How To Remove Water Spots From Your Car

Even after washing your car, water spots may surprisingly still be found on the body of the finish. This is because the spots are caused by elements in hard water. (Such element may be magnesium or calcium).

How Do Spots Form On A Car?

When water is deposited on the body of a car, it gets wet and dissolves the impurities around it. After a while, this water dries and leaves behind it a mixture of the hard water minerals and dirt that form unpleasant spots around the car body. As long as it is hard water, it may be from a sprinkler, or a shower or rainfall, spots are bound to form once the deposited water evaporates. The best time to remove water spots is immediately you notice them form. If left on the paintwork, the water minerals will waste no time in etching onto the paintwork and will leave less temporary stains.

See more: Car scratch remove

Type of Spots That Form on Cars

The type of water spots you may encounter should be any of the two:

Water spots that magnesium and calcium deposits above the surface

This is the more common and easily removed of the two. It occurs when mineral elements have been left as direct deposits on the body of the car. The deposit bonds carefully with the paintwork leaving a circular or ring pattern.

Water spots that magnesium and calcium deposits below the surface

It is difficult or mostly impossible to remove and can form over a long period of time (about a week) if a car is parked in a spot. This type of water spots start from above the surface and etch deep into the paintwork to become almost permanent markings.

How to Remove

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By chemical science, we can understand that water spots on cars are evaporated solutions of magnesium or calcium hydroxides. Such are alkalis (bases). Bases may well be neutralized by acids and such is the basis of our cleaning methods. A lot of methods are available for easy removal of water spots from your car, and most depend on the availability of the cleaning solutions used. For the second type of spots mentioned in this guide, paint and wax might be an easy fix. To get started, you will need the following:

What you will need

Method 1: Use of Vinegar Solution

This method best works for the first type of water spots.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Precaution: Do avoid the use of vinegar on your paintwork in hot or sunny weather.

Method 2: Use of Muriatic Acid

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Muriatic acid is a mixture of hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids. These acids are classified as strong and should be handled with extreme care, hence the need for hand gloves.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Precaution: Hydrofluoric acid in particular is toxic if inhaled and should be used with care.

Method 3: Car Waxing and Polish

An utmost solution for water spots that are found below the surface of the paint. After going over the car with acid or vinegar solution, applying car wax gives your car the perfect finish. For how to apply car wax, see (link to how to apply car wax articles). An advantage of having your car waxed is that it gives your paint more protection from water spots and surface chemicals.

See more about: Car wax for white car or Car polisher

How To Prevent Water Spots From Your Car

Since water spots are undesirable and damage the paintwork continuously, it is best for maintenance if prevented. To prevent them from forming in the body of your car, always ensure to clean out thoroughly all water deposited on the car body after washing before it can get to dry and form water spots. This can be done with a soft and consistent towel. If you are going to park your vehicle close to a sprinkler, or leave it parked for a long time, be sure to use a tarpaulin coat to cover the body surface.


Finally, prevention is better than cure. It's best to attack and remove water spots the moment you notice them. Some of the minerals have the ability to etch quickly onto the paintwork and go on to form under-the-surface spots. Also, avoid the use of industrial abrasives or toothpaste. They contain chemicals that may be harsh to the metal coating of the car.

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