How to Take Off Water Spots on Your Car | YourMechanic Advice

How to Take Off Water Spots on Your Car

Difficult to remove once dry, water can leave unsightly spots on a vehicle's exterior. There are a couple of options to remove these spots, however, including using white vinegar or a hydrochloric/hydrofluoric acid mix after washing your vehicle. Regardless of the method you use, you can follow some basic steps to easily remove water spots and keep your vehicle's exterior water mark-free

  • Warning: Hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids are chemicals that can be dangerous if not handled properly.

Method 1 of 2: Using hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid

Materials Needed

hazard symbol

While dangerous if not handled properly, solutions containing a mixture of hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid (sometimes called muriatic acid) can easily remove water stains from your vehicle's exterior. By taking safety precautions and following some simple instructions, you can have your car's paint looking great in no time.

  • Warning: Hydrofluoric acid is dangerous if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Take extreme caution when using this chemical.

Step 1: Dress in protective gear. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as a respirator, safety goggles, and gloves.

You should also avoid contact with the skin by wearing a long-sleeve shirt and pants while using the substance.

Step 2: Spray the water spots. After donning the appropriate protective equipment, take the spray bottle containing the acidic mixture and spray it on the area containing the water spots.

Another option is to spray the mixture on the rag itself. In this way, you can avoid getting the chemicals on areas you don't want to be sprayed.

  • Warning: Take care not to get the acid solution on auto glass, as it can damage the glass. Spray the acid only on the affected areas or directly on the rag to remove the water marks.

Step 3: Wash the car. Once you remove all of the water spots from your vehicle's exterior, wash the vehicle thoroughly.

Use soap and water to completely remove any remaining traces of the chemical spray.

  • Tip: When spraying off your car, make sure that none of the chemical gets on any of the glass sections, such as windows and mirrors, on your vehicle. This might require you to wipe the vehicle exterior with a rag as opposed to spraying it with the hose.

Step 4: Dry the car. Dry the exterior of the vehicle thoroughly using a clean towel.

Make sure to get into the nooks and crannies, including around the grille, windows, and other areas where moisture likes to hide.

Step 5: Wax and polish the car. Chances are, the chemical spray removed the wax from the body of your vehicle. This requires you to reapply the car wax and to polish it using a car polisher.

Method 2 of 2: Using white vinegar

Materials Needed

  • Bottle of white vinegar
  • Car wax
  • Clean rags
  • Soap and water
  • Water hose

White vinegar, while not as corrosive or dangerous as other sprays and chemicals, can help remove water marks from your car's exterior. Using white vinegar does not remove water spots that have become etched into the paint, though it does provide a solution for removing water marks that have newly formed.

  • Tip: The best way to deal with water spots is to remove them before they can dry. To this end, keep a clean rag in your vehicle for just such a purpose, wiping them off as they appear.

car being washed by hand

Step 1: Wash the car. To remove water marks that have already dried, mix soap and water and wash the body of the car.

If you’re at the car wash, consider spraying on a pre-wash solution and letting it soak for a few minutes.

  • Tip: Grease-cutting dish detergents can help remove dirt and water spots. They also provide a barrier to help prevent such build-up in the future. Use of such products will strip the wax from your vehicle's exterior, requiring you to reapply it after washing and rinsing your car.

Step 2: Apply soap to the marked areas. Next, soap up the body of the vehicle, making sure to hit all of the areas using a clean rag. Rinse off the soap with clean water.

  • Tip: When washing your vehicle, start from the top and work your way down. This is especially important when rinsing your vehicle off, as the soap and water will run from the highest to the lowest point on the vehicle naturally.

Step 3: Wash the car with the vinegar solution. Using a mixture of water and white vinegar, wash the body of the vehicle again.

Rinse well with water. This should remove any water spots from the vehicle's exterior surface.

Step 4: Apply a coat of wax. Using the car wax and car polisher, re-apply a coat of wax to the vehicle. At this point, you can buff out any remaining blemishes with the buffer wheel or rag.

By using the provided methods, you can remove water spots from your vehicle's exterior in no time. If you still cannot remove the water marks, consider consulting with an experienced auto body professional for other options.


Next Step

Schedule Oil Change

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Oil Change. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Oil Change reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Oil Change Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

20,391

Rating Summary
19,121
827
169
83
191
19,121
827
169
83
191

Fakhar

5 years of experience
7 reviews
Fakhar
5 years of experience
Ford Fusion - Oil Change - Pinole, California
Fakhar was amazing. Definitely acknowledge and saved me money. I definitely recommend him servicing your vehicle!
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen - Oil Change - Albany, California
Fakhar was friendly and efficient, with some helpful tips about preventative maintenance. Would definitely recommend!

Tabitha

16 years of experience
220 reviews
Tabitha
16 years of experience
Acura TL - Oil Change - San Diego, California
Service went exactly as intended. Handed her the key, and she returned it sooner than expected once the work was completed. Thanks for the great work Tabitha!
Kia Spectra - Oil Change - San Diego, California
Tabitha was on time and very thorough. She was a professional answering all my questions. It was a pleasure having Tabitha take care of my car.

Michael

20 years of experience
85 reviews
Michael
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra - Oil Change - Riverside, California
Very professional and friendly. Arrived on time. Took the time to explain what was wrong with my car. If my car has issues in the future I am definitely requesting him again!

Wesley

8 years of experience
71 reviews
Wesley
8 years of experience
Honda CR-V - Oil Change - Phoenix, Arizona
Wesley was on time, very friendly and knowledgeable, and did a great job. He completed three services on my CR-V in no time.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How to Clean Your Car Using Little or No Water
Use as little water as possible to be eco friendly when washing your car. Use waterless car wash fluid and microfiber cloths to clean your car off.
How to Clean Oxidized Headlights
Since vehicle manufacturers made the widespread switch in the 1980s from easily broken glass headlights to ones made of polycarbonate...
How to Use Car Shampoo
Shampooing Shampooing your car’s interior removes dirt and eliminates odors. This is a task that takes some time, but it is a straightforward process. By following some easy instructions, you can have a clean car interior you can be proud...

Related questions

Battery with white buildup

Yes, you'll need to clean the connections off because it will eventually start to corrode the metal. In order to do this, take your battery terminals off, clean it really well with a wire brush that you can get at...

How do I clean the seats?

When cleaning the seats, be sure to never use harsh organic solvents such as alcohol or benzene. These kinds of solvents can cause damage to both the seats and the seat warmers. Instead, use a soft cloth and a mild...

How do you maintain the touchscreen?

While the touchscreen in your car is designed to require virtually no maintenance, a little TLC will go a long way toward keeping the screen in great shape and useful for years to come. Here’s what you should do: ...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com