Car Care

How To Get Bugs Off Your Car With Dryer Sheets?

Brace for impact! Every road trip is filled with fun and adventure, but one thing is inevitable — dead bugs splattered across your hood and windshield. After a relaxing vacation, the last thing you want to do is use a lot of elbow grease to clean off your vehicle. Thankfully, a simple way to get bugs off your car is with dryer sheets!

In order to accomplish this, you will roll up a dryer sheet and place it in a spray bottle with warm water. Shake the bottle and then spray it on the affected areas. Lastly, taking a new dryer sheet, gently wipe the bug splatter away! If time allows make a point to wash and wax your vehicle following this initial cleaning. 

Why Are Dryer Sheets Effective Cleaners?

A dryer sheet is a woven piece of polyester material that is coated in softeners, lubricants, and fragrances. Their main use is to prevent static cling as well as to soften and freshen up your clothes while in the dry cycle.

What is important to note is that these softening agents are many times made with fatty acids and fatty alcohols. These create a slippery feeling that we interpret as softness. 

Just like in the dryer, the dryer sheets come in contact with other materials, these additives are transferred to them, lubricating their surfaces. This is one of the main reasons why a dryer sheet is such a versatile cleaning tool!

Moreover, the woven texture is relatively abrasive. This quality can help to effortlessly remove unwanted items located on various materials. 

Get The Bugs Off Of Your Car With Dryer Sheets In Five Easy Steps

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

In order to effectively get bugs off of your car with dryer sheets, you will need three items. A handful of dryer sheets, a spray bottle, and some warm water. Simple, easy, and effective!

Step 2: Prep Your Spray Bottle

First, roll up one of your dryer sheets. Next, take the empty spray bottle and slide it into the dryer sheet, and add warm water.  Make sure to completely submerge the sheet. Then, while covering up the spray cap, shake the bottle and then allow it to sit for a few minutes.

This will activate the various chemicals and allow them to disperse throughout the water, making a simple DIY cleaner. 

Step 3: Clean Your Vehicle

Once the mixture has settled, spray down the front hood, windshield, and any other spots that have accumulated insects while on your car trip. Taking a new dryer sheet, gently wipe the affected areas — this can include the bumper, hood, and windshield. Repeat the process until the bugs are gone!

IMPORTANT NOTE: For those with custom paint jobs, it is imperative that you spot test an area that is relatively out of sight to ensure that this method does not impact the car’s finish. While it is not likely that any damage will occur, it is always better to be safe, than sorry! 

Step 4: Wash And Dry Your Vehicle

Once you have removed all of the bug splatter and any other debris, either run your car through the car wash or conduct a cleaning at home to ensure that this does not occur. 

If you intend to do this project yourself, do not use regular household cleaners or dish soap. Contrary to popular belief, these items can strip the paint and the original wax finish. 

The experts at Car and Driver recommend Meguiar’s G7164 Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and Conditioner as a reliable option for those car owners who are looking for a good clean without a lot of muss and fuss. Best of all, this affordable option will also give your car a radiant shine!

Lastly, make sure to rinse the car thoroughly and use a microfiber towel to dry your car off. This option will absorb the water quickly, preventing hard water damage and giving you that beautiful, new car sheen.

Step 5: Apply A Protective Finish [Optional]

The last, and optional step is to apply a layer of protection to help deter insects from sticking to your vehicle in the future. This can be accomplished with the use of turtle wax.

As the name implies, this combination of lubricants — carnauba wax, beeswax, and other oils, provides a protective coating or shell that prevents many types of debris from sticking around. Moreover, you need to wax your car at a minimum of every 90 days for this to be effective. 

Alternative Ways To Get Bugs Off Your Car

Bug splatter that has been left in the heat for weeks or even months will take a bit more elbow grease to remove the roadkill that has adhered to the car. Thus, the first tool to grab is a Mesh Bug Cleaning Sponge. This microfiber material is spectacular for scrubbing off stuck-on messes. 

Another great lubricant to use in unison with the sponge is WD-40. It will not damage the paint and it will quickly loosen the bugs from the surface of the car. In addition, baby oil, Goo Gone Automotive and Turtle Wax Bug, and Tar Remover are other fantastic products to remove stubbornly stuck on dead bugs!

What is important to remember is that mixing products is never safe. Try one option at a time. If the first choice is ineffective, then rinse and dry the area with water and then use another solution. Furthermore, it is always best to spot test any new chemicals on an inconspicuous area. 

What Not To Use To Get Bugs Off Of Your Car?

Certain products may seem like a simple solution, but they can cause a big headache to your car’s paint job. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are spectacular for cleaning your bathroom, kitchen, and other parts of the house.

However, it is clearly stated on the box that this product should never be used on a vehicle body. This powerful sponge wipes away virtually anything, including paint.

Additionally, you should never use white vinegar to clean your vehicle. Unless diluted properly, this acid can corrode the paint, rubber, and even the metal of your car.

Many people do note on various online posts that this is a wonderful option for cleaning your windshield. While this is true, it is imperative that you are meticulous about not letting this solution touch any other part of the car. 

Effective Prevention Methods — Keeping Bugs At Bay

They say that a good offense is the best defense, and when it comes to keeping bugs at bay, this could not be more true! The first step is taking the initiative to wash and wax your car regularly.

Car enthusiasts recommend washing your vehicle every two weeks. This can help to address minor debris, insect remains, road salt, and other residues from accumulating. 

The next step is to utilize products that can help to address bug splatter when it occurs, not after it has already dried. Prestone has been around for over 90 years, creating cutting-edge products to keep your vehicle looking and running smoothly.

One of their products is the Prestone AS657 Bug Wash Windshield Washer Fluid. This solution removes bugs on contact, preventing you from having to get out and scrub your windshield later!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are bugs more attracted to cars on road trips?

The answer is all tied to the physics of airflow. A car is designed to have aerodynamic qualities to reduce drag and provide a high-caliber ride. Unfortunately, this structure creates a bit of a vacuum and when a vehicle is traveling at high speeds, this leads to a multitude of casualties in the insect world.

Conversely, when you are driving down the road at a slower speed, the insects can correct their trajectory and survive. 

Knowing this information, it would behoove drivers to make a point to clean their vehicles soon after long car trips or highway travel to prevent an abundant buildup of unwanted debris and to ensure that the car’s paint job stays in good condition. 

Can I use dryer sheets to clean other parts of my car?

Dryer sheets are amazing at attracting pet hair. Gently run the sheet over the affected areas and the combination of the friction and the static cling will do the rest of the work for you! In addition, you can scatter unused dryer sheets throughout your car to give it a refreshing scent. 

Lastly, dryer sheets can also deter bugs from setting up camp! This is all due to an ingredient called linalool. This alcohol is a natural bug repellent — beetles, mites, gnats and certain types of cockroaches hate it!

While this won’t help you with the exterior portions of the vehicle, it can keep the inside insect-free.

Final Words

Take the time to address insects on your vehicle early! This can make the process quite simple when you get bugs off of your car with dryer sheets. However, the best way to prevent them from sticking to it is to regularly wax your vehicle.

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren