trees and Bird-Heavy Areas

Choosing a parking spot away from trees and areas with a high bird population can help minimize the likelihood of sap and bird droppings landing on your car.

Using a Car Cover

Investing in a car cover Investing in a car cover can provide an additional layer of protection against sap, bird droppings, and other environmental contaminants. When not in use, store the car cover in your trunk for easy access.


Removing tree sap and bird droppings from your car is essential to maintain its appearance and protect its paint. While there are various methods to tackle these issues, it’s crucial to act quickly and use caution to avoid causing damage to your car’s surface.

Remember to wash your car regularly, apply a protective coating like wax or paint sealant, and park away from trees and bird-heavy areas whenever possible. Investing in a car cover is another excellent preventive measure.

For a comprehensive guide on car detailing tools and products, be sure to visit Car Detailing Products You Need. Our expert advice will help you keep your car looking its best and well-maintained for years to come.