Reviews

Best Water Spot Removers for Cars: Defend Against Water Damage

Safely clean your car and make it shine with these water spot removers

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BY Mike Knott , Suzana Mijatovic / LAST UPDATED ON October 15, 2019

Did you know that you can damage your car by cleaning it? It can be just as harmful as dirt and grease. Those annoying and stubborn water spots usually appear after you've had your vehicle washed. They also follow rain, snow, and other weather threats. Water can come into contact with harmful chemicals or sediments and contain various pollutants. If you want to protect your vehicle and keep it clean, you'll need a quality water spot remover. Our buying guide will help you get the proper one for your car.

Best Overall
Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit
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Summary
Summary

This product is a waterless car wash. The formula is alcohol and ammonia free, which makes it perfectly safe. It cleanses dirt and water spots in a breeze. The surface stays clean longer and gets a super shiny look. 

Pros
Pros
  • This remover is suitable for different vehicle types
  • Works on both wet and dry surfaces and is easy to apply
  • Eco-friendly formula is safe for the environment and leaves a UV protective coating
  • Microfiber towels are included in the set
Cons
Cons
  • Might be difficult to clean off gritty particles 
  • It’s pricey, and it’s not a polish, which repairs finishes
Best Overall
Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit
Best Value
 Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover
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Summary
Summary

This product is a scratch and swirl remover. It also cleans dirt and water spots and makes the car shine again. The formula is effective and safe for use. It can be used on any paint and different types of surfaces.

Pros
Pros
  • Remover dissolves the most persistent water spots
  • Makes big scratches less visible
  • Most drivers use it as a polisher to restore gloss to the car's paint
  • Box includes a buffer pad for easy use
Cons
Cons
  • Takes quite some time and effort to clean stubborn stains with it
  • Reapplication might be required over big scratches
Best Value
 Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover
Honorable Mention
Bugs N All Interior and Exterior Vehicle Cleaner
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Summary
Summary

This is an all-purpose product. It cleans dirt, bugs, water spots, bird droppings, grease, and more. The biodegradable formula is gentle and won’t damage the paint. It's suitable for both interior and exterior surfaces. Works quickly and applies to different material types.

Pros
Pros
  • Powerful formula resolves spots in a matter of seconds
  • Environmentally safe
  • Easy to use and doesn't require extra rubbing
  • A little of this product goes a long way
  • Regular use makes it even more effective
Cons
Cons
  • Doesn't work as wax or polish; you'll have to do this separately 
  • Might leave behind a sticky residue after washing
Honorable Mention
Bugs N All Interior and Exterior Vehicle Cleaner

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Water Spot Removers for Cars

  • Effectiveness. Water spot removers for cars are much more effective than age-old solutions such as vinegar and water. These products allow you to clean all kinds of surfaces and paintwork without damaging them during the process. Water spot removers for cars are specially designed to be safe and highly efficient at the same time, removing even the most stubborn stains. 
  • Ease of use. Another great benefit of water spot removers is convenience. These products come in easy-to-use bottles, spread quickly on the surface, and wipe clean in a breeze. They’ll help you clean your vehicle within a few moments and enjoy showroom results for quite a while.
  • Long-term protection. Maybe the best thing about water spot removers for cars is their longevity. Because they tend to leave a protective film over the surface rather than just cleaning it, water spot removers offer long-term protection. By using them, you can shield your car from future water damage and other similar threats on the road. 

Types of Water Spot Removers for Cars

Car Washes and Cleaners

There’s an array of car wash soaps, shampoos, and waxes available on the market today. They’re designed to clean vehicles and protect them from damage at the same time. The best thing about these products is their multi-purpose design. Car washes are meant to not only remove dirt buildups, but also eliminate other harmful particles and water spots. 

If you want to remove light water spots from your car, you can use one of the multi-purpose cleaners. They’re quite efficient and allow for regular cleaning and maintenance. However, if you have issues with stubborn water spots, you might want to use a more powerful product. Multi-purpose cleaners are often not powerful enough to remove stains that have already baked into the paintwork. 

Polishes

In most cases, the damage that comes from acid rain and etching can't be removed without the help of abrasives. Rainwater often contains contaminants that leave behind hard deposits. Etching, on the other hand, is the result of high heat or direct sunlight, when water spots get baked into the finish. When this happens, most light washes and paint cleaners won't be effective enough.

Car polish products eliminate deep scratches, hard water spots, oxidation, and other surface imperfections. They work by removing a thin layer of paint, which is more efficient than cleaning the surface. However, car polishes are often more abrasive and can't be used frequently, or they might damage the paintwork. 

Top Brands

Aero Cosmetics

Aero Cosmetics was founded in 1987 and is located in San Antonio, Texas. The company offers aircraft cleaning, washing, and polishing products that are highly popular among car enthusiasts. The Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit is one such product that made it to the top of our list. 

Carfidant

Carfidant is located in Monroe, N.Y., and is a huge supplier of car care products. Because it offers everything from interior and exterior cleaners to leather and upholstery conditioners, Carfidant is very popular among car drivers. One of our top picks is the Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover, a versatile and efficient cleaner suitable for all kinds of vehicles. 

ProCelle

ProCelle is a family-owned business with headquarters in Ramsey, Minn. It offers home and car cleaning solutions based on highly efficient and eco-friendly formulas. One top pick is the Bugs N All Interior and Exterior Vehicle Cleaner, a multi-purpose product suitable for a wide range of applications that’s very cost-efficient. 

Water Spot Removers for Cars Pricing

  • Under $20: Inexpensive products are mostly used for regular cleaning and maintenance. They work marvelously on removing light water spots but might be less efficient on scratches and excessive buildups. 
  • $20 and up: For some extra cash, you can get cleaners with wax that can polish and treat the surface all at once. These products are often highly versatile and allow for removing all kinds of damages-not only water spots. There are also some car wash kits at this price point that are ideal for long-term car care. 

Key Features

Efficiency

One of the first things to consider before buying a water spot cleaner is its efficiency. There are many products available on the market these days, and all of them work in different ways. Some are more effective when used to remove light dirt, spots, and stains, while others work wonders on stubborn residues. The product you choose will depend on your vehicle type, paint color, and damage you need to cover on the surface. 

If you want to remove heavy damage such as deep scratches and persistent water spots, we recommend using a polish. This is a more abrasive option that’s still safe when used properly. For general cleanup and maintenance, regular car cleaners and washes will be sufficient. 

Safety

Not all water spot removers are safe for every vehicle type. Depending on the surface and paintwork type, you might need to avoid some products. We recommend double-checking the compatibility of each water spot remover with your car. Make sure the one you want to use won't damage the paint on your vehicle. 

Versatility

Along with removing water spots, some car cleaners can remove dirt, dust, and other harmful buildups as well. They’re meant to resolve a wide range of issues and make the paint super glossy in the process. If you're looking for such a versatile product to help you maintain your car regularly and make it stand out, be sure to look for the extra features. Multi-purpose cleaners usually contain wax that fills and smoothens the surface for more shine and protection in the long term.

Other Considerations

  • Application. Although most water spot cleaners are easy to use, some apply better with a mechanical buffer than with a cloth. Before choosing a particular product, double-check how it needs to be applied. Then, pick the one that seems most convenient and suitable for your application. 
  • Volume. Another essential thing to consider before buying a water spot cleaner is the size of the bottle. You want to get enough liquid to cover your entire vehicle and be able to use the cleaner several times afterward as well.

Best Water Spot Removers for Cars Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit

This is one of the most popular wet and waterless car wash kits on the market. It includes a 1-gallon bottle, a 16-ounce spray bottle, and four microfiber towels. You get everything needed for full vehicle cleanup, including the product guide, and the process is quite simple. The liquid easily applies to the surface and wipes off without much effort. 


The main benefit of this car wash kit is its efficiency. The product gets rid of dirt, dust, and water spots in a breeze. The formula is also free of alcohol and ammonia, which means you can use it on numerous different surfaces. This is a wet and waterless wash kit that allows for both quick and thorough cleanups. It's super useful at home but serves its purpose on the road too. 


The product might fail to remove gritty particles, however. If you need something more powerful, you'll have to look for a real polisher. A wet and waterless car wash kit is more suitable for regular cleaning and maintenance. Also, considering this is a kit, it's quite affordable, but you'll have to pay some extra money up front for the whole package. 

Best Value
Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover

Carfidant offers a scratch and swirl remover that works wonders on light to medium surface imperfections. It fixes all kinds of scratches, swirls, and marks and restores the shine and gloss of the paint. The product is easy to apply and can be used with the included buffer pad. This is a very convenient solution for washing the entire vehicle.


The Carfidant cleaner features a safe formula you can apply to different surfaces and paintwork. It also contains a powerful compound that works to remove water spots, oxidation, and other contaminants. Once applied, the product leaves a glossy coat that makes the vehicle worthy of the showroom. 


The only thing that might bother you with this product is its low efficiency in removing stubborn stains. If you need something to remove deep and highly noticeable scratches, swirls, and water spots, you may want to keep looking. Also, you might need to reapply the product for perfect results.

Best All Purpose
Bugs N All Interior and Exterior Vehicle Cleaner

If you're looking for an all-purpose product for cleaning and maintaining your car, this cleaner might be ideal for you. It's designed to clean dirt, bugs, water spots, bird droppings, grease, and more. The formula is powerful yet biodegradable, so it won't damage the surface. The liquid works to gently remove stains and residues without damaging the paintwork. 


The Bugs N All cleaner works quickly and is easy to use. You can apply it to both interior and exterior surfaces for regular cleaning and maintenance. The formula removes water spots super fast, and it doesn't even require excessive rubbing. A little of the liquid goes a long way, so it’ll definitely last for a while. Overall, the Bugs N All cleaner makes a great investment for all car owners. 


The one thing that's missing from the formula is wax. If you want to achieve glossy results, you'll have to buy and apply wax separately. Also, the Bugs N All cleaner might leave a sticky residue after washing. We recommend a deep cleaning to avoid such results.

Most Versatile
Shine Armor Car Scratch Remover

Shine Armor provides a powerful scratch and swirl remover for cars, trucks, and other vehicles. It's a safe yet efficient product that removes dirt, water spots, and other residue from different surfaces. Thanks to the conveniently designed bottle, the liquid is easy to spread on your vehicle and wipe clean. It doesn't even require excessive rubbing for removing buildups and other damage. 


The Shine Armor product gets rid of harmful oxidation, scratches, and swirls, while also restoring the shine to the paint. It's efficient and simple, so everyone can use it for general vehicle cleanups and maintenance. Furthermore, the formula doesn't contain fillers or wax and is completely safe for the vehicle and the environment. 


The Shine Armor cleaner is not perfect for deep scratches, however. It makes them less visible but fails to cover them completely. A polisher would resolve the problem more effectively. The product also lacks wax that would make the paintwork super glossy. For more shine, you’ll probably have to apply wax separately.

Honorable Mention
Meguiar’s Water Spot Remover

Meguiar's Water Spot Remover is one of the most popular products within the category. It's specially designed to remove stains from water and proves to be very safe for different paints. You can use it just like a polisher and remove residues in a breeze, making the surface sparkling clean.


The Meguiar's cleaner is designed for all clear coats and glossy-painted surfaces. You can apply it to paint, glass, chrome, plastic, and all metal surfaces. That means you can use this cleaner to treat both the interior and exterior of your vehicle.


The product does require quite a bit of elbow grease. You’ll have to apply a lot of pressure and effort to remove residues and stains. If you want a product that’s easier to use, scroll up to some other options on our list. The Meguiar's water spot remover is effective but not very convenient, especially when used on glass. 

Tips

  • Before you tackle stubborn water spots, it's important to recognize the type you're dealing with. Hard water stains appear when the water dries on the surface while exposed to direct sunlight. Bonded mineral water spots soak into the clear coat due to the presence of excessive contaminants. Lastly, etched-in water spots contain a corrosive substance that dissolves the paint.
  • Choose quality products that have been tested by other car owners. Inferior removers will be a hassle during the cleaning process without producing any results. You may also need to include paint correction and clay bar treatment, depending on the stain type. 
  • Removing water spots from your car can be exasperating. It takes a lot of work to remove all the stains and make the surface sparkling clean. Take your time and be patient and gentle. Sometimes you can cause more damage by excessively rubbing out the water spots. 
  • Once you get rid of all spots and stains, you can prevent new ones from forming on your car. The key is not to let water dry on your vehicle. You can use towels and a chamois to dry the surface before the water gets the chance to settle down and damage the paint. Applying wax on the vehicle also prevents spots from forming.

FAQs

Q: How do I use a water spot remover? 

The process is rather simple. Apply the product on the targeted area and use microfiber towels to rub the spots off. If the remover comes in a set, you'll probably get all the necessary pieces in the package. In some cases, you'll need a clay bar to remove the most stubborn stains. Depending on the remover type, you might need to wait longer for the product to work. Always read the product's description to make sure you're using it correctly. 

Q: Will a water spot remover protect the surface from new stains? 

Yes, but only if you use wax as well. Most removers only get rid of existing stains, and they don't offer full-time protection once applied. If you want to prevent new water spots and stains, you'll need to dry the surface after every washing or apply wax on the surface. 

Q: Is there any alternative way to get rid of water spots?

You can let your inner DIYer have some fun and make your own water spot remover. All you need to do is mix distilled water with white vinegar in equal ratios. Bathe your car using this mixture, and the stains will disappear. However, keep in mind that this trick won't work on hard or etched-in water spots. 

Final Thoughts

The Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit made it to the top of our list. It’s a versatile product that cleans and protects at the same time. 

If you prefer a budget version, you can stick with the Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover. It works like a charm on most water spots and stains.