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Removing Water Spots from Your Car Windows Like a Pro

Water spots are not just annoying, but they can also affect your field of vision as a driver, directly impacting your safety while driving. These stubborn water spots are also difficult to remove as they don’t get removed with regular cleaning and can leave a streaky residue.

Some drivers would choose just to ignore the water spots on their vehicles. However, it's actually harmful to overlook water spots on your car's windows in the long run. Ignoring water spots can lead to the minerals etching into the glass over time, making them even more difficult to remove and potentially causing permanent damage.

Moreover, water spots can obscure your visibility, especially under direct sunlight or at night when facing headlights. By addressing water spots early, drivers can maintain their car’s appearance and, more importantly, its safety features.

What Causes Water Spots?

To be able to remove water spots from your windshield or your windows successfully, it’s important to understand what causes them. Generally, water is divided into two categories: hard and soft. “Hard” water contains higher amounts of minerals like magnesium or calcium, while “soft” water has significantly less minerals.

Hard water stains on your car windshield are the main cause of water spots. When water from rain, sprinklers, or a car wash evaporates off the surface of the glass, it leaves behind these mineral deposits. Over time, these deposits accumulate, forming visible spots and stains that are notably difficult to remove.

Additionally, environmental factors, such as exposure to polluted rain or acid rain, can exacerbate the formation of water stains, making them even more stubborn and challenging to clean.

How To Remove Water Spots On Your Car’s Window

Tackling water spots on your vehicle's windshield or windows as soon as possible is ideal. As time passes, minerals and other particles can bond permanently to your vehicle's glass surfaces. When these stains etch themselves into the glass, it's nearly impossible to get rid of them. In these cases, some car owners find themselves opting for an auto glass replacement instead.

Here are different ways to remove water spots on car glass:

Vinegar and Water

Spraying a vinegar solution on your vehicle's window and windshields is actually a simple and effective way to remove water spots due to its acetic acid content. This acid reacts with the alkaline minerals (like calcium and magnesium) that constitute hard water spots, dissolving them and breaking their bond with the glass surface.

Pour equal parts of distilled water and white vinegar into a spray bottle, shake the solution then liberally spray the solution onto the affected areas of the glass. Let the solution sit for a minute or two to allow the vinegar to break down the mineral deposits.

Then, wipe the glass with a dry microfiber towel using long, back-and-forth motions. For stubborn spots, you may need to let the vinegar solution sit longer or reapply.


The citric acid content in lemon juice is highly effective at dissolving the alkaline minerals found in hard water spots. When applied to glass, the lemon juice works to soften and lift these deposits, allowing for easy removal with a simple wipe.

Cut a lemon into two halves and firmly press each half against the window, moving in circular motions to ensure the juice covers the affected areas. Use a microfiber cloth or a gentle paper towel to dab away any remaining liquid on the glass.

Another method is to combine lemon juice with hot water in a 1:2 ratio in a spray bottle, target the water spots, let sit for 10-30 minutes, and then gently cleanse the area to remove the buildup.

Baking Soda and Water

Due to its mild abrasive nature, baking soda serves as a versatile cleaning agent that can effectively remove stubborn water spots from your auto glass.

Simply mix baking soda and water until it forms a paste, and apply it directly to the glass with a cloth. The granular texture of baking soda helps to gently scrub away the hard water deposits without damaging the glass surface. After applying and scrubbing with the baking soda paste, it's important to rinse the glass thoroughly with water.

To ensure a clean finish, follow up with a traditional glass cleaner and dry with a piece of newspaper to avoid streaks and residue​

Store-Bought Cleaning Products

Commercial cleaners are available with the specific purpose of removing water spots. To achieve the best results, follow the instructions on the product's label.

Take note that not all formulas are designed for window cleaning, which may result in streaks. To resolve this, complete your cleaning routine with a dedicated glass cleaner and then dry the surface with a piece of newspaper for a streak-free finish.

Additional Tips to Avoid Getting Water Spots On Your Vehicle

To keep your vehicle free from water spots, ensure you thoroughly dry it after each wash using a high-quality microfiber towel to prevent mineral deposits. Washing your vehicle in a shaded area or during cooler parts of the day can also help by reducing the rate of water evaporation and, consequently, the formation of spots.

Before selling a car be aware that ceramic coating also offers a level of protection against water spots on cars by utilizing their hydrophobic properties, which cause water to bead up and roll off the surface more easily than on uncoated surfaces.