Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Hard water stains on car paint

Remove hard water stains on car paint

If you park your car near a sprinkler system, the dried water can leave hard water stains on your car’s paint. The longer it sits, hard water spots on car paintthe harder it is to remove. If you catch the stain when it’s just dried surface solids, you can easily remove the powder with a damp cloth. However, if you leave the stain, humidity in the air will cause the stain to etch into your paint.

Step 1 to remove hard water stains on your car paint—try to dissolve the stain

Wash and dry your car. Then mix a 50/50 solution of distilled water and vinegar and use a microfiber towel to wipe it onto the stain. Rub the stain with a wet towel. Let it sit for a while and then wipe dry. Repeat several times. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to polish the area.

I’ve seen many posts where posters recommend using a clay bar if the water/vinegar doesn’t work. Personally, I think that’s a complete waste of time and money. A clay bar is designed to pick off embedded rail dust or fibers. It can’t do anything for etched hard water stains.

Step 2 to remove hard water stains on your car paint—use Mequiar’s Water Spot Remover

Mequiars water spot remover

Mequiar’s Water Spot Remover

Mequiar’s Water Spot Remover isn’t a polishing compound. The components shown below are designed to remove any remaining deposits in the paint. Mequiar’s removes hard water stains on car paint, glass, hard plastic, and chrome. Mequiar’s does not recommend using this product on matte or satin finishes.

Mequiar’s Water Spot Remover contains:

Water as a Diluent
Mineral Oil for a lubricant
Alumina as an Absorbent
Light Aromatic Hydrocarbons as a Solvent
C11-13 Synthetic Isoparaffin as a Solvent
Glycerin as a Humectant
Triethanolamine as a Buffer
Plant Oil as a Conditioner
Polysorbate 80  as an Emulsifier
Diethylhexyl Adipate as a Fragrance Component
Magnesium Nitrate as a Preservative
Methylchloroisothiazolinone as aPreservative
Linalool as a Fragrance Component
Methylisothiazolinone as a Preservative

NOTE: I sometimes include Amazon links in my posts. I receive a commission if you click on those links. I am purposely NOT including Amazon links to these Meguiar’s products to prove a point: I’m not recommending these products simply because of the commission. On the contrary, I’m recommending these Meguiar’s products BECAUSE THEY WORK. Buy them from Amazon if you like or from any retailer. Since there’s no Amazon link, I won’t make anything. That’s how much I believe in these products. 

Step 3 to remove hard water stains on your car paint—use a polishing compound

Mequiar’s Ultimate Compound G172 contains many of the same ingredients as the water spot remover, but also adds a micro-abrasive to polish out the etched water spots. Use a foam pad and a dual action polisher for the best results.

meguiars ultimate compound
©, 2020 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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