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Combat insects with the right chemicals

When a bug hits a car’s surface, it explodes, and the chemicals inside it which leak out can be highly damaging.


Customers often don’t realize how difficult insects — especially when baked on — can be to remove from vehicles. That’s because people rarely consider what happens to a bug when it hits a car going 50 miles per hour.

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“The biggest problem with bugs has to do with the amount of time they are left on the vehicle,” Kipp Kofsky, president of Arcadian Services LLC, points out. “Most people do not get them cleaned off quick enough.”

When a bug hits a car’s surface, it explodes, and the chemicals inside it which leak out can be highly damaging. Barboza explains, “when [bugs] start decomposing, they produce destructive enzymes/proteins that actually bond to whatever substrate they hit, i.e., paint, plastics, etc. This in turn can actually etch into the surface because of the organic acidity, [which] is why we have to use a mildly alkaline/solvency formula to break/soften or mainly loosen the bond in a safe manner.”


Unlike our other seasonal friend, pollen, which generally is easily removed with a standard wash, bugs can require some added time, even necessitating a presoak for really stuck-on insects. Many might wonder exactly how bug removers get the job done.

“Chemical bug removers work in two ways, with the first being by softening the bugs to break their [bonds] with the surface. This is the best approach for relatively fresh bugs,” Kofsky tells us. “For bugs that have remained on a car for a longer period, a more aggressive chemical is needed that will actually dissolve the bugs from the car finish. Chemical selection and application is extremely important to protect the finish of the vehicle.”


Stinger Chemical Vice President of Sales and Business Development Christopher Barboza adds, “Bug removers need time to complete this loosening process which is why we use different ratios at vacuum (stronger) than at drive on.”

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