How to clean bird poop off concrete
It’s an issue that most birdwatchers have dealt with at some point: bird poop. Unfortunately, birds aren’t exactly known for their cleanliness and typically “go” whenever they feel the need. That can leave your concrete driveway looking rough after a few weeks in the heaviest birding seasons. Unfortunately, all that waste can damage your concrete and leave it in rough shape.
However, we collected a few of the best ways of cleaning bird poop off concrete to make this process easier for homeowners like you. We suggest using the first method highlighted here and then checking out the alternative options later. They’re relatively similar and can work in varying situations, which we’ll discuss in each sub-section to improve your cleaning process.
A Comprehensive Cleaning Process
If your concrete has extensive bird poop stains, this simple process should help you eliminate them. It is designed to be easy to understand and effective in just about any situation. But first, let’s highlight the tools and ingredients you need to purchase before cleaning your concrete.
Tools and Items You’ll Need
- Industrial cleaning mask
- A scraping tool, such as a putty knife
- A dustbin and broom
- One gallon of vinegar
- A spray bottle
- A few gallons of club soda
- At least one or two rolls of paper towels
Step One: Preparing for This Process
Start by mixing your gallon of vinegar with a gallon of water in a large bucket. You may want up to 2.5 gallons each to make a five-gallon mix. That should be enough, letting you save the extra for future cleaning experiences. Pour some of this mix into a spray bottle and choose a comfortably warm, sunny day to clean. Try to do it early before any birds come out.
You may even want a second person with you to “spot” birds and warn you if they’re hanging out above your driveway. This step can help you avoid getting pooped on (an unfortunate reality when bird watching). It can also help you prepare for the potential of cleaning warm and fresh droppings. Though unpleasant, it’s best to do it before the poop dries on your pavement.
Step Two: Scraping Off the Poop
Go over your driveway and identify dried bird poop you can scrape away with your scraping tool. A plastic putty knife is a good idea because it won’t damage the pavement but has enough strength to avoid breaking. One between two to four inches is good enough for this process.
Put on the mask (to protect from any respiratory diseases in bird poop) and scrape the knife against the poop with the grain of the concrete whenever possible. This helps to keep it from sticking and causing damage to your concrete. The area should be nice and smooth, though there may be a slight stain on the concrete. That’s okay: you’ll take care of that with the next few steps.
Step Three: Sweeping Up the Bird Poop Debris
After scraping all the bird poop on your driveway, you will have some leftover powder that is gross and unsanitary. Use your broom to sweep up this debris and any other dust or dirt on your concrete. Of course, you want the area to be as dust-free as possible while you clean.
You’ll spray the stains with vinegar and add club soda. Adding these items to the dried bird poop can cause them to stain again on your driveway. Note that you can also do extra scraping at this point if the bird poop stain is not quite level with the concrete surface.
Step Four: Spraying the Stains
Spray the stains with diluted vinegar and let the mixture sit for 10-30 minutes. This waiting time helps the vinegar eat into the stains and break them up. After this time, the stains should turn into a clear or slightly green liquid. Note: higher vinegar concentrations may damage your concrete’s surface.
Once the stain appears to be running, you can rinse it off with club soda. Mix the club soda 50/50 with water and carefully spread it across the concrete. Wipe away the stains with paper towels. Repeat this step, as needed, to get your concrete free of bird poop.
Step Five: Spot-Cleaning New Poop
If you get any new bird poop while cleaning the old, wipe it up immediately with paper towels to keep it from staining the surface. In addition, you should quickly check your concrete a few times a week to spot any new stains and remove them following these steps. Doing so can ensure they don’t dry too heavily and keep your concrete safe from the acid in the bird poop.
A Few Other Cleaning Methods
Though the in-depth process mentioned above should get bird poop off your driveway, you might want to consider a few other cleaning options. We strongly suggest these methods in specific scenarios, such as if you only have a little bird poop on your driveway.
A Quick Surface Cleaning
If your concrete only has a few bits of bird droppings, you can quickly clean it by following these steps. We strongly suggest this option if you also see fresh bird poop and don’t want to scrub away the droppings with paper towels. Instead, you’ll need a hose, dish soap, and a cleaning brush to:
- Spray the bird poop with water to wet it down immediately
- Apply the dish soap to the poop to help it break up a little
- Scrub the stains off the concrete with the scrub brush
- Immediately rinse away the poop from the concrete, and your scrub
Typically, you want this method when the bird is pretty fresh. It doesn’t work as well if the poop has stained and dried. If you wait too long and the bird poop sticks or if you have more stains than this process can handle, move on to the next step.
A More Comprehensive Cleaning
While the surface-cleaning suggested above can be very beneficial with fresh poop, it’s not a good option if the droppings have dried or you have an extensive collection across the driveway. If you don’t have vinegar or club soda but do have dish soap, use this method to clean poop properly:
- Spray the surface with an electric pressure washer to wet the surface
- Apply a specialized concrete cleaner to the affected area and scrub it with a brush
- Add sawdust to the site for about 10 minutes to absorb the fecal matter
- Sweep up the sawdust after it fully dries
- Scrub any more stubborn stains with a brush or repeat this process to break them apart further.
Hydrogen peroxide may work well if your bird poop stains aren’t coming off your concrete. However, make sure to dilute it at a 50/50 ratio with water to prevent the peroxide from changing your concrete’s color.
A Deeper Cleaning Process
While these steps should help with most bird poop stains, some people may have deeper and more stubborn stains that require more extensive cleaning. When deeper stains won’t leave your concrete, and you aren’t sure what to do, follow these steps for a more comprehensive cleaning that will protect your concrete and keep it strong:
- Spray the stains with a water jet or heavy-duty pressure washer
- Scrub the surface with the brush vigorously or use a power brush to break apart the stains
- Dilute muriatic acid in 50/50 water and apply it to the stains
- Let the acid sit for 10-30 minutes before rinsing with water
- Repeat this process until the stains are gone
When using muriatic acid, make sure you use as little as possible. Even diluted, this acid may damage your concrete. As a result, you need to
use great care and immediately rinse and wipe it away from your surface after it has broken apart the stains properly.
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Wrap up – How to Clean Bird Poop off of Concrete
We hope these tips have given you lots of options for how to clean bird poop off of concrete. No matter your specific situation, one of these processes should work well for you!
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