Every car owner faces the dreaded “water spots problem” which defaces the beauty of their cars. Especially, when your car is parked near a hard-water lawn sprinkler. It’s not quite straightforward to remove water spots from car, and we need to know some basics about it so that we don’t damage the car’s paint in the process.
For starters, it’s not the water that causes these spots; instead it is the dissolved minerals in water and the acids from air pollutants that are the culprits. It starts with above surface mineral deposits, and if not cleaned timely and properly, can become baked and etch below the surface too.
To save you from the trouble, here are the steps on how to remove water spots from car:
1. Wash the car
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First of all, get rid of all the loose dirt and surface debris with a good old car wash. You should use typical car wash soap solution, a mild brush and micro-fibre cloth to get the desired result. In case you are short on time, simply take it to a car wash facility and let it be cleaned professionally.
2. Dry the car
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Second and one of the most important steps to remove water spots from car is to let the car dry completely. You don’t need water to get rid of water spots since the water spot remover solutions are oil based and water might interfere with the process. Use only a microfiber towel to remove any remaining water from the surface. Other cloths would add a lot of scratches!
Also Read: 10 Easy Steps for Cleaning Car Engine
3. Waterless car wash
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Although we have got rid of all the loose dirt from the typical car wash using soap and water, there might be some more dirt that can be easily removed using a waterless wax-based car spray. Simply apply generous quantities on the surface and this hydrophobic spray lets the tougher dirt slip out easily. Concentrate on the water spots!
4. Dry the surface again
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Once you have scrupulously applied the wax spray, let it sit for a while and then wipe it with a micro-fibre cloth. Ensure that the cloth is micro-fibre only. The wiping motion should always be in one direction only, i.e. either left to right or vice-versa. This is to ensure that there are no streaks left behind on the surface after you completely dry it.
5. Lubricate the surface
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Until this point, the softer water spots must have vanished away. If you still see a spot, it means that it has become stubborn and has etched below the surface or has become sun-baked. Follow the next steps to get rid of these tougher stains. Firstly, lubricate the surface with an oil-based car surface lubricant.
6. Prepare claybar
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Auto-detailing clay is easily available in offline as well as online stores. “Claying” is a non-abrasive way to remove dust, dirt, industrial fallout, acid rain contamination etc. from the car’s surface. To prepare the clay bar, cut it into 3 equal pieces. Roll one piece into a ball and then flatten it using your palm until it is approximately a quarter-inch thick.
7. Apply the clay bar
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Simply slide the clay back and forth on the lubricated part of the car surface. If friction is felt, apply more lubricant to ease the process. When the clay becomes dirty, just fold it in half and ensure that the cleaner surface is on top. It can be used to remove water spots from glass too.
8. Apply water spot remover
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Well, if you still see some spots, then they are definitely baked spots and are quite stubborn to remove. The only solution now is to use an acid-based water spot remover which dissolves the alkalinity in mineral deposits. Ensure that you use only the best water spot removers for cars as low quality materials can damage the paint surface. Simply apply some on a soft sponge and gently apply it in straight line.
9. Use a paint cleaner
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Water spots still won’t go? At this stage, only those spots which have etched below the surface would be remaining. We’ll have to use paint cleaner (like Scratch-X) to get rid of such stains. This step is quite critical and must be undertaken with utmost safety as any botched up job will mean an irreversible damage to your car’s surface.
10. Get professional help
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Instead of going through the previous step, you can actually take your car for professional help too, where they can use a machine polisher to remove a slight layer of paint, eventually removing the under-surface too. Their expertise will ensure that the car looks beautiful like before. If you are an automobile DIY geek and a bit of a daredevil, get a polisher yourself!
As we mentioned in Step-8, only good quality water spot remover solutions should be used for proper results. To help you in your choices, here’s a curated list of 5 best water spot removers for cars:
1. Meguiar’s A3714 Compound Water Spot Remover
- It is the best of the best out there.
- Gently removes water spots without causing harm to the surface.
- Effective on paint, glass, chrome, hard plastic, and all metal surfaces.
- Safe for clear coat and glossy painted surfaces.
- Apply using Hand or Dual Action Polisher too.
2. Boat Bling HS-0032 Hot Sauce Premium Hard Water Spot Remover
- Suitable for cars, RV’s, campers, motorcycles, and watercrafts.
- Especially good for your boats and is the preferred choice of several boating manufacturers and owners groups.
- Doesn’t remove wax while removing hard water spots.
- Leaves behind a superb high-quality shine.
- It is completely biodegradable and eco-friendly when used as directed.
3. Car Guys Hybrid Wax
- Excellent way to remove water spots from car as well as use as a wax topper in between car washes.
- It is technologically advanced with patented polymer sealant additives and UV protection.
- Effective on bug and bird poop too.
- Liquid Brazilian carnauba wax leaves behind a spectacularly high gloss shine.
4. Duragloss 755 Automotive Glass Water Spot Remover
- If your specific pain-point is how to remove water spots from glass surface, look no further.
- It is an effective glass polish for all types of auto-glasses and is safe for use.
- Easily removes water spots, tree sap stains, bugs etc.
- Although it uses abrasives too, but its lubrication ensures that it is gentle.
5. Eraser Water Spot Remover
- Fast-acting and effective to remove hard water spots from paint, glass, and metal.
- Can be used for boats and home applications too besides automobile.
- Gel formula helps in cleaning vertical surfaces effortlessly.
- Doesn’t leave streaks or scratches behind on glass, chrome, aluminum or paint.
Also Read: Benefits of Car Waxing and How to do it
To be honest, it is never fun to remove water spots from car. There are many other enjoyable and worth-doing things in life that you can be doing instead. So, it’s always preferable to prevent water spots from occurring in the first place using a good car wax.