How to keep your car clean during the mosquito plague

The good news is your moving car is doing its best to keep mossie numbers down. The bad news is the little buggers can wreak posthumous revenge on your car’s paintwork.

bugs on car

With mosquitos loving the wet conditions down south and continuing to thrive up north, there aren’t too many places in Australia where even a short drive won’t turn your car’s front end into a bug killing field.

Most drivers are quick to clean their windscreen when it’s smeared with insect remnants, but it’s also important to clear bugs from paintwork as soon as possible. The longer you leave them the harder they will be to remove and their decomposing bodies release acidic enzymes to break down the tiny carcasses which also breaks down paint.


  • If the bugs are fresh, an old-fashioned driveway wash with soapy water and a sponge should do the trick – you may need to use a little elbow grease but be sure not to damage the paint. Also use detergent specially made for washing cars as household soaps may not be as kind to your car’s paint. Once you’ve done that, run a chamois or microfibre cloth over the area.

  • If the bugs are baked on and stubborn to remove, use insect removal ‘bug and tar’ spray which is readily available at auto accessory stores. Make sure the product is designed for use on car duco and follow the instructions.

  • Pressure washers should only be used when the bugs are fresh because if you persist on trying to blast off baked-on bugs you may damage paintwork

  • Alternatively you can use an oil spray such as WD-40 on paintwork and fiddly areas such as the grille. Just spray it on the affected area and wait a few minutes before wiping off.  This is good stuff for removing bird droppings too. Just don’t use it on glass or you’ll go mad wiping it clean.

  • For glass areas such as windscreens and headlights it’s also best to get in early. The mesh sponge on petrol station squeegees usually does the trick if used early. If the grime is more stubborn, wash with soap and water and try adding some baking or washing soda to help lift the stains.
  • Cola also works because the chemicals and carbonation in it really help get under the grit. Just be sure to wash the cola off the car, especially from paint as it will stick and be even more harmful than the bugs. And to think we drink this stuff!
  • Once your car is rid of bugs, give it a full clean and wax to create a barrier between the next batch of insect hit-run victims and your car’s now shiny paint.

Can't get enough? Now find out if an automatic car wash can damage your paint.


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