How To Remove Bugs From Your Car in 3 Steps

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car full of bugs on the road

It’s a freaking pain when bugs stick to the front bumper and headlights; sometimes, it’s almost impossible to remove them. Luckily, with the right approach and the right products, removing bugs from a car is a piece of cake. Here’s how to do it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bugs should be cleaned as soon as possible. Otherwise, they might dry, which makes the whole removal process much harder.
  • The best way to remove bugs from your car is by using dedicated bug removers, which are safe for the car’s paint but quickly remove dried bugs.
  • The best bug remover, from my experience, is Sonax Insect Remover.
  • Applying paint protectants such as waxes, sealants, and ceramic coatings to your car will prevent bugs from sticking so hard to the car’s paint.

How To Remove Bugs From a Car: The Guide

Here are three simple steps I always do to remove bugs from my car after a road trip.

1. Give Car a Quick Wash

You should first remove all the bugs that aren’t stuck so much to the paint, and you’ll do it by pressure washing your car.

Here’s the process I always follow:

  • Pre-wash the car with snow foam.
  • Pressure wash the car to remove most bugs.
  • Let the car dry. We need it dry for the next step.

I found out that there’s a big difference between when I use snow foam and when I don’t. With snow foam, most of the bugs will be removed in this 1st step, which makes the whole task ten times easier.

I don’t prefer using hand-wash in the 1st step because I’ll have to scrub the paint in order to remove the bugs, and it may cause swirl marks and scratches on the car.

2. Spray Bug Remover To The Car

Now, the second step is to spray a generous amount of insect remover on the affected areas of the car. You don’t have to oversaturate the area but don’t be too thrifty. Usually, these affected areas are the front bumper, hood, windshield, and side mirrors.

Here is how I do it:

  • Make sure the car is in the shade.
  • Spray a generous amount of insect remover on a car.
  • Wait for 2-3 minutes for the remover to start working.
  • Pressure wash the car with multiple passes.

After that, 99% of the bugs should be removed from a car. But if you want a 100% clean car, you should continue to the step 3.

TIP: If you don’t have a bug remover, you can also apply an all-purpose cleaner. It’ll do pretty good job as well.

3. Hand-Wash The Car

Finally, to get a perfectly clean car, you should wash your car again, but this time, a typical hand-wash with microfiber wash mitts, car wash soap, and buckets.

Here are the steps I take:

  • While the car is still wet from the previous step, I fill car wash soap and water into car washing buckets and prepare my wash mitt.
  • Dip the wash mitt into the wash bucket and start gently wiping the car from top to bottom.
  • Constantly rinse the wash mitt in the rinse bucket, then dip it in the wash bucket again and continue scrubbing the car.
  • For registration plates, windows, and hard plastics on the car, you can use a bit more scrubbing because you can’t damage anything there. You can even use a magic eraser sponge on those areas. But don’t use it on the painted parts.
  • After you’re finished, quickly rinse the car with a pressure washer, and you’re done.

As you can see, using a pressure washer is important when removing bugs from your car, and if you don’t have one, I suggest that you check out my list of best pressure washers for cars.

What’s The Best Bug Remover?

I’ve tried at least twenty different bug and tar removers, and in my opinion, Sonax Insect Remover is a clear winner. It removes all the bugs from my cars with ease, without the need for too much scrubbing the car, which is extremely important to prevent scratching the paint.

Sonax (533200) Insect Remover - 16.9 fl. oz.

Sonax Insect Remover is a clear coat-safe product, and it can be used on all car exterior surfaces, such as metal, plastics, painted parts, windows, and other surfaces.

If you have never heard of Sonax, it’s a German brand that makes hundreds of high-quality products for car detailing, especially when it comes to compounds and polishes. So, don’t worry about the quality of this product. I’m sure you’ll be amazed by the results and by its power to remove dried bug splatter from cars.

How To Prevent Bug Splatter

applying paint protection to a car

Since removing the bug splatter after every trip is very time-consuming and tedious, car owners are using different products to protect the car surface and prevent damage to the paint.

Waxing the car is usually the cheapest and easiest way to protect the car paint. The wax will cover the car’s clear coat and ensure that smaller insects like gnats will slide away.

However, this treatment will usually last only for three or four months, so some owners prefer to get a more expensive ceramic coating, which is more durable and lasts for a few years.

Another product to prevent bug splatter is a paint protection film or wrap. This wrap will also protect the car against small stones and rocks.

Check out my detailed guide on the 4 best types of paint protectants. You’ll learn all the ways you can protect the paint on your car, which will then prevent bugs from sticking to the car’s paint, and they’ll be much easier to clean.


As I said earlier, there are two main reasons to remove bugs from your car. They affect the appearance of the car, and they may even damage the paint.

The steps I’ve shown you work great for me, and I’m sure they’ll be effective for you as well.

The goal of this article was not only to remove bugs from cars but also to help you remove bugs from a car without scratching the paint. It’s easy to take a dishwashing sponge and scrub the hell out of a car, but then you’ll have other, bigger problems than bugs.

Also, as you can see, I mentioned washing the car multiple times, so I recommend that you check out my detailed guide on washing cars, which will help you do it more effectively and safely for the car’s paint.

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