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How to Remove Water Stains on a Windscreen

Updated February 21, 2017

Water stains form on the windscreens or windshields of cars when rain evaporates from the surface and leaves behind small, ring-shaped mineral deposits. Using wipers and washer fluid many times isn't enough to remove the spots that can become irritating if they are in the driver's field of vision, making a more specific form of cleaning necessary. According to leading cleaning experts at the website How to Clean Anything, spotting is a particular problem in hard-water areas because hard water contains more mineral particles.

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  1. Apply a few droplets of white household vinegar to each of the problem water stains on the windshield, and let them sit for five minutes.

  2. Soak your clean, preferably new leather cloth (also called a chamois) in distilled water and wipe it firmly onto water stains and vinegar-soaked areas. You should begin to see a reduction in the severity and number of water stains on the glass in just a few minutes.

  3. Examine the windshield and reapply neat vinegar to any remaining water stains and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe it off with the leather cloth and rinse the leather cloth in distilled water.

  4. Spray a specialised windshield cleanser over the glass and work it into the surface, carefully using either your rinsed leather cloth or a separate, clean sponge. Find a cleanser that prevents scratches and provides a protective function for your windshield. The best cleaner would contain a mixture of cleansing and protective agents specifically formulated for car glass including antifreeze, insect remover and ice remover and one that also enhances your clarity of vision and driving safety, according to Perma Clear Limited.

  5. Wash the windshield again with distilled water to remove excess solutions and any dirt that remains.

  6. Wrinkle some newspaper and start wiping the glass with it in a circular motion. The paper absorbs excess water and cleaning solutions and also acts like an abrasive, lifting off the remaining mineral deposits.

  7. Mix 1 part isopropyl alcohol with 2 parts distilled water. Soak your leather cloth in the new solution and lay the cloth over the windshield (if you can, use two cloths to achieve greater coverage). Leave the cloths in place for up to 10 minutes so the new solution soaks through onto the glass. If a stain remains, try dabbing it with neat isopropyl alcohol.

  8. Tip

    Stick to newspaper for the abrasive step. Ordinary writing paper or printing paper is too smooth and not as flexible or abrasive. Avoid areas where acid rain may be a problem and park under cover in wet climates.


    Wear rubber gloves when dealing with abrasives and cleaning chemicals to protect your skin and hands. Do not use a leather cloth that had been soaked in anything other than water or vinegar for this process. Impurities, dust or dirt could damage the windshield permanently, leading to costly repairs and replacements of the entire glass panel.

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Things You'll Need

  • Household vinegar
  • Distilled water
  • Clean leather window cloth
  • Clean sponge
  • Specialist screen cleanser
  • Newspaper
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Rubber gloves

About the Author

Natasha Parks

Natasha Parks has been a professional writer since 2001 with work published online and in book format for "Thomson Reuters," the "World Patents Index" and thomson.com. Her areas of expertise are varied and include physics, biology, genetics and computing, mental health, relationships, family crises and career development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biophysics from King's College, London.

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