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Remove Water Spots From Your Car Fast: The Definitive Guide

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You know that your car is a calling card for you and your business so you need to do all that you can to keep it looking as good as new. This usually means washing it regularly and taking it in for detailing. But what happens when you finally finish washing every inch of your car, you dry it, and then you’re left with ugly water spots? This is a very common issue and it’s one that can destroy the image you’re trying to project and make all the work you’ve done seem absolutely wasted.

If you’ve been fighting a losing battle with water spots even after washing it, we can help. This guide will give you a variety of techniques that will work no matter what kind of water spot you have. And most of these ideas don’t take much more than some simple household products and the right kind of elbow grease.


  1. Common Questions about Water Spots.
  2. A Guide to the Different Types of Water Spots.
  3. The Simplest Way to Remove Water Spots.
  4. How To Remove Water Spots with Vinegar.
  5. How to Remove Water Spots with a Clay Bar.
  6. The 4 Best Products for Removing Water Spots.
  7. How to Prevent Water Spots.
  8. How to Prevent Water Spots on your Car Windows.

Common Questions about Water Spots 

Everyone’s seen or experienced water spots and yet only the professionals seem to know much about them. If you’re curious about water spots, here are some of the most common questions you might have about them:

  • How can water spots damage the car? 

You might think that water spots are harmless, they’re just water after all, but nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that water spots aren’t just water. They’re filled with contaminants, pollutants, and debris. Once the water evaporates, these contaminants remain behind and they can stain the paint, harden so they’re really hard to get off, and even cause ugly looking dimples. And even if your car is new, this will completely ruin the appearance and the value of your car!

  • Why do water spots appear on the car? 

Most often, water spots appear when you’ve washed the car and haven’t dried it properly. But this problem can also occur if you leave your car out in the rain without drying it, if it gets caught by sprinklers, or if you drive through a puddle of water on the side of the road.

  • Why won’t water spots come off? 

If you have water spots on your car that won’t come off, chances are that you’ve left it too long and the spots have dried. And if you’re really unlucky, then the paint underneath might be damaged too.

  • Where can water spots be? 

Typically, the most troublesome type of water spot appears on the painted surfaces, but they can also appear on the glass and metal surfaces.

A Guide to the Different Types of Water Spots

There are a few different kinds of water spots. Each of them can appear anywhere on your car’s paint or glass and cause different types of damage. Here are the most common types of spots you’ll need to deal with:

  • Hard Water Spots

These are the most common types of water spots and occur when the water contains minerals or dirt that dries on the surface of the car. It most often occurs when you live in an area that has high mineral content in the water. If you don’t get this water off your car immediately it will turn into a chalky residue that’s really hard to remove.

  • Mineral Spots

If hard water spots are more common, mineral spots are more severe. They’re most often caused by acid rain that has high levels of sulfuric and nitric acids, though it can be the result of water that’s unusually high in minerals. These substances can bond with your paint and corrode down to the clear coat. Sometimes, these scars will remain even after you’ve removed the water, making your paint look dull and stained.

  • Etching 

Even ordinary water can cause damage in the right conditions. If you live in a hot area, it can bake any water that drops onto your car. This will leave the most difficult spots to remove and can cause permanent damage if not treated properly. If you have etching on your car, don’t try to remove it by yourself. Make sure you take it to a professional as the paint may have to be abraded to remove the stain. This can be complex, and the procedure will change depending on the paint used on your car, so let the professionals work it out.

The Simplest Way to Remove Water Spots 

The simplest and most obvious way to remove water spots is to wash and dry your car. This is probably the best strategy to try if the spots haven’t been there long. Here’s how to do it so that any temporary spots will be washed away:

  1. Rinse your car first so excess dirt is washed away to prevent scratching.
  2. Pour your car wash liquid into a bucket of water and mix well.
  3. Wash the wheels first to prevent dirt from splashing on the clean car.
  4. Use a soft sponge to wash the whole car.
  5. Rinse the car thoroughly, making sure that all the soap is gone.
  6. Dry the car with a clean cloth or chamois.

You can also take your car to a professional carwash if you think that your washing methods are responsible for the water spots. Professional car washes have powerful driers that will remove water from your car quicker and more easily then you could ever do it!

How To Remove Water Spots with Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most useful products for removing water spots because it’s acidic. It’s most effective on water spots that are new and works well on spots caused by the minerals in hard water. Here’s how to use vinegar to remove water spots from car paint:

  1. Wash and dry your car in the normal way.
  2. Pour two parts white vinegar and one-part water into a bucket.
  3. Gently apply to the affected areas with a soft cloth.
  4. Leave for 2 minutes.
  5. Rinse the area well.
  6. Towel dry.
  7. Repeat if necessary.

Just remember that vinegar can strip the wax from your car. So afterwards, apply wax on the affected area to prevent future spots.

How to Remove Water Spots with a Clay Bar 

A clay bar is very good for removing water spots caused by contaminants such as dust, ash and other pollutants. However, it doesn’t work as well with mineral water spots, so try another method for these. You can also use a clay bar on windows and the windshield. There are a lot of different clay bars out there, so make sure you do your research before buying one. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Wash and dry your car first.
  2. Wet a small area with the clay lubricant to prevent scratching.
  3. Gently move the clay bar over the area. It will ‘grab’ where there are spots or contaminants.
  4. Work on each spot from multiple angles, being gentle to prevent damage.
  5. When the bar moves smoothly and without grabbing, stop.
  6. Wipe the area with a clean, microfiber towel.

Always be careful when you’re using a clay bar. And if it becomes soiled, you can fold it to expose a clean surface and keep going with your work.

The 4 Best Products for Removing Water Spots

If your home remedies aren’t working to remove spots on your car, then it’s time to get out the big guns. There are lots of products out there that can help with water spot removal, and here are some of the best:

  1. Meguiar’s A3714 Compound Water Spot Remover

If you’re looking for a trusted product with a good reputation than Meguiar’s Water Spot Remover might be the answer. It removes spots on glass, paint and chrome and won’t destroy your clear coat. Just make sure that you spot test it first and don’t use it in matte or satin finishes.

  1. Eraser Water Spot Remover 16 Oz – Gel. For Paint, Glass, Windows, and Mirrors

This spot remover comes in a gel formal that works really well on mineral deposits. It’s great on windows and will clear away water spots without damaging any of the surfaces of your car.

  1. Optimum MDR Water Spot Remover

This spot remover is designed to remove hard water spots. It’s a thick, non-abrasive gel that’s easy to use, effective, and won’t damage your car.

  1. Boat Bling HS – 0032 Hot Sauce Premium Hard Water Spot Remover – 32 oz

This product sounds like it’s for use on marine craft, but it’s extremely effective on cars. The formula is environmentally safe, biodegradable, and it won’t strip the wax off your finish.

How to Prevent Water Spots

The best way to prevent spots from appearing on your car again is to wax it. This acts as a barrier that protects your paint from minerals and will make the water slide off harmlessly. You should wax your car once every three months or more often if you use chemicals or any other product that will strip away the wax more quickly. Here’s a quick guide to waxing your car:

  1. Wash and polish your car first for best effects.
  2. Read the instructions on the wax you’re using.
  3. Place a small amount of wax on the applicator.
  4. Use a circular motion to apply the wax to one panel at a time.
  5. Make sure that you’re overlapping to create thin layers.
  6. Before the wax dries, buff off the excess with a microfiber cloth.

If you don’t have time to wax your car by yourself, make sure you take it to a professional detailer for a complete clean, wax and polish.

How to Prevent Water Spots on your Car Windows

The windows of your car are another matter. It’s nearly impossible to prevent spots from appearing on your windows. However, you can minimize their appearance as much as possible with a good glass treatment. This will prevent dirt and oils from sticking to the glass and make it easier to wash your windows. Here’s how to apply a window treatment correctly:

  1. Wash and dry your car and windows first.
  2. Apply the treatment horizontally rather than vertically to prevent wiper blade damage.

Apart from this, there isn’t much you can do to prevent water spots on your windows. Just try to avoid getting water on your car as much as possible. Also, make sure that you keep your wipers clean and buy new ones every six months. This will prevent dirt from building up on the blades, which can damage the glass and add to the dirt on your windshield.

The Takeaway 

Prevention and a fast response to water exposure is crucial when it comes to getting rid of ugly water spots. The best strategy of all is to have your car cleaned, polished and waxed regularly so that water spots don’t have a chance to set in. You can do this yourself, or you can take it to a professional for a really high-quality job.

Do you have trouble with water spots on your car? What have you tried to get rid of them and did it work? Share any useful tips that you’ve learned with us in the comments below.

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