Wondermom » Home » How to Remove Water Spots From Car – A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Remove Water Spots From Car – A Step-By-Step Guide

Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

When you own a car, one of the most important things to learn is how to remove water spots from car. After all, we all love to drive a clean car, both inside and out.

A hand and cleaning cloth on a car with text How To Remove Water Spots From Car

But those pesky watermarks aren’t going away without a fight. You’ve probably seen these spots on your car when it rains, after you’ve driven through a deep puddle on the street, or worse, just after you’ve washed the car yourself.

They may seem harmless at first glance, but their presence can be quite a nuisance, especially if their appearance on the paint job of your car is obvious. They can be a challenge to remove. 

So, if you’re looking for ways to remove water spots from cars – we’re here for you! It’s time to tackle the problem head-on by using simple, do-it-yourself ways listed below. 

Jump to:

What Causes Hard Water Spots on Cars?

Short answer? Water. Yes, what you use to clean your car is actually the very thing that can cause these annoying marks in the first place.

This happens because water, regardless of source, has a build-up of mineral deposits like calcium, and magnesium in it. It might even contain trace materials like acids, metals, and pollutants that could potentially spell trouble for your car’s paint later on. 

Two pictures of a car with water and water spots.

If your car gets wet, and the water evaporates, it leaves behind these minerals on your car’s exterior – which present themselves as those white, hazy spots on the car’s surface. That’s why you might see them appear even after you’ve washed it (but didn’t dry the surface thoroughly)!

It’s easy to disregard these spots as something insignificant. But if you ignore them, they may eventually cause build-up damage to your car – and may become even tougher to deal with. They might stain the paint, harden enough to make removing them difficult and make your car look dirty all the time.

What Do You Need to Get Rid of Water Spots on Your Car?

Fortunately, the tools you need to use to tackle the challenge and make your car look pristine again are easy to get ahold of. Some of them are even regular household items! 

These are:

A picture of a cleaning product and a cloth, demonstrating the tools of removing water spots from a car.

These are all great methods to use when dealing with the problem as they are relatively inexpensive, easy to come by, and won’t harm your vehicle paint if you use them.

Alternatively, you can also purchase more potent commercial spot removers like:

These products are great for removing impurities from your car’s paintwork, glass, and other surfaces while also leaving your car looking immaculately spotless.  

If you find these DIY tools don’t work, particularly if the watermarks have already caused severe damage to your car, then, it might mean you will need to seek detailing services from experts and professionals near you. These guys can help restore your car exterior to its former glory.

How to Get Rid of Water Spots 

1. Wipe with Microfiber Cloths or Towels

For dealing with milder concerns, using microfiber cloths or towels might do the trick. These are great to use as they are very absorbent and won’t cause damage to your paint.

A person removing water spots from the hood of a black car with a Microfiber Cloth.

You need to:

  • Give your car a quick rinse with water to get rid of any loose contaminants and dirt.
  • Use a cloth or towel to gently wipe the wet areas, making sure to leave the entire vehicle dry and free of any water droplets.

2. Use Vinegar Spray

Vinegar is arguably one of the best, most versatile homemade cleaning products you can use, and it’s no different with your car! Specifically, white vinegar can be a great weapon to use when you want to do spot removal.

Two pictures demonstrating how to remove water spots from a car using a spray bottle and vinegar.

You need to follow these steps:

  1. Mix 2 parts distilled water with 1 part white vinegar in a bowl to make a vinegar solution.
  2. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle (for easier application).
  3. Spray the solution over the water stains on your car. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow it to dissolve the deposits.
  4. Rub the area with a soft cloth to remove the stains.
  5. Once the stains are removed, either rinse the car or wipe the area with a clean microfiber towel.
  6. Make sure to dry your car completely.

Note that using vinegar might strip your car of its protective wax. If this happens, you may want to consider applying a fresh coat of wax on your car right after dealing with the water stains. 

3. Apply Baking Soda Solution

Along with vinegar, baking soda is another household item you can use to deal with stubborn water spot removal. 

You need to:

  1. In a bowl, mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part distilled water, which will result in a paste-like mixture. If you wish, you can also add a few drops of white vinegar to make the solution stronger.
  2. Apply a modest amount of solution to a cloth.
  3. Use the cloth to rub the stains with the baking soda solution.
  4. Leave the solution to sit on the stains for about 15 minutes.
  5. Either rinse the area or wipe the solution off using a clean cloth soaked in water.
  6. Make sure the area is dried completely.

4. Use Commercial Water Spot Removers

If you purchase commercial water spot removers, you must follow the instructions carefully to get the best results. Usually, you will only need to apply the product on a clean cloth and wipe the areas with stains.

However, some products like the Gtechniq W9 Water Spot Remover require you to wear gloves and say not to use the product in direct sunlight. 

The Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner needs the surface you’re working on to be wet with water from either a sponge or a spray bottle before you apply the product.

Check the instructions and follow them to the letter to make sure you’ll get those water stains out of your car in no time at all.

How to Prevent Hard Water Spots From Forming

As the saying goes, prevention is better than a cure – and it’s no different when you own a car. 

To lessen the chances of you dealing with stubborn marks that water leaves behind, it’s better if you can prevent them from forming in the first place. This way, you will not only have a clean-looking car but one with great, long-lasting paint health too! 

Try the following:

  • Make sure your car is always dry,  especially after washing it yourself. Always use high-quality microfiber cloths when drying your car thoroughly.
  • Consider filtering your water. If you find yourself dealing with water stains on your car after cleaning, then you might be dealing with a hard water issue in your home. Having your own water filtration system can help purify your tap water and remove the minerals and other deposits that could lead to the formation of water spots.  
  • Wax your car. Not only does waxing make your car’s surface look amazing, but you’re also giving it a protective layer that can keep contaminants away, including water marks.
  • Alternatively, use a detailing spray after washing your car. Detail sprays are perfect for making your vehicle resistant to water, which further reduces the chance for spots of water to form.
  • Shield your car from the elements. Putting your vehicle in a garage can help protect it from unexpected showers. Park it away from any water source like sprinklers.
Two pictures demonstrating how to remove water spots from a car by waxing and wiping with a microfiber cloth.

Additionally, the moment you spot some water spots, it’s best to act swiftly. Don’t leave them for too long. The longer you wait to take action, the more difficult (or expensive) it will be to get rid of them. 


Does Using Vinegar Damage The Paint of Your Car?

Fortunately, vinegar is not strong or corrosive enough to damage your car paint when you use it for cleaning.

Additionally, the vinegar spray suggested above is diluted with water. It is recommended to only sit on your car surface for a few minutes, which further minimizes any risk of damaging it.

Where Do Water Spots Form?

The most troublesome spots are on the painted surfaces of your car, but you might also notice them forming over glass windows, windshields, and even on metal parts of the vehicle.

How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

Generally speaking, it is best to wash your vehicle thoroughly once every two to three weeks to help keep it looking its best. On the other hand, if you see that your car needs a trip to the car wash earlier, don’t hesitate to do so!

Easy Ways to Remove Water Spots From Car

Don’t let stubborn water spots get the best of you or your car! As a car owner, it’s best to deal with the problem the moment you spot it, as taking a more passive approach will only lead to the problem worsening over time.

Fortunately, the question of how to remove water spots from cars can be an easy one to solve. With our tips above, you’ll surely enjoy a spotless vehicle for a long time!

Also, besides knowing how to get rid of hard water spots from your car, make sure to always keep a car maintenance checklist handy to ensure your car is in tip-top shape!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.