What to Do If Water Spots on Car Won’t Come Off?

Are you frustrated with stubborn water spots on your car? Learn the most effective solutions on what to do if water spots on car won’t come off and how to prevent water spots on car after rain or after washing car.

Frequent car users will know the pain of stubborn water spots on the surface. The water spots are sometimes tough to remove, be it the raindrops or the water accumulation after a car wash. And when the water spots on car won’t come off even after multiple tries, it will cause you more pain than joy after washing your vehicle.

Though the water spots are not always permanent, and you can easily remove them using a microfiber cloth or sponge, sometimes certain water molecules can also cause permanent marks.

So, how to remove water spots from car at home?

This is exactly what we will discover through this article. Not only that, but we will also get to know the different types of water spots that occur on the car’s external surface, the causes behind such stubborn water spots, and how to remove them easily, besides knowing how to prevent them as well. All this information is in one article, isn’t it great?

water spots on car won't come off
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Removing water spots on a car is not an easy job if you do not know the suitable method and correct tools for it. And when you know the exact process to remove tough and permanent stains from your car’s external surface, it will not cost you much time and effort.

So, what are you waiting for? Go through the article and find the best ways to remove permanent water stains from your car. But before that, know the causes and type of water stains on the car surface. Read on.

What Causes Permanent Water Spots on Cars?

It’s a common problem amongst car owners to have permanent water stains on their car’s paint surface. And it is also common to ask the question- are water spots permanent, a zillion times! Well, it is a fact that car surfaces do have permanent water stains, more so when they are not cleaned over a more extended period.

There are several causes that lead to such permanent stains. The salt, dirt, and minerals like magnesium carbonate and calcium in the water molecules generally cause permanent water spots on cars. When you wash your car or drive through rain, the car surfaces get wet with the water molecules. After the water evaporates, it leaves behind contaminants and minerals that cause spots and stains on unprotected paints.

The same chemicals and contaminants also cause permanent water spots on car windows. Most times, these spots do not become permanent if you clean them soon after it gets dried or when your car paint is protected with wax or other paint protectors.

But if you neither clean the surface immediately nor have any protectant on your car’s paint surface, then it can lead to permanent water spots on the car surface. And when the water spots become stubborn, they are hard to remove!

And before you get to know how to remove permanent water spots on your car, you need to know about the different types of water spots that can occur on your car’s paint surface and how to tackle them effectively.

You might also like: How to Remove Swirl Marks from Car by Hand (5 Simple Steps)

Types of Water Spots on Car

Each type of water spot requires a different approach to removal. That’s why knowing the different types of water spots on cars is extremely important, and it will eventually help you remove them quickly with less effort.

There are various tools and techniques to remove the water spots that depend majorly on the types of spots that you have on your cars. Thus, in this section, we have discussed in detail about what are the three categories of water spots on a car. Read and get to know the same.

Hard Water Spots

Hard water spots are mineral deposits that are left on a car’s surface when water evaporates, leaving behind dissolved minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and silica. These minerals can cause unsightly spots on the paint, windows, and other surfaces of a car.

This is the most common and difficult water spot you can have on your car surfaces. And since hard water spots on car won’t come off easily, that’s why removing it typically requires a specialized cleaner that can dissolve and remove the mineral buildup without damaging the car’s finish.

These spots occur mainly when you use tap water to wash your car, as it contains many minerals. And when the dirt deposits, along with the minerals in the water, sit on the car surface for a longer period, it is bound to make hard water spots.

If you notice a dry and chalky white substance on your car’s surface after you have washed the car, you must know that these are hard water spots that do not go easily!

Bonded Mineral Water Spots

There are different types of water spots on cars, and bonded mineral water spots are one among them. If you were thinking that the hard water spots are not so easy to remove, come see this level 2 of the hard water spots.

The bonded mineral water spots are more severe than the hard water spots. These stubborn water spots are caused by water droplets that contain minerals such as calcium and magnesium that have bonded to the surface and dried, leaving behind a white, chalky residue.

Due to the more minerals, they are pretty challenging to remove, and you need a specific cleaning solution for them. Manly, these stains are caused by acid rain that contains high amounts of sulphuric and nitric acids.

Etching Water Spots

To know how to remove water spots from car, it is better to know the types of water spots so you know how difficult (or easy) it will be and the etching water spots qualify to be the hardest of them all to get rid of.

These kinds of water spots are caused by water droplets that are literally “baked” under the sun. In simple terms, the water droplets that get dried on the car paint surface after being heated by the sun are the reasons behind such etching water spots.

Water etching on car are quite challenging to get rid of. What’s worse is that if treated incorrectly, they can cause extreme damage to the car paint!

Must check: How to Get Water Stains Out of Cloth Car Seats (6 Best ways)

What to Do If Water Spots on Car Won’t Come Off?

Now that you know about the types and possible causes of water spots on cars, you must be eager to know what to do if water spots on car won’t come off and how to remove water spots from car paint, right?

We will not waste any more time here and jump straight to learn the most effective ways to remove stubborn water spots on your car with some easy methods. Read on and know the process in detail. Here we go:

Wash the Car Properly

The best way to remove water spots from cars that are fresh and have not sat for too long is to wash them properly again! Yes, that is the best natural and easy method to get the water spots off your car after a wash.

Sometimes we see that after washing the car, we get busy arranging the stuff we used to wash the car, or we take a rest for some time before we dry the vehicle. And in the meantime, the water droplets get dried, and the white spot starts showing.

It is because these spots have not sat for too long and are fresh; you can easily take them off with another wash. This happens mostly when the car is washed under the sun or has not been coated with wax or sealant.

While washing, you must ensure there are no dust particles on the car’s surface; otherwise, while rubbing, you may cause scratches and swirl marks on the surface, making it worse.

While removing water spots on car, be gentle and use a microfiber cloth to dry soon after washing again. This method works fine only when the spots are fresh. But if this doesn’t work, try out the next solution.

Give the Car a Vinegar Rinse

Using vinegar to get rid of water spots on car is one of the most effective home-based hacks that you can apply to keep your vehicle from getting damaged due to the water spots. Vinegar is easily available in most of our homes, and you can use white vinegar to eliminate the marks caused by tough minerals or calcium carbonate.

It is because vinegar contains natural acetic acid that helps in dissolving the calcium carbonate or other minerals present in the water droplets that cause the hard spots on the car’s surface.

Mix the vinegar solution with water, spray it on the surface where there are spots, rinse and dry. The process is easy, but if not done correctly, it can cause more damage to the car paint than keeping it safe from water spots.

It is a cheap and natural method to get rid of water spots from your car paint surface. Drying the surface and then applying wax or other coatings is better to keep it safe from further spotting. However, the very hard water spots on car won’t come off with just vinegar.

Try out the next method if you are still struggling to get rid of water spots on your car.

Use a Detailing Clay Bar

Many of us raise our eyebrows while thinking – Will clay bar remove water spots? It will indeed, but only when the water spots are not etched. The clay bars are effective in cleansing off the other hard water spots efficiently. It might be an aggressive method to use clay bars to remove water spots, but it is required in cases where the spots are too complicated.

A clay bar has the capability to remove tough minerals and calcium carbonate from the car paint surface, and when done right, it does not even harm the clear coat. Because clay is an abrasive compound, you need to be careful while using it.

Use a lubricant or detailer along with the clay bar, glide it across the surface where there are spots, be gentle while rubbing, wipe the surface, dry it using a microfiber towel, and you are done!

Always remember to use the detailer spray or lubricant whenever you are rubbing through the surface to keep it wet; otherwise, the clay bar can cause the paint to be damaged.

It is one of the most effective ways to remove stubborn water spots on your car without contacting a professional or using detailer products.

Apply the Water Spot Remover

If the water spots on car won’t come off even after using a clay bar, then you have to resort to using a water spot remover product which will eventually work on diminishing the hard spots on the car’s surface. These commercial water spot remover products contain distilled water and mineral oil as base and lubricant, respectively.

In addition, the remover also contains solvents, absorbents, buffers, and conditioners that make the spot removal process even more accessible. Not only that, these removers work effectively on all kinds of water spots and also leave a glossy finish after you are done.

And if you are wondering; what is the best water spot remover for cars then you can go for Chemical Guys Heavy Duty Water Spot Remover or Meguiar’s Water Spot Remover. These are the two most widely used products when it comes to removing water spots from car quickly without harming paint.

chemical guys water spot remover

The process is simple; you just need to wash the car properly before applying the product. Then use a foam applicator or a spray bottle to apply the remover on the car surface where there are water spots.

Repeat it twice or three and wipe it down using a microfiber cloth, and you are done. It is the best way to get rid of water spots on car that are hard to remove and have to sit for long. You can get these removed easily on the market, which is affordable too!

Apply a Paintwork Cleanser

The paintwork cleanser is not only used to remove water spots from car paint. As is evident by the name, it is also used to remove other contaminants, strip waxes, and remove water spots simultaneously. Though the paintwork cleansers are pretty effective in removing the hard water spots from the car paint surface, they might not be as good at removing the etched marks on the car.

But if you want an easy and effective way to remove stubborn water spots on your car, applying a high-quality paintwork cleanser such as P21S Gloss-Enhancing Paintwork Cleanser or Wipe Out Surface Cleanser Spray can help you immensely.

p21s paintwork cleanser

Applying the paintwork cleanser formula is very easy. You can use a microfiber applicator or soft foam to apply the cleanser with bare hands. You can also use a dual-action machine polisher if the stains are too deep.

First of all, apply a thin layer of the product on the surface paint, leave it to dry as per the instructions written on the product (typically 5-15 mins), then buff the cleanser using a soft microfiber towel, and you are done.

It is a pretty simple and less time taking process that you can rely on to get rid of the hard water spots on your car surface. However, as already mentioned, it is not the best way to remove hard water spots from car that have etched the paint surface’s clear coating. Try the next methods if that is the case.

Polish the Area

You must only resort to this method when the water spots won’t come off car using the previous methods. This is the most aggressive method that you must only use when the car surface has etched water spots, and it doesn’t come off using any other methods.

Polishing the car’s surface means removing a layer of the car’s clear coating. For those who don’t know, the clear coat of the car surface is applied externally to protect the base coat of the car paint.

When a part of the clear coat is removed, it becomes thinner, and the base coat might be more prominent towards the damages. But in case the water spots do not come off using any other method, you have to pull through this method.

Be very careful while doing it because one mistake can cause permanent damage to your car paint. However, if you do the polishing by yourself using a microfiber polishing pad or foam, the process can be less risky than using a machine polisher.

It is the best way to remove water spots from car paint that are etched on the surface and won’t come off easily. Take professional help in case you are worried about the result.

Use a Rubbing Compound

After going through all the above methods, you might have the question – Will rubbing compound remove water spots? As simple as it sounds, using the rubbing compound technique is not so simple!

In fact, it is one of the most effective methods to be used when the watermarks are not only etched but are also very severe. And when they are severe, your car paint is at high risk because any removal process can damage them even more!

Applying rubbing compound is almost the same as the polishing method, but unlike polishing compound, rubbing compound is more aggressive in nature. The rubbing compound also removes a layer of the clear coat of the car paint, but it does faster than polishing which makes the car paint prone to damage.

mothers heavy duty rubbing compound

It is advised to use a machine polisher during compounding, again unlike the polishing method. It will be even better if you can just take the help of a professional.

Since the rubbing compounds are more abrasive in nature, they can leave a hazy paint layer, and you must use coating products that make the surface glossier after the compounding process is over.

Always remember, this is the last option you should apply only after all other methods fail to deliver results. It is an easy way to remove water spots from car that does not go by any other methods!

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How to Prevent Water Spots on Car

It is pretty normal to get water spots on car after washing. But it is not at all normal to let them sit on the car paint surface for a long period. It would be best if you made efforts to clear out the water droplets as quickly as possible to prevent them from sitting on the surface and causing hard spots that are difficult to remove.

That’s why in this section, we are going to learn how to prevent water spots after washing car or after rain so that you won’t have to scratch or head in worries and think what to do if water spots on car won’t come off.

Simply, go through the details below and find out everything about preventing water spots on car:

Don’t Wash the Car Under Direct Sunlight

If you want to know how to prevent sprinkler water spots on car, you must know that you have to be careful how you wash the car first, avoid washing it under direct sunlight. Yes, it’s an extremely important step to follow if you wish to prevent water spots on car when washing.

The best way to wash your car is either when it’s cooler outside or under a shade. It is because when you wash the car under direct sunlight, the water drops will eventually get dried on the surface even before you rinse or dry them.

And this, as we have already discussed before, this causes pretty hard spots that are difficult to remove. So, prevent it from happening beforehand so that you do not have to struggle to take it off!

Apply Sealant, Hydrophobic Wax, or Ceramic Coating on the Paint Surface

We have all read about the famous phrase “prevention is better than cure” during various phases in our lives. And in this phase particularly, it will work off well.

When you apply wax, ceramic coating, or sealant on your car paint surface, there are very few chances of getting water spots on it. Thus, preventing water spots on car is easier when there is already a protective layer on the car’s surface.

You must use good quality products that last longer and provide effective protection against such spots to keep your vehicle new-like, even if you wash it frequently or drive through rain pretty much!

Rinse the Car with Low Pressure After Raining

There are many effective ways to prevent water spots on your car after it rains, and rinsing it with low pressure is one of them. Though most of us rinse the car after it rains and also try to dry it, many of us actually do it wrong.

Rinsing your car after rains must be done using free-flowing water with low pressure. When you apply more pressure in rinsing, it will eventually cause more spots than reducing them.

It is suggested that you rinse the car immediately after it rains and uses clean, free-flowing water to rinse it thoroughly and use low pressure at the same time to keep the car surface spot free!

Dry the Car Surface with a Microfiber Towel After Every Wash

If you are still wondering how to prevent water spots when washing your car, consider this another best option. After you are done washing the car, always stick to using a microfiber cloth for drying the surface.

Never use chamois, bath towels, or squeegee to clean or dry the car surface after a wash. These substances cannot entirely dry your car’s surface without causing any harm. These are hard and might cause scratches or swirl marks on the surface that will bring more harm.

The microfiber cloth is soft and has effective cleanliness when it comes to cleaning the car surface after a wash. It will also ensure no hard spots are caused after cleaning or drying properly.

How to Remove Water Spots from Car Paint – Author’s View

Now that you have reached the end part of the article, you already know what to do if water spots on car won’t come off, isn’t it? There are many ways explained in this article that are capable of removing tough water stains from the car’s external surface.

Some of these water spot removal methods are a bit more time-consuming, while others may be more expensive, but the impact of all these solutions is quite impressive.

And as there are 7 different methods mentioned here to remove water spots from car paint, it might be difficult for you to choose one among them. And it is certainly more difficult to apply them all, isn’t it?

That is why you must choose to apply the methods that are considered to be the best among the best! Yes, the most effective ones are sure to show the results faster. And if you ask for my opinion, I would suggest implementing the following methods after you wash your car properly:

These two are the most effective methods for getting rid of water spots on cars easily. But the other methods are also quite effective and most widely used by the car users, and if you can, you must follow them too.

However, it depends mainly on the kinds of spots you have, and thus, picking the methods that best suit your purpose is always advised. So, do not waste time and get rid of the water spots from your car paint now!

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About Jace Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars and pickup trucks. Applying innovative car care products and installing different latest car accessories are my hobbies. Also, I love sharing my adventurous experience with car lovers.

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