removing water spots from car

The Ultimate Guide to Removing Water Spots from Car

Are you frightened because of water spots on the car that seem impossible to remove? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Water spots are a common problem for car owners, but with the right knowledge and techniques, you can remove them without specialized tools. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know for removing water spots from car and how to prevent them.

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what causes water spots on car?

Water spots are mineral deposits that are left behind when water evaporates from your car’s surface. They typically appear because of hard water, which contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium. When hard water dries on your vehicle, it can leave behind unsightly spots that can be difficult to remove.

How Does Water Spots Form on Your Car?

removing water spots from car

They can form when water drops are left on the surface of your vehicle till they evaporate completely. It is especially common in areas with hard water, where the high levels of minerals in the water can easily create water spots. In addition, if you live in a region with high humidity, this factor can increase the chances of water spots forming on your car.

The Dangers of Leaving Water Spots on Your Car

removing water spots from car

Without removing water spots immediately, water spots can become a permanent fixture on your car’s surface. The minerals in the water can actually etch into the clear coat, leaving behind a blemish that cannot be removed even by polishing. In addition, water spots can also make the paint’s surface appear dull and lackluster, detracting from its overall appearance.

Removing Water Spots from Car DIY

removing water spots from car

There are several DIY methods for water spot removal from your car. You can try both of them if, after using one method, you did not achieve the wanted results.

  1. Distilled water + White vinegar. Popular method due to the accessibility of components for this mixture. All you need is to mix distilled water and white vinegar in 1:1 proportion. Spray the mixture on water spots, and let it work for several minutes. Do not leave the mixture on a car for longer than 10 minutes, and avoid direct sunlight. Rinse the car’s surface and dry it with a microfiber towel. 
  2. Water spot remover. Another option is a ready-to-use car care product. Every popular car care brand has its own water spot remover. In some cases, this option will be much more effective than your homemade mixture and definitely safer for car paint. Apply water spot remover on your car, let it work, and remove the residue with a clean microfiber towel. Always follow the instructions of the car care product you use!

Best Water Spot Removers

1. Chemical Guys Water Spot Remover

Chemical Guys removing water spots from car

It is a popular choice among car enthusiasts and car owners for its ability to remove water spots without damaging your car’s clear coat. Use it after washing your vehicle. It is safe for use on glass, chrome, and plastic surfaces. It has a gel formula.

Size: 16 oz (437 ml)

2. Meguiar’s Water Spot Remover

Meguiar's removing water spots from car

It is another top-rated product that can effectively remove water spots from your car’s surface. This product is safe to use on all types of paint finishes. You can apply it with a microfiber towel or buffer pad. Safe to use on glass and chrome surfaces. Gel formula.

Size: 14 oz (414 ml)

3. Griot’s Garage Water Spot Remover

Griot's Garage Water Spot Remover

The powerful formula of this product can remove even stubborn water spots from your car’s surface. This product is easy to use and can effectively remove water spots, mineral deposits, and oxidation. Safe on glass, chrome, and plastic surfaces. Spray format.

Size: 22 oz (651 ml)

4. Adam’s Water Spot Remover

Adam's Water Spot Remover

A pH-neutral formula that can effectively remove water spots without damaging your car’s clear coat. This product is safe to use on all types of paint finishes. You can apply it with a microfiber towel or buffer pad. It is safe for use on all exterior surfaces, including paint, chrome, glass, and plastic.

Size: 16 oz (437 ml)

Removing Water Spots from Car using Professional Detailing Services

If DIY methods are not helping to remove water spots, it means that they were sitting on your vehicle for too long, or the water was too hard, so the water spot got deep into your clear coat. In this case, you need to turn to professional detailing services. The professional detailer has the experience and access to specialized tools and products that might help you remove water spots. Usually, polishing is enough for removing deep water spots.

Preventing Water Spots on Your Car

Preventing any issues in car care is much easier than removing them. Water spots on your car can appear because of a variety of factors. The main reason is hard water. It means that rainwater, parking near sprinklers, and using improper car wash techniques can cause water spots on your car. Unfortunately, we cannot keep our cars in an ideal environment all the time, but we can at least try to minimize the risks of appearing water spots. The best what we can do and what will give us the most productive results is proper washing and protecting our cars. Let’s dive deeper into both of these options.

How to Properly Wash Your Car to Prevent Water Spots

Usually, car washes use hard water, which means there is a risk of water spots appearing on the car’s surface. What should we do to avoid them? We should simply not let water or car shampoos dry out on a vehicle. For this, avoid washing your car in direct sunlight. Rinse your car properly to remove any foam residue. Some self-service car washes have ”spot-free rinse” water, which is clean water without any minerals. If you rinse your car with spot-free water, you will not have any water spots. If you can rinse your vehicle only with hard water, your goal is to dry your car with a clean drying towel as soon as possible. Do not leave any water drops on your car to avoid water spots appearance. 

The Best Products to Use for Preventing Water Spots on Your Car

best waxes 2023
Best car waxes for 2023

As we already discussed, water spot remover is a way to remove spots effectively. You can use it as well to prevent water spots. Simply apply it after a car wash, and wipe it off with a microfiber towel. I wouldn’t recommend doing this way every car wash, but twice a year will be good enough.

Another way to prevent water spots is waxing your car. Car wax creates a protective layer on your auto and a barrier for minerals that want to ruin your clear coat. It doesn’t mean that if you have a wax coating on the paint surface, water spots cannot appear. Waxing a car is a way to minimize chances for water spots to appear, but keep in mind that there can be areas on your vehicle where the wax coating is weak, and minerals can reach a clear coat of the car’s paint.


Removing water spots from car can be frustrating for every car owner, especially beginners. The appearance of these spots is a common problem, but I hope using our guide, you will remove them without any issues and use available preventional tips. It’s useful to understand what causes the appearance of such spots, like hard water, acid rain, sprinklers, improper washing techniques, and sun exposure.

When you know what causes them, it’s much easier for you to prevent them. Using specialized removers, you can easily remove them from your car’s surface. Applying wax on your car will minimize the chances of spots appearing and prevent damaging the paint and clear coat.

Whether you choose DIY methods or professional detailing services, removing water spots is a crucial step of car care. With proper care, you can keep your car looking its best for years to come.

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