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Posted on: April 5th, 2021

Bug Removal – A Real Pain in the Glass!

Now that we’ve survived Polar Vortexes and our back muscles have recovered from shoveling out after a Spring Blizzard, the next Car Wash Season is right around the corner: Bug Season. Typically, in Colorado, a wet Spring season brings an above-average number of bugs to our state. Soon, we’ll be swatting Miller Moths and jumping out of the way of grasshoppers. Spring is also the time of year when more customers are making cross-country drives and accumulating bugs along the way.

In the car wash world, we all know that bug removal can be a real Pain in the Glass!

To effectively remove bugs from a vehicle, we need to understand some of the science behind it. The body of an insect is composed of proteins, which are long chains of molecules called amino acids. These acidic compounds adhere to a vehicle’s surface and, if not removed, can begin to breakdown the clear coat of a vehicle’s surface over time. To neutralize these amino acids, we need to apply the chemical opposite of an acid – an alkaline or basic chemical. The alkaline neutralizes the acid and allows for the breakdown of the insect to help remove it from the surface.

When dealing with car wash chemistry, we often focus on the 3 T’s: Temperature, Time, and Titration. Temperature typically refers to the temperature of the water and chemical being applied to the vehicle. When dealing with bugs, temperature is also important. If the vehicle sits exposed to warm temperatures and sunlight for an extended period of time, this “bakes” on the bug remains making it more difficult to remove. For the Time category, the time for the chemical to interact with the vehicle’s surface is called “Dwell Time.” If the conveyor speed is too fast, there won’t be enough Dwell Time for the alkaline to breakdown the remains. And finally, for Titration, this refers to the concentration of the alkaline chemical being applied. If too weak, the bugs won’t breakdown and you may have to rewash the vehicle. Too strong and there is a possibility you can damage the clear coat, as well as increase your cost per car.  Balancing the 3 T’s is essential in effective bug removal.

At Focused Car Wash Solutions, our Presoak products contain the alkalinity required to breakdown bugs effectively. For those car washes that prep the vehicle before it goes down the tunnel, we have products that will serve that purpose as well.  The FCS team will be visiting our Chemical Customers during the month of April to ensure your Presoak is titrated appropriately. We’ll also make sure it is being applied to problem areas such as the grill, windshield, and mirrors.

Spring is a great time to interact with customers to recommend Unlimited Wash Packages. Frequent washing is great for removing bugs anytime. Extra services such as Simoniz Hot Wax and Shine, as well as Simoniz Ceramic Sealant, make it harder for the bugs to adhere to the vehicle’s surface. Layers of Carnauba Wax and Ceramic Sealant are beneficial to maintaining a vehicle’s clear coat.

Joke of the Day: What is the last thing that goes through a bug’s mind when it hits a windshield? – His butt!

FCS is here to make sure you have what you need – just give us a call!