How to Remove Hard Water Spots from Car Windows


Tasha asked: How do I remove hard water spots from my car windows? I have used Windex, water/alcohol mixture, lemon water, Magic Eraser, Goof Off and many more cleaners. I cannot get rid of what appears to be hard water spots on the outside windows. It is so aggravating, and I wondered if you had any ideas for me. Thank you!

Sprinklers, along with other water that your car is exposed to, can leave spots on the glass and other surfaces. While these spots are not permanent, they may not be easily removed with regular glass cleaners. Here are a few products that will remove the spots and clean your windows as well.

You Will Need:

Steps to Remove the Water Spots:

  1. Begin by cleaning the glass as normal. Remove any residue or dirt from the surface.
  2. Use the soft cloth to apply some of the chosen cleaning product to the surface.
  3. Rub in small, circular motions until the water spots are removed.
  4. Wipe the surface clean with a soft cloth.
  5. Repeat if necessary.
  6. Clean the windows regularly to keep the water spots at a minimum. Consistent removal will ensure the desired results.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Use regular household cleaning products with caution. Some of them contain chemicals that can damage the color or protective finishes on the car.
  • These same products often work well for cleaning showers and other areas with hard water stains. Check the label to ensure it is safe to use on your chosen surface.
  • Never use any abrasive scrubbers on the surfaces of your windows. They will create small scratches and leave a dulled appearance.
  • Some water spots cannot be removed because they become etched into the glass and paint. It requires polishing and removing the etching from the surface. A detail shop can complete this, but it can be pricey.
  • If the spots are new, some have found Scotchbrite pads scrub them right off. However, they can be abrasive, so use them with caution.
  • Park your car away from sprinklers, especially on hot, sunny days. The mixture of the water droplets and the heat of the sun results in the stubborn spots.


  1. Haven’t tried it, but a friend said he uses straight white vinegar and it cuts right through the stains. His windows looked pretty clear.

  2. I used a new single-edge razor blade (never use a used blade as it will scratch the glass). It works well on slate windows for water spots and minerals.

  3. I got the spots after using Turtle Car Wash. I have tried everything, but nothing I do will get the spots off. They are tiny little circles similar to rain drops. Driving me crazy.

  4. I use Stoner’s Invisible Glass exclusively to clean my car windows, and I’ve always continued to have water spots on my windshield (in the areas where windshield wipers do not reach.) I still have these spots after using Invisible Glass in the problem areas.

  5. Billy Bob says:

    Use vinegar and newspaper…fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray the glass, then wipe the wetted glass dry with crumpled newspaper; the glass will sparkle.

  6. Arttina says:

    I used the vinegar and wash cloth today, and I still have water spot stains.

  7. I used vinegar directly, but it’s of no use. Those tiny circles are not going away.

  8. Tried all the home remedies with nil success. Then, I tried a car paint cleaning polish with a medium buffing pad attached to a drill on LOW speed. After a little bit of going back and forth and a wipe down, the glass was near to perfect.

  9. Thank you Ivan; I think your solution will work for my windows too. Will try soon. Thank you.

  10. I tried lemon, vinegar, and C.L.R. (spray on calcium, lime and rust remover). None of them worked. I had a small tin of paste-type rubbing compound. I placed a small dab on an applicator and buffed by hand. The spots were almost removed completely. I had a small buffing wheel that I put into my drill and used the rubbing compound to completely remove the hard water stains that had etched into the glass. It took about 30 minutes to complete the back window. It looks brand new!

  11. Love. Can. says:

    I am having a similar problem and I think I discovered partly where my issue is coming from. I bought these shammys at the car wash to dry my car, and I went to wash one then squeezed the water and soapy stuff was coming out. I did this about 10 times and still soapy stuff was coming out, so no wonder why my car had spots on it after I dried it previously. I use my own shammy now, but it’s annoying when you wash your car and dry it and it looks there are still dust spots on the windows. I think the only solution is the car paint polish or rubbing compound idea; guess it’s time to get a buffing pad as I already own a drill. This is slightly annoying, but I hope there is no long-term paint damage.

  12. So it’s ‘Break out the Ol’ fashion “elbow grease”,’ huh??!! What was that lesson Mr. Meaggi taught Danial Son in “Karate Kid”… Wax on; Wax off…Wax on Wax off…on & on ’til ya get it done!

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