What’s the Best Way to Remove Bugs From Your Car?

Cleaning your car properly is a surprisingly important part of regular maintenance. It doesn’t just keep your vehicle looking good, though. Improper washing techniques can lead to rust because they damage your paint. There are actually quite a few things that can damage your car’s paint over time. UV rays, chemicals, even rainwater. And, as anyone who’s taken a summer road trip knows, so can the insects that’ve splattered on your grille. Luckily, there are ways to remove bugs from your car.

Why you need to quickly remove bugs from your car

Honda Odyssey front bumper covered in dead bugs
When to remove bugs from your car | FloGrown via Instagram

Bugs on your windshield and bumper aren’t just a cosmetic annoyance, Geico reports. Or rather, they’re not necessarily just a temporary annoyance.

Bug guts are acidic. The longer they stay on your paint, the more they eat away at it. Also, you should remove bugs from your car quickly because they can bake into the paint, CarBibles reports. Especially on darker cars, which heat up more quickly.

Naturally, when you’re on a road trip, access to a hose or car wash isn’t always feasible. However, you can remove bugs from your car with items that easily fit in the trunk.

How to remove bugs from your car

If your car, overall, is already clean, and the splatters are fresh, you can easily remove the bugs from your car with a microfiber towel and some water, NADA reports. Or, if you don’t have one, some dryer sheets.

You can also combine the microfiber towel with some spray-on wax, to make sure your car’s paint remains protected. If the water alone isn’t cutting it, there are dedicated bug remover products available, The Drive reports. Or, in a pinch, WD-40, AutoGuide reports.

To remove bugs from the car’s windshield, though, requires slightly different tools. Using an oil-based cleaner, like the wax or WD-40, would leave smudges, NADA explains. One option, YourMechanic reports, is to use a dedicated bug sponge. There are also dedicated windshield cleaners, like Rain-X, that can remove bug guts. Windex also works great, though be sure not to let it get on your car’s paint.

Bugs, though, aren’t the only thing that can damage your car’s paint.

Removing sap quickly

Tree sap can also damage your car’s paint and clear coat, Cars.com reports. Not because it’s acidic, but because as it hardens, it puts stress on the paint itself, Consumer Reports explains. Not only does that crack the finish, but hardened sap also stands out from the rest of the paint.

If the sap hasn’t hardened very much, it can be cleaned off with a few household items. Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer can remove tree sap from your car, YourMechanic reports. Just be sure to clean the area with soap and water after, because alcohol can also damage the paint. WD-40 can also help here.


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If that doesn’t work, you’ll likely have to use a dedicated tree sap remover. This can damage your clear coat as well, CR reports if used improperly. But with careful application, followed by a full wash and wax, will remove the tree sap from your car.

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