Stubborn water spots on car windows can be very difficult to remove. Using your windshield wipers or soap and water won’t permanently get rid of them. Fortunately, there are a few effective ways to remove these spots and get your windows clean.
The best ways to get rid of water spots include mixing water with other substances. Some of them might be a little unorthodox, such as toothpaste and lemon juice, but they are nonetheless effective. Other effective methods include using essential oils and steel wool.
The following article is a short guide on the best methods to remove water spots on car windows. It also includes a brief explanation of how water spots appear and the different types of spots there are.
6 Best Methods to Remove Stubborn Water Spots on Car Windows
Water spots won’t do any permanent damage to your car windows, such as scratches or dents. However, they will diminish your visibility significantly. So it’s recommended to get rid of them sooner rather than later.
You only need to use most of these methods once or twice a month, and they will ensure your car is free of water spots.
1. Baking Soda and Water
Mixing baking soda and water into a paste is a great homemade method to remove water spots from your car. But this method also requires a few extra steps to make sure there’s no residue and the spots come off.
The materials that you need for this method include:
- Baking soda
- A cloth
- Glass cleaner
The first step is to make a paste out of baking soda and a small amount of water. Mix small amounts of water into the baking soda until a thick paste starts to form. Put that paste onto a cloth and scrub the water spots vigorously. The rough granules of the baking soda will break down the water spots.
Once all of the spots are gone, rinse the car windows with water and use a store-bought glass cleaner to wipe away any residue. Another tip is to use newspaper to wipe away the residue since it can help prevent streaks from forming. This method is the best for water spots that have been on your windows for a couple months.
Another ingredient you can add to this method is vinegar, specifically white distilled vinegar. After applying the baking soda paste to your car windows, take a spray bottle and fill it with one part vinegar and one part water. Shake the spray bottle a bit to mix it up, and spray the mixture onto the windows. Let the mixture sit for about one to three minutes. Rinse the mixture off with water and repeat as needed until all of the spots are gone.
2. Toothpaste and Water
While this method might seem strange, it does actually work. Toothpaste will break down the water spots on your car windows effectively. But it’s important to only use a small amount of toothpaste so you don’t make your windows dirtier or waste your toothpaste.
For this method, the only materials you need are:
Any brand of toothpaste will be effective for this method. You only need a small amount since there’s already water in it and adding more water will make it easier to spread. To start, mix one part toothpaste and four parts water and use a towel to spread that mixture on any water spots. Let the mixture sit for about ten minutes, then use a squeegee to remove it. Rinse the windows with water and use a clean towel to dry the windows completely.
3. Vinegar and Water
Distilled white vinegar and distilled water is another vinegar mixture that’s effective at cleaning water spots. The acidity of the vinegar will easily break down the water spots. And distilled water doesn’t have any minerals in it, so it makes the acidity of the vinegar less harsh.
The materials you will need for this method are:
- Distilled water
- Distilled white vinegar
- A soft scrub brush or sponge
- A spray bottle
- A squeegee
You can find distilled white vinegar in your local grocery store, and you can make your own distilled water. All you have to do is heat up tap water until it turns into vapor. Once the vapor condenses back to water, it will leave behind any mineral residue, leaving you with distilled water.
The first step is to mix equal parts vinegar with equal parts water. Once you mix it fully, pour it into a spray bottle and shake it a bit to make sure it’s fully mixed. Next, spray the mixture onto any water spots on your car windows and let it sit for about three minutes. Repeat this process until all of the water spots have completely dissolved.
Grab a clean towel and soak it in distilled white vinegar. You can do this by laying the towel on the windshield and spraying it with the vinegar solution. Leave the towel sitting on the windshield for about two to three minutes. Next, use the towel to gently scrub away at the water spots. Applying too much pressure might scratch the glass and create a bigger problem. If the towel isn’t working, then you can also use a soft sponge or scrub brush.
Lastly, use a squeegee and a clean towel to dry the solution and wipe it off the windows. It’s recommended to spray a small area of your windshield first with the vinegar and water mixture. If the water spots aren’t dissolving, then you might need to increase the vinegar and water ratio.
You also might need to leave the towel on your windshield for a longer period of time, but don’t let it dry out. Consistently spray the towel with the vinegar and water solution until the spots start dissolving.
4.Lemon Juice or Lemon Slices
Lemon slices and lemon juice are also very acidic, and will effectively break down the water spots on your car windows. But it isn’t recommended to place lemon slices directly onto your windows. Using water to lessen the lemon’s acidity will prevent your windows from getting damaged.
The only things you need for this method are:
- Towels or soft sponges
- A squeegee
Once you have all of your materials, roll the lemons between your palm and your kitchen countertop. This little trick will help separate some of the juice from the flesh of the lemon, making it easier to juice the lemon. However, it isn’t recommended to use store-bought lemon juice. The juice in these products will have had extra chemicals put in it to make it last longer, and it won’t be as effective at cleaning the water spots. After you juice the lemons, add equal parts water and lemon juice to a spray bottle and mix it up. For example, if you juice two lemons, then add two parts water to the mixture.
Spray the water spots with the solution and let it sit for about a minute. Use a soft sponge or a clean towel to gently scrub at the water spots. You can also use half of the lemon as a scrubber for the most stubborn water spots. Lastly, rinse the windows with water and dry them with a towel or a squeegee.
5. The Steel Wool Method
Steel wool is the most ideal for stubborn water spots or spots that have been there for more than a year. The steel wool acts as an effective scrubber for stubborn stains without you needing to put pressure on it.
The materials needed for this method include:
- Fine steel wool (grade 0000 is ideal)
- Distilled water
- Rubbing alcohol or vodka
You can find steel wool at your local hardware store. Grade 0000 is the most ideal since it’s fine enough to not scratch your windows, but it will still be an effective scrubber. Mix equal parts vodka or rubbing alcohol with distilled water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the windows and let it sit for about three to five minutes. You might need to let it sit longer depending on the severity of the stain.
Use the steel wool to gently scrub at the water spot, but don’t apply any pressure because doing so could damage your windows. Rinse the windows with water and dry them with a clean towel.
6. Essential Oils
Citrus scented essential oils are effective at breaking down small water spots on your car. Their citrusy scents mean they are acidic and will be effective at breaking down the spots on your car. But it’s recommended to only use them for small spots, rather than large ones.
The only things you need for this method are citrus-scented essential oils and something to scrub with, like a towel or sponge. Any of the following scents will work.
Shake up the bottle a bit and place two to three drops of the oil into water. Soak up the mixture with a towel or sponge and scrub gently at the water stains with it. Rinse the windows off with water and dry them with a clean towel.
Why Do These Water Spots Appear?
Water spots usually appear on your car windows because of minerals bonding together and something called etching. These instances are typically caused by rainwater and the natural minerals in it.
The most common types of water spots that appear are just regular water spots. These are caused by something called hard water. Hard water is water that still has minerals in it that need to be removed. The minerals are usually calcium and magnesium, and they make the water take on a vaguely white color. On the other hand, soft or distilled water has the minerals in it removed, and it looks clear.
When hard water evaporates, it leaves behind some of these minerals and they build up over time. The result is the somewhat white spots that appear on your car’s windows and windshield.
The next way that water spots appear is through bonded minerals. These are typically formed by the minerals and dirt that are found in acidic water. Acidic water is typically found in sprinklers or hoses. So if your car is being sprayed with a sprinkler or you’re washing it with a hose, bonded mineral water spots are likely to appear.
These stains are called bonded mineral stains because they are caused when minerals bond together as the water dries. These water stains must be removed immediately, as they can erode the sealant on your windows and windshield and cause even more damage.
The final way that water spots appear on your car windows is through etching. This occurs when your car has water droplets on it, and they are dried by the sun. They then essentially bake into the surface of your windshield or windows and are very difficult to remove. If they aren’t removed correctly, they could damage your car.
The easiest way to remove etched water stains is to remove them immediately using one of the methods described above. The sooner the etched water stains are removed, the less likely they are to embed themselves into your windows or windshield and cause bigger problems.
Removing water stains and spots from your car can be a laborious task. But doing so can be made a bit easier by trying out the methods described above. Trying each of them out until you find one that works best for you can make removing hard water stains easier.
It’s also recommended to try these methods out on small spots that aren’t easily noticeable. If they work, then you can continue. But if not, then you’ll know that you should try a different method.