You probably see them all the time, but you probably don’t know what they’re made of. Water spots are a mixture of water and soap, acid rain, or some other type of contaminant. When the water dries, all that’s left on your windshield is the chemical. (Or, in the case of hard water spots, all that’s left behind is lime-scale and other mineral deposits, like calcium and sodium.) Unfortunately, the stuff that’s left behind is super-concentrated, so it’s hard to see through and even harder to remove!
Even water that you think is completely clean — like the stuff that comes out of your hose or the stuff that comes out of a sprinkler — has contaminants in it that can lead to water spots.
So, how do you get rid of them and stay safe out on the road?
Vinegar may be the key!
Because it’s so acidic, vinegar can eat right through the water spots. But since you don’t want to pour straight vinegar onto your car, you need to mix it with some distilled or bottled water. (That way, you won’t end up getting even more minerals on your windshield!) Depending on how bad the water spots are, you can use either a 50-50 mix or slightly more vinegar than water. Either way, mix the solution in a spray bottle, spray it on the water spots, and wait for a few minutes. Once the solution has had time to penetrate the water spots, wipe off your windshield with a soft, lint-free cloth. If your water spots are really caked on, you may have to go through this process a couple of times before your windshield is squeaky-clean. So, be patient!
But what if you do this several times and nothing happens? Then what?
If your water spots are severe enough, you may need some steel wool to get rid of them. Unlike the soft cloth you were using before, steel wool is abrasive enough to dig deeper into the spots — without being SO abrasive that it damages your auto glass. Just to be on the safe side, though, stick to fine-grade steel wool (noted with “0000″ in your local hardware store). Then, rub your windshield in circular motions until the water spots dissolve.
If you have a newer windshield — and you’re not seeing success with anything else — try using a clay bar. (Also known as “detail clay”, which you can find at most automotive stores) Once you rub one on your windshield, it should remove the water spots.
Why does this only work on a newer windshield?
Older windshields tend to have pits in them, so when you rub the clay across them, it gets stuck. Detail clay is tough stuff, so once it’s trapped in your windshield pits, you’ll never get it out — meaning you’ll have a much bigger problem than what you started with! (One more tip — never use a clay bar on the tinted inside part of your auto glass. It can strip away the tint!)
If all else fails, talk to the experts at your local detail or auto glass shop. They may have special products that can get rid of the water spots for you.
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