Should you clean bird droppings off the dish?

Hey, it happens. It’s random, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. But what should you do when your friends from above leave a little present on your satellite dish? You’d think that birds were attracted to things like cars and antennas based on how often it happens. It’s a much more uncomfortable (and gross) fact that birds do that stuff almost constantly, there are a lot of birds out there so your satellite dish is going to get hit now and again.

What to do, what to do

It’s kind of a quandary, especially if you’re not comfortable reaiming a satellite dish. If you scrub those nasty things off, you’ll no doubt move the dish and your reception could be affected. On the other hand, there’s no way they’re doing you any good and your reception could already be affected. At least that’s the theory, right? I mean I spend a lot of time on this blog telling you that your satellite dish is a precision instrument. Having something like that couldn’t possibly help.

Believe it or not…

In general my advice is to do nothing. In most cases the… deposits… aren’t enough to affect the performance of the reflector. Most of your satellite dish’s bulk is taken up by its reflector, aka the big dishy part. Its purpose is to aim as much signal as possible at the LNB, aka the part in the front. Dishes are overengineered because, well, these things happen. If you are not having reception problems thanks to those tiny flying dinosaurs than I would not worry about it. I understand that it’s unsightly but that’s something you should probably be willing to accept.

If you absolutely must…

If you’re a clean freak or if you’re having signal problems, the goal would be to clean the dish as gently as possible. Never scrub the dish with a sponge because that could make it move. Soak the affected areas with something like Simple Green for several minutes and use a plant sprayer or a hose very gently to wash things off. Don’t use a sprayer or put your thumb on the hose. You want to put as little pressure as possible on that dish.

Be patient and you should be able to dissolve those little gifts without touching the dish. Never use a pressure washer or anything that could blast the dish hard enough to move it. If you need to re-apply, go ahead and do it multiple times rather than scrubbing or jostling the dish

Most likely though, as ugly as they are, those white streaks aren’t really hurting you and should be left alone.

If it really has gone too far, there’s an option

If things really get out of hand, the next step is to replace the dish. This isn’t as daunting as it seems, and a lot of folks are able to do it themselves. You can shop at Solid Signal for the parts you need, but if you’d rather have a technician come out, let us help! Call us at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours and you’ll skip to the front of the line. We don’t have a massive call center operation. We have honest, hard working people in our corporate offices outside of Detroit. Most of all, we specialize in taking care of you the way you deserve!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.