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Causes, Prevention, and Removal of Hard Water Spots

Hard water spots are like the freckles of the automotive world, they get worse in the sun and nobody really thinks they’re awesome. (Ok, some of you might think freckles are awesome, but nobody better argue about the hard water spots.)

Freckles, though, are hard to avoid, but hard water spots you’ve brought upon yourself. The fact that we’re writing a blog on this might make you think that this has to be a really tough subject that will require you to spend thousands of dollars or many, many hours, but water spots are actually an easy one. So lets cover one of the basics of what causes hard water spots, how to prevent them, and how to fix the problem if you do end up with them.

What are hard water spots? it’s simple, really simple. Hard water spots are simply the remaining solids of evaporated hard water droplets. This could be from failing to dry your car properly after washing, parking near a sprinkler, rain, kids with squirt guns, driving through a puddle, I could keep going, but they could be from basically anytime water comes into contact with your car. It’s also safe to assume that there are dissolved particles of something in the water. From that air it will pickup carbon dioxide, smoke, dirt, any aerosolized chemicals, from puddles it will be dirt, oil, brake dust, fecal matter, any gross stuff you would rather not have in your water or on your car. And unless you’re running a whole house reverse osmosis system your water will have whatever minerals and chemicals your well or municipal water supply adds. Your hard water spots can come from anywhere.

Once the water evaporates, you’re left with crusty little spots of salts, minerals, grimes, etc. Even worse, if there were any caustic chemicals mixed in the water, from say acidic rain water, as it concentrates in the quickly evaporating water, it slowly eats away at the paint, leaving craters, pitting your surface and encouraging future water to pool in the shallow pits you now have all over your car.

That is, unless you’ve taken the time to prevent this silent killer of pristine paint jobs. So just like moms slather kids with sunblock, you’re going to want to be sure to dry and protect your car with wax. Preventing the water from pooling on the surface and creating a protective layer between your paint and the elements is literally the most effective and easiest way to prevent damage caused by hard water. If you haven’t already hit our store to get a chamois for drying and our Pro Wax to do that now, I’ll wait.

But for some of you, you’ve already got damage that needs to be fixed. How can we fix it? You’re going to need some microfiber cloths, our Hard Water Spot & Scale Remover and some Detailing Spray. You’ll want to apply the hard water spot remover to the microfiber cloth and work a single 2 foot sections. After the spot remover, you’ll apply the detailing spray. When you’ve finished removing all spots from the surface your next steps are to wash, dry and wax your vehicle. These final steps will remove any chemicals remaining on the surface and give a layer of protection from future hard water spots.

So get out there and clean up the hard water spots, and don’t forget the sunblock.