7 Tips For Cleaning Bugs Off A Car Windshield

Having bugs on your windshield looks and feels gross. Worse yet, they can impact your ability to see. How do you clean dead bugs off your windshield? Caked-on bugs can be difficult to remove and take too much time to get off your windshield. Let’s look at ways to get bugs off your shield that is quick and easy.

Cleaning Bugs Off A Car Windshield 1 7 Tips For Cleaning Bugs Off A Car Windshield

How do you clean bugs off a car windshield?

Bugs can be removed from your windshield using warm water, soap, and a towel. You also have the option of using products Glass cleaner is also a good option, as well as a glass stripper solution. The best way to get rid of bugs is to clean them off fast.

We’ll talk about why these methods work in addition to which ones should be easiest on you, your wallet, and your car.

Haven driven through areas where our vehicle came out covered in mosquitos, gnats, and flies – we have tried a few methods of removing tiny insects from the windshield and grill.

What makes cleaning bugs off your windshield difficult?

When bugs splat on your windshield, their little organic bodies can become a bit like glue, especially on a hot day. They’ll become attached in a way that an automatic car wash probably won’t be able to fix because they don’t apply enough pressure to just the windshield – for a good reason, though, they don’t want to break it. While a car wash can be very effective at removing dust and grime from your car, it probably won’t do much to bugs.

Time is important

The longer bugs stay on your windshield in the hot sun, the more likely they will become super sticky and hard to remove. While we start on suggestions for longer term issues below, our first suggestion is this:

When you are driving and happen upon a cloud of mosquitos that spatter your windshield on a hot day, try to clean your windshield as soon as possible. Consider bringing a towel or dryer sheets with you to remove the bugs immediately – or pull into a gas station where you can use one of their sponges and basic cleaning fluid to at least get the bugs cooled down and removed.

Don’t have time for that, you’ll want to keep reading!

Cleaning Bugs Off A Car Windshield 1 1 7 Tips For Cleaning Bugs Off A Car Windshield

Fastest and easiest, but a bit of work: warm water and a towel

This can be the fastest and easiest, depending almost entirely on how bad your bugs actually are – and honestly, the length of your arms.

The method is very simple: Take a towel and soak it in the hottest water you can handle – don’t go too hot and make yourself uncomfortable holding it. Scrub the bug-covered areas of your windshield with a towel

The idea here is to apply excess heat to the bug bodies in hopes of loosening them – and let the water get between leftover bug blood and guts and gently remove them from the windshield.

You also have the option of just leaving the hot, wet towel on the windshield. You could maintain it by pouring more hot water on it, then eventually removing it.

We hope this method works for you – because it is quite easy.

Glass cleaner

You know that container of Windex you use to clean your windows and patio door. It’ll come in handy now! Spray down your windshield with Windex, glass cleaner, or whatever you want to call it. A mixture of vinegar is also an option here.

These are dissolving agents that aren’t too harsh or excessively powerful that will hopefully break down the organic matter that holds the little bugs to the glass.

We suggest using a microfiber towel, as it has nice rough spots that will dig in and move bugs.

Glass stripper

Glass stripper has a slightly different use – and different capabilities than regular Windex. You probably don’t have a glass stripper sitting around the house – not because it is dangerous, but because it is more expensive than Windex and stronger.

Glass stripper can be applied to the parts of the windshield that need it – then you can use what is likely an included sponge to strip the bugs right off.

The downside is that many windshields come with a water-repellent layer that you don’t necessarily want to remove.

You should consider finding a water repellent replacement spray at your local auto parts or hardware store for the purpose of adding a new layer once you use glass stripper.


Yes, there are definitely products you shouldn’t apply to your windshield – even if you think it’s a good idea to do so.


WD40 is not a glass cleaner. While WD40 is great at removing grease and oil from metal. This doesn’t really apply here. WD-40 will leave a sticky film on your windshield.


Like WD-40, this could actually dissolve insects, but high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients will leave a mess on your windshield that you’ll put more effort into cleaning.

Dish Soap

Dish soap is the one to truly avoid here. While dish shop will at worst leave your windshield itself with bubbles and streaks, it has a bad impact elsewhere: There is a decent chance the water and dish shop will run off the windshield itself onto your vehicle paint.

Dish shop is a strong degreaser and could mess up your clear cloat, as it does basically the same thing to dishes. Avoid using this!

Why don’t automatic car washes work to get bugs off the windshield?

Automatic car washes don’t focus on your windshield. They spend too little time scrubbing the windshield itself while focusing on the rest of the car – generally in under a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, many people wouldn’t tolerate a longer car wash – have you seen the lines at a car wash once spring begins?

Your windshield needs more time with hot water and cleaning agents. You can try an automatic car wash as a method of cleaning, but it won’t be the most effective unless the bugs are very recently dead and it’s not too hot.

What can I do to prepare for bugs?

We talked about speed earlier. The most important thing to do for removing bugs is to get to them fast. Bring a scraper, dryer sheets, or something rough and flat – like a microfiber towel with you in the vehicle. This is especially true of spring and summer when the heat on your windshield will bake those bugs into goo pretty quickly.

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