How To Remove Water Spots From Car?

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water spots on chrome trim on car

Dealing with unsightly water spots on your vehicle? Here’s a complete guide on how to remove water spots from cars.

I’ve been there, frustrated by those stubborn water marks that tarnish the beauty of our rides, and I know how hard it can be to remove them. But with a few simple tips, you’ll remove them in no time. So, without further ado, let’s get those spots off and bring back the car’s shine.

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s important to remove water spots from a car as soon as possible.
  • The best way to remove water spots from cars is by using water spot removers.
  • If water spots don’t come off, you should consider polishing your vehicle.

How To Remove Water Spots From Car

To remove water spots from the car, you will need to use water spot remover products. These products are specifically designed to gently remove water spots from car paint and windows without causing any damage.

Below, I’ll cover ways to remove water spots from car paint and also from car windows, so keep reading.

Removing Water Spots From Car Paint

To remove water spots from car paint, wash the car, dry it, and apply water spot remover onto the surface. Then, wipe it off with a clean microfiber towel.

Here are the exact steps I do to remove water spots from car paint:

  • Thoroughly wash the car, making sure it’s as clean as possible.
  • Dry the car using a microfiber drying towel.
  • Pour water spot remover on a microfiber cloth.
  • Spread it out over the surface (1 panel at a time).
  • Let it sit for a minute, and then buff off with another microfiber towel.
  • Rinse the car to remove any water spot remover residue from the paint.

As you can see, it’s not that hard. Just make sure to work one panel at a time, and always follow manufacturer guidelines on the bottle. It’s been working for me, and I’m sure it’ll work for you.

Removing Water Spots From Car Windows

To remove water spots from car windows, clean the windows, apply the water spot remover on the glass, and wipe off with a clean microfiber towel.

Here are the exact steps I do to remove water spots from car paint:

  • Use automotive glass cleaner and clean the glass (I recommend Gyeon Glass Cleaner)
  • Buff the glass with a waffle microfiber towel.
  • Pour water spot remover on a microfiber cloth.
  • Spread it over the window (work on one or two windows at a time).
  • Let it sit for a minute, and then buff it out with a clean microfiber towel.
  • Clean windows with automotive glass cleaner again.

After using water spots remover, it’s important that you always rinse or clean that car body part again. Water spot removers are acidic, and you shouldn’t let that sit on the paint too much because it could cause damage or make your paint protectants wear off quickly.

Water Spots on Car Won’t Come Off? A Solution

If water spots on a car won’t come off, you have two possible solutions: repeat the process with a water spot remover or polish a car.

I suggest that you try repeating the process with a water spot remover first, and if that doesn’t work, you will then have to polish a car.

Luckily, for removing water spots, you won’t need some rubbing compounds. Usually, only light polishing pastes are enough. Here’s my guide on how to polish a car, so feel free to check that out if you don’t know the proper way of polishing vehicles.

Here is a video of guys from the Rag Company showing different products to remove extremely hard water spots, and only the wheel acid (which I don’t recommend) and compound (polishing) really worked to get it off completely.

What Causes Water Spots On Cars?

Water spots on cars are usually caused by:

  • Hard Water: Minerals like calcium and magnesium in hard water can leave behind white residues when the water evaporates.
  • Rainwater: Rain, especially in polluted areas, can contain contaminants. When raindrops dry on the car’s surface, they can leave spots.
  • Sprinkler Systems: If your car is parked near a sprinkler, the water droplets can lead to water spots, especially if the water is hard or contains other contaminants.
  • Airborne Contaminants: Pollen, dust, and other airborne particles can mix with water on the car’s surface, leading to spots when the water dries.
  • Improper Washing: Using unfiltered water or letting the car air-dry can result in water spots.
  • Acid Rain: This is rain that contains pollutants from industrial processes. It can be quite harmful and leave spots or even damage the car’s paint if not addressed promptly.

Understanding these causes is the first step in preventing and treating water spots. Let’s delve into how to tackle them effectively.

How To Prevent Water Spots From Appearing on Your Vehicle

To prevent water spots from tarnishing your car’s appearance, you should:

  • Use Filtered Water: If possible, wash your car with filtered or deionized water. This reduces the minerals that can cause hard water spots.
  • Avoid Parking Near Sprinklers: Choose your parking spots wisely. Avoid areas where sprinkler systems might sprinkle your car, especially during the hotter parts of the day.
  • Wash in the Shade: Direct sunlight can cause water to evaporate quickly, leaving behind minerals. Always wash your car in the shade or during cooler parts of the day.
  • Dry Your Car Properly: After washing, use a soft microfiber towel or a car-specific drying towel to dry your vehicle. This prevents water from air-drying and leaving spots.
  • Use a Quick Detailer: After washing and drying, use a quick detailer spray. It adds a protective layer that can repel water and contaminants.
  • Apply a Quality Wax or Sealant: Regularly waxing your car provides a protective barrier against water and contaminants. Some modern sealants can even last for months, offering extended protection. For advanced protection, consider using ceramic coatings.
  • Maintain a Clean Car: Regularly washing and detailing your car ensures that contaminants are removed before they can cause spots or damage.

By taking these preventive measures, the chances of water spots appearing on your car will be lowered a lot.


What is the best water spot remover for cars?

From my experience, the best water spot remover for cars is Meguiar’s Water Spot Remover. It helped me to remove some extremely hard water spots from paint, wheels, windows, and even chrome trim.

Can water spots damage car paint?

Water spots can damage car paint if left untreated. The calcium in the water may etch into the paint, causing some permanent damage. So, urgent action is always important.

Can water spots on a car be permanent?

Water spots on a car can’t be permanent, but they could permanently damage the car’s paint. The worst-case scenario is that you’ll have to repaint the car. However, in most cases, polishing the car is enough to fix the damage caused by water spots.

Will car polish remove water spots?

Car polish will remove water spots from a car. However, I always suggest using dedicated water spot remover first because it’s a much simpler and cheaper option.

Final Words

Now that you know how to remove water spots from a car, you’re one step closer to maintaining that showroom shine.

I genuinely hope this guide serves you well on your journey to a spottles water-spot-free car.

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