how to get rid of hard water stains

Hate Water Spots? 3 Tips For How To Get Rid of Hard Water Stains

Water spots on cars are an eyesore, and some can be difficult to remove. This blog will discuss the causes of water spots, the different types of water stains, and our best tips for how to get rid of hard water stains.

Understanding the Different Types of Water Spots

Water spots on cars can range from small, barely noticeable areas to more prominent, larger spots. But what causes them? Simply put, water stains are formed when contaminants within water droplets dry on your car. There are three main types:

  1. Hard water stains:

These are the most common type of water spots. These spots are formed when hard water comes in contact and dries on your vehicle. Hard water stains come from dirt or mineral deposits that dry on your car’s paint. 

The cause of hard water spots can vary. These little white spots can come from sprinklers hitting your car or not drying your vehicle well enough after a car wash. Any non-filtered water that comes in contact with your vehicle can stain it. 

  1. Bonded Mineral: 

These water spots are more severe than hard water stains. Bonded mineral stains are formed from drops of water than have a high concentration of minerals. Because of that, they are even more difficult to remove than hard water stains. These minerals can penetrate through the clear coat of your paint, leaving stains. 

Bonded mineral spots are typically caused by acid rain that contains high amounts of sulfuric or nitric acid. 

  1. Etching: 

The worst of the three, etching occurs when drops of water dry on your car from the sun’s heat. These spots are “baked” into the surface of your vehicle and cause permanent damage. These are the most challenging water stains to remove and can ruin your paint if not removed properly. 

How To Get Rid of Hard Water Stains: DIY Methods

If you want to try to remove water spots yourself but are unsure how to remove water spots from car, here are a couple DIY methods you can try.

The first method is to create a cleaning solution from distilled water and white vinegar. 

  1. Mix two parts of distilled water and one part of white vinegar in a spray bottle
  2. Spray this mixture on the hard water stains. 
  3. Using a clean microfiber cloth, gently buff out the stains. If the stains have been sitting for a long time, you may have to use a bit of elbow grease. 
  4. Focus on small areas at a time to ensure you have enough time to wipe and dry each area properly 

Another method you can try is a solution of three parts baking soda and one part distilled water in a bowl to create a paste. You can add white vinegar if you need your solution extra strong. 

  1. Once you’ve created your paste, grab a clean microfiber cloth. Apply a portion of your paste and gently rub over the water stains. 
  2. Let this paste sit on the spots for at least 15 minutes.
  3. To remove the paste, rinse with clean water or use a rag soaked in clean water to wipe. 
  4. Repeat as many times as needed to remove the stains. 

Professional Water Spot Removal Services

Water spot removal can be tedious. Mixing solutions and scrubbing your car from top to bottom can be extremely time-consuming. If you don’t have the time or patience to attempt at-home water spot removal, it’s time to call in the pros before paint damage occurs. 

Hiring a professional to take care of those pesky water stains can save you a lot of time and frustration. Professional water spot removal services use specialized products and techniques to remove water spots quickly and efficiently.

When looking for a professional water spot removal service, it is important to do your research. Ensure that the service is reputable and has experience in water spot removal. You should also make sure that the service uses safe products and techniques.

Tips for Avoiding Water Spots on Your Car

As mentioned, water stains can occur from simply parking too close to sprinklers or not drying your car well enough after a wash. Here are some tips for avoiding these frustrating spots. 

  1. The number one way to avoid these pesky stains is to get a coating on your vehicle, like paint protection film, so that water glides right off. If water can’t stick to your car, it can’t soak in and ruin your paint. While no film has a 100% guarantee, they can help immensely.
  2. Avoid rain and sprinklers as much as possible. While we understand not everyone has a garage or covered space to park their cars, certain measures can still be taken to help protect your vehicle. If possible, park away from sprinklers, so your car isn’t getting hit repeatedly. If you notice your vehicle has gotten wet, dry it as soon as possible to avoid staining. 
  3. Wash with distilled water. Water spots are formed from the minerals within tap water, so using distilled water takes those harmful minerals out of the equation. Still, make sure to dry thoroughly after cleaning. 
  4. Keep your vehicle out of excessive heat when possible. The sun’s rays can be harmful to your car’s paint, especially if combined with hard water. If you notice a shady spot on a hot day, take it. This practice can make all the difference in ensuring these spots don’t penetrate your paint. 


Water spots on cars can be a nuisance, but luckily they can be removed with the right products and techniques. 

If you have stubborn water stains on your car that won’t come off, Elite Auto Care can help. Our team members are experts in water spot removal and will get your vehicle looking brand new! Contact us today to learn more about our water spot removal services.


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