CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Hard water spot from washing car/truck at home

i buffed/strpped the spots off and waxed, but how or what tip or trick is out there. i would like to clean my ride at home

Only wash the vehicles when it’s cloudy or they are in a shady spot. This will give you more time to hand-dry them before the water evaporates.

You could also install a water softener. Hey, Culligan man!

I think that there are some things that attach to your hose that soften the water or add wetting agents, maybe Mr. Clean. I have heard good things about them. Have you been hand drying?

You really shouldn’t have spots, if you wash in the shade, use the proper amount of car detergent (not dish detergent), keep the whole car wet until it’s time to dry it, and dry it with a chamois. Also, I’ve heard good things about the Mr. Clean system, but I’ve never tried it.

If you do end up with spots, a clay bar is probably safer for your finish than buffing.

Dry the car after you wash it. Squeegee the windows and use a cotton towel on the body.

I had the same problem when I was growing up in the country and we had very hard well water. The calcium in the water would cause water spotting and I washed the car in the shade. The only solution was to buff and wax the car after each wash. After my parents installed a water softener, I ran the hose to the tap for the washing machine and this solved the problem.

Use a car wash system that adds a surfactant to the rinse, a system that “sheets off without leaving spots”. You’ve seen them advertised on TV. You can buy them almost anywhere.