Whether you’re just out for a drive, taking a weekend road trip, or crossing the country, there’s nothing quite like hitting the open road in your car, truck, or RV. But that often means getting bugs on your vehicle’s exterior. Since dead insects as well as other debris such as tar and sap can be bad for your vehicle’s paint if left in place, today’s post focuses on the best bug removers for cars, trucks, and RVs.
What Are the Best Bug Removers for Cars, Trucks, and RVs?
- 1.1) Bug Remover Sprays
- 1.2) Bug Sponges and Mitts
- 1.3) Microfiber Towels
- 1.4) Homemade Bug Removers
- 1.5) Important Note:
- 2) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews & Giveaways
What Are the Best Bug Removers for Cars, Trucks, and RVs?
There are several helpful tools for removing bug splats from vehicles. Ideally, the best bug removers will also get rid of tar, bird droppings, and even tree sap. All of these contaminants are bad for a vehicle’s finish and aren’t always removed with a run through the car wash (especially removing tar or sap).
While washing your car regularly is great, bugs, tar, sap, etc, can require some elbow grease. But you need to be careful about what products you use because some can damage the paint job, especially when used too aggressively.
If your windshield is the primary problem (it often is, since it’s usually the first thing you’ll notice), also make sure to check out our post on how to super clean your windshield super fast!
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to rid your car, truck, or RV of anything that sticks to the vehicle’s finish.
Bug Remover Sprays
Bug removers that come in spray bottles offer a convenient way to tackle stubborn insect residue on your vehicle’s surface. They’re formulated to break down the proteins and acids found in bugs, making it easier to wipe them off. Here are a couple of popular removers of bugs and other residue:
Meguiar’s Bug and Tar Remover
We’re big fans of Meguiar’s car care products. A respected name in car care, Meguiar’s offers a spray foam bug and tar remover that seems to live up to the brand’s reputation. It’s effective, easy to use, and safe for all paint finishes.
- Heavy-duty car bug cleaner effectively removes bugs and tar from your paint finish
- Professional-strength clear coat safe technology is tough on bugs but easy on paint and all exterior surfaces
Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay Kit
This kit includes three no-scratch clay bars, a microfiber cloth, and a full-size bottle of Meguiar’s Kwik Detailer. This is a great option for all affected areas at a reasonable price.
- Product Type: Auto Accessory
- Package Quantity: 1
Chemical Guys Bug and Tar Remover
This solution is known for its powerful bug-dissolving formula. It removes bugs, tar, grime, tree sap, and bird droppings while being safe for your vehicle’s clear coat. It’s concentrated so just one capful in a gallon of water does the job.
- A must own for commuters, truckers, couriers, and fleet vehicle owners
- Safely removes bugs, tar, grime, tree sap and bird droppings
Bug Sponges and Mitts
Bug sponges and mitts are often used in combination with a bug remover spray. They’re great for gently scrubbing away bug residue without causing damage to your vehicle’s paint. Here are a couple of popular options:
McKee’s 37 Road Kill Bug Scrubber
Reviewers say that this one is actually great for removing bug splats from vehicles without the need for any type of bug remover spray. With just some soapy, warm water and a little elbow grease, this bug scrubber should get the job done.
According to the manufacturer, these sponges are 100% paint and clearcoat safe, so they won’t scratch your rig’s finish.
- The honey-comb design of the McKee's 37 Road Kill Bug Scrubber traps bugs and foreign particles as it removes them from your paint, ensuring the...
- Dirt and grime is easily removed from the sponge, making it reusable hundreds or even thousands of times
We love The Absorber from Cleantools for drying our motorhome and car after washing. This high-quality chamois can also help remove remaining bug splatter after washing. It’s super absorbent and won’t scratch your vehicle’s finish.
You can dry your entire rig with The Absorber, then rinse and wring it out, store it in its included case, and it’s ready for the next use.
- EXCELLENT ABSORBENT. Spend less time drying and more time enjoying life.
- SOFT & SAFE. Easy on your hands and easy on your car.
Microfiber towels are helpful for wiping down and drying your vehicle after using a bug remover spray. They’re soft, absorbent, and won’t leave scratches or swirl marks. They’re great for so many other uses, too. Here are a couple of good options for quality microfiber towels:
Meguiar’s X2020 Supreme Shine Microfiber Towels
Meguiar’s microfiber towels are known for their softness and durability, they’re ideal for wiping away bug remover residue without causing damage to your vehicle’s finish. These microfiber towels are also great for waxing and fully detailing your car, truck, or RV. They’re gentle and don’t leave streaks or swirls.
- FAST RESULTS: The easiest and fastest way to remove compounds, polishes, waxes, and spray detailers
- SHOW CAR RESULTS: The ultimate polishing towel to use on paint, glass, plastic and chrome for show-car perfect results
Chemical Guys also offers high-quality microfiber towels that are great for detailing a car, truck, or RV or for using with the best bug and tar removers. They’re soft, lint-free, scratch-free, absorbent, and have silk edging.
- PREMIUM MICROFIBER TOWELS - Chemical Guys Pro-Grade towels are fluffy and soft; perfect for final-touch wiping because they are lint and scratch free;...
- VERSATILE DETAILING TOWEL - Although the fluffy and soft texture of the Premium Microfiber Towel is perfect for final touch detailing, the dual-weave...
Homemade Bug Removers
Sometimes, the best way to remove bugs from cars, trucks, and RVs is to do it before the sun has a chance to bake the residue onto the vehicle’s paint. If you take a long drive and notice a fair amount of bug splatter when you get home, your best car bug remover (or RV bug remover as the case may be) might be something you’ve got right on hand.
This is where the DIY approach can be really useful — before bugs get really dried and hardened onto your rig. If you don’t have a commercial product for removing bugs, tar, or sap handy and want to get the job done quickly, you can make your own residue removal product.
One popular recipe involves mixing equal parts water and white vinegar. This homemade solution can break down bug residue and is best used in combination with a microfiber towel. Once you’ve successfully removed the bug residue, rinse thoroughly with plain water.
Another “quick fix” for removing residue from a vehicle using something you may have on hand is to use rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. But don’t put pure rubbing alcohol directly on your vehicle’s paint. Instead, dilute the alcohol with water to around a 20% concentration (80% water). This is also a good way to remove oily spots before applying car wax.
As with vinegar, once the residue has been successfully removed, thoroughly rinse the area with plain water.
Our Mountain Aire came from Newmar with a Diamond Shield protective layer on the nose. We found that regularly treating the Diamond Shield with Aerospace 303 Protectant (which keeps the plastic film pliable and helps protect it from UV rays) also made bugs easier to remove.
For stubborn stains from bugs left on too long, we’d gently rub the area using a soft cloth and some isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol or some Meguiar’s Quik Detailer (have we mentioned that Quik Detailer is one of our favorite things ever invented?!) We’d then re-coat the Diamond Shield with Aerospace 303.
- New polymer chemistry provides an easier wipe off and slicker finish
- This quick spray detailer safely and quickly removes dust and surface contaminants between washings
- Ultimate Protection – 303 Aerospace Protectant provides superior protection against damaging UV rays. This protector spray repels dust, lint, and...
- Non-Greasy – Dries to a smooth, matte finish with no oily or greasy residue. When treating your outdoor furniture, spa and pool covers, vinyl...
Wet Dryer Sheets
We’ve never tried this ourselves, but many people swear by wet dryer sheets as really great bug removers. Supposedly, the softening agents in the dryer sheets help break down and remove the bug guts. If you decide to try this, be sure to thoroughly rinse/wash the dryer sheet residue off afterward (and let us know how it worked for you in the comments section below).
Some commercial and DIY products used for bug and residue removal may also remove the wax from your vehicle’s finish. Knowing this before you use them is important so you can either choose a different solution or re-wax the area afterward. In case we haven’t mentioned it recently, we absolutely LOVE Meguiar’s Ultimate Wax! (Trust on this one, especially for large vehicles. Nothing goes on or comes off easier, and the shine is awesome.)
- IMPROVED FORMULA: Improved formula delivers a glossier finish, increased protection and more water beading action in one easy step
- EASY TO USE WAX: Easy spread on and wipe off application – even in full sun
There are a number of bug and residue removers and other tools like kits, sponges, and microfiber cloths to make the task easier and more efficient. But whether you use a commercial product or a homemade solution, removing bug splatters, tar, and sap as soon as possible after they hit is best. As always, read reviews and instructions before using any product on your vehicle.
Have a look at our annual RV maintenance and spring cleaning routine:
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