The Best Bug And Tar Removers In 2023

Last updated: Today

Erin Carpenter

Top 5 Best Bug And Tar Removers 2023:

  1. Griot’s Garage 10982 Bug and Smudge
  2. Tar X Tar and Adhesive Remover
  3. Thetford Premium RV Bug Bust
  4. Bugs N All – Best All Purpose Interior & Exterior Vehicle Cleaner & Bug Remover
  5. MEGUIAR’S Bug & Tar Remover

Proper car maintenance includes a whole slew of tasks ranging from the ones that can be described as relaxing (for instance, waxing) to the ones that are real chores. We have to agree, however, that removing bugs and tar plastered all over your vehicle has to be more irritating.

What makes this situation even worse is that these two things are absolutes. While some maintenance duties can be avoided, or at least postponed with proper care and economical driving, bugs, and tar are a force of nature poised to make your life unbearable.

Well, we have some good news for you. Sure, this penance won’t become any more pleasant as time goes by. But, you can at least make it far easier if you choose an appropriate bug and tar remover.

So, let’s see what products are circling the market and try to find the best bug and tar remover the money can currently buy.

Believe us, every dollar you put into these products will be returned tenfold.

5 Best Bug And Tar Removers In 2023: Detailed Reviews

1. Griot’s Garage 10982 Bug and Smudge – Best Bug and Tar Remover Overall

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Griot’s Garage is a company with a pretty good reputation amongst people who love their cars clean and polished. So, we set our expectations pretty high when we got this sizable 22-ounce bottle.

Still, we somehow ended up pleasantly surprised, and that says something.

The thing that makes this product so impressive is the sheer volume of stuff we were able to clean off the vehicles. Sure, the formula easily dissolves insects and tar. But, we wanted to give it a try with some car so ruined with scuffs and tree gunk we honestly considered it a lost cause.

And surprise, surprise, we were able to remove most of the debris firmly locked into the hull.

Granted, we had to use the liquid very generously and had to wait a couple of minutes for the formula to produce the desired effect. But the product was at least able to accomplish the task in which many others have previously failed.

The other thing we were thoroughly impressed with was the ease in which we were able to perform all of this. No need for endless stroking, no need for special equipment. Just a couple of swipes with an ordinary microfiber towel and that was it.

However, we want to point out that this product is probably too potent for plastic areas that will immediately end up etched. Be sure to keep them taped off.


  • Ample package
  • Incredibly efficient
  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Removes different types of debris


  • Keep plastic areas protected

2. Tar X Tar and Adhesive Remover – Best Premium Bug and Tar Remover

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Tar X Tar Adhesive Remover is a product that features a very streamlined and modernistic look that immediately telegraphs one thing – this bug and tar remover means business.

And business it means. Boy, did we have a good time using this package.

For a start, performance is simply excellent. The liquid is easy to apply, you have to spend a minimal amount of time waiting for the formula to start working, and all residue is easily removed with nothing more than a simple paper towel.

As for the results, they are nothing short of extraordinary. Not only were we able to remove stubborn stains located all over our vehicles, but the cars ended up polished and shiny just like they were when they left the assembly line.

So, we can say that, in some areas, Tar X Tar even outpaces the previous product coming from Griot’s Garage.

But, on the other hand, this 17-ounce bottle is also noticeably more expensive, so the price-value ratio definitely works in favor of the previous mention. The problem with exposing the plastic areas to the liquid is present in both cases.

But, that doesn’t take away anything from the fact that judged on its own merits, Tar X Tar is an excellent bug and tar remover that quickly deals with all sorts of debris and adhesives lingering on your vehicle’s surface.

Maybe one of the best we have tried yet.


  • Stellar performance
  • Adhesives removed with a couple of quick swipes
  • Fast-acting formula
  • Non-hazardous chemicals


  • A bit pricey for the package size

3. Thetford Premium RV Bug Bust – Best Affordable Bug and Tar Remover

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Comparing this product head to head with the previous two cleansers wouldn’t be entirely fair. Both of them would knock it out of the water before you can say “splattered bug.”

But, Thetford Premium RV Bug Bust has one great advantage over all other competitors on the list – it’s ridiculously affordable. And, despite its lower price range, the product does manage to offer very decent and consistent performance.

Now, this sounds like something worth checking out.

This increasingly engaging story is only made better by the fact that Thetford Premium RV Bug Bust scores the package of as much as 32 ounces. That means that, if you are living in an area that isn’t exposed to swarms of bugs and constant tar, this bad boy can last for ages upon ages.

But, what if your car does end up splattered with bugs? How the biodegradable formula we can find in the bottle deals with that?

Well, as we mentioned above – quite decently.

To get worthwhile results, you will need to soften up debris located at the vehicle’s hull with water, and you may need a plastic blade to remove everything once the liquid does its job. But, you at least get some results.

So, if you are ready to deal with these additional chores, you will hardly find a more efficient product. At least not in this price range.


  • Killer price-value ratio
  • Ample bottle size
  • Decent performance
  • 100% biodegradable


  • Requires a fair share of additional labor

4. Bugs N All – Best All Purpose Interior & Exterior Vehicle Cleaner & Bug Remover – Best Multi-Purpose Car Cleaner

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You know the old proverb that says that “Jack of all trades is master of none.” People often use it to describe the products that try to do too many things and ultimately fail in all of them.

We are happy to report that this package is not one of them. Does it make it a perfect bug and tar remover? Well, not quite.

But, let us start with the positives. The package does include two bottles that are used for interior and exterior duties, respectively. Some of the more expensive bundles even throw into the equation bug and interior sponges that will effectively put all your maintenance worries to rest.

And the interior cleaner is doing an excellent job with all sorts of materials that can be found in one vehicle. Plastic, upholstery, rubber – all these surfaces were cleaned fast and without breaking too much sweat.

However, the area where this package somewhat ends up short is the exterior performance. The reason we said somewhat is that the formula is, by any means not, bad. As a matter of fact, it actually works quite nicely, and the overall results are better than the ones we got with the previous product.

But, bug remover we got here features neither the affordable price we have seen with the package coming from Thetford nor the powerful performance of our first two mentions.

Still, an excellent package.


  • Great multi-purpose package
  • Solid value for money
  • Excellent interior cleaning
  • Good bug performance


  • Could work better with stronger debris

5. MEGUIAR’S Bug & Tar Remover – Best Aerosol Bug and Tar Remover

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And for the very end, we finally have one aerosol bug and tar remover for all of you who don’t want to put too much effort into spraying.

Well, the good news is that, in that regard, this neat product works like a charm. The application is easy, and the active foam you will get when you immediately after you spray your car will have no problem rehydrating the splattered bugs.

After that, cleaning becomes a matter of only a couple of swipes.

So, we can say that we are more than pleased with how the formula deals with splattered bugs. The problem is that the product really struggles with pretty much everything else.

Of course, we didn’t expect to get the same level of performance and versatility as with the first two products we have covered in the roundup. But, the spray is marketed as “bug and tar” remover, and we, at least, expected to be able to easily remove the latter of the two.

But, dealing with tar required a couple of applications, additional hydration, and a great deal of effort on our behalf.

Keeping that in mind, maybe your vehicle is simply not picking up a lot of tar, and all you want is a simple way to deal with splattered insects. If that’s the case, you will get a great deal of enjoyment out of this product.

If not, we suggest that you move to something if only a bit more efficient.


  • Affordable price
  • Efficient against bugs
  • Easy to apply
  • Fast-acting time


  • Poor overall performance

Things You Should Consider To Get The Best Bug And Tar Remover

Now that we had an opportunity to take a good look at all these different cleansers competing for the title of the best bug and tar remover on the market, let us take a look at a couple of important features we are going to use to rank them.

What can you get from the short buying guide we will present below? Well, different cars require a different level of maintenance, and owners who use their vehicles only from time to time won’t need the same level of efficiency as regular drivers. Then again, some areas are definitely more notorious for bugs and tar than others.

In other words, we all have our needs, and what worked for our vehicles and driving conditions may not necessarily work in your case.

So, take a good look at these couple of considerations – maybe you find something that suits you far better than our top three picks.

1. The Type Of Cleaner

The car cleaners come in various shapes and forms. But, in spite of all this variety, most of them can be divided into three main groups:

  • Spray bottles – One of the most common types you can find in the stores. The great thing about this option is that you can adjust the nozzle to either spray a misted fan pattern or a more concentrated stream. On the other hand, they tend to be quite tiresome when you have a lot of bugs to remove.
  • Bug wipes – As the name suggests, this type is nothing more than simple wipes soaked in some cleanser formula that allow you to get to the job without any additional equipment. Although they are hardly an efficient solution, they perform quite nice with smaller touch-ups.
  • Aerosol – One of the most significant advantages of pressurized bug removers because they foam up when applied you don’t need to squeeze the trigger for a couple of minutes in a row. But, as with any other aerosol products, you need to take good care of the nozzle.

2. The Type Of Surface And Debris

The exterior of one vehicle usually consists of five main types of surfaces – plastic, glass, chrome, metal, and paint. Some of the bug removers are designed to tackle only certain types of these surfaces, some to take care of all of them. It should be clear which one of them you purchase.

In a similar vein, some cleaners are highly focused on decomposing and removing splattered bugs while others can deal even with more persistent stains like grease and grime.

In both cases, the more versatility you get, the better.

3. Coat Safety

Some of the more ill-advised and stronger products out there feature formulas so potent and abrasive they can easily damage the surface of your vehicle or leave an unpleasant residue even after vigorous scrubbing.

Usually, the bottles that are not that potent feature the inscription that they are safe for the vehicle’s coat. Some of them can even be successfully applied over the recent wax job without causing any damage.

4. Ease Of Application

Cleaning the vehicle doesn’t have to be a punishment. If so, you will quickly stop taking care. Therefore, your ideal bug and tar remover should be easy to apply and come off quickly as well when the cleaning is over.

As we mentioned in one of the previous passages, aerosol cleansers have a slight advantage here.

5. Effectiveness

In addition to being easy to apply and get off the vehicle, the ideal bug remover also needs to be sufficiently effective. What does that mean?

Well, for a start, we are not very thrilled about the formulas that need to sit on the hull for ages before producing results. Also, some products, although, very potent, require more rinsing to remove debris than others. All these things can be roughly described as effectiveness.

6. Ease Of Storage

This is very important for all fellow drivers who are not living in hot areas or simply not picking up a lot of insects along the way. So, you are buying your car cleanser and want to make sure the liquid will be safely stored during long periods when not used. What do you do?

Well, most aerosol and spray cans feature some form of self-sealing system, usually in the form of an “off” setting or an air-tight replaceable cap. Of course, the latter option is far more efficient.

7. Odors

Although you are not going to spend too much time smelling your vehicle, unpleasant odors can be distracting and off-putting –especially if you are going to drive your kids. Therefore, if you can find some scented alternative that will alleviate the odor, please do so.

8. Accessories

Accessories do not exactly make or break some bug remover, but it’s always good to get them in the package. So, look for the packages that include neat things like sponges, scrubbers, and similar stuff. Of course, the products where these small additions are used to bump the price in the oblivion should be actively avoided.

See Also: The Best Waterless Car Washes

Final Thoughts And Recommendations

And the time has finally come to declare what is the best bug and tar remover out of the products we had an opportunity to go through above. Like in the previous articles, you are free to skip our recommendations, check the buying guide we gave you above, and try to find your ideal match.

But, if you are willing to hear what we have to say, here are the top three picks we feel are most worthy of your hard-earned money.

Best bug and tar remover overall: Griot’s Garage 10982 Bug and Smudge

  • This spray comes as close to the ideal product as it gets. It’s affordable, efficient, deals with ease with all sorts of materials stuck into your vehicle’s hull, and comes in one very spacious bottle. The only drawback we found is that plastic areas could be easily damaged. But that’s not something that can’t be easily solved with a bit of duct tape.

Best premium bug and tar remover: Tar X Tar and Adhesive Remover

  • Tar X Tar somehow manages to offer even better performance than our number one pick. Not much better, but in this case, even a slight upgrade is something worth mentioning. However, it is also noticeably more expensive, and it comes in a smaller container. So, we saved it for our premium pick.

Best affordable bug and tar remover: Thetford Premium RV Bug Bust

  • Unlike the previous two products, Thetford Premium RV Bug Bust has no high aspirations. But, at a price it’s being sold, it really doesn’t have to. What’s important here is that the formula easily removes splatter bugs, costs next to nothing, and comes shipped in one ginormous package. No complaints here.

About Erin Carpenter

Erin Carpenter has over 15 years experience in the diamond industry working with Artic Canadian Diamonds, Anglo-American Diamonds. She is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as USA Today, Forbes, The New York Times and more.