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Washing your car in your driveway can be both satisfying and rewarding. But there are several ways to make mistakes while detailing that can actually make your car look worse. Water spots are one of the most frustrating parts of a car wash, but there are several things you can do to avoid this pesky residue the next time you wash your car.

Use a drying aid

One of the easiest ways to avoid water spots when washing your car is with a drying aid. Contrary to the name, you can’t simply spray this on and let it evaporate. However, it will lengthen the amount of time you have to dry the vehicle before water spots form. In addition, these products act as water softeners to further reduce the risk of water spotting.

To use a drying aid, simply spray your vehicle with the product while the car is still wet. Then use your microfiber drying towel to gently wipe the vehicle dry. Popular drying aids include Optimum No Rinse, AMMO Hydrate, and Chemical Guys Waterless Wash.

Dry your car immediately

No matter the environment, it’s always important to dry your vehicle immediately after a wash to avoid water spots. Using a quality microfiber drying towel will pick up any standing water and the minerals suspended within it. Any residual moisture can be wiped away with a second pass, and you’ll get a finish with no water spots.

Used together with a drying aid, you’ll get a near-flawless finish even if you’re working on a warmer day.

Get a spotless water system

This is the most expensive option, but it’s also the most reliable. While the techniques and tools above can help, the best way to avoid water spots is to use de-ionized water. These advanced filtration systems remove mineral impurities from your water, so there are fewer minerals left to leave water spots behind.

They aren’t cheap – DI water systems can cost anywhere from $350 to $1500. But they’re effective and can filter up to 500 gallons of water before you need to worry about new filters. US Water Systems indicates that they can remove 99% of impurities, including those that basic filters can’t handle.

Avoid washing cars in the sun

No matter the circumstances, washing cars in the sun is a recipe for water spots. Even on relatively cool days, direct sunlight can rapidly heat the metal panels on a car. This results in rapid water evaporation and any mineral deposits left behind will then begin to bake onto your car’s paint. These water spots are not just unsightly, but they can be difficult to remove if left for too long.

As such, you should always avoid washing your car in direct sunlight whenever possible. And if you can’t, working quickly and in smaller sections can help manage any reside left behind.

Avoid these mistakes and reduce water spots when washing your car

Water spots can be frustrating, but there are options for the driveway detailer that wants an ideal shine. Use these tips for your next outdoor car wash and avoid adding water spots to your car’s finish.


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