5 Methods For Removing Water Stains From Car Windows

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Water spots are not going to physically damage your vehicle in the same way that other substances like splattered bugs or bird poop might, but they can still impact your visibility and make your car look less clean than it is! If water stains aren’t removed they can also begin to become a more permanent feature on your vehicle.  

Once you have these water stains they will slowly but surely build up on the glass parts of your car from the windows to the side view mirrors and windshield and when you’re driving at night and there is glare from another car’s headlights they can really limit what you can see.Unfortunately windshield wipers will not help you here with either type of water spot. 

Did You Know There Are Different Types Of Water Spots

Types of water spots:

  • Regular Water Stains
  • Etched
  • Bonded Mineral Water Spots

Regular Water Spots

You’ve almost certainly seen these before in places like your sinks, bathtubs and showers. They also form on your car and anywhere that comes in contact with hard water. Hard water is water that has yet to have the minerals within it removed. The minerals specifically are magnesium and calcium that are responsible for leaving the milky white deposits that we identify as hard water stains. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind trace amounts of these minerals, which over time build up. When it comes to your car, they build up on the windows and car body. 

Etched Water Stains

You want to remove these water stains immediately, because they can build up to the point that they become etched into the car’s paint. Etched water stains are hard water spots that are exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. These types of water stains can also be caused by extreme heat exposure as well. Removing these types of water stains can be challenging not to mention expensive. If you can remove them at all. 

Bonded Mineral Water Stains

 The final type of water stains are called bonded mineral stains which are from acidic water. Acidic water is full of unhealthy mixins and types of bonded materials. This water will also leave water spots on your vehicle. These water stains are more dangerous than even etched water stains. These water stains will erode your paint and the sealant of your glass windows. It must be taken care of immediately. 

So How Do You Get Water Stains Off Of Your Car 

There are a wild assortment of methods you can use to remove the water stains from your vehicle. When picking one you need to take into account the severity of the water stains and diagnose the type of stain you are dealing with. 

We’ve compiled a list of the best methods for removing water stains from a vehicle and these can be effective for other household surfaces where water stains have accumulated as well. Here they are:

Vinegar And Distilled Water Method

This method is most effective for freshwater spots as the solution is acidic where as the spots are basic. You will need:

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Distilled water
  • A soft scrub brush or sponge
  • A spray bottle
  • A squeegee
  • Paper towels
  • A towel

Step 1:

Mix equal parts white distilled vinegar and distilled water to make the vinegar solution you’ll use to remove the spots. Once thoroughly mixed use a funnel to place this mixture into your spray bottle

Step 2: 

Spray the vinegar mixture on the water spots of the vehicle being sure to saturate the spots. Leave the mixture to set for about 3 minutes. Repeat this step as needed until all water stains are dissolved. 

Step 3:

Soak the towel you are using in the vinegar, you may want to use a bucket to do this, or simply lay the towel across the windshield and spray down with the vinegar solution. You should aim to have the soaked towel across the windshield for 2-3 minutes. 

Step 4:

Next you’re going to put in some elbow grease and gently scrub away the water stains. Be careful not to put a ton of pressure onto the towel, aggressively removing the stains can scratch your paint or the glass windshield as the chemical build up can be sharp on a micro level. The towel should be enough to scrub away the water stains, but if you would like to use another tool a soft sided sponge should also get the job done. 

Repeat these steps and soak for longer periods of time when necessary for especially stubborn stains. If you are soaking for longer, don’t let the solution dry out. Continuously spray the towel with more of the solution every few minutes. 

Step 5:

Depending on what tools you have available, you’re going to dry the window. A squeegee and a dry towel work best, but paper towels will also work in a pinch. Wipe the windshield thoroughly. 

Note: Always test every method in  a small inconspicuous area as some windows are not meant to be treated with some chemicals, even holistic things like lemon juice. 

Natural Homemade Remedies  

There are a variety of natural products that you can find around your home to help you rid yourself of hard water spots. Here are some of the ways to do so effectively and safely.

Toothpaste Method

Step 1:

Make a blend of toothpaste and water at a ratio of 1:4. Be sure to mix well for easy application. 

Step 2:

Apply a thin coating of the toothpaste mixture to any glass surface that is suffering from hard water stains. Allow the mixture to sit for up to ten minutes.

Step 3:

Using a clean towel or a squeegee remove the toothpaste mixture from the car.

Step 4:

Rinse thoroughly and dry glass completely.

Baking Soda Paste and Vinegar Method

Step 1:

Make a paste using a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and water. Apply the baking soda paste to the affected area. 


Step 2:

Take a spray bottle and fill it with white distilled vinegar. Spray down the windshield. 

Step 3:

Allow to sit for 1-3 minutes. 

Step 4:

Rinse the mixture off and dry the area. Repeat as necessary. 

Note: Always test every method in  a small inconspicuous area as some windows are not meant to be treated with some chemicals, even holistic things like lemon juice. 

Lemon Juice Method

Step 1:

Roll lemons between your palm and the countertop in your kitchen to juice the lemon partially before you open it. This is an old bartender trick to break up some of the juice from the flesh of the fruit. If you don’t have lemons available to you but do have lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit essential oils feel free to use this as well. DO NOT USE BOTTLED LEMON JUICE

Step 2:

Juice two lemons. Then mix the juice with equal parts water then add to a spray bottle. 

Step 3:

Spray down the windshield or mirrors that are affected by the hard water spots. 

Step 4:

Use a soft sponge or paper towel to gently exfoliate the surface. You can also use the lemon halves as a scrub for the material

Step 5:

Rinse thoroughly and use a towel to dry the surface or a squeegee. 

Note: Always test every method in  a small inconspicuous area as some windows are not meant to be treated with some chemicals, even holistic things like lemon juice.  

Fine Steel Wool Method

This method is ideal for stubborn water stains. You will need a fine steel wool (grade 0000) and glass cleaner.

Step 1:

Mix rubbing alcohol or vodka, with distilled water, or use a common ammonia free glass cleaner of your choosing. 

Step 2:

Spray the glass cleaner that you made or the store bought one across your windshield, windows and mirrors. Allow to sit for several minutes. 

Step 3:

Now that you’ve allowed the mixture to soak, take the grade 0000 steel wool you have set aside and gently scrub away the water spots being careful not to put any pressure on the steel wool as to not scratch the windows. 

Step 4:

Rinse the windows thoroughly.

Step 5:

Apply another coating of glass cleaner and wipe immediately with a paper towel. 

Note: Always test every method in  a small inconspicuous area as some windows are not meant to be treated with some chemicals, even holistic things like lemon juice. 

Water Spot Removal Products

There are tons of products on the market that are formulated specifically to remove water stains. Some are formulated for auto glass, others for household use. If you don’t fancy any of our more holistic approaches to removing spots from auto glass, try out some of the products listed below which have been reviewed by CashCarsBuyer.Com. We’ve attached links to all of the products so that you can efficiently shop them at a retailer near you. 

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. Click the photo below to see current prices!

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. Click the photo below to see current prices!

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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 From Forming?

You should always try to prevent hard water spots before they occur to save yourself time and money. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Wash your car frequently
  2. Coat your vehicle in a water repellent
  3. Keep your car away from sprinklers and other hard water sources
  4. Wash your vehicle with soft water whenever possible
  5. Dry your vehicle thoroughly after washing it

Whatever method of removal you decide on, you are fully capable of removing your hard water stains from your vehicle. Good luck!

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We hope this article has answered all of your questions regarding water spots on your vehicle, and that you feel more prepared to take control of the scent of your vehicle both now and in the future. Consider protecting your vehicle with an extended warranty plan from Protect My Car. In addition to warranties, Protect My Car also offers insurance and maintenance plans and can negotiate the best prices on repairs with mechanics.

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