How to remove hard water stains on cars

how to remove hard water stains from car

Part of driving a car outdoors is dealing with a stain or two. Hard water stains are usually easy to remove with a classic soap and water carwash. For more stubborn stains there are commercial stain removers or an at-home vinegar and water remedy.

The formation of hard water stains on cars can cause serious damage like etching on your car in the long run. To make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s important to take care of your car’s maintenance and remove stains right when you spot them.

Removing hard water stains by washing your car

Before moving on to more complex techniques for removing hard water stains, let’s start with the easiest and most straight-forward method – washing your car yourself. A simple carwash can help get rid of hard water stains, ensuring your car’s surface is optimally maintained.

It is possible to correctly wash your car from the comfort of your own driveway, without even visiting a professional car wash.

  1. Before starting the washing process, wipe off the surface of your car.
  2. Remove all debris because this may scratch your car’s surfaces, like leaves and sticks.
  3. After getting rid of the debris, rinse your car to remove any remaining residue.
  4. Always use clean water because the quality of water is also essential in having a well-maintained car. Experts recommend using portable deionizers or water softeners. If these are hard to find, you can use distilled water as an alternative.
  5. Start washing the wheels first to avoid the splashing of grime onto the rest of the car.
  6. Sponge off the car with warm soapy water or auto shampoo.
  7. Use microfiber towels to dry your car after washing, as air-drying it might lead to more water spots.
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If you don’t have time, or don’t trust your own car washing skills, you can always visit a professional car wash station. By doing so, you will be assured that your car will be washed and treated the way it is supposed to be.

However, if you do have the time, it’s not difficult to wash your car yourself. It’s not that different than washing any other surface. The only difference is that extra caution must be taken since the car’s finish is quite sensitive, and you do not want scratches on its exterior.

Using vinegar to get rid of hard water stains on your car

Distilled white vinegar is the vinegar of choice when dealing with hard water stains on many surfaces. Luckily it works on cars too. This substance can remove the minerals deposited on your car’s finish faster, but don’t leave it on too long, or it could strip the paint.

Follow these simple steps to remove hard water stains off your car’s exterior.

  1. In a bucket, prepare a solution using equal parts of distilled water and distilled white vinegar. 
  2. Soak the sponge with the solution and apply it to areas with hard water stains.
  3. Allow the solution to sit on the stained spot for a minute or two.
  4. With gentle circular motions, wipe the stained spot using the sponge with the solution.
  5. Rinse the area thoroughly with water and dry it using a clean towel.
  6. Remember that vinegar may remove sealants on your car’s finish, so adding a sealant after the process is a good idea.
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Commercial removers will also get rid of hard water stains on your car

For an instant remedy, there are commercial water spot removers available on the market. They work by softening the deposited minerals from hard water stains, while also protecting glass surfaces and paint from being scratched. They are straightforward to use, so just follow the simple directions on the packaging.

Make sure you choose the spot remover that is suitable for your type of car, as using inappropriate water spot removers will endanger your car’s finish.

Common questions about hard water stains on cars

What is the best water spot remover for cars?

The best spot removers for getting rid of hard water spots on your car are eco-friendly, non-flammable, and non-corrosive. In addition to removing water stains, some solutions will also make your car shiner and remove scratches. Find a water spot remover that works well on windshields and mirrors too.

It is a good idea to choose a multi-purpose spot remover so you can also use it with other stains that could settle on your car’s surface, in addition to hard water stains. There are spot removers available that can be used on surfaces other than a car’s finish, making them even more versatile.

How do I remove calcium deposits from my car?

Calcium deposits are caused by contact with hard water. The first line of defense is a simple car wash. If this doesn’t work, they can be removed with a commercial water spot remover or through a 1:1 vinegar and distilled water solution.

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Follow these steps to remove calcium deposits on your car’s surface:

  1. If you have a spray bottle available, make use of it. But if not, any container that can hold the vinegar will do. Pour the white vinegar into the container of your choice.
  2. Mix one-part vinegar to one-part water.
  3. Apply the solution on the calcium deposit to loosen it and eventually remove it.
  4. After the application of white vinegar, use cellophane to cover the area with the calcium deposit stain.
  5. After 15 minutes, scrub the area with a clean cloth dampened with water. Gently do this procedure.
  6. Then rinse the area with water.
  7. Towel dry the wet areas.
  8. Apply a sealant, as the vinegar may have removed some of the existing sealant.

 Can water spots damage car paint?

Yes, water spots can damage car paint. When you let the water evaporate, it leaves behind minerals and other substances that are responsible for staining or etching your car paint. When left untreated, these spots can etch into your car, leaving longer-lasting damage.

If not treated, the spot will be exposed to water and sunlight again, leaving behind another batch of minerals, making the stain even bigger than the original one.

The Bottom Line

Never let your car investment go to waste because of stubborn hard water stains. There are different easy-to-do procedures to remove them from your car’s finish. You can remove those unsightly hard water stains with the different methods we have mentioned above, choose one that is convenient for you. Whatever option you choose, you will end up in the same outcome – and that is getting rid of hard water stains.

how to remove hard water stains from car

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