How to remove bugs from your car without damaging its paint

bugs splattered on a car's front bumper

We all know what it’s like to return home from a weekend road trip only to find your car’s front bumper, grille, hood, and windshield all splattered with a wide variety of bugs, tar, and other roadside elements. It can be a gruesome scene, and even the daily commute during the spring and summer months can leave your car looking rather unsightly.

When this occurs, it’s important to remove these stains quickly, as waiting too long to do so can cause damage to your car’s exterior.

Here’s why it’s so important to keep your car’s exterior clean from bug and tar stains and how to go about doing so – right from the comfort of your own driveway.

Why should you keep your car clean?

Ensuring a clean exterior is so important for your car, we feel it should be considered a key component of your regular maintenance routine – right alongside monitoring fluid levels and tire pressure.

Not only does a clean exterior help your car look good, but it also helps prevent rust and preserves the long-term condition of your car’s paint. UV rays from the sun, tar, bird droppings, and even rain can all damage your car’s paint over time.

And so can bugs.

Bug splatter on cars

Insect innards, bug bowels, or whatever your term of choice may be, can contain acidic substances that eat away at your car’s clear coat and paint the longer they stay put. Bug splatters can also form bacteria over time that can damage the paint.

Dark cars in hot and sunny climates are at an increased risk, as bugs can bake into the paint if left unattended for a prolonged period. If bug buildup is bad enough, it can even obstruct your view of the road while driving.

Tree sap on cars

Tree sap can make its way onto your car’s exterior if left parked under a tree, which can damage your car’s paint (but for different reasons). Tree sap isn’t acidic like bug guts, but as it hardens, it puts stress on your car’s paint and can crack its finish. As with bug splatters, cars in hot and sunny weather are at an increased risk of damage from hardened tree sap.

Remove bug stains quickly

It’s important to remove these stains quickly, because once they’ve dried, it can be difficult to do so effectively without damaging your paint.

This can be a challenge, as you might not always have easy access to a car wash or hose, and the cost of repeatedly getting your car washed can quickly add up. Even still, thorough car washes are not always entirely effective in removing those baked-in or particularly tough stains.

Instead, you need a portable, inexpensive solution that can do away with bug stains and all the rest in a matter of seconds – without damaging your car’s paint.

You need Bugs B Gone.

Bugs B Gone from Sea Foam

Sea Foam Bugs B Gone Multi-Surface Vehicle Cleaner in front of Car

Bugs B Gone is a multi-use cleaner that safely and effectively cleans all of your car’s exterior surfaces, including:

  • Paint
  • Windshield
  • Windows
  • Mirrors
  • Plastics
  • Gel coat
  • Chrome
  • Metal
  • Wheels

Bugs B Gone works fast and effectively on cars, trucks, RVs, motorcycles, and more, and can help remove stains caused by bugs, sap, tar, and anything else the road might throw at you.

How to remove stains with Bugs B Gone

  1. Before applying Bugs B Gone to your car, you may want to get a car wash to help make stain removal easier and to make the stains themselves more visible.
  2. Spray Bugs B Gone onto the cooled surface. Do not apply Bugs B Gone to a hot surface or to one beneath direct sunlight.
  3. Let the spray soak for at least two minutes. This gives the cleaner time to loosen the organic material causing the stain. Bugs B Gone is a surfactant, meaning it loosens and removes stubborn organic substances by breaking their bond with your vehicle’s surface. This loosening process is what allows you to remove the stain without scrubbing too hard and risking damage to the paint.
  4. Wipe the stain away with a microfiber cloth.
  5. Wash away with water.
  6. Repeat until stains are removed from affected area(s).

When applied properly, Bugs B Gone leaves no film or haze on your vehicle, and works similarly to help clean windshields, mirrors, and wheels. It’s odorless, non-toxic, and biodegradable.

We recommend getting in the routine of removing bugs on a regular basis – every couple weeks or so, and definitely after every long road trip.

Not only is Bugs B Gone the best bug remover for cars, but it also has several household uses, including cleaning mildew and other stains from kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

Protect your paint in the long-term

Knowing how to remove stains from your car’s paint is important – but knowing how to prevent stains from occurring in the first place is just as useful.

Finish Fast Exterior from Sea Foam is a total finishing spray and protectant that protects your vehicle’s paint from bugs, tar, mud, and a wide range of other organic substances. Simply spray, wipe, and enjoy a long-lasting shine.

Help your car look better for longer with Sea Foam

Sea Foam creates safe and effective products to help vehicles, engines, and equipment run cleaner and last longer. Whether you’re a mechanic, a vehicle enthusiast, or you simply depend on your engine, Sea Foam products are proven to work and keep everything running its best.

Shop our products today to see why mechanics have been trusting Sea Foam since 1942.