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How to: The Easiest Way to Remove Bug Splatter

How to: The Easiest Way to Remove Bug Splatter


Summer is quickly coming to an end, and that means, sadly, that road trip season is also coming to an end. We know, we know… we’re as sad as you are. Road trips are the quintessential summer pastime and typically filled with fond memories, fun adventures, as well as beautiful scenery. We’re hard-pressed to think of a better way to enjoy your favorite car or truck than driving it to/from a scenic vista.


Jay Leno's Mustang GT 350R


If there’s a downside to road trips, it’s having to clean the car or truck once it’s all said and done. Depending on how long you were gone for, and how much punishment you inflicted, you might come back with a car/truck that varies from “kind of dirty,” to “I don’t know if this thing will ever be the same again!”

As I’m sure we’re all aware, the part(s) of your car or truck that typically take the most punishment on long trips are the front bumper, grill, headlights and windshield. These are the leading edge as you’re running through mile after mile, and it’s not uncommon for lots of us to encounter swarms of little flying critters while on the open road. These critters can do a ton of damage to your vehicle’s finish if left un-cleaned. Depending on the type of bugs you run into (literally), some can be more serious than others. They might have hard shells and can actually chip your paint, while others are filled with gross innards that splatter and can etch into the paint if left un-cleaned for too long.  

Depending on where you live, you might not have to go on a long trip to encounter this nuisance. Florida for example has a major issue with critters called Love Bugs. They show up in late spring as well as fall, and the splatter they leave behind is particularly acidic. If you live in an area with bugs like these, you know that getting them off your paint is a major priority.


Bug Splatter


So what to do if the front of your car or truck is littered with bug guts?

Well, as with most things, the best cure is an ounce of prevention. We’d recommend topping off your car’s finish with a wax or sealant prior to going on your trip. That will help to keep the bugs from etching in too deeply, as well as wipe off easier while you’re cleaning. If you forgot to do that, or the bug splatter is rather heavy, the next option is to use a cleaner specifically designed for breaking down bug splatter along with the appropriate tools. A quick internet search might show you home-remedies like anti-static dryer sheets, or spray lubricants that attempt to remove pesky bug splatter. We’d suggest using caution when testing home remedies like that. Instead, the safest and most effective way to clean your car’s finish without leaving behind unsightly swirls & scratches is to use a Bug & Tar Remover along with a quality bug sponge. Read on below, and we’ll walk you through a quick step by step:

How to clean bugs off of your car or truck:

  1. Pre-rinse the car or truck. This will serve to soften the splatter and make it easier to wipe off.
  2. Perform your typical wash procedure. You may want to leave the bug-filled areas for last so your wash mitt/sponge doesn’t pick up the guts and spread them to the rest of your car.
  3. Spray Bug & Tar Remover directly onto the bug splatter and allow a few minutes for the product to soak in.JLG Bug & Tar Remover
  4. With the webbed side of a bug sponge, wipe away any left-over remnants. Slight pressure may be required to remove the splatter completely. The webbing of a bug sponge aids in splatter removal by acting as an abrasive. Make sure to choose a bug sponge that has a webbing material soft enough to not scratch or mar your vehicle’s finish.JLG Bug Sponge
  5. Once all the splatter is removed, rinse with clean water and then dry the surface. We’d suggest applying a fresh coat of wax or sealant once you’re finished removing the splatter.

Once you're done with the sponge, you can clean and care for it the same way you would with your microfiber towels. 

It’s certainly not a fun job, but with the proper tools and chemicals, you can help the process move on a lot quicker so you can get back to enjoying your beloved vehicle.

JLG Bug Sponge Wiping

If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below. If you’d like to see us cover other detailing topics, send us a message at

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  • any idea for removing tough tree sap?

  • I have found that soaking an old towel with water and draping it over the front end softens bugs and makes washing a breeze. Good luck.


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