Photo by Babaven on Unsplash
After getting home from a long road trip, the last thing you want to do is clean your car. Aside from dirt and debris, dead bugs smashed on your car’s paint are more than just a nuisance to deal with. If left alone, bug debris can cause damage to your clear coat and paint.
Bugs often contain acidic fluids, which means they can start to dissolve clear coat or paint in days if they are left alone. It’s important to get bug debris off the car right away. If you can’t make it to a car wash right away, try these tips for getting bugs and debris off your car:
Step 1: Find a good bug remover
You might see some bugs splattered on the car and think that a simple cloth and water will do the trick removing it. While it may get some of the big parts off, there could be some residue left behind that will still cause damage to the car unless completely removed. There are a variety of bug removers that you can buy — some that you can find around the house that can get the job done.
Although we recommend getting your car detailed and cleaned by the professionals, here are some methods you can try to remove that pesky bug residue:
Types of bug removers:
- WD-40 works to remove bug splatter, bird droppings and tree sap. It’s something most people already have around the house, so it’s worth giving it a try. WD-40 has other uses for car maintenance such as cleaning license plates, rubbing off paint transfer, removing stickers and removing oil spots.
- Goo-gone and Turtle Wax both make sprays that can help you remove splatters from your car and windshield. This is a good option for targeting small areas, and they are available at most convenience stores.
- Bug remover sponges are great for people who need to clean a large area. The sponges are reusable and a popular option for cars that get bug splatters often.
- For a less expensive option, consider using dryer sheets. They are safe when it comes to car paint, and they work by softening the dried bug residue on the car. Just add water to the sheet and rub gently until they’re gone.
Step 2: Remove the bug splatter
Once you find the material you want to use to remove the bug splatter, it’s important to start removing it as soon as possible. This protects your car from any further damage from the acids the bugs leave behind.
Start by gathering all of your materials. Other than your bug remover of choice or sponge, it is recommended that you have water and a towel handy. Use the towel to soak the area with the cleaning product or simply spray the product on the bug splatter. Make sure to read the product’s label beforehand to see if it needs to be diluted.
After a few minutes of letting the product soak, use a microfiber cloth or sponge to remove the bug residue. Using a microfiber cloth instead of a regular towel helps you avoid leaving lint behind in your car. If the bug residue doesn’t come off the first time, repeat the process and let the bug removal chemical soak for another minute. Avoid using an oil-based product on the windshield or mirrors, because it will leave a residue behind.
Step 3: Wash all the chemicals away
Make sure to give your car a complete car wash after removing the bug splatter. Not only does this ensure that the bug residue is gone, but it also helps remove any excess chemicals left behind by the bug remover.
You can head to your local car wash for this step, or you can simply do it yourself at home. If you are doing it at home, make sure to start over with clean water and clean sponges and towels.
Step 4: Protect your car’s paint
Give your car a good wax after a wash to protect the paint and make it easier to remove bugs in the future.
There are many different types of car waxes out there, and some can be damaging to the car because of their abrasiveness. Spray waxes are a good option for newer cars, but they tend to wear out faster than other products. Dark cars are more susceptible to scratches, so look for a wax that scores low in abrasiveness. As for older cars, consider a liquid wax to help bring back the original finish.
Consider investing in a bug deflector to protect the hood and windshield of the car from bug splatter in the future. For example, this particular deflector for a Jeep Renegade redirects the airstream up and around your hood and windshield, resulting in less bugs and rocks hitting those areas. Investing in one that matches your make/model will ensure that you get the most benefit of redirected airflow while complementing your vehicle’s natural shapes and lines.