10 insect removers in the test

Dino Eisele
Insect remover tested
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I nsects are joy and sorrow at the same time. They pollinate flowers and keep our ecosystem going. But sometimes they get on our nerves. From the point of view of motorists, especially when their pathetic remains cover the front of the car. You shouldn't ignore the fly droppings, but remove them as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the mixture of protein and the insects' chitin armor becomes really solid within a short period of time, and heat from the engine and solar radiation can even burn it into the top clear coat.

The same applies to bird droppings. The decisive factor here is the so-called glass transition temperature, from which the paint becomes soft - and this varies from car to car. The little animals should also get off the windshield before their hard crusts damage the squeegees. But modern washing systems are often overwhelmed with such stubborn dirt. Gentle textile brushes protect the paintwork, but do not always clean thoroughly.

Insect removers promise a remedy

You can help with special insect removers. Sprayed on before washing, whether in front of the hand wash box or the car wash, they soak the remains of insects and detach them from the body. How efficient they are, together with the laboratory of the company Kärcher checked. For this purpose, ten products from different price ranges were bought at gas stations, hardware stores, car accessories shops and on the Internet.

But not all of them are convincing in terms of cleaning effectiveness. Both under laboratory conditions and in practical tests on several vehicles that are dirty in everyday life, some cleaners only remove almost two thirds of the dirt with great effort. The worst in this chapter is the product of RS 1000 . The best cleaning performance is achieved by the Michelin insect remover, which is also test winner .

He also deserves praise for the EU Ecolabel, which is only awarded if it can be proven that it does not contain any environmentally harmful substances. On the other hand, some other products can lead to health problems. The Sonax InsektenStar product achieved good results, especially in practical testsLimonene contained in it can trigger allergies.

Even the products from Aral, Armor All and Dr. Wack can be harmful to health in various ways. No statement can be made on this point about the insect remover from Würth. Since the cleaner may only be given to qualified personnel, the label does not provide any information about the ingredients - but anyone can now get the product through intermediaries on the Internet. Therefore Würth should improve this point. The measured pH values ​​are all in the uncritical range. No product exceeds the limit of 11.5 and is classified as corrosive.

Careless use is dangerous for the headlights

However, the test shows that the cleaners are not too carelessly handled should. Because some products leave traces on the various materials when tested. For example, if the insect remover from Armor All is left on for a long time, it creates such stress cracks in the polycarbonate that the plastic breaks. Headlight and turn signal covers are often made of this material. In everyday life, the liquid can collect in joints or edges and cause damage. This is one reason why the Armor-All cleaner comes in last in the test. The samples at Liqui Moly , Nigrin insect remover and Sonax also show small stress cracks after three hours of exposure. Therefore, every use should be followed by a thorough car wash.

On the other hand, the paint-material compatibility is a positive surprise. The cleaners do not attack the paint layer at either 25 ° C or 80 ° C. In practice there can still be problems, because not all paints are created equal. Refinish paints in particular sometimes have different properties and are more sensitive. Therefore, the general recommendation is to use the insect remover only on cooled surfaces and not in the blazing sun. Almost all manufacturers write such information on the packaging. Only Armor All does without it.

Differences in handling

The other instructions and information on the labels are correct and complete. However, not all manufacturers give an exact exposure time. There are some differences in handling. While the Liqui-Moly cleaner should take effect for 5 to 15 minutes, the other agents already need a few minutes. The consistency also varies.Among other things, viscous cleaners that adhere well to the body and do not dry on quickly, but rather soften the dirt well (Dr. Wack, Liqui Moly, Nigrin, Sonax).

Products that finely atomize and distribute well on the surface (Dr. Wack, Michelin , Shell, Würth). The striking orange color of the Dr. Wack cleaner, because it can be sprayed on in a targeted manner. When it comes to price, there is no clear trend. While the Michelin cleaner costs more due to renewable raw materials, the almost equivalent Sonax product is the cheapest.

Overview and price comparison


* maximum 100 points possible, =highly recommended, =recommended, =conditionally recommended, =not recommended

This is how the insect removers were tested

In the laboratory of the independent cleaning device manufacturer Kärcher, we check the material compatibility of the ten chemical cleaners. We test wiper rubber, polycarbonate (which is often used for headlight and turn signal housings) and painted sheet metal to see whether the liquids attack the material. We also measure the pH value and the dry substance, i.e. how much cleaning agent is in the liquid. On the other hand, we assess the cleaning effect under standardized conditions. To do this, the machine wipes three times over a painted metal sheet with special test dirt. In addition, the products have to prove in a practical test on various vehicles whether they can cope with dried-on remains of flies from everyday life.

Home remedies tested

The good news: You can do without chemicals and save a lot of money. However, you need to have some time to do this. Good cleaning results can be achieved with clear water and a normal sponge if the fly remnants soak long enough beforehand. Damp kitchen towels or towels are a good help here. The widely recommended newspaper, on the other hand, can leave unsightly stains on paintwork if it dries up. If you want to save a little soaking time, you can use an insect sponge. In the hardware store there are copies for a few euros that even clean the paint without leaving scratches. Gentle rubbing and plenty of water for rinsing remove even fly remnants several days old without any problems. Alternatively, nylon tights are good for this. Rinse aid is not chemical-free, but cheap and supports the procedure in thePractical test noticeable.

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