If you own a pickup truck with a tonneau cover, you’ve probably had the unpleasant experience of finding bird droppings on it. Bird poop on your tonneau cover is not just unsightly, but can also damage the material if left for too long. So how can you safely and easily remove bird droppings from your truck’s tonneau cover?
Why Is It Important To Clean Bird Droppings Off A Tonneau Cover Quickly?
Bird droppings contain acidic uric acid that can eat away at the vinyl or fabric material of your tonneau cover over time, leaving permanent stains or even holes if not cleaned off promptly. The longer droppings sit on the cover, the more damage they can potentially cause.
Additionally, bird poop provides an ideal environment for mold and bacteria to grow. If droppings are allowed to remain on the cover, you may end up with nasty black mold spots that are difficult to remove. Cleaning off droppings as soon as possible prevents unsightly stains and potential fabric degradation.
What Is The Best Way To Remove Dried Or Caked-On Bird Droppings?
If the bird droppings have had time to dry and cake onto the tonneau cover, they can be more stubborn to remove. Here are some tips for tackling dried poop:
Gently Scrape Off Any Hardened Material
Use a plastic scraper or the edge of a credit card to gently lift off any chunks of dried poop. Take care not to use anything too sharp or abrasive, which could scratch the vinyl or fabric. Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the cover.
Loosen With A Wet Cloth
Soak a microfiber cloth or soft-bristle brush in warm water and gently rub the soiled area to loosen and lift off any remaining dried-on mess. The moisture will help rehydrate the droppings so they can be wiped away more easily.
Use A Vinyl/Leather Cleaner
For really stubborn spots, use a gentle vinyl or leather cleaner formulated for automotive use. Apply it to the droppings, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean with a soft cloth. This will help break down uric acid and loosen difficult bird poop stains.
Try Baking Soda And Vinegar
For a non-toxic cleaning option, make a paste of baking soda and water and spread onto the droppings. Let it sit briefly, then use a vinegar-dampened sponge to scrub the area. The chemical reaction can help dissolve stuck-on poop. Rinse thoroughly.
What Is The Best Process For Removing Fresh Bird Droppings?
When you discover fresh bird poop on the tonneau cover, it’s much easier to remove before it dries and adheres to the fabric. Here are some tips for cleaning fresh droppings quickly and efficiently:
Remove Any Loose Material
Use a stiff card or plastic scraper to gently flick off any bird dropping material that isn’t firmly stuck on. This will prevent it from smearing around.
Rinse With Water
If the truck is outside, use a garden hose to spray the tonneau cover and rinse away as much of the droppings as possible. Otherwise, wipe the area with a wet microfiber cloth.
Use A Soft-Bristle Brush
Gently scrub the soiled spot using a soft-bristle brush and warm water mixed with a little mild soap. This will lift away stuck-on poop without risking damage to the vinyl or fabric.
Clean With Tonneau Cover Cleaner
For best results, use a specialty tonneau cover cleaning solution. Spray it onto droppings, let soak briefly, then wipe clean. The cleaner will remove poop, prevent streaks, and condition the cover.
Once clean, use a dry microfiber towel to absorb any excess moisture. You don’t want puddles of water sitting on the vinyl or fabric.
What Homemade Cleaning Solutions Can Safely Remove Bird Droppings?
If you don’t have a specialty tonneau cover cleaner on hand, you can make some safe DIY cleaning solutions using common household ingredients:
Baking Soda Paste
Make a paste with baking soda and water and gently rub it onto any bird droppings using a soft-bristle brush. Rinse clean. The alkaline baking soda will help neutralize acidic bird poop.
Dish Soap And Water
Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water in a spray bottle. Spray soiled spots on the tonneau cover and wipe clean with a soft cloth. Avoid harsh degreasing dish soaps.
Fill a spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water. Mist onto any droppings, allow to soak for 2-3 minutes, then rinse clean. The acetic acid in vinegar will help dissolve poop.
Hydrogen peroxide can help lift bird droppings off a tonneau cover without harsh chemicals. Spray it onto any stains, let bubble for a few minutes, then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
The carbonation in plain club soda makes it surprisingly effective at breaking down bird poop stains. Spritz it on, let it soak for a minute, then wipe off. It will fizz while working to remove droppings.
What Type Of Brush Or Cloth Should Be Used To Clean Bird Droppings?
Having the right cleaning materials is key to safely removing bird poop without damaging your tonneau cover:
- Use a soft-bristle brush – stiff bristles could scratch the vinyl or fabric. Look for a soft auto detailing brush.
- Microfiber cloths are ideal for wiping down the cover without scratching. They are lint-free and ultra soft.
- Sponges should be non-abrasive and free of any rough scrub pads which could scuff the material.
- Soft towels like terry cloth work well for drying and buffing the tonneau cover after cleaning.
- Avoid hard or abrasive items like steel wool or stiff scrub brushes which can damage the cover.
The softer the material, the less likely it will mar the tonneau cover’s appearance, so be gentle when scrubbing.
How Can You Help Prevent Bird Droppings On A Tonneau Cover?
While bird poop on tonneau covers is sometimes inevitable, there are steps you can take to discourage birds from treating your truck bed as a toilet:
- Park in covered areas like garages to limit exposure.
- Use bird deterrents like fake owls, reflective strips, or spike strips on ledges.
- Clean the cover frequently to remove any droppings or food particles that might attract birds.
- Apply a tonneau cover protectant/sealant which can make it harder for poop to stick.
- Scare away birds with safe ultrasonic or noise deterrents.
- Install netting or canopy over your truck bed when not in use.
- Avoid parking under trees where birds roost.
While bothersome, bird droppings don’t have to be a nightmare to remove from your tonneau cover. By using the right cleaning techniques and acting promptly, you can keep your truck bed cover looking pristine. And taking some basic precautions can help limit unwanted bombing runs from birds.
Can Using A Tonneau Cover Protector, Sealant, Or Conditioner Make Cleaning Bird Droppings Easier?
Yes, applying a high-quality tonneau cover protector, sealant, or conditioner can definitely make cleaning off bird droppings much simpler!
These products work by creating a thin protective barrier over the vinyl or fabric material that makes it more stain-resistant and easier to clean. Here’s how they help:
Protectants form a slippery shield that makes it harder for bird poop to adhere to the tonneau cover surface. Droppings are more likely to run off without sticking.
Sealants act as a blockade between bird waste and the cover material, limiting the ability of acidic poop to soak in and cause stains.
Easier To Rinse Away
Conditioners keep tonneau covers smooth, supple and free of grit or grime buildup that could allow bird droppings to stick and cake on. Poop can be rinsed off easily.
Adds UV Protection
Many protectants contain UV blockers that prevent sun damage to the vinyl or fabric that could make it more vulnerable to staining.
Regular Use Is Best
For maximum benefit, tonneau cover protectants should be applied on a regular basis according to the manufacturer’s directions. This maintains the protective coating.
So take advantage of these tonneau cover cleaning and protection products. While not a magic solution that will totally prevent bird bombs, they make your cover easier to keep droppings-free!
What Are Some Good Tonneau Cover Protectants And Conditioners To Use?
There are a variety of tonneau cover protectants and conditioners on the market that can aid in keeping your truck bed cover clean and protected. Here are some top products to consider using:
- 303 Aerospace Protectant – This UV blocker leaves a durable, water-repellent finish that resists stains. It’s safe for vinyl, fabric, and leather.
- Rust-Oleum NeverWet – Creates a hydrophobic barrier that causes water to bead and roll off the tonneau cover, along with any bird droppings.
- Griot’s Garage Vinyl & Leather Cleaner – Cleans deeply to remove stains while leaving a protective finish. Contains UV blockers.
- Chemical Guys Fabric Clean – A pH-balanced cleaner that removes droppings and odors from tonneau cover fabric, plus adds stain repellency.
- TriNova Tonneau Cover Conditioner – Restores suppleness, waterproofs, and protects against bird poop stains and sun damage.
- Meguiar’s Vinyl Protectant – Conditions and preserves vinyl tonneau covers while providing UV rays and stain protection.
- 303 Fabric Guard – Repels spills and stains on tonneau cover fabric or canvas while blocking sun damage.
Using the right product for your specific tonneau cover material will provide the best shield against bird droppings wreaking havoc on your truck bed cover. Check reviews and the manufacturer’s guidance.
What Tips Should You Keep In Mind When Cleaning Bird Droppings?
Cleaning bird droppings off a tonneau cover takes a delicate touch. Keep these tips in mind to do it safely and effectively:
- Act quickly before poop dries and adheres to the material
- Rinse off droppings with water before wiping to avoid scratching
- Use soft brushes and microfiber cloths only to prevent damaging cover
- Spot clean mild soap and water to avoid stripping/dulling vinyl
- For tough stains, let cleaner or DIY solution sit before rinsing
- Apply tonneau cover protectant after cleaning for added protection
- Buff gently with a dry towel to prevent water spotting
- Avoid using harsh chemicals like ammonia or bleach
- Check cleaner brands for vinyl/fabric suitability
- Use minimal pressure when scrubbing to avoid scuffs
- Work slowly and methodically for best results
- Be extra cautious when dealing with bird droppings to limit damage
With some care and the proper techniques, you can keep your tonneau cover droppings-free and looking like new. Don’t let bird bombs ruin your truck bed cover!
In summary, cleaning bird droppings quickly is key to avoiding permanent staining or other damage to your tonneau cover. For fresh droppings, a thorough rinse and wipe down with mild detergent and a soft brush is generally sufficient.
Dried poop requires gently scraping off chunks, soaking with water, and using a vinyl/leather cleaner. Homemade cleaners like baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide also work well.
Stay away from stiff brushes or harsh chemicals that could scratch. And applying a tonneau cover protector/conditioner after cleaning adds a stain-resistant barrier for easier future cleanup. With the right approach, you can keep your truck bed cover free of bird bombing damage and looking its best.