How To Remove Bug Guts And Splats From Your Car

How To Set Up Your Car Cleaning Gun


Bug splats are an awful sight to look at. Worse than that, it can damage your paintwork permanently. 

So I compiled bug splat removal techniques from 3 pro car detailers and some additional research on alternative techniques and cleaning solutions you can try. 

We’re going to cover techniques from: 

  • AutoGeek
  • Chemical Guys
  • Wilson Auto-Detailing

If you want to find different effective ways to remove bug guts from your car, this guide is for you. 

Let’s get started. 

Why Bug Guts Are A Danger To Your Car

If you’ve just been on a long and therapeutic road trip the last thing you’d want is to come home with a windshield and paintwork tattered with bug splats. 

This is especially the case if you’ve been to states with a high bug population like Louisiana or Florida and if you’re traveling in a hot season.

Grasshoppers, moths, flies, and even butterflies can get themselves embedded in your car paint because of the high-speed impact. 

You’d find bug guts all over your windshields, front grilles, paint, and headlights. 

It’s an awful sight to look at, I know. 

Bug gut splats


But that’s the least of your problem. The bigger concern is how it can damage the surface of your car. 

You see, dead bugs are acidic, they’re corrosive. They release toxins that will eat away the clear coat of your car. When this happens, you’ll be up for permanent stains no matter how many times you wash it. 

Ideally, bug spats should be removed within a day. After that, the acid will start working and eating away the coat. 

If the bugs stay for a long time on your car, they can get so etched the only solution you have left is to do paint correction. 

Expensive. Yikes!

There’s more. 

Bug splats don’t also cause stains, it can also cause paint chipping. 

This usually happens if big flying beetles hit your car. These beetles have hard shells that ships your car’s surface. 

So how do you get bugs off your car without damaging the paint? And can you use vinegar to remove bugs from a car? 

You’re about to find out. 

The First Thing You Need To Do

Before trying to solve your bug splat problems, wash your car first. 

Just skip where the bug guts are because without using the right cleaning solution and techniques, you might scratch those parts.

This step doesn’t have to take you a whole lot of time especially if you’re working with a car cleaning gun

Bug Guts Removal For Paintwork And Grilles

Now let’s start solving the problem – bug splats. 

For this, I’ve compiled techniques by pro detailers. But after sharing these with you, I’ll also give you additional ways you get rid of bug splats together with cleaning solutions you can simply concoct at home. 

Bug splats


AutoGeek shares 3 bug removal techniques.

1. Using a Blackfire bug remover

It comes in a spray bottle so you just simple squirt the product on the area with bug splats. 

Then leave it for a minute or 2 to rehydrate the bug. This will soften the bug splat so you can avoid scratches once you wipe it off. 

After 2 minutes, use a clean microfiber towel and wipe off the surface. 

2. Using a Blackfire bug remover for splats sitting for a while

These kinds of bug splats get dehydrated. It gets caked in the paintwork and it won’t just come off if it’s left in the car for more than 2 days. 

So what you can do aside from spraying the surface and letting it sit for a while is to douse the microfiber generously with the product and place it on top of the bug splat. 

This saturates the bug and loosens it so it’s easier to lift it without damaging the paintwork. 

After letting it sit for at least 2-5 minutes, you can easily wipe it off. 

3. Using a clay mitt

The 3rd technique also starts with letting the product sit on the bug splat for a few minutes. But instead of using a microfiber towel, you use a clay mitt to scrub off the splat after letting it sit. 

This technique is helpful for more stubborn splats. 

Chemical Guys

Chemical Guys’ technique is a bit different. 

You drop an ounce of bug and tar wash into a bucket full of water. Then you dunk a clay mitt in it. 

To lubricate the mitt more, spray water with bug and tar wash solution in a 6:1 ratio, 6 being water to the wash mitt before scrubbing it on the surface. 

Wilson Auto Detailing

Wilson Auto Detailing suggests using a Meguiar’s all-purpose cleaner and a bug sponge. 

A bug sponge is a meshed-out sponge that can grab bugs and pull them off easier from the paintwork. 

Will the bug sponge scratch your paintwork?

Yes, it will. But Luke argues they will just be micro-scratches, the ones you also get in a daily drive, so it won’t be visible for white cars. 

But for a dark car like black ones, swirl marks can be a bit visible. 

If this is the case, play it safe and use either a clay mitt or a microfiber towel Meguiar’s all-purpose cleaner. 

Just spray the cleaner on the surface and let it sit for about 15 seconds. Then dampen the sponge or towel, whatever you decide on using before scrubbing it lightly on the surface. 

After the bugs get removed, rinse the car. 

Other Bug Splat Removal Products You Can Use

The products I’m about to mention are still for the paintwork. 

1. WD-40

Some ask if you can use WD-40 to remove bugs from the car. The answer is yet. But…

It’s just good for the paintwork. 

I’ll explain a bit later on. 

WD-40 is an oil-based lubricant. It will be great for breaking up the sticky bug gut stuff. But it can be very greasy so after spraying and wiping the bug splats, wash off the surface with an all-purpose cleaner so it wouldn’t be left too greasy. 

Recommended Reading: Does WD-40 Damage Your Car Paint?

2. Baking Soda

If you want a homemade bug remover, this is the answer. 

Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 quart of warm water. Mix it and dunk a microfiber towel into the solution. 

Wipe the towel in a circular motion and after removing all the bugs rinse it with clean water. 

3. Dryer Sheets

Mix a sheet of fabric softener and warm water into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the bug splatter and then take out the dryer sheet from the bottle and rub it gently to the surface in a circular motion. 

Paintwork bug gut splats


After removing the bug splats, rinse with clean water. 

Recommended Reading: Top 7 Automotive Shampoos For Ceramic Coats

Bug Guts Removal For Your Windshield

1. For windshields and windows use dedicated windshield cleaners like Rain-X. 

Just spray it on the surface and wipe it with a microfiber towel. 

Glass cleaner to clean bug splats

Tip: Don’t use oil-based products on windshields and windows. It will leave a sticky residue on the glass causing it to collect dust and blur over time. 

2. Vinegar Solution

Pour 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water into a spray bottle. Spray on the windshield and wipe the surface in a circular motion. 

Spray a second time and use another microfiber towel to wipe the residue. 

Protect Your Car From Bug Splats

 You can lessen bug gut sticking to your paintwork by using bug deflectors. 

Give the surface a spritz of spray-on wax and wipe the excess with a microfiber towel. 

Recommended Reading: 3 Effective Ways To Remove Swirl Marks On Your Car

Last Thoughts

The basic principle in removing bug splats is to soften them first before wiping them off. You can either let the cleaner sit for a few minutes or douse a microfiber towel with the product and lay it on top of the surface. 

For windshields remember to avoid oil-based cleaners to prevent residue. 

And don’t forget to wash the whole car first using a car cleaning gun!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

// Klaviyo web tracking // Klaviyo ATC snippet