7 Simple Steps To Effectively Remove Water Spots From Rims

Water spots are a big challenge for car owners who always want their vehicles to be in top-notch condition.

They are very noticeable on the car surface, but it is easy to forget that they affect the rims, too.

The mineral deposits that form the stains continue to erode them, causing damage over time.

You can use various products to rid other car surfaces of the spots, but what about the rims? How do you get water spots off them?

You can use an etched glass stain remover to get water spots off rims. While the product is intended for use on etched glass, it also works well to remove the stubborn marks that won’t come off the rims. The white, chalky stains make the wheels look ugly even after washing the car with various products; hence etched glass cleaner helps clear them.

Have you tried using bleach, tire cleaner, and other cleaning products to get water spots off rims with no success?

This article has the solution to help you solve the problem. Read to the end to learn how you can rid rims of water spots and remove white stains from aluminum wheels.

But first, you should understand how water spots form.

How Do Water Spots Form On the Rims?

When washing a car, use the right products and techniques to guarantee the best results.

Then, dry the car properly after washing to prevent water spots from forming on the surface.

The stains can build up and become permanent if left for too long, and they are more challenging to eradicate.

Hard water spots develop on the rims and the rest of the vehicle’s body when the car has been washed or rained on without drying it thoroughly. The stains result from calcium and magnesium deposits in hard water. When it evaporates, the minerals remain, which individuals observe as the white, chalky stains on vehicles.

Therefore, individuals shouldn’t hurry through car drying to avoid water spots on the rims.

They can also use preventive measures to limit water spot formation, for instance, waxing.

Waxing the car helps the water roll down the car instead of sitting and evaporating from the surface, limiting water stains.

How Do You Get Water Spots off Rims?

As the introduction mentions, an etched glass stain remover product effectively removes water spots off rims. Various cleaners exist in the market; choose your most preferred one and use it to clean the wheels.

You will need the following products to remove the spots:

  • An etched glass stain remover
  • A spray bottle
  • A mildly coarse brush or steel wool pads
  • Water
  • Hand gloves
  • A soft towel or cloth

With your items ready, it is time to remove the water spots. The following steps guide you on how to do it.

Step One: Wear Your Gloves

Safety is essential, so the first thing to do is wear gloves to protect your hands.

Remember you are dealing with chemicals, in this case, the etched glass cleaner, a form of acid.

Hence the need for gloves to be worn to prevent direct contact of the product with the skin.

Step Two: Transfer the Etched Glass Cleaner Into a Spray Bottle

Put some of the product into a spray bottle with a highly functional nozzle for easy application on the rims.

The spray bottle helps you coat the product evenly on the water spots.

It also directs the cleaner into hard-to-reach areas on the rims that pouring straight from the original bottle wouldn’t facilitate.

Step Three: Wet the Rims

Spray water onto the rims to remove any loose dirt or surface grit that may have accumulated.

Removing the particles ensures that nothing prevents the cleaner from working on the stubborn stains directly, guaranteeing better stain-removal results.

Step Four: Spray the Glass Cleaner on the Rims

Apply the product onto the rims from the spray bottle you transferred the product into in step (2) above.

Ensure to spray evenly in all the nooks and crevices where you observed the water spots.

Generous amounts of the product should be sprayed on the rims to ensure no water stain misses the etched glass cleaner.

Step Five: Scrub the Rims

Use a brush or steel wool pads to scrub the product well on the water-stained rims.

Ensure to clean every part of the rims; you can use a toothbrush to scrub hard-to-reach corners that the other brush cannot access.

Your scrubbing brush shouldn’t be too coarse, as it could cause scratches on the rims.

Steel wool pads are also ideal because they aren’t too rough but scrub surfaces well.

Step Six: Rinse the Product

Rinse with water to remove the etched glass cleaner off the rims.

Step Seven: Dry the Rims

The last step is to use a soft cloth or towel to pat the rims dry from the water.

You can also use a microfiber towel if you prefer it to the regular fabric.

By following the above steps, your get rid of unsightly water spots on your vehicle’s rims.

You shouldn’t have to worry about them damaging your rims anymore.

However, this isn’t a permanent solution; you can always clean the rims again as soon as you spot water stains on them again.

How Do You Remove White Spots From Aluminium Wheels?

Aluminum wheels are popular right now; they are used on most vehicles than the steel rims used in the past.

They look good but are more prone to frequent markings and white spots than steel wheels.

Aluminum combines with oxygen to form hard, white spots on the wheels.

They may become more difficult to remove if they stay on the aluminum wheels for a while, leading to corrosion.

So how can the spots be removed from the rims?

The white spots on aluminum wheels can be removed by cleaning the wheels and sanding the rims to expose the oxidation layer. After that, the wheels should be rinsed and polished to reveal spot-free aluminum wheels. The process is simple and quick, but it requires some elbow grease to be put in by the person removing the spots.

The following process helps individuals get white spots off aluminum wheels:

Step One: Check the Wheels for a Coating

The first step is to check if the aluminum wheels have a clear coat.

The coat protects the rims and prevents oxidation, so this helps you understand whether the spots result from dirt or oxidation.

Wipe the rims with a microfiber cloth, and if there isn’t black residue, there is a coating on the rims.

Step Two: Clean the Aluminum Wheels

The second step is to clean the wheels to remove dirt, dust, grime, and loose particles.

Apply car wash shampoo on the wheels and scrub to remove the dirt.

Use a power washer to rinse off the detergent because it is very effective to wash the rims quickly.

Alternatively, you can use a standard hose with an adjustable nozzle to spray the water.

If you still see the white spots, follow step 3 below.

Step Three: Sand the Rims

Use dry or wet 400 grit sandpaper to sand down and remove curb rash, marks, or pitting on the rims.

The 400 grit sandpaper works on relatively minor scratches.

If the ones on your wheels are much deeper, start with a 240 or 320 grit because they are coarser.

Continue sanding until the marks and pitting disappear from the rims and then use fine 800-1000 grit sandpaper to smooth them out.

Then, use a clean and dry microfiber towel to wipe away the sanding dust.

Step Four: Rinse and Dry the Wheels

Use your power washer or standard hose to rinse the wheels of any remnant detergent or the dust from sanding.

Ensure to clean all the hidden corners of the rims and then use a clean microfiber towel to dry them off.

Don’t overlook the drying part because failure to dry the rims may cause pitting.

According to research by Sofia Gustafsson, oxygen in naturally aerated water can cause extensive pitting on aluminum, which you don’t want to happen on the rims.

Step Five: Polish the Rims

Now that the rims are clean and oxidation-free polish them using your preferred compound.

Use a ball-shaped powder polisher, a clean and dry microfiber cloth, or a polishing disc to coat the whole wheel with the product.

Then, use another clean microfiber towel to wipe the product from the rims, revealing restored and white spots-free aluminum wheels.

While you have removed the white spots, there is a good chance aluminum oxidation may occur again, leading to the formation of the stain again.

Therefore, it is better to prevent the rims from oxidizing, which leads to corrosion if left for too long.

How You Can Prevent the Oxidization of Aluminum Rims

Aluminum oxidizes quickly, limiting the prevention measures one can undertake to prevent the oxidation from happening.

However, you shouldn’t ignore oxidation, as it is a primary culprit that causes your aluminum wheels to corrode.

You can prevent aluminum rims from oxidizing and being corroded by applying protective coatings to them. Protective coatings include car wax, powder coats, anodes, and clear/colored paint. Such products can be purchased over the counter and applied to help car owners prevent future oxidation on their aluminum rims.

Powder coats and paint offer better oxidation protection options for aluminum rims.

They have higher electrical resistance, hence excellent protection against galvanic corrosion.

Galvanic corrosion is when two dissimilar metals react differently to oxidation when immersed in water.

In this case, the different metals are the alloy rims made from aluminum and other metals.

Car wax and anodes can also prevent oxidation on the rims; anodes bear the brunt of oxidation on behalf of the aluminum rims while wax repels water from them.

However, wax can wear off after some weeks, requiring frequent reapplication to sustain the protection.

High pressure car wash system cleaning tyres

Key Takeaways

  • You can use an etched glass stain remover to clean water spots off rims.
  • Failure to dry water from vehicles’ rims causes the spots.
  • Aluminum reacts quickly with oxygen; hence aluminum wheels are more prone to oxidation than steel wheels.
  • Powder and paint coatings offer better protection to aluminum alloy wheels against galvanic corrosion.






Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge