For weeks, you’ve driven around with “Wash Me” etched on your back window, boldly defying cleanliness and dirty looks alike. You’ve contemplated a (pricey) trip to the car wash. You even prayed for rain.
One day, the dirt finally becomes too much and you cave in. You wash your car and give it a good wax, but the next day — splat. A pigeon poops on your hood.
If this has happened to you, chances are you’ve wondered: “Why me? Is it karma … or just the car I drive?”
Well, according to a recent study from the UK, the color of your car could make your ride more prone to avian waste. So which colors are bird magnets?
Birds poop on red cars most
Though red cars don’t cost more to insure, they do attract more bird droppings than any other car color. A study sponsored by Halfords (a car accessory chain) measured the frequency with which 1,140 cars in 5 cities around the UK got bird bombed and found that red cars were hit the most (18 percent of cars attacked were red). Green cars, on the other hand, were generally spared (only 1 percent of the cars pooped on were green).
Why this color preference among the birds? Do red cars fire their tempers? Are green cars just so pacific (and rare) that the birds want to give them amnesty? So far, only the birds know, but maybe one day they’ll tweet us the answer.
Why bird droppings damage car paint
For years, we’ve heard that the alkaline and acidic substance of bird doo-doo corrodes car paint, eventually etching the damage into the paint itself.
But according to research from Autoglym, car-care experts based in the UK (is it me or are the Brits obsessed?), it’s not the acid that’s to blame — it’s the heat.
Say you park your just-pooped-on car in the sun. The sun’s rays will warm the paint so that it softens and expands while hardening the droppings on its surface. Once the lacquer cools, it hardens and molds to birdie’s little gift, dulling the paint.
How to clean bird poop
Okay, we all know that soap and water will work wonders on wet and dry droppings alike. But is there a secret removal technique we don’t know about?
Autoglym experts recommend removing the dropping ASAP with a moist cloth to gently lift the unwanted deposit from the surface. If it’s dried, place a damp cloth over it for 10 minutes and then remove.
Others recommend pouring unsalted seltzer water over the dropping and wiping it with a microfiber cloth once the water has bubbled away. Check out our eco-friendly car wash tips for even more ideas, and find out how to get sparkling window panes.