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Cosmetic Maintenance: Washing, Waxing, Detailing, Bodywork, Protection Anything related to keeping your Camaro clean and in good cosmetic condition.

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Old 04-27-2012, 11:27 AM   #1
Todd@Autopia
 
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How to Remove Water Spots

This is for a forum member who had a question on removing water spots, particularly with out the use of a clay bar. I thought the information could be relative to other members who had similar questions and he agreed to let me post a public reply. I hope this article helps.

First, there are two types of water marks, and how you remove them depends on which type of spot they are. I am quoting an article I wrote to identify the two types of water spots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd@Autpia
A common question on this forum (and others) is how do I remove water marks from my paint.

Before we can prescribe a solution it is important to diagnose the problem.
Visible water marks generally fall into 2 categories, as illustrated below: Mark Spots and Water Etching.




Water Spots: Water spots are caused by evaporation of water droplets. Water is usually not pure and has some solid material that is left behind from the evaporation. Water spots are the solid remains left behind from water and they can adhere to the paint fairly strongly. Water spots should be considered contaminates or above surface paint defects.

Solution: If the water spots are fairly fresh then a wash with car soap and water can remove them. If they have adhered to the paint strongly or formed a bond they will be more difficult to remove. Wiping the paint with a chemical cleaner such as Chemical Guys Water Spot Remover will help loosen and remove them. If this doesn't work a clay bar, an All In One (cleaner/wax) or even a light machine polishing may be necessary.



Water Etching: Water etching is caused by a chemical reaction between the material in the water or the chemical make up of the water. Metal and calcium in the water spots, will over time, begin to eat away at the clear coat. This results in a crater, usually deeper along the outer rim, where the clear coat has been removed. Sometimes liquid chemicals in the water, such as high levels of acid (acid rain damage) can cause etching almost instantly.

The longer that water spots are allowed to sit on the paint and the more heat and sunlight they are exposed to, the greater the risk of them creating etching. Water etching is damage to the paint or a below surface defect.

Solution: The depth and severity of the water etching will ultimately effect the exact process that is used for removal. In the case of light water etching, a light machine polishing may fully remove them. With moderate to severe water etching the paint will likely need to be compounded or wetsanded to fully remove them. The best way to solve water etching is not allow it to take place to begin with.

The question of this thread is how to remove water spots, which as the article above describes as stubborn mineral deposits on the paint. Since this the focus of this article I will concentrate on their removal. Removing the other type of spots- water etchings- requires resurfacing the paint (either aggressive compound polishing or wet sanding) to repair.


The following are the common ways used to treat water spots.
  • Chemical Cleaning with a Water Spot Remover
  • Detailing Clay Treatment
  • Light Hand/Machine Polishing
  • Pre-Wax Paint Cleansing Lotion
  • All-In-One Cleaner Wax Application

Chemical Cleaning with a Water Spot Remover-

This is perhaps the least invasive method. For years people have used, and I have recommended mixing distilled white vinegar with water (1:1). Wash the car first then wipe the paint with the solution and let dwell for 5-10 minutes, then agitate with microfiber towel and rinse off. This works fairly well, and the ingredients needed (vinegar + water) is readily available. The down side is that it works 'okay' and your garage, car, and drive way will stink for weeks!

Another viable cleaning solution is Chemical Guy's Water Spot Remover. We are bringing this product into our store after experiencing first hand how well it removes water spots. I know several (extremely high end detailers) who have used this product to remove water spots plastic trim and cowlings!



Detailing Clay Treatment-

A lot has been written about using detailing clay to remove water spots and for good reason. It cleans most contamination off the paint's surface quickly. Detailing Clay can struggle with some low level water spots only because they have no real thickness. Detailing clay floats above a lubricant and abrades any contaminants that stick above the paint's surface. However many times enthusiasts have clay handy so it is a recommended treatment because it works often.


Light Hand/Machine Polishing-

Lightly polishing the paint with an ultra fine abrasive polish will scrub the water spots clean and well and increase the gloss and clarity of the paint.

For hand polishing consider Meguiar's Ultimate Polish.

For machine polishing team up a soft foam finishing pad (such as a Lake Country Black Pad) with a an ultra fine machine polish like BLACKFIRE SCR Finishing Polish or Menzerna SF4500 (the same exact polish used at the Mercedes Factory for assembly line refinishing as a last step for ultimate gloss).


Pre-Wax Paint Cleansing Lotion-

"Paint Cleaners" are a great choice for removing light water spots. Paint Cleansing Lotions are design to deep clean the paint and prepare for a fresh coat of wax. Many wax or paint sealant manufacturers make paint cleansing lotions that clean the paint and prime it for their wax/sealant. They use either a chemical cleaning solution or a fine polish or a combination of both.

The two best I have used are BLACKFIRE's Gloss Enhancing Polish or Utlima Paint Guard Prep


All In One Cleaner Waxes

Cleaner Waxes or AIO's combine a wax or sealant with the properites of a paint cleansing lotion. They are designed to clean the paint and protect it one, time saving step.

KLASSE AIO is a classic in this field, where BLACKFIRE Total Polish N Seal uses the latest in technology/advancements.

You can apply most AIO's by hand or machine. If applying by hand (like a paint cleansing lotion) you want to work into the paint with a foam applicator with a little bit of passion.


These are some of the options of removing water spots. Depending on your goals each can work. After using Chemical Guy's Water Spot Remover, I am excited to be adding this as an addition to our growing Chemical Guy's line up. It will make a viable cleansing option and should be available shortly.

Comments, questions, suggestions are always welcome!


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Old 04-27-2012, 11:51 AM   #2
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Clay wont remove water spots
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:54 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ss2012 View Post
Clay wont remove water spots
As I mention in the article that clay will remove some water spots, it is dependent on the thickness of the water spot, the material of the water spot, and the cut of the clay. For every person who says it doesn't work you can generally find several who has had success. Just a lot of variables.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:54 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info, I always seem to have streak mark after I wash my VR Camaro. I have never clayed it so maybe thats an option. I always thought in was inherited with the red paint job.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd@Autopia View Post
As I mention in the article that clay will remove some water spots, it is dependent on the thickness of the water spot, the material of the water spot, and the cut of the clay. For every person who says it doesn't work you can generally find several who has had success. Just a lot of variables.
I have to agree 100% with Todd here... clay is a very effective way of removing water spots. Its certainly the first method you should try when simple things like washing or a wipe down with a detail spray/waterless wash don't remove them.

Etching on the other hand is a whole separate issue.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:22 PM   #6
C O Jones
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Thanks Todd

Great article thanks




Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd@Autopia View Post
This is for a forum member who had a question on removing water spots, particularly with out the use of a clay bar. I thought the information could be relative to other members who had similar questions and he agreed to let me post a public reply. I hope this article helps.

First, there are two types of water marks, and how you remove them depends on which type of spot they are. I am quoting an article I wrote to identify the two types of water spots.




The question of this thread is how to remove water spots, which as the article above describes as stubborn mineral deposits on the paint. Since this the focus of this article I will concentrate on their removal. Removing the other type of spots- water etchings- requires resurfacing the paint (either aggressive compound polishing or wet sanding) to repair.


The following are the common ways used to treat water spots.
  • Chemical Cleaning with a Water Spot Remover
  • Detailing Clay Treatment
  • Light Hand/Machine Polishing
  • Pre-Wax Paint Cleansing Lotion
  • All-In-One Cleaner Wax Application

Chemical Cleaning with a Water Spot Remover-

This is perhaps the least invasive method. For years people have used, and I have recommended mixing distilled white vinegar with water (1:1). Wash the car first then wipe the paint with the solution and let dwell for 5-10 minutes, then agitate with microfiber towel and rinse off. This works fairly well, and the ingredients needed (vinegar + water) is readily available. The down side is that it works 'okay' and your garage, car, and drive way will stink for weeks!

Another viable cleaning solution is Chemical Guy's Water Spot Remover. We are bringing this product into our store after experiencing first hand how well it removes water spots. I know several (extremely high end detailers) who have used this product to remove water spots plastic trim and cowlings!



Detailing Clay Treatment-

A lot has been written about using detailing clay to remove water spots and for good reason. It cleans most contamination off the paint's surface quickly. Detailing Clay can struggle with some low level water spots only because they have no real thickness. Detailing clay floats above a lubricant and abrades any contaminants that stick above the paint's surface. However many times enthusiasts have clay handy so it is a recommended treatment because it works often.


Light Hand/Machine Polishing-

Lightly polishing the paint with an ultra fine abrasive polish will scrub the water spots clean and well and increase the gloss and clarity of the paint.

For hand polishing consider Meguiar's Ultimate Polish.

For machine polishing team up a soft foam finishing pad (such as a Lake Country Black Pad) with a an ultra fine machine polish like BLACKFIRE SCR Finishing Polish or Menzerna SF4500 (the same exact polish used at the Mercedes Factory for assembly line refinishing as a last step for ultimate gloss).


Pre-Wax Paint Cleansing Lotion-

"Paint Cleaners" are a great choice for removing light water spots. Paint Cleansing Lotions are design to deep clean the paint and prepare for a fresh coat of wax. Many wax or paint sealant manufacturers make paint cleansing lotions that clean the paint and prime it for their wax/sealant. They use either a chemical cleaning solution or a fine polish or a combination of both.

The two best I have used are BLACKFIRE's Gloss Enhancing Polish or Utlima Paint Guard Prep


All In One Cleaner Waxes

Cleaner Waxes or AIO's combine a wax or sealant with the properites of a paint cleansing lotion. They are designed to clean the paint and protect it one, time saving step.

KLASSE AIO is a classic in this field, where BLACKFIRE Total Polish N Seal uses the latest in technology/advancements.

You can apply most AIO's by hand or machine. If applying by hand (like a paint cleansing lotion) you want to work into the paint with a foam applicator with a little bit of passion.


These are some of the options of removing water spots. Depending on your goals each can work. After using Chemical Guy's Water Spot Remover, I am excited to be adding this as an addition to our growing Chemical Guy's line up. It will make a viable cleansing option and should be available shortly.

Comments, questions, suggestions are always welcome!


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Old 05-07-2012, 10:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C O Jones View Post
Great article thanks
No problem Chuck, glad you saw this!
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