Removing Marks From Your Car

Markings such as scratches, bird droppings and tree sap, can be irritating to remove from your car, but did you know that they can also cause damage to your paintwork, which can result in expensive bills to have them fixed? Depending on the quantity, size and severity of the damage, the average cost to repair a chip in your car paintwork can range from £60 to £210.

Tree sap or bird droppings can be difficult to remove, especially if not dealt with immediately after the mark appears. If left too long, a mark can cut through a car's paintwork and leave the owner needing to respray it or have it professionally treated. As the UK weather begins to warm up, it’s increasingly important to remove these marks quickly, as the heat from the sun can make stains difficult to remove. 

To help you find out more, the car experts at Your Red Car have outlined the different types of marks to watch out for, and provided top tips on how to keep your car clean to avoid a hefty repairs bill.

Bird droppings

Bird droppings are extremely acidic and corrosive, with a pH level of between 3.4 and 4.5. his means that they can burn paint and coating on a vehicle's exterior paintwork when left for too long. Bird droppings is also very sticky meaning it can be difficult to remove. The stickiness is what makes it bond to the clear coat, especially on porous surfaces.

Understandably, this can go unnoticed on a parked vehicle for some time but once spotted, the droppings need to be removed as soon as possible.. Not only is bird droppings easier to remove if it's still soft, it also lessens the chance of paintwork damage.

Droppings can be removed by using a damp cloth, and if it isn't budging, you can try using a car shampoo which will usually include ingredients designed to protect car paintwork. If the droppings still seem to be an issue, WD-40 spray can also be used. This highly effective spray will penetrate the droppings making it easy to wipe away. To complete the process, a car shampoo and a cloth will be needed to remove the remaining residue.

Spider droppings

Spider droppings are less acidic than bird droppings, however can still cause stains and be annoying to remove. The two look very similar, however spider droppings are darker, and resemble paint splatter.

A car may find that it’s more likely to see spider droppings if it’s parked underneath a surface where spiders are inhabited, like under a garage roof. To remove spider droppings, the same method for bird droppings can be used.. As it is easier to remove, bicarbonate soda and warm water should be able to remove the marks, but failing that, car shampoo and a cloth to wipe away any residue should do the trick.


Blossom is lovely to look at, however if it ends up on a car exterior, it needs to be removed as soon as possible to avoid damage to the paintwork. Blossom can be harmful to a car's exterior because it contains natural acids that can imprint into the paint and cause permanent damage to the clear coat.

To remove blossoms from a car's exterior, first rinse the car with water to remove any loose debris. A bucket should then be filled with water and add a small amount of car shampoo. Use a microfiber cloth or sponge to spread the solution over the affected area and rinse afterwards. If the blossom is still present, use a specialized cleaner designed for removing tree sap or tar.

It's important to note that some tree saps and blossoms can be stubborn to remove and may require professional detailing services to completely remove without damaging the paintwork.

Tree sap

Tree sap can be harmful to a car's exterior because it is a sticky, resinous substance that can cause discoloration. Additionally, if left on the car for an extended period of time, it can attract moisture and dirt, which can further damage the paintwork. This is why it is important to act as quickly as possible if tree sap is found on a car's exterior.

Warm water and a cloth will remove excess tree sap. You can also purchase a special cleaner designed for removing tree sap or tar will be able to do the job. Apply the cleaner to a clean microfiber cloth and rub the affected area in a circular motion until the tree sap is removed. Rinse the area with water and dry it with a clean microfiber towel to prevent water spots.


More apparent in the summer months, bugs and insects can cause issues for drivers. As well as getting into cars, they also are often found on car bonnets and grills. Bugs can be harmful to a car's exterior because they contain natural acids and enzymes that can imprint into the paint. When bugs come into contact with car paintwork, they release acids, which can break down the protective layers and cause damage to the paint over time.

To remove bugs, a car shampoo will normally do the trick however if the bugs are stuck and stubborn, a specialized cleaner can be used to remove them.

Denton Brock, Head of Your Red Car commented:

“Regularly cleaning a vehicle is vital for a number of reasons. Firstly, it helps to maintain the appearance of a vehicle and prevent the build-up of dirt, grime, and other debris that can damage the paintwork over time.

“Regular cleans will also help to prevent the build-up of harmful substances like tree sap, bug residue, and road salt, which can cause permanent damage if left unchecked. In a worst-case scenario, you could end up with a hefty bill for a professional service treatment, so it’s vital to wipe these clean as soon as you spot them.

“Ultimately this will help to maintain the value of a car by avoiding the build-up of rust and other corrosive materials that can cause structural damage. Having a clean vehicle improves safety by ensuring that windows, mirrors, and headlights are clean and free from obstruction. Cleaning is an essential part of car maintenance that can help to extend the life of a vehicle and keep it looking and running its best.”

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