Water spots do not sound as alarming as splattered eggs, squashed bugs, tar or any other kind of nasty-looking dirt on the windshield. But they definitely are not as innocent as they may seem. Those little white spots can compromise your visibility at night as they build up in your windshield, side mirrors and rear glass. The situation can get worse if it rains that even the wipers cannot do much to solve the issue. But before we discuss how to remove water spots from car windows, let us first identify the different types of water spots:
The most common type of water spots are called regular water spots. They usually build up when water leaves mineral residues particularly magnesium and calcium on the surface of your car. It may come from any water that hits the vehicles such as showers, sprinkler, car washes and rainwater. Through time, the chalk-like deposits begin to build up all over your car windows and the car body.
It is recommended to have water stains removed right away as they can become engraved into the car’s paint. These are called etched water stains which developed from water stains that are exposed to intense heat or direct sunlight for a long period. Severe etching can be very tough and costly to get rid of.
Lastly, there’s what you called bonded mineral. These are water spots from acidic water full of contaminants and bonded minerals that will leave water spots on your car. If you fail to take care of it immediately, these water spots may erode the paint of your car and cause something ugly on your windows.
How do you get water spots off car windows?
In choosing which method or treatment to use, you should consider the severity of the water stain and if the formulation is okay for your car windows especially for tinted windows. Here are different ways to remove those annoying water spots on your windows:
The Vinegar Solution Method
Vinegar solution works as it is acidic and water spots deposits are alkali in nature. This method works better when getting rid of freshwater spots. But first, you will need a spray bottle, distilled water, white distilled vinegar, squeegee/paper towel/dry towel, and rough towel.
- In a spray bottle, pour equal parts of distilled vinegar and distilled water on a 50/50 ratio to make your vinegar solution. Shake the bottle for a few seconds to mix the solution.
- Spritz the vinegar solution onto your car windows. The goal is to saturate the water spots and leave it for one or two minutes to let the vinegar soak. If there are other remaining water spots formation, reapply the solution.
- Soak the rough towel in vinegar and water solution till it is wet and stretch it over the sprayed areas of your car windows and mirrors. It is fine to have the wet rough towel over the windows for 1 to 2 minutes to treat the water spots effectively.
- Scrub the glass gently. Scrubbing it aggressively may scratch your windshield, windows, side mirrors and rear glass. The rough towel’s abrasive bumps are enough to get rid of water stain off the car glass with a gentle touch.
- If the water stains proved to be stubborn, allow the solution to stay longer on the glass. You can spray more solution if it dries out. Do not let the solution dry on the glass surface.
- With a dry towel, squeegee or paper towel, wipe off the vinegar and water solution on the car windows and mirrors. But make sure the glass is wet with the solution before using the dry towel, squeegee or paper towel to finish it off.
Natural Homemade Remedies
Aside from vinegar, you can use natural homemade remedies that can give the same results. Moreover, these alternatives can save you some money. There are items you will need: brush, towel or sponge, essential oils with citrus formula, fresh lemons, toothpaste, baking soda, vinegar and distilled water.
Toothpaste Or Baking Soda And Vinegar Paste Method
- To make application easier, blend the toothpaste with some water.
- Apply the toothpaste with water on the car windows and mirrors using a sponge, towel or brush. Allow the toothpaste to sit for a couple of minutes.
- Using water and a squeegee, remove the toothpaste on the glass. Make sure to dry the glass completely.
Note: An alternative to toothpaste is a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
Lemon Juice or Essential Oils Treatment
- Prior to slicing the lemons open, press them on a hard surface. Doing this will make it easier for you to extract the juice. You can use essentials made from citrus formulas like from lemon and orange in case you do not have lemons at your disposal.
- Remove the juice out of the lemons using a lemon squeezer or your hands. Pour the extracted lemon juice in a spray bottle and mix it with water. If you are using the citrus formulated essential oil, mix it with water in a spray bottle. In case you do not have a spray bottle, you can soak a towel in the essential oil or citrus juice, instead.
- Spritz the solution directly onto your car glass or apply the solution using a towel or sponge. Similarly, squeeze a half-cut lemon on top of the glass surface to extract the juice.
- Let the lemon juice or essential oil soak into the glass for a few minutes. Scrub the windows and mirrors gently with the use of a towel or sponge before the solution dries up.
- Splash or spray some distilled water onto the car windows and splash some water on the mirrors and wipe it off using a paper towel or squeegee.
Note: Do not use bottled lemon juice as they are not as effective as fresh lemon juice.
Fine Steel Wool Method
When the lemon, vinegar, essential oils, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, and toothpaste methods fail to remove the water spots, you can try the fine steel wool technique to remove stubborn etched water stains. You will need a fine steel wool (grade 0000) and glass cleaner (rubbing alcohol, vinegar and distilled water).
- Mix rubbing vinegar, alcohol and distilled water to make your homemade glass cleaner solution. Add a tablespoon of vinegar for every 1 cup of water and rubbing alcohol. Pour your glass cleaner solution on a spray bottle.
- Spray the glass cleaner to the car windows and side mirrors. Allow the glass cleaner to soak into the glass for a couple of minutes.
- Gently wipe off the water spots using fine steel wool when the glass is still wet. Make sure you are using grade 0000 fine steel wool, or else your car glass will get scratches.
- With a sponge, paper towel or a squeegee, clean the car windows and mirrors.
Note: If you are concerned about leaving scratch marks on your window, you can test it before application.
The Clay Bar Technique
Yes, you can use a clay bar method to get rid of regular water spots but it is better to choose another method if the water stains are that of bonded mineral deposits as the clay bar treatment may not be as effective. You will need a spray bottle, microfiber towel, clay lubricant and detailing clay bar.
- Spray the clay lubricant over the stained car glass. Application of clay lubrication will prevent scratching the glass when using a clay bar.
- Without putting too much pressure, move the detailing clay bar over the car windows. Softly rub the clay bar over the car windows until it moves smoothly without sticking at the surface. Make sure you have all the hidden spots and corners of the windshield and windows covered.
- Rub the car glass using a clean and dry microfiber towel to finish it off.
Note: If you find the clay bar getting dirty after rubbing it, fold it and use the clean side. Similarly, unpack and use a different and clean detailing clay bar.
Best Water Spot Remover for Auto Glass
Special Cleaning Products
There are several products available that are specially formulated to remove stains from car glass. In most cases, you will apply the special cleaning product of your choice with the use of a squeegee, sponge or towel. But we recommend that you follow the specific application instructions on the label of the car cleaning products. Here are some of the most effective special cleaning products to help get rid of hard water stains:
- Stoner Invisible Glass Premium Cleaner – This is Amazon’s most popular glass care product. It comes in a variety of options such as an EZ Grip bottle with microfiber cloths. This premium automotive glass cleaner offers a no-drip, fine mist spray which allows it to stick to glass and will not waste product, or not go onto the dash when using it. Its formula allows it to dissolve and get rid of a thin layer of film that forms on the interior of a car’s windshields. It is ideal for removing not only water spots but also smoke haze, bug splats, road grime and bird droppings. It does not contain ammonia and is safe for outdoor and indoor use. It is also safe to use on tinted windows.
- Meguair’s Water Spot Remover – Many car enthusiasts trust this brand. This popular product can remove all kinds of water stains on your car glass and is also safe to apply on hard plastic, chrome, paint and all metal surfaces.
- Duragloss Automotive Glass Water Spot Remover – Duragloss is a trustworthy brand that produces and distributes car cleaning and polishing products. It is known for its expertise in manufacturing a product that is specifically designed to get rid of water stains, bugs and other types of stains on your car glass. The formula also contains a lubricant preventing abrasion scratches.
- Sprayway Glass Cleaner – This product is dubbed as the world’s best glass cleaner, and is one of the top rated items under the glass cleaner products category on Amazon. It is formulated to clean glass mirrors, windows and windshields, but can also be safely used on chrome, porcelain, enamel surfaces and other hard surfaces. It is powerful enough to remove stubborn dirt, grease, grime and grit with the use of a heavy duty foam. This glass cleaner will also remove any film and comes with a fresh scent.
How do I prevent hard water stains on my car?
“Prevention is always better than cure.” To avoid the trouble of removing water spots from car windows, windshield and mirrors do the following tips:
- Make sure to have your car washed regularly. Water spots, sometimes, fill your car windows when the car has been neglected and abandoned. More often than not, washing your car regularly and spraying its windows with a vinegar solution at least once every week, will save you the trouble of dealing with water stain issues.
- Apply a water repellant on your car glass. There are available water repellent products that can be used on car glass to serve as a buffer and prevent water spots buildup. But you should make sure that the water repellant product you will be using is specifically formulated for car windows and that they will not compromise visibility.
- Be conscious of where you will park your vehicle. Find a parking area where your car will not be exposed to hard water. For example, the ideal place to park your car is in an enclosed garage if you do not want acidic rain full of bonded minerals to get onto your car.
- After washing your car, do not air dry it. Leaving your car to air dry will leave watermarks on your car windows. What you should do is use a squeegee, a microfiber cloth, paper or soft towel to wipe and dry windows.
As discussed in this article, there are several methods to remove water spots from your windows, all you have to do is decide on what is the best method to use depending on the severity of the water stains.
You can simply go for the vinegar solution technique, homemade treatments or clay bar technique if you are only dealing with regular water spots. But if you have more serious water stains like etched water stains or bonded mineral water spots on your car windows, then make use of special cleaning products or the fine stool wool method.
Dealing with frozen windows? Click here for fast and easy tips on defrosting your car windows.