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Old 07-10-2012, 12:27 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by VectorZ View Post
You are incorrect. I've used them on lots of cars including my Jaguar and E63 with no issues.
...stearic acid sounds like a great thing for paint.

Originally Posted by Todd Helme (Autopia Director)
Dryer sheets have been used to remove bug residue for a while, and to my knowledge nobody has ever had their paint fall off from their use. This doesn't mean they are the safest and best way to remove bug remains.

Re-hydration- When drier sheets get wet, the softener (usually stearic acid) and the surfactants will aid in quickly hydrating the bug guts, which will make removing them extremely easy. Think fully hardened concrete vs. freshly poured (wet) cement.

The biggest drawback to using fabric sheets isn't the chemicals inside them, it is the abrasive natural of the sheet as well as the sharp exoskeletal remains of the insects. The potential of a particular paint's ability to reflect light is most related to how flat/smooth the surface of the paint is. Perfectly smooth paint will reflect light sharply. The surface of paint that has micro scratches and swirl marks looks more like a mountain range. This causes reflected light to disperse (vs. reflect evenly).

The material of a dryer sheet is abrasive to paint/clear-coat and will, over-time, dull the surface if repeatedly rubbed against it. Depending on the color of the car, this effect could be immediate. Also the dry sheet is flat and traps and removed bug remains between the sheet and the paint (there is no nap to hold the remains off the paint). This grinds the 'hard' remains into the paint, causing swirl marks and deeper marks.

If you are going to use dryer sheets to aid in removing bug residue, here is how I would do it.

First, wash the section with soap and water to remove any loose grit and dirt that could scratch/swirl the paint). Use a jet of water to rinse, trying to remove as much bug remains as possible.

Wet a dryer sheet and apply it to the area over the bug residue. Let it sit on top of the bug residue for about 5 minutes. Remove the sheet (don't wipe it over the paint as this will scratch) and rinse with pressure again. The remains should have hydrated/softened to the point that the jet of water removes most/all of the remaining residue.

Wash one more time with soap and water to remove any drier sheet residue.

Alternatively, instead of using dryer sheets I use a dedicated bug remover like Stoner's. Mist on, let sit, rinse.

If you have VERY STUBBORN bug guts, you are going to need something abrasive to remove them, such as Bug Sponge. At this point you are likely going to have some marring/micro scratching of the paint's surface, but this is the least of your worries.

If bug guts have been allowed to harden to the point that removal requires dedicated scrubbing, the acids in the bug have likely permeated into the paint/clear-coat. This can lead to a dull spot stain, at best, and paint failure at worst. The very best thing to do about insect remains is to remove them frequently. Not only does this prevent needing aggressive/abrasive methods to remove them, but it will save your paint from the acidic damage of bug guts.
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