Can I Spray Insecticide In My Car?

It can be quite unsettling to discover that bugs have taken up residence inside your vehicle. Aside from the simple gross aspect, certain bugs can pose health risks (roaches come to mind, in particular), so you're likely desperate to quickly rid your vehicle of these unwelcome pests. But is it safe to spray insecticide in your car? We did the research to bring you the answer.

It is safe to spray insecticide inside your vehicle as long as no people or pets are inside and the fumes from the product are given time to air out following the treatment. As with any chemical, be sure to check the label on the insecticide for any specific instructions or warnings that might make it unsuitable for use inside a vehicle.

If you still have some questions about spraying insecticide in your car, don't worry. In this post, we'll discuss the topic in greater detail. We'll also talk about how to treat the inside of a vehicle with insecticide, why bugs keep getting in your car, what kinds of bugs live in a car, and much more. Without further ado, let's get into it.

Cleaning of car salon with steam cleaner - Can I Spray Insecticide In My Car

Can I Spray Insecticide Inside My Car?

If you've recently learned that your vehicle has been infested with (insert your least favorite bug species), it's understandable that you're desperate for a quick solution. The first thing that likely came to mind is to use some type of insecticide that's been sitting around your house.

The good news is that insecticide can be safely used to treat the inside of your vehicle as long as you follow some specific steps.

How To Treat The Inside Of Your Vehicle With Insecticide

In order to safely treat the inside of your vehicle with insecticide, follow these steps:

  1. Select the insecticide of your choosing based on the type of bug(s) in your vehicle. Be sure to thoroughly read the label for any relevant warnings. In addition, be mindful of how the chemicals in the insecticide might affect things in the vehicle such as leather upholstery.
  2. Park the vehicle in a well-ventilated area (this will be important later on).
  3. Don any protective gear that might be necessary, such as protective eyewear, gloves, and a face mask to protect against any fumes.
  4. Apply the insecticide to the inside of the vehicle, namely any dark spaces where bugs might hide (more on that later).
  5. Immediately following the treatment, roll up the windows and close the doors. Then, be sure to lock the vehicle to prevent kids or anyone else from accidentally exposing themselves to the harsh chemicals/fumes.
  6. Let the car sit with the windows and doors closed for several hours to give the insecticide plenty of time to work. The longer you wait, the better.
  7. Roll down all of the windows, and let the car air out for several hours. And, again, the longer you can wait for your car to air out, the better.
  8. Thoroughly vacuum the vehicle's interior. 
  9. Thoroughly shampoo the carpet and upholstery.
  10. Repeat the previous two steps until the smell of the insecticide is gone.
  11. Continue to monitor the inside of your car for the presence of bugs, and repeat the treatment if necessary.

Why Do Bugs Keep Getting In My Car?

Caridae beetle outside my car window

If you've noticed bugs in your car, you're likely wondering how they got there in the first place. We'll talk about how they likely got in and why they're there.

How They Got In

The bugs you see likely entered your vehicle via an open window or another entry point. A vehicle with cracked windows sitting outside for long periods of time is just asking for a bug infestation.

It's also possible that the bugs got in because you brought them inside. That's right—it's possible that the bugs hitched a ride somewhere on you or any cargo that has been put in your vehicle. 

Why They're There

So, why exactly did bugs decide to make your car their new home?

Well, it's pretty simple. A car makes the perfect home for critters; it provides protection from the elements, and depending on the cleanliness of your vehicle, it might even provide sustenance for those unwelcome pests.

If there are years of spilled drinks and leftover food sitting underneath the seats, your vehicle is an attractive prospective home for bugs. So, be sure to keep the inside of your car as clean as possible to help keep bugs away.

What Kinds Of Bugs Can Live In A Car?

While countless bug species could fair just fine in a car, there are several types of bugs that are the most common culprits behind car bug infestations. 


Vintage images of cockroaches inside the car. Concept of eliminating cockroaches that are pathogens

The most unsettling type of bug that has been known to live in cars is the cockroach. Your car is an appealing prospect for roaches because they'll eat anything. Any spilled food or drinks will be fair game to cockroaches. 

What's more, cockroaches reproduce quite quickly, which means an infestation can turn horrific in no time.

Cockroaches can also carry diseases, so if you have a cockroach infestation in your vehicle, you should address it immediately.

If you can bear it, take a look at this video that shows how cockroaches can fit into tiny spaces:

How Does A Car Get Infested With Roaches?

Just like we mentioned earlier, roaches most likely got in your car by accident, either hitching a ride on you or any other item placed into your car. Since cockroaches can thrive in all sorts of different environments, the original roach could have been picked up just about anywhere.

Where Do Roaches Hide In Cars?

If you've identified a roach infestation in your vehicle, you undoubtedly want to take swift action to eradicate these gross pests. So, where exactly in the vehicle should you look?

Cockroaches typically hide underneath the seats, in the glove compartment, or in the trunk. Roaches like dark places (especially dark places with food), so these are all areas to check.


spider web with spider in an old car

Spiders are also commonly found living in cars. Though most aren't harmful, their presence can be a cause for concern because, aside from simply being unwanted pests, it indicates that there are other bugs close by that the spiders are feeding on. So, if you notice spiders in your car, there are likely other bugs as well.

Why Is My Car Infested With Spiders?

Spiders like warmth, which makes a car the perfect home, especially if the car is home to other smaller critters the spider(s) can eat. There are numerous warm places in a car in which spiders can hide out.

How Do I Fumigate A Car For Spiders?

When it comes to removing spiders from your car, it's actually pretty simple. As it turns out, spiders don't like the smell of essential oils, which means you can create a potent anti-spider formula that will deter spiders while making your car smell nice and fresh.

Scents like peppermint and eucalyptus are great options. Simply mix a few drops of the oil of your choice with some water in a spray bottle, and spritz the inside of your vehicle. 

Click here to see this eucalyptus oil on Amazon.


Red ants caught on a white car in the rainy season Falling from a tree

Ants are another nuisance bug that can be found in a car. Just like cockroaches, ants that have infested your car have done so because there is a readily available food supply. Ants can be particularly tricky since they can get through the smallest of openings.

In Closing

We hope this guide taught you everything you need to know about getting rid of the bugs that have taken up residence in your vehicle. Remember to always read the product label of the particular insecticide you're using, and follow the best practices we outlined here. 

Before you go, be sure to take a look at these other buggy guides:

How To Get Bugs Off Car With Dryer Sheets

Bugs Etched Into Car Paint—What To Do?

How to Get Bugs Off Your Vehicle

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