4 Simple Ways How Car Detailers Can Free Your Car From Water Spots

No matter if old or new, water spots are aesthetically unpleasant and hold a risk for damages to the paintwork.

But sometimes removing them yourself seems like a big struggle. Is it better to have car detailers remove water spots?

Generally, car detailing is able to remove stubborn water spots without damaging the car’s surface. Depending on the severity of the water spot, a car detailer will either use dedicated water spot removal products or polish the car, if the spots are etched into the clear coat.

In addition, car detailers normally use special cleaning products and even perform some light cosmetic upgrades such as waxing.

As such, it’s easier to remove tough water spots with car detailing than with a regular car wash. Now, let’s have an in-depth look at car detailing below.

Does Car Detailing Remove Water Spots?

Car detailing is an effective way of removing dried water spots.

The process uses more abrasive cleaning methods that remove stubborn stains without damaging the paint job.

Additionally, car detailers perform extra restorative practices that reverse the damage done by water spots and dirt.  

Car detailing is the most ideal method for removing permanent water spots. It also helps prevent more water spots from appearing thanks to the intensive drying methods used. Detailers use microfiber towels and air dryers to effectively dry the car and remove water lodged in hard-to-reach areas. 

Car detailers may also polish the car after cleaning to remove swirls, stains, and water streaks.   

How Car Detailing Removes Water Stains 

Car detailers use four main methods to get rid of all types of stains including water spots. They include: 

Paintwork Cleanser

A paintwork cleanser is used on mild cases of water spots. This method is also used to strip off the waxing film or grit on cars.

The liquid – paintwork cleanser – is applied to the water spots by hand using a soft cloth or microfiber towel.

It’s then rubbed gently on the surface and left for a few minutes to dry and then wiped away with a soft towel. 

Once spots have been removed, the detailer then applies a protection layer, either waxing or ceramic coating to protect the surface and prevent future water spots from forming. 

Clay Treatment 

The clay treatment also known as claying is an effective water spot removal method that utilizes a putt-like bar, cloth, or mitt material.

It works by pulling the stains off the surface or by scraping them off. However, claying is abrasive and, as such, it needs to be done by a professional detailer to avoid damaging the coat.

If you plan on doing it yourself, use it on windows since they are harder to scratch. 

When claying, car detailers start with lubricating the car surface and the clay bar/cloth with water and shampoo.

Once the car is sufficiently lubricated, they gently rub the clay in a back and forth motion to remove the spots. The surface is then rinsed and dried with a microfiber cloth. 


Polishing is the ideal method for removing water spots, swirls, etchings, and permanent stains.

The goal here is to remove the stain-damaged clear coat and reveal a fresh new coat. This method uses powerful polishing tools and is often tedious and time-consuming. 

Polishing should be done once or twice a year to avoid scraping off too much paintwork.

This is because a car’s clear coat is a thin layer that protects the underneath base layer from damage caused by sunlight, and corrosion.

Frequent polishing can make the clear coat too thin, effectively removing its protective properties. 

Before polishing your car, a detailer must first determine paint depth.

If it’s thick enough, they’ll proceed with polishing or resort to other methods if the layer is too thin.

The polishing process can be done by hand or machine depending on the severity. The latter is more effective in removing water spots and etches. 


For special etch and spot cases such as the ones caused by acid rain, car compounding works better than all other methods.

It’s similar to polishing only that it’s more abrasive. The process involves rubbing a compound – an abrasive liquid – on the spots and scrubbing it firmly into the surface using a cloth or machine.

The surface is kept damp all through the scrubbing process to prevent damage. Once the desired results have been achieved the area is rinsed and dried. 

Compounding is often used as the last resort when polishing fails to get the job done.

Additionally, due to its abrasiveness, compounding leaves a rough finish on the paintwork.

As such, it’s often followed up with polishing for a glossy and smooth clear coat. 

While car detailing is an effective way of removing stubborn water spots. You should focus more on preventing water spots in the first place.

Key Takeaways 

  • Car detailing is effective in removing water spots 
  • Car detailing can increase the value of your car 
  • Water spots can be hard to remove if neglected 
  • Waxing your car regularly helps prevent water spots 
  • Car detailing is best done by professionals










Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge