How to Clean Bugs Off Your Car & Windshield: 5 Easy Methods

Say goodbye to bug guts on your vehicle with these quick cleaning methods.

Published May 22, 2023
removing bugs from the windshield with a squeegee

You can put money in the car wash, but you'll still come out of it with those pesky bug stains on the front of your car. For how hard those rotating scrubbers seem to slap your car, it's never quite hard enough for bug control. After lamenting about ruining your windshield after a drive on the highway, you've probably heard from an eager family member all about how to clean bugs off your car the quick way. Instead of taking a rag full of window cleaner to those bug guts, learn the safe and lasting ways to clean them up.

The Standard Way to Clean Bugs Off Your Car

Bug guts stick to your car better than any red clay from a mudding session. The most basic way to clean dead bugs is to use a professional chemical compound like McKee's 37 Road Kill Bug Remover.

Materials You'll Need

To clean bugs off your car using store-bought chemicals, you'll need:

  • Water
  • Bug remover spray
  • Bug sponge
  • Microfiber towel


To clean your car with a professional bug remover, follow these easy instructions:

  1. Hose the front of your car down with water.
  2. Spray the bug remover spray directly onto the bug spots.
  3. Using a bug sponge, scrub the remnants off.
  4. Rinse the remover and any suds away.
  5. Fully dry your car off using a microfiber towel.

Non-Traditional Methods to Get Rid of Bug Guts

Now, bug remover should work in most cases, but sometimes you might need to use an alternative method instead.

Use a Pressure Washer

If you've got a pressure washer at home, you can use it to get rid of bugs and avoid potentially damaging your car. Over washing your car is something you want to avoid, especially if you've got a luxury vehicle or a custom paint job.

Make sure to use a pressure washer with no greater power than 1,000-1,500 psi or else you could cause damage. When pressure washing the bugs off, simply turn the pressure washer on, angle the nozzle downward so as to not kick up spray onto your hood, and spray them away. And yes, you can use it on your windshield for those pesky bugs, too.

Create an At-Home Solution

Car detailers always provide the best cleaning hacks, and TikTok's thatdtailguy recommends making an at-home solution using any citrus or alkaline base degreaser spray and diluting it 1:4 with water. Simply spray the solution on the bug covered areas, scrub with a brush, and hose everything off.

@thatdtailguy How to Remove Bug Guts from a vehicle! #detailersoftiktok #detailtok #carwash #autodetailingtips #cardetailing #thatdtailguy #snowfoam #foamcannon #autodetailing Lofi / Chillout / Hiphop(930239) - musabeats

Spray Them Down With WD-40

What problem can't WD-40 fix? If a spray of WD-40 can loosen your rickety hinges, then it should be able to lube up the bug guts stuck to your car enough for you to wipe them away. Simply spray the solution onto your car and wipe the bugs away using a microfiber cloth. Then, rinse off for good measure and dry using a clean cloth.

Use Wet Dryer Sheets

If all else fails, you should have some dryer sheets on hand. To clean the bugs off your car with a dryer sheet, simply wet the dryer sheet, and scrub the hood/grate/bumper with it. Make sure to rinse the suds off thoroughly before drying with a microfiber cloth.

Why does it work? Because dryer sheets create a soapy formula that helps trap and lift the bug guts off. They're also made out of a soft enough material to be safe to rub all over your paint job.

Tips for Preventing Bug Stains

If you're tired of your car turning into a bug graveyard, then try implementing these preventative tips.

  • Fill your car with bug remover washer fluid. Keep those windshields protected against bug guts by filling your reservoir with a wiper fluid like Rain-X Bug Remover.
  • Attack the splatters as soon as you get them. The quicker you remove them, the less likely they are to cause damage.
  • Regularly wax your car. Keeping your car waxed will keep the acids from seeping into your clear coat.

Why Are Bug Stains so Hard to Get Rid Of?

Like with those errant french fries that've been sitting in between your seat and the console, we don't always feel an urgency to clean up the bug guts off of our car. Not cleaning up bugs right away can actually lead to significant damage over time.

When bugs hit your car at high speeds, they'll splat all of their guts over your paint job. Their guts are acidic, and this acid will eat into the clear coating on your paint, and their exoskeletons chip at the coating to let those guts in. And, over many years and a ton of bug splat accumulation, you can get actual holes in your paint job that require sanding and repainting.

When Should You Call a Professional?

If you've tried the standard methods and you're finding that the stains aren't coming out, then what you might have are imprints where the guts have eaten away at your paint job. Although instinct says this is just cosmetic, it can actually expose what's underneath to the elements, leading to rust or structural damage. When you've got this kind of damage, it's time to call a pro.

Say Goodbye to Bug Guts

As summer approaches and we pile into our cars for weeklong road trips, it's important to learn how to clean bugs off of our cars. Knowing what methods you can use and how you can stop them from sticking in the first place can keep your car looking good as new for years.

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How to Clean Bugs Off Your Car & Windshield: 5 Easy Methods