How to Prevent Water Spots on Car Windows

water spots on car window

Water spots are a frequent problem for car owners. There’s something particularly infuriating about getting your car freshly cleaned, only to have the spots reappear within days.

It’s nearly impossible to prevent water spots on your car windows. However, you can take steps to avoid the source of water spots and try to minimize the residue that water leaves behind.

Understanding Water Spots

Before treating pesky water spots, first, you need to understand their nature. The source of the problem is not actually the water droplets themselves, but the minerals, soap, dirt, and other types of contaminants that reside within the droplets and leave a ring of foreign matter on your car’s surface once the droplets evaporate.

Not only does rainwater leave water spots, but any unpurified water, like well or tap water, can also cause similar damage. Hard tap water especially has higher levels of minerals like magnesium and calcium, contributing to the risk of leaving water spots on vehicles. This is why distilled water is best when rinsing a car – its lack of mineral content eliminates most minor risks associated with leaving troublesome water spots. 

Types of Water Spots

Water spots refer to a wide variety of surface blemishes caused by interactions between water and surfaces, frequently caused by hard water. It is important to differentiate the levels of severity when discussing various types of water spots, as some are easy to remove while others require significant effort.

Surface-level Water Spots

Surface-level water spots are common on your car’s windshield and can often be seen just 1-2 days after docking at a car wash. Though these water spots may have a subtle corrosion effect, they’re generally mild, causing minimal damage overall. 

Car window cleaner is an effective agent to safely remove these water spots without leaving any scratches or abrasions behind. As these spots are usually fresh, apply car window cleaner with a spray bottle at regular intervals. This will prevent dirt buildup and keep your windshield clean and clear. 

Using a cleaner specifically designed for car windows will dissolve the water spots from the surface of your windshield quickly and efficiently. It uses mild chemicals that break down the binding molecules in any remaining drops of excess moisture and grime on your glass. This helps eliminate any residue left behind from the built-up dust, dirt, and pollen that could form stubbornly on top of your window. Your car will look better than ever with this simple trick! Not only will it be shining brighter, but it’ll also help maintain its value for years to come.

Etching Water Spots

Etching water spots are a form of water that can cause a lot of damage to your car’s windshield. They are caused when your car is left exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. These stubborn water spots gradually harden and cake up, making them more difficult to remove without causing further damage. 

Water spots on your car’s windshield may appear harmless, but when left exposed to the sun’s UV rays, they can cause significant damage. The calcium deposits in water spots form a chemical bond with the glass and become etching water spots that erode the surface of your car’s windshield. As time passes, these spots will build up and harden on the glass surface; the longer they stay on the windshield, the more difficult it will be to remove them.

Treating Water Spots on Car Windows

The only effective way to completely prevent water spots on car windows and other surfaces is to thoroughly dry the car after a wash, rainfall, or any other kind of exposure to water. A good window treatment can help make water spots easier to remove, but cannot fully prevent them from appearing again.

While there are many tips for removing water spots such as using a solution of vinegar, specialty household cleaning products, and even essential oils, we suggest adding a ceramic coating to your car. This can help prevent chemical etching from the water spots. It will prevent permanent damage to the coated surface but won’t prevent the cosmetic mess that water spray leaves behind.

Here Are a Few Tips To Help Minimize the Damage Done by Water Spots:

Your windows can be kept cleaner after being treated with a quality glass treatment that helps prevent dirt and oil residues from sticking to the window surface. Washing away water spots becomes easier.

Polishing your automobile’s windshield helps ensure the clarity of your car’s windows. The polishing process can remove any remaining blemishes caused by water spots. To begin, a specialized abrasive compound will be used with a microfiber towel to help trim down the top layer of glass on your vehicle’s windshield. This compound is an exfoliating scrub for the glass, eliminating any stubborn etchings or deep staining left behind from water stains and other debris.

Correctly Apply a Window Treatment

The treatment needs to be applied in a horizontal pattern instead of a vertical pattern, which can result in wiper blade chatter or stutter.

Clean Windshield Wipers

The windshield wipers on your car should always be kept clean. You should also replace them once every six months to a year. Dirt can build up within their crevices and add to the dirt on your windshield, or worse, it can cause scratches in your windshield.

Avoid Water Splash Sources

Of course, it would be impossible to completely avoid every kind of water source, both natural and artificial, that exist in the world. Take preventative measures to avoid future spots by parking away from sprinklers, which often carry dirty groundwater and mineral deposits that cause water spots.

Of course, you should always use a clean microfiber cloth to dry your car windows after cleaning away spots on windows and stubborn stains. 

You can use these tips to minimize the damage done by water spots on car windows and other exterior surfaces. When water spots do occur, you’ll want to remove them by following the guidelines outlined in this article: How to Remove Water Spots From my Car’s Finish.

Details Matter, located in Melbourne, FL, is your local prestige auto detailing shop, offering exterior and interior detailing services, including ceramic coatings and window treatments. Contact us today for an estimate.

This article was originally published in April 2017 but has been updated for accuracy and freshness.