Why Water Spots On Car Paint Is Bad And How To Remove Them

What are water spots, and why does it matter if they appear on the paint of the car? These tiny white spots on the paint or glass can appear almost anywhere water comes into contact with the car’s paint.

This can occur from rain, sprinkles, water puddles, vehicle washes, kids using squirt guns, and any water that hasn’t been purified to remove minerals, such as when you wash your car at home or a car wash. These seemingly minor spots can dig into the clear coat and irreversibly ruin the paint of your car. 

Let’s examine what enables the spot to appear when the water evaporates. Salts, dirt particles, and minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium carbonates, are present in unfiltered water.

When water is simply allowed to dry, toxic minerals are left behind. This gradually but surely makes a little hole in the paint. Future water finds the same location over time and enlarges the hole. The color is harmed during this process, which is also known as etching. 


Depending on what was in the water and how it dried, there are a few different types. The three various kinds of water spots are as follows:

  • Spots of Hard water: The most typical kinds of water spots are those that are commonly referred to as “hard water spots”. Mineral or dirt deposits called “hard water spots” build on the paint of your car. They can happen if tap water, which is incredibly rich in minerals, is left on the surface of your vehicle for an extended period. This occurs when you wash your automobile with a hose pipe but do not properly dry it, or when your parked car is frequently drenched by a nearby sprinkler system. When he drops them dry, they transform into a sticky, dry-chalky substance that is challenging to clean up.
  • Bonded Mineral: In comparison to hard water spots, bonded mineral water spots are a bit more severe. Water droplets with a higher concentration of minerals generate bonded mineral water stains, which are more problematic to remove. The minerals stick to your car’s surface and can even cause the clear coat of the paint to rust. Even after being removed, some can still leave behind tiny stains or can dull the paint of your car. Acid rain with significant concentrations of nitric and sulfuric acids is the most frequent cause of bonded mineral water spots.
  • Etching: When water droplets dry onto your car as a result of being heated by the sun, they leave behind etching water stains. In a sense, they are “baked” onto the surface of your car. Etching water spots are the most challenging water spots to remove and, if done incorrectly, can result in serious, long-lasting damage to your car. 


Even by simply using something straightforward as a detail spray, the water spots will typically just wash off if you can remove them fast. Things can, however, go wrong if you don’t take care of your paint by cleaning the water stains. With time, these spots will become more challenging to remove if the paint is repeatedly exposed to hard water without being cleaned. Water spots can become so serious that sanding the paint is the only way to get them off. 

Various ways can help to prevent water spots. 

  1. Avoiding getting the car accidentally wet in the first place is the first and best course of action. You could, for instance, take the car into the garage or park farther away from the sprinklers.
  2. Putting a barrier between the clear coat and the water is yet another excellent approach to prevent water damage. In this manner, the paint’s surface is never in contact with water. Applying a high-quality wax, sealer, or ceramic coating takes care of this. Choose one of the other two items since wax is at the bottom of the list. To maintain the protection, waxes or sealants must be applied again and again throughout the year (waxes more frequently than sealants).
  3. Always consider the manufacturer’s advice while selecting a product. 


Are you still worried about what should you do if you have tried everything and still have water spots? From least to most aggressive, we will discuss a few strategies. 

  1. The first thing you should do is just wash the car, preferably in the shade and either early in the morning or late at night, ensuring that the automobile is completely dry after washing.
  2. Try using a rapid detailer with a microfiber towel instead of cleaning if your car is already fairly clean.
  3. After washing, if the water stains are still present, you should be a little more aggressive.
  4. The next approach I would try is a 50/50 blend of ordinary white vinegar and plain water. The vinegar dissolves the minerals in the water spots, making it simpler to remove them. It works best to do this on cool paint.
  5. Typically opt to spray the towel a few times then gently massage the areas until they disappear. After that wash the area or use a rapid detailer to remove the vinegar from the paint.
  6. In most cases, washing or a vinegar solution will work. However, you must switch to the clay bar if both of these fail. To determine if the clay will pick up the above surface mineral deposits, moisten the paint with the rapid detailer before sliding the clay bar over the water areas.
  7. You must get the polisher out if this doesn’t work out. Try making a few passes with a polishing pad first. If this doesn’t work, increase the level of aggressiveness by making a few passes with a cutting pad and a compound; if this is successful, conclude with a polish and a polishing pad.

Wet standing on the paint would be the worst possible situation. Start with light pressure and grade, such as 3000 grit. Make a few passes while maintaining the moisture on the paper and the surface. Check to see whether the water stains have been eliminated; if not make a few more passes. The cutting pad and compound on the polisher, followed by the polishing pad and polish, must be used next. Whatever you do, make sure to cover the paint with a high-quality sealer or ceramic coating to help avoid further problems. 

Suppose you want some professional assistance in removing water spots from your car.