How Do You Remove Bugs From Your Car?

April 19, 2019

Dead bugs on car front bumper, covered with insect cleaning spray

If you’re an avid traveler or use your car often, you’re eventually going to have dead bugs littered all over your car’s exterior and the windshield. This situation might seem especially familiar if you take long road trips or drive during seasons that insects love, such as fall or spring. You’ve got to be asking yourself, “What’s the best way to remove bugs from my car?

So, how do you remove bugs from your car? The best way to remove bugs from your car is to use special products like BEST Bug-Off Bug Remover, or even dryer sheets if you have those laying around. Using several items together will give you the best results.

This issue is almost impossible to avoid and it will eventually happen to you. To make matters worse, leaving the dead bugs on your car can damage its paint job, as their corpses will eventually harden. Although the risk of permanent damage from the dead bugs is an issue, you also don’t want to be driving around in a messy car with dead bugs all over its windshield, hood, grille and side-view mirrors. 

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get the bugs off with a quick car wash and it’s going to take a little more elbow-grease than cleaning off standard debris. However, there are other methods you can utilize to easily clean off those annoying bug splats and prevent dead bugs from drying on your vehicle.

These methods also don’t cause any damage to your car’s exterior or paint job, so they’re completely safe for your vehicle.

Step 1: Choosing Your Weapon

You might be ready to head into battle against the dead bugs that cover your car’s exterior, but you need to start off by getting the right equipment. There are various cleaners you can effectively utilize to clean those pesky bugs off your vehicle and protect it. Whichever option you choose though, you shouldn’t use just water, as it won’t be able to remove dried bugs on its own and it may just smear their innards all over your fancy paint job. A good bug remover will remove every dead bug, even dry ones, and it won’t leave frustrating stains that are hard to clean. 

There are several bug removers on the market that you can choose. Regardless of the cleaning product you choose to use, you should always check and read labels to identify if it needs to be diluted and if it’s a concentrate. Here are some good choices you can use: 

  • Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover: this cleaner is specifically designed for tackling bugs and has a superb cleaning performance
  • BEST Bug-Off Bug Remover, another product designed for removing bugs, it safely removes the bugs after setting for about half a minute
  • WD-40 is a great and affordable option, as you may already have some laying around. One of its various uses is removing those annoying bug splats, so prepare yourself and take them out! It doesn’t damage your exterior and you can also save it to use for something else later. 
  • Dryer sheets are a good choice if you want to save a ton of money. You can place them into a spray bottle with some water and spray away those dead bugs. 
  • Bug sponges are an incredibly effective option that removes dead bugs from your vehicle’s exterior. They are highly-specialized and specifically designed to tackle dead bugs
  • A microfiber towel can also be helpful, but it isn’t exactly necessary. They don’t leave behind as much lint as a regular towel or rag, so they make your job easier

Step 2: Remove the Dead Bugs

You now have your weapon of choice and you’re ready to erase those annoying bug splats off of your beautiful vehicle. In a perfect situation, you’d be able to clean off the bugs as soon as they splat onto your vehicle, but this method wil not work in any situation; cleaning the bugs off immediately makes your job easier though and it prevents damage to your car’s exterior. 

What You’ll Need

  • Your bug remover of choice
  • A hose
  • Some dryer sheets (for best results)
  • A bug sponge or a microfiber towel
  • You can bring a spray bottle if you don’t have a hose or if you’re using the “dryer sheet” method
  • A bucket can be helpful as well, but it isn’t necessary 

Step 1: Soak the bug splats with your bug remover. You should spray them ASAP and soak them for about thirty seconds so you can easily wipe them off. If you want to have an even easier time, dampen a microfiber cloth with your bug remover and lay it over an area littered with dead bugs for a few minutes; this lets the cleaner fully soak onto the stained area. 

Step 2: Wipe the bug splats off Grab your bug sponge or microfiber cloth after you’ve let the cleaner sit for a bit. It’s time to get to work, start wiping away any bug splats you see on your vehicle. Some of these stains won’t come off easily and that’s OK, just apply some more of your bug remover and try wiping it off again later. When you’re cleaning your windshield, make sure you aren’t using any oil-based products, as these will leave an annoying residue on the windshield. 

Step 3: Wash Your Vehicle

After you’ve conquered the bug splats, you’ll need to completely clean your entire car. You do this to remove any excess residue from your cleaning products and ensure that all of the dead bugs are removed. You can do this yourself or take your vehicle to the car wash; if you’re doing it yourself, ensure you’re using clean towels and different soap and water instead of using the same towels and water you used when cleaning the bugs off. 

What You’ll Need

  • A bucket with fresh soap and water
  • A car cleaning product
  • A fresh sponge
  • A clean towel 

Learn how to wash your car like a pro.

Step 4: Apply Car Wax to Protect Your Vehicle From Future Bug Splats

After you’ve removed the bugs and gave your car a good cleaning, you should apply some car wax. A good car wax will prevent future bugs from hardening directly onto your car, make cleaning your car easier in general and give it a nice shine. 

What You’ll Need

  • Some car wax or a car wax solution
  • Water repellent for the windshield
  • A wax pad if you’re using traditional wax; you can also use a polisher to apply it via machine
  • A spray bottle if you’re using a solution

Applying the car wax. If you’re using a car wax solution, wipe or spray it onto your car; however, if you’re using normal car wax, you should use a wax pad and apply it very conservatively and do it in coats. Regardless of what you’re using to wax your car, you should do it in the shade to prevent the wax from drying too quickly. Apply water repellent to any glass areas such as the windshield, as wax can leave annoying stains on your windshield that you don’t want to deal with. Once it’s applied, make sure you’ve applied the wax evenly and remove any excess wax to prevent it from becoming streaky. 

Learn how to wax your car by hand.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Car During Bug Season

It’s a bit difficult to prevent those annoying bugs from launching a full-scale assault on your vehicle; this is especially true if you live in or travel through bug-infested areas or if it’s a warm season.

One thing that mitigates the constant onslaught of bugs is s bug deflector. It will redirect the bugs above your vehicle instead of letting them hit your car’s windshield and exterior.

You can also look into protective coatings designed to protect your car from insects and small debris. Although these won’t prevent insects from hitting your car in the first place, it prevents acidic bug corpses from staining or etching your exterior; it also makes clean up easier, as it doesn’t let the bugs dry onto the vehicle as easily. 

Letting the bugs win and leaving them all over your car isn’t an option. Their acidic remains will eat up your paint job and cause damage. Because of this, you should always identify bug splats and clean them ASAP. It isn’t too hard to remove the pesky bugs, so get to it and clean off those annoying splats!

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About The Author



I've been detailing cars for years. I love cars but more importantly, I love clean cars. I created this blog to share all of my knowledge around keeping cars as clean as possible.