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Bug splatters can cause a bunch of problems for you and your vehicle. If they’re on your windshield, they can be a safety hazard if you don’t clean them regularly, as they can obstruct your view of the road. Bug splats can also accumulate on your aria-label=”hood”hood and bumpers. While this does not compromise your safety when you drive, it is just as crucial to clean them as soon as possible.

Bug splatter can destroy your car’s paint because of its acidic nature. Bacteria that grow on the dead bugs can also affect your paint. If they aren’t cleaned right away, acidity and bacteria growth might leave imperfections and pockmarks on your paint. Hot weather might even make the problem worse, as the heat can bake the insect on your paint and result in more visible marks.

When and Where Do Bugs Thrive?

They can thrive in most environments, as long as it isn’t freezing. Bugs are more prevalent in hot and humid states, such as Florida or Louisiana. They are also more common during the summer and spring seasons. Regardless of the season, most bugs are more active during nighttime, so there will be more of them after sunset. Since bugs are also attracted to light, they’re going to clump up on well-lit highways. 

car bumper filled with bugs
Bug splatter can destroy your car’s paint because of its acidic nature.

How to Get Bugs Off Your Car 

Getting bugs off your car might seem straightforward, but it’s not because they don’t come off easily especially if they aren’t cleaned right away. 

There are several processes that you can follow to get the stains off without damaging your vehicle’s surface. 

Read on to find out the best way to get bugs off your car.

Wash Your Car

If your vehicle is dirty, you might want to give it a good wash before dealing with the bugs and/or bug stains. This will rinse off some, if not most, of the bugs and help you see the areas that have stains. 

Use a Bug Remover 

There are bug removers that are specially formulated to clean bugs that are stuck on the surface of your vehicle. However, you can make some bug removers with household items if you don’t want to purchase another car care product. These products include: 

Baby Shampoo and/or Dish Soap Solution

Fill a bucket with hot water and then add a few squirts of dish soap and/or baby shampoo. This solution applied with a sponge can be a good way to get rid of bug stains on most parts of the vehicle. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile cleaning agent for all sorts of stains in the household. When combined with hot water, it could also be a good bug remover for most vehicle parts.

Vinegar Solution 

Mix one part vinegar with one part warm water and apply it using a spray bottle. Unlike other solutions, vinegar is especially good when it comes to removing bugs from windshields as it doubles as a glass cleaner. 

pile of WD-40 on a shelf
WD-40 can remove dead bugs and stains, and even remove tree sap from your car.

Cooking Oil and WD-40

Various types of oil such as cooking oil, baby oil, and WD-40 can be even used to remove tree sap from your vehicle. WD-40 in particular has plenty of applications. Conveniently, it also includes removing dead bugs and stains. 

Microfiber Cloth

If the bug stains are fairly fresh, you can use a microfiber cloth to simply remove the bug carcasses before they dry. When used with regular car soap, the abrasiveness of microfiber cloths should be enough to successfully remove the fresh bug stains.

Bug and Tar Remover

For hard-to-remove stains, using a commercial bug and tar remover is probably your best option. There are a few different formulas and types to choose from—bug removers can either come in spray form, as a special car wash soap or even as water-activated wipes.

Make sure to read the instructions thoroughly before attempting to use these on your vehicle. If you’re using homemade cleaning solutions, you may need to allow the product to soak for a few minutes, but again, this will depend on the cleaning solution you’re using. For the bug remover, follow the instructions on the bottle. If the stain still remains on your paint, repeat the process.

After using these solutions, you should wash the affected areas of your car again. While this is inconvenient repetition, it’s necessary to remove any leftover residue on the paint. 

Carefully Wipe or Rub Affected Areas

If using a cleaning solution, such as the ones mentioned in the previous step, the next thing to do is to take a microfiber cloth or sponge and carefully rub the areas to remove the dead bugs and stains.

Do the same thing if you’re using the bug mitt or dryer sheet—but keep in mind that you may need to go back in with a microfiber cloth after using the latter.

Rinse the treated areas, then repeat until the stains completely come off.

man polishing a black car with a microfiber cloth
If the bug stains are fairly fresh, you can use a microfiber cloth to simply remove the bug carcasses before they dry.

Protecting Your Car from Bug Stains

If you’re regularly using your car during bug season, the best way to keep it protected from permanent bug stains is regular cleaning. After all, the goal is to remove the bugs as soon as possible before they dry and start decomposing on your paint. If you regularly go on road trips that involve high-speed travel on the highway, this can result in more bug splatter on your vehicle. It would be advisable to clean your car afterward to get the bugs off your car while they’re still fresh. 

Most of the cleaning methods mentioned above can strip the wax off your car, so it might be a good idea to re-apply vehicle wax after a car wash to keep your car looking its best. 

Protective coatings, films, and painter’s tape can add an extra layer of protection to your vehicle from bug stains. However, they aren’t a permanent and guaranteed solution. These forms of protection can only do so much when a splattered bug is being roasted on your paint in direct sunlight. Dealing with bug stains will always involve a certain amount of labor and dedication.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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