Quick Guide to Removing Bugs

Few things ruin a car’s appearance as much as a bumper full of squished bugs. If you’ve ever traveled long distances (or if you tend to drive as dusk falls and insects come out in full force), then you’ve probably experienced dead bugs on your windshield, bumper, and hood. Not only do they ruin your car’s overall appeal, but enzymes in the bugs can also break down your paint job and leave marks behind.

To keep your car’s finish looking great, try to get rid of the bugs as soon as possible. Regular upkeep and maintenance will go a long way in improving your car’s appearance—though there are ways of removing bugs from cars even if you’ve had to wait a few days to attend to them.

Eliminating Bug Carcasses

  1. Keep a microfiber towel and a spray bottle of gentle cleanser on hand. The easiest time to remove bugs is before their bodies have had a chance to harden. As soon as you park the car, you should do a quick wipe down to get rid of the bugs.
  1. Stubborn areas may need to soak for a few minutes. If you want to avoid removing your existing wax, stick to water, soap, or an easy detailing solution. Spray the towel and hold it over the spot for a few minutes to allow the bug enzymes to loosen. They should wipe away more easily after they’ve had some time to soak.
  1. Baking soda mixed with water can work as a mild bug remover, as well. You’ll want to make sure the baking soda is completely dissolved so it doesn’t scratch the surface, but this provides a relatively mild cleaning solution that is low in cost and doesn’t harm the environment when rinsed away.
  1. Consider a specialty tar or bug remover. (WD-40 is a great alternative if you don’t have a bug remover on hand.) These products are designed to dissolve bugs without damaging the paint underneath, and a few minutes of soaking may be all that’s needed. Note, though, that any time you use one of these more concentrated products, you’ll need to reapply your wax or sealant, since they’ll also break down the wax.
  1. Elbow grease is often the best way to get results. It’s not a very glamorous solution, but one of the best ways to get rid of bugs is to keep at it. Since you want to use a gentle fabric (microfiber or a specialty car washing mitt) and non-abrasive solutions to avoid damaging your car’s paint, you may have to put in more effort to remove the bugs.

No matter what else you do, avoid scraping the bugs with a tool or using products like steel wool to chip the bodies away. You’ll get rid of the bugs, yes, but you’ll also end up damaging your paint job even more.

It’s also a good idea to consider a higher quality wax or protective coating once your car is clean again. No wax will completely eliminate bugs, but they can help protect your car’s finish and make it easier to wipe them away next time.

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