How to Remove Water Spots From Auto Paint

by Constance Barker
Luxury Car sportscar from my luxury car series image by alma_sacra from

A car's paint job receives a glutton of punishment from the sun's rays, chips from gravel and even water. Metals and minerals found in water supplies leave behind a residue when left to dry on a car's surface. When the car is left in the sun the sun bakes the residue right into the paint. Rain that contains air pollutants can also damage a car's paint job. Fortunately, eliminating water spots already on your car's paint is not difficult.

Step 1

Wash the dirt off your car with a bucket of warm water mixed with two or three drops of dish detergent. Wipe the car down with the sudsy water and a large sponge.

Step 2

Rinse the car with a garden hose. Remove all soap residue from the car paint.

Step 3

Mix ½ gallon of distilled water with ½ gallon of white vinegar. Sponge the mixture on one section of the car such as the hood or the car door.

Step 4

Allow the mixture to sit for 30 seconds, then rinse it off with the hose. Repeat sponging on the vinegar solution one section of the car at a time and rinsing off. Rub harder on water spots that are baked into the paint.

Re-wash the car with the dish detergent and warm water and rinse thoroughly. Dry the car with clean towels or rags.


  • Keep a small spray bottle of ½ white vinegar and ½ distilled water in your car along with a soft clean cloth. When you see a water spot on your car's paint, immediately spray the spot with the vinegar mixture and wipe off. Treating water spots quickly reduces the chance of them baking into the paint and being harder to remove.

Items you will need

  • Bucket
  • Dish detergent
  • Large sponge
  • Garden hose
  • ½ gallon distilled water
  • ½ gallon white vinegar
  • Clean towels or rags

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