The best windscreen bug cleaners

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6 of the best bug cleaners to buy

Long drives in the summertime mean one thing for car owners — hundreds of insects caked into the front of their car and their windscreen. They’re a real pain to shift and even a conventional automatic car wash or bucket-and-shampoo clean can struggle to remove them. So you need a specialised cleaner to help dissolve them and avoid long-term paintwork damage.
The good news is that many of these products can also deal with tree sap, bird droppings, rubber particles and road tar, making them an essential purchase if you’re serious about looking after your car’s bodywork. Some come as spray-on liquid cleaners, while others are more akin to a polish.
Stephen Errity from Auto Express has selected six of the best performers. Prices given are for guidance only and are subject to retailer discounts.
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Simoniz Bug Shifter

Simoniz Bug Shifter

eBay loves: Easy to use and good value
Watch out for: Not the absolute best cleaner here
RRP: £4.99 for 500ml

Simoniz Bug Shifter left some faint traces of dead bugs on headlights, but works well on bird droppings and was as effective at removing old stains as it was at tackling fresh muck. The major advantage of the Simoniz is that’s it’s easy and straightforward to use — you just spray it on, leave it for a minute to dissolve the dirt and wipe it off. A good-value price only adds to the appeal.
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Granville Tar & Bug Remover

Granville Tar & Bug Remover

eBay loves: Low price and easy to apply
Watch out for: Not as effective on insects as it is on bird droppings
RRP: £3.24 for 500ml

A very low price immediately drew us to the Granville Tar & Bug Remover and its performance impressed, too. The instructions recommend you wash the car normally first, but we found it worked well even without doing this. Like the Simoniz, this is a light, spray-on liquid formula, so application is easy. It wasn’t quite as good as the Simoniz when it came to insects, but made a better job of dealing with bird droppings. At the price, this product can’t be ignored.
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Turtle Wax Power Clean Insect Remover

Turtle Wax Power Clean Insect Remover

eBay loves: Best cleaning power you can get
Watch out for: Takes a lot of effort to get results
RRP: £5.99 for 500ml

Turtle Wax offered the best cleaning power of any product we tested, but its Power Clean Insect Remover wasn’t the best-value cleaner on offer and required a good bit of elbow grease. You also need to let it dry before wiping off, so cleaning will take longer than with the Simoniz or Granville. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, though, this is the most effective cleaner here.
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Wonder Wheels Bug & Sap Remover

Wonder Wheels Bug & Sap Remover

eBay loves: Tackles bird droppings, bugs and sap with ease
Watch out for: Not as good value as rivals
RRP: £6.49 for 500ml

Wonder Wheels Bug & Sap Remover doesn’t claim to be suited to bird-dropping removal, but it did a perfectly good job of it, as well as dealing with its specialities of dead bugs and tree sap. You do need to give the bodywork a thorough rinse to get rid of the cleaner and dirt afterwards, though, and the price looks pretty steep compared to some of the competition. Yet it’s a useful and versatile product nonetheless.
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Meguiar’s Gold Class Bug & Tar Remover

Meguiar’s Gold Class Bug & Tar Remover

eBay loves: Impressive cleaning performance
Watch out for: Expensive and leaves white residue
RRP: £7.99 for 473ml

A hefty price tag meant we expected big things from Meguiar’s Gold Class Bug & Tar Remover and its cleaning performance was undeniably impressive — fast acting and easy to remove from bodywork with a quick wipe. But unlike the products above, the Meguiar’s is a thick, cream-like formula that leaves behind a white overspray that can stick in grilles and vents. This and the aforementioned high price counted against it.
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Halfords Bug & Tar Remover
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Halfords Bug & Tar Remover

eBay loves: Decent cleaning power at a good price
Watch out for: Messier than clear liquid cleaners
RRP: £3.99 for 500ml

Another cleaner with an eye-catchingly low price, Halfords Bug & Tar Remover is similar to the Meguiar’s in that it’s formulated like a polish rather than a clear liquid. And, like the Meguiar’s, you have to spend some time clearing the white residue out of grilles and vents after using it. Cleaning power is ever so slightly less than the Meguiar’s and you need to use a damp cloth to remove it, but it’s still a decent performer for a very reasonable price.
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