How to remove bugs from your car

On the Road 3 min read

No matter where you live in the country, you’ll inevitably find dead bugs on your car, even if you’re smartly adhering to your car maintenance checklist. The number of bugs tends to rise in higher humidity, so you’re also likely to notice an increase over the summer. We chatted with a couple of experts to get the scoop on removing bugs from your car. Megan Cavanaugh is co-owner of Done Right Pest Solutions, and Will Creech owns a how-to car detailing business called DetailDIY.

How to remove bugs from your car without damaging the paint

All you need to clean bugs from your car are a microfiber cloth and a cleaning product. It’s a good idea to keep these in your car so you can clean on the go.

Can bugs cause damage to your car?

If you’re not quick to remove bugs from your car, they can damage the paint. Creech points out that bugs have acidic guts, which splatter when a bug hits your car. As that acid sits, it slowly eats away at your car’s finish and paintwork. It’s also possible to have a small bug infestation inside your car. Depending on what kind of bugs you’re dealing with, you may notice damage to the interior, such as holes in the fabric caused by carpet beetles. Learn about repairing vehicle car upholstery.

What products take bugs off cars?

There are various products you can use to clean bugs from your car, including some that you probably have already. Cavanaugh suggests creating a gentle scrub of hot water and dish soap. You could also try some baby shampoo or baby oil. These products are effective at removing bugs but gentle enough that they won’t strip your paint.

Creech also recommends waterless washes and detailers as a good option to debug a car without hurting the paint. Opt for one with high lubrication, as this will help prevent car scratches while you work. If you do end up with a scratch, learn to remove scratches on your car and avoid a trip to the shop.

How to clean baked-on bugs off the windshield

Just as you would clean bugs off the body of a car, you can use a microfiber cloth and basic cleaning product to clean dead insects from your car’s windshield. Using a simple mixture of warm water and dish soap is one of the top tips on how to get dried bugs off the front of your car. If that doesn’t remove everything and you need something stronger, try using white vinegar. Once you’ve removed all the bugs, use some standard glass cleaner to wipe away any streaks and get a nice shine.

How to get bugs out of your car

If you notice just one or two bugs in your car, the simple solution is to open a window and brush them outside. If it’s an infestation you’re dealing with, both Cavanaugh and Creech agree that a vacuum is the best way to clear them out. You can use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of dead and living insects. Don’t wait to handle the issue, though. The longer the bugs are in the car, the more they’re likely to multiply. They could also get crushed into the car’s carpets if left too long, making them harder to remove.

Depending on the level of infestation, you may want to spray some insecticide or have a pest removal expert take a look. Doing so will ensure you get all the bugs, even ones tucked into little nooks and crannies that are hard to reach with a vacuum. It will also take care of insect eggs that you may miss with a vacuum, as they can be tough to spot with the naked eye.

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