If you’ve ever walked out to your truck on a sunny morning and discovered that neighborhood birds have left you an unwelcome “gift” on your tonneau cover, you know how unpleasant that can be. Bird droppings on your truck bed cover are not just unsightly, but can also damage the cover if left for too long. Prompt and proper cleaning is key to removing droppings and preserving your tonneau cover.
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through the best practices for how to clean bird droppings off a fiberglass tonneau cover. We’ll cover supplies you need, steps to take, and tips for prevention. With the right approach, you can get your cover looking like new again.
Why Is It Important to Clean Droppings Off Promptly?
Bird droppings contain acids that can eat away at paint, clear coat, and even fiberglass if left for too long. The longer droppings sit, the more they can etch into the material. Heat and sunlight also exacerbate damage over time.
To prevent permanent marking, etching, dulling, or other damage, it’s crucial to wash off droppings as soon as possible. Within 24 hours is ideal. The quicker you can rinse or neutralize the acid, the better chance you have of avoiding lasting effects.
What Supplies Do You Need to Clean a Fiberglass Tonneau Cover?
Before you get started, gather the proper supplies to safely and effectively clean your tonneau cover:
- Soft cloths or sponges: Avoid abrasive fabrics that could scratch. Microfiber cloths are ideal.
- Mild detergent or car wash soap: Choose a product designed specifically for car exteriors. Avoid dish or laundry soaps.
- Soft-bristle brush: Look for a brush with natural bristles and a blunt wooden handle. The brush helps lift debris from textured surfaces.
- Water hose: Use a hose for the initial rinse if washing in your driveway.
- Spray bottle: Fill a spray bottle with your car wash solution for spot treatment.
- Protectant (optional): A tonneau cover protectant adds a hydrophobic layer to repel dirt and water.
You may also need gloves and eye protection if using a pressure washer. Check your tonneau cover manual for any additional or specific recommendations on supplies and cleaning methods to avoid damaging your particular cover.
What Is the Step-by-Step Process to Clean Droppings?
Follow these steps to safely remove bird droppings from your fiberglass tonneau cover:
1. Rinse with water
The first step is to rinse away any loose debris and dilute the acid. Use a water hose on a gentle setting to lightly rinse the soiled area. Avoid high-pressure streams that could drive debris into the grain.
Rinsing right after droppings occur helps stop acid etching. If it’s been over 24 hours, prolonged rinsing still helps lessen damage.
2. Mix car wash solution
In a bucket or spray bottle, mix your car wash soap with warm water according to label directions. Mild dishwashing liquid can work in a pinch if diluted sufficiently.
Avoid harsh chemical cleaners or acid or alkaline solutions that could damage the cover. Stick to products specifically meant for auto exteriors.
3. Scrub with soft cloth and brush
Apply the soapy solution over the droppings using a soft cloth or sponge. Let it sit for a few minutes to help lift acid and debris.
Use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub, massaging the soap into the grain. Take care around logos, seams, and edges. Avoid scrubbing too vigorously.
4. Rinse thoroughly
Once you’ve cleaned the entire area with soap, rinse again thoroughly with water. Make sure to remove all residue. This neutralizes any remaining acid and prevents suds from drying on the surface.
Inspect closely and repeat washing if needed for stubborn stains or etching. It may take multiple cleanings over hours or days to fully remove etching or light discoloration.
5. Dry and apply protectant
After a thorough rinse, dry the cover completely with a soft, lint-free cloth. Leaving water to air dry can lead to water spots.
Apply a tonneau cover protectant like 303 Aerospace Protectant to help repel future dirt, droppings, and dust. Follow the product directions.
And that’s it! With this complete process, you can get your fiberglass tonneau cover looking clean again. Be sure to act quickly next time to minimize lasting damage.
What Are Some Helpful Tips and Precautions?
Follow these tips and precautions as you clean droppings off your tonneau cover:
- Avoid using stiff bristle brushes or abrasive pads that could scratch the fiberglass. Stick to soft cloths and brushes.
- Check manufacturer guidelines before using any chemical cleaners. Harsh chemicals may damage the cover.
- Rinse thoroughly and avoid letting suds dry on the surface to prevent water spots.
- Take care around logos, seals, and seams which are vulnerable to damage. Avoid catching them with brushes.
- Wear gloves and eye protection when using sprayed solutions.
- If there are deep scratches or etching, consider professional detailing services for buffing and refinishing.
- Wash, wax, and apply protectant regularly to build up a protective barrier against droppings.
With some care and prompt attention, you can keep your fiberglass tonneau cover looking like new for years of reliable service life. Don’t let the neighborhood birds get the best of your truck!
What Are Some Ways to Prevent Bird Droppings?
While prompt cleaning is key, it also helps to deter birds from pooping on your tonneau cover in the first place. Here are some tips to prevent droppings:
- Park in covered areas like garages when possible.
- Use tonneau cover seals to deter birds from landing inside the truck bed.
- Consider bird deterrents like fake owls, reflective strips, or ultrasonic repellers.
- Avoid parking under trees or power lines where birds frequent.
- Wash and wax your cover regularly to make it less inviting for birds.
- Scare off birds with loud noises when they land on your truck.
Deterrents, covered parking, and regular washing go a long way towards keeping birds away. But if droppings do occur, act quickly with the proper cleaning methods. Consistent prevention and prompt cleanings will help your tonneau cover look great for years.
When Should You Call in a Professional for Cleaning or Repairs?
For light droppings cleaned soon after, most DIYers can restore their tonneau cover’s appearance with the steps here. But if you notice any of the following, consider seeking professional help:
- Deep scratches or grooves from improper cleaning tools or techniques.
- Discoloration or dullness that remains after multiple thorough cleanings.
- Visible etching, swirling, or pitting in the fiberglass from prolonged acid exposure.
- Loose fittings, seals, or snaps from pressure washing.
- Peeling or damaged clear coat in severe cases.
Mobile detailing pros have specialized tools and compounds to buff out minor scratches, resurface etching, and renew clear coat. They can also safely replace fittings without damaging the cover.
For serious acid damage beyond DIY repair, you may need a full replacement cover. Always contact your manufacturer first to see if damage is covered under warranty.
Conclusion: Act Quickly and Carefully for Sparkling Clean Tonneau Covers
Dealing with bird droppings on your prized tonneau cover is no fun. But armed with the right supplies, techniques, and precautions, you can safely restore that showroom shine.
Promptly rinsing away droppings is crucial. Follow up by gently scrubbing with mild cleaners using soft tools only. Rinse thoroughly, dry, and apply protectant regularly. Avoid harsh chemicals or materials that can scratch.
With some diligence after each mess, plus deterrents to avoid droppings in the first place, you can keep your cover glistening like new. Here’s to many more miles of cargo protection and style ahead.