Who doesn’t love the glorious sound of beautiful little birdies tweeting happily every morning?
Then you go outside and find that all those sweet little birdies pooped all over your formerly-clean and pristine concrete patio, sidewalks, and driveway.
What do you do? How do you clean all the bird poop from the concrete?
In this article, we will walk you through several methods that you can use to clean bird poop off concrete and make your concrete driveways, sidewalks, and patios 100-percent poop-free.
How to Get Rid of a Small Area of Fresh Bird Poop
It’s always better to take care of bird poop sooner (when the affected area is small) rather than later.
To take care of small areas of affected by bird poop, all you need is:
- A water hose connected to a faucet
- Dish soap or even shampoo
- A scrub brush. Natural bristle brushes are best
Put on gloves.
Squirt dishwashing detergent over the entire pooped-on area. Scrub the affected area with a scrub brush to loosen the poop.
Rub until you can see cleansing bubbles. Then rinse the loosened bird poop with a steady stream of water from the hose.
If you don’t want to wash bird poop into the yard (some kinds of bird poop like owl poop and buzzard poop are incredibly stinky), you can lift it up with paper towels or rags, and then throw the paper towels or rags away.
How to Get Rid of Bird Poop Stain
Bird poop has uric acid, which can ruin the concrete by forming a salt that gets into tiny pores.
It can carry the green, yellow, blue, red, and black pigments birds get from their food along with it and leave stains.
Dish soap won’t be enough to lift the uric acid and staining pigments from your concrete.
For this kind of cleaning, you will need:
- A commercial concrete cleaner or hydrogen peroxide
- A scrub brush. Again, a scrub brush with natural bristles will work better
- A hose connected to a water source to flush the cleaner and stain away
This procedure isn’t very complicated.
Pour concrete cleaner or hydrogen peroxide over the bird poop stain and let it stand for 10 or 15 minutes.
Scrub with the brush, and wash away the cleaner and the bird poop stain with the stream of water from your garden hose.
Concrete doesn’t look porous, but it is actually filled with tiny pores and microscopic tunnels connecting them.
That is why it stains so easily. The longer you allow bird poop to stay on your concrete, the more it can soak deep inside.
But you only need to remove the uric acid crystals on the surface to make it look good again.
How Do You Choose the Best Concrete Cleaner?
There are many different concrete cleaners on the market. Not all of them work well with bird poop.
The first thing you need to consider is whether your concrete surface is sealed or unsealed.
If your concrete has a sealed surface, then you need a pH-neutral concrete cleaner.
This means you won’t be using an acidic concrete cleaner (the kind for hard water stains and salt buildup) or an alkaline concrete cleaner (the kind for oil stains), both of which require you to wear protective clothing when you use them.
The best choice for cleaning up bird poop is an enzymatic concrete cleaner. It breaks up uric acid crystals so they can be flushed away with running water.
Enzymatic concrete cleaners are usually environmentally friendly, and they can be used indoors and out.
How to Get Rid of Significant Areas of Bird Poop
If a flock of pooping birds has bombed your concrete surfaces, then detergent, concrete cleaners, scrub brushes, and a water hose may not be enough to work with.
You may need:
- A hose with a spray attachment, or, better, a pressure washer. If you start with a pressure washer, you won’t have to do the cleaning twice.
- Detergent or concrete cleaner.
- Large scrub brush, or, better, a push brush so you won’t have to stoop down over the concrete to clean it.
- Optionally, sawdust, a broom, and a dustpan. You can buy sawdust at home improvement stores and pet stores.
When you are working on large areas of bird poop, wear a mask so you won’t breathe in loose particles of dry bird poop.
The first part of this cleanup procedure is to let the water do as much of the work as possible.
While wearing your face protection (mask), use the spray attachment or the pressure washer to remove as much loose bird poop as possible.
Let all the water and bird poop roll off the concrete surface.
If you don’t want bird poop in your yard, then you will need to pick it up with absorbent paper towels. Wear gloves when you do this.
Next, apply the enzymatic concrete cleaner to the remaining bird poop. Let it stand on the bird poop for the time recommended in product instructions.
When the product has had a chance to break up the poop, scrub the surface.
Instead of washing the poop away, pour sawdust over it to pick up the loose poop. Then sweep the sawdust into a dustpan and place it in a plastic bag you put into the garbage.
You won’t always get all the poop on the first pass. Repeat treatment with the enzymatic cleaner and/or with detergent as many times as necessary.
How to Get Rid of Major Stains and Major Areas of Bird Poop
Got lots of bird poop?
When you have huge amounts of bird droppings, you don’t want to just sweep them into your yard.
They carry enough disease that they can create a hazard for your pets, or for you when you are blowing leaves, digging in your flowerbeds, or mowing the lawn.
Large amounts of bird poop can even kill your grass.
For this kind of bird poop problem, you will need:
- A hose with a power attachment or a power washer.
- Concrete cleaner or all-purpose cleaner.
- Large push brush.
- Muriatic acid plus ammonia to neutralize the acid as you use it. Don’t start using muriatic acid if you do not have ammonia on hand.
- Broom and dustpan.
You should wear a mask and gloves when you do this kind of cleanup.
First, dampen all of the bird poop with your power attachment or power washer. Don’t try to wash it away.
Next, loosen as much of the bird poop as possible with the push brush. Add sawdust, and sweep up the mixture.
If you can’t get rid of the bird poop by going through this procedure several times, then it is time to treat your concrete with muriatic acid.
Muriatic acid is a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids. You must dilute it before applying it to concrete. Dilute muriatic acid by adding acid to water, not water to muriatic acid. Follow the instructions on the label.
Wear eye protection before using muriatic acid.
Apply diluted muriatic acid to small areas of bird poop and allow it to stand for up to five minutes. Then neutralize the muriatic acid with ammonia, and rinse.
Be careful not to get the mixture on yourself or on your plants. This method is time-consuming but it also gets rid of oil stains, mineral stains, algae, rust, and paint.
Muriatic acid is usually cheaper than concrete cleaner, but it must be neutralized with ammonia to prevent permanent damage to your concrete surfaces.
Now that I have covered how to clean bird poop from concrete, let’s also look at some of the reasons why it’s so important to clean bird poop from concrete.
Bird Poop Corrodes Concrete
One of the unexpected facts about bird poop is that it isn’t just poop. Birds urinate and defecate at the same time.
The reason bird poop is usually white is that it contains uric acid from the bird’s urine. Uric acid can have two effects on concrete.
The uric acid in bird poop can ruin concrete by dissolving it.
It is not like leaving bird poop on your concrete surfaces will erode them away, so you are left with bare ground.
Instead, bird poop makes concrete smoother and slicker.
Even after you clean the bird poop, you have more of a slipping and tripping hazard with all your concrete surfaces, especially when they are damp or icy.
Another way uric acid in bird poop can ruin concrete is by forming a salt that gets into tiny pores.
Uric acid becomes urate salts when it comes in contact with hard water, garden chemicals, fertilizers, and other alkaline substances.
Urate salts sink deep into concrete, carrying bird poop odor with them.
You probably don’t sniff your concrete to make sure it’s clean, but if bird poop is left on concrete long enough, there can be a noticeable odor that is very hard to get rid of.
Urate salts are highly soluble in water, so they carry rainwater and other precipitation deep into the concrete.
This water expands when it freezes, so bird poop increases winter damage to driveways, sidewalks, and patios.
Bird Poop Carries Diseases
Bird poop is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
Most of the microorganisms in bird poop are harmless, but a few can cause serious problems in susceptible people.
- Geotrichum is a fungus that is found in bird poop and also on spoiled fruit and meat. It can get inside your air conditioning and heating ducts and cause damp rot in your walls. Geotrichosis, the disease in people this fungus causes, results in mouth infections, flu-like infections of the lungs, and vaginal infections. It is possible to get infected with Geotrichum by walking over bird poop.
- Staphylococcus lentus and staphylococcus xylosus bacteria are common in bird droppings. They can cause serious or even fatal skin infections in pets. They cause urinary tract infections in people.
- Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a major problem for people who have compromised immune systems. It can be transferred on shoes from pooped-on concrete to floors in hospital rooms. Once it gets into a hospital environment, it forms sticky colonies on IV tubes, urinals, bed pans, and water containers. It’s not a very common health hazard, but it can be a serious one.
The bottom line is that birds poop is nasty and it is always best to clean it up as soon as possible.
When you are around bird poop, you need to wear a mask and gloves to make sure you don’t inhale or swallow it.
Now let’s take a look at four easy ways to get rid of bird poop on concrete for good.
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