How to Remove Hard Water Spots on Car Paint

Few things are as frustrating as finding your just washed car attacked by sprinklers. Hard water spots can be hard to remove but it's not impossible.

Let us show you how. 

What You'll Need:


Removing the hard water as soon as possible is important. Removing the hard water spots immediately after it has happened is going to be a lot easier than trying to remove it after it's been allowed to sit in the hot sun for hours or days. he problem with hard water is that it has minerals that etch into the surface of your car's paint finish making it hard to remove with a simple wash. 


Step 1

Wash the car thoroughly. This will remove road grime and dust on your car. It will also help eliminate some of the minerals responsible for the hard water spots. As always, wash in a shaded location - never in direct sunlight. Dry the car thoroughly.


Step 2

For this next step, your car needs to be in the shade and the paint should be cool to the touch. Mix 1 part regular white vinegar with 1 part distilled water (soft water is good too). It's better not to use regular tap water which contains minerals. Apply the vinegar/water solution with a spray bottle on to the affected paint finish. Allow mixture to work for up to 10 minutes. The acid in the vinegar will help loosen the hard water minerals embedded in the paint. This is similar to running your coffee maker with vinegar to remove the build up of hard water minerals that accumulate.

After allowing to work for 10 minutes, wash and dry the car again to remove the water/vinegar solution. The minerals from the hard water will be gone at this point but you may still notice the rings. If so, go on to the next step.

Step 3

Polish the surface with nextzett No. 2 One Step Polish with a foam applicator pad or microfiber towel (do not use bulk towels, rags, cloth diapers or flannel) or better yet, apply with a Dual Action Orbital machine (Porter Cable and Rupes both make quality DA polishers) using a polishing pad and set on medium. After polishing the surface, buff off the area with a microfiber towel. Repeat the process if necessary. Several passes might be required in order to completely remove the hard water spots.



No. 2 One Step Polish has special abrasives that will reduce the appearance of the etch marks left by the hard water. It can also remove unsightly swirl marks from your paint. After application, not only will the hard water spots be removed but your paint will look like it did the day you bought the car. 

Step 4

Apply a durable wax sealant such as nextzett No. 3 Polish & Wax or better yet, nextzett SF3 Premium Protect on your paint finish. While waxes can't protect your paint completely from the etching effect of hard water, it'll buy you some time to wash the hard water away as soon as possible.

We also recommend carrying a bottle of quick detailer such as nextzett Perfect Shine and a Microfiber Towel with you in your car in case you find it's been attacked by rogue sprinklers or even bird droppings. A simple spray and wipe down will take care of the issue immediately before it become a problem.

Have questions? Contact us!