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How to remove water spots from car windows?

  • Cars Explained
  • Natasha Young
  • 7 minutes

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You probably came across this article because you’ve noticed some hard water spots on your vehicle’s windows. You are probably wondering where those came from, how to remove water spots from car windows.  Or perhaps both. Well, the good news is that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. 

No matter how glossy the car’s exterior looks, if a car arrives with dirty windows that are completely covered in dust and dirt, people will turn their heads away. Because driving a dirty car is a massive turn-off.  But most importantly, you must be able to see out of your windows in order to drive safely. Although water spots appear to be relatively harmless, they can eventually accumulate and fog up your entire window or, worse, make your window structurally unstable and vulnerable to breaking. Nobody wants that, right? 

 As a result, knowing how to remove water spots from car windows is critical. But rather than taking your car to an expensive full detailing service, let’s look at some ways you can remove those water spots by yourself at home. Let’s get right into it! 

Common types of stains or water spots in car windows 

Normal water spots or stain 

Typical water spots form when hard water leaves a mineral residue on your vehicle’s windows. Typically, these minerals are magnesium, calcium, or something similar. 

Unfortunately, water from any source, including rainwater, sprinkler water, and even water from certain car wash services, can cause these spots. These mineral deposits form over time, much like line scale, and end up causing a permanent water spot that won’t go away without extensive treatment.   

Stains with etched patterns 

Regular mineral deposits do not cause etched water stains. Instead, these stains occur when puddles or small pools of water are exposed to intense heat or high amounts of sunlight for extended periods of time.  

As the temperature of your car’s windows rises, water spots can eventually become “etched” into the glass. This is one of the reasons why it is critical to thoroughly dry your car after washing it – you cannot simply leave it out in the sun to dry. Etched stains are among the most difficult to remove and may necessitate professional assistance or abrasive removal methods such as wet sanding.   

Mineral spots 

Mineral stains, also known as bonded mineral stains, occur when rainwater containing particularly corrosive or acidic elements strikes the glass or body of your vehicle. Acid or toxic rain can be caused by a variety of factors, and you can even get these stains if you get rained on anywhere around smoke from vehicle exhaust pipes or manufacturing plants. 

They leave corrosive or toxic mineral deposits on your car’s glass, similar to regular water stains. These minerals can eventually bond to the glass, making removal extremely difficult. Worse, the minerals can corrode the glass over time, making it fragile and prone to shattering or simply making it look bad.  

How to remove water spots from car windows? 

Fortunately, there are several methods to remove stains or water spots from car windows without having to replace them.  As a safety measure, always wear gloves and protect yourself, especially your eyes, from any contact with the solutions when you are cleaning.   

Using a glass cleaner 

Research and identify a good window or glass cleaner. Use a microfiber cloth to scrub away the water stain or spot. In most cases, this method works best with the normal spots, as you will not accidentally wear down the glass material. We recommend using a microfiber cloth because it does not leave pieces of fabric behind and does not scratch the glass.   

Using vinegar 

Vinegar is extremely acidic in nature, and you can remove water spots by combining it with water. This combination can neutralize the minerals present in a water spot or stain without damaging the glass beneath if you do it correctly. Make sure to use a microfiber cloth once more to wipe it clean. 

We recommend using a spray bottle filled with vinegar and water solution. Make sure the solution contains an equal amount of both liquids. If you use too much vinegar, it can permanently damage the glass of your windows. Allow the solution to soak on the glass for a minute or two before scrubbing away the mineral buildup in the areas of the water spot with the most mineral buildup. If you’re working on the interior, spray your microfiber cloth rather than the glass itself to keep the mixture from contacting internal components. To clean up any accidental messes, use a reliable interior cleaner.   

Using lemon juice 

As a substitute for vinegar solution, you can cut a lemon in half and extract its juice. You can use it to dissolve minerals in a water spot or stain. Since squeezing enough lemon juice to fill a bottle is probably too time-consuming for most people, you can simply rub a slice of lemon on water spots instead. 

 Make sure to apply a lot of pressure so that you get enough acidic juice to do the job. Then, dampen a microfiber cloth and try to rub the water spot away over time. A gallop of glass cleaner over the top should help remove any smears or dirt that remains.  


water spots on car windows


Using baking soda 

Make a paste by combining a small amount of water with baking soda. Apply this paste to a microfiber cloth and vigorously scrub the water spot. The baking soda paste contains abrasive granules that can wear away the water spot’s minerals and limescale-like buildup. 

After scrubbing the spot to the best of your ability, thoroughly rinse the glass with water. Because there is a chance of debris or paste scattering around your car’s interior, we advise you to use this method only for outside windows. To remove residue and streaks from your window glass, we recommend using a regular glass cleaner and newspaper.  

Using toothpaste 

You can also use a water-to-toothpaste mixture here.  Apply this paste to your windows, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse with water. Following this method, you should clean and thoroughly dry your car’s glass with a conventional glass cleaner.   

Using essential oils of lemon or orange 

Lemon or orange essential oils can help remove hard water spots on your car’s windows. They can also help to prevent hard water deposit buildup in the future. Apply the solution to your window with a sponge or microfiber towel after combining a few drops of essential oils with water. Allow it to soak before removing it with a reliable glass cleaner.  

How to protect your car windows from these water spots? 

While removing water spots is the first step, you are not truly finished until you protect your glass from future spots. To protect your car windows from water spots, you should:

  • Avoid buildup and treat your water spots as soon as possible. 
  • Remove any water that has accumulated on your windshield and windows. 
  • Park your vehicle in a covered area to keep your windshield from getting wet. 
  • Apply water repellent to your windshield and windows.

Water spots can be extremely difficult to remove, especially if they cover the entire surface of your car windows. However, the good news is that you do not need to spend money on expensive spot cleaning products or send your car to a full detailing service. Simply use one of the simple solutions listed above, and remember to pair it with a good glass cleaner and a glass coating.

get unlimited car washes

Wondering how to find the best car wash for your car. We recommend you to visit Way.com or download the Way app (available on iOS and Android). Enjoy a safe and contactless car wash experience with Way. Just scan and drive away with a spotless car!


Read our blogs for information on the best airport parking and hourly parking spots near you and the most affordable insurance for your car.


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