How To Use Rubbing Compound To Remove Acid Rain Spots

Those water spots on your car's windows can be more than just an annoyance. Not only can they make your vehicle look less attractive, but they can also interfere with your line of sight. However, most conventional methods of window cleaning barely scratch the surface when it comes to removing water spots left behind by acid rain.

Fortunately, there's an effective method you can use to remove water spots from your windshield and other vehicle glass. All you'll need is some rubbing compound, mild dish detergent, a few terry cloths and a few microfiber towels.

First Steps

Before you get to work with the rubbing compound, you need to make sure the glass surface you're working on is completely free of any dirt or debris. If you decide to skip on thoroughly cleaning the glass surface, you could run the risk of scuffing and scratching your windows with the leftover debris as you use your rubbing compound.

Mix a small amount of mild dish detergent into a spray bottle full of clean water and spray it onto the glass. Use a soft cloth to remove any and all dirt and grit from the glass and then rinse the glass thoroughly with clean water. Afterwards, use your microfiber towel to thoroughly dry the glass.

Choosing Your Rubbing Compound

When it comes to choosing your rubbing compound, you'll want to go with the finest possible rubbing compound available. Going with a coarse rubbing compound could be just as detrimental as cleaning your auto glass with grit -- coarse abrasives may be able to remove water spots, but they'll also leave behind noticeable scratches.

Applying the Rubbing Compound

When you have your rubbing compound ready, you'll want to follow these steps for applying the compound onto the glass:

  • Fill a spray bottle with clean water and wet down a small portion of the glass. You'll also want to wet down one of your terry cloths in a bucket of clean water. Wring the terry cloth of its excess water until it's merely damp.
  • Place a small amount of your very fine rubbing compound on the glass. Use the terry cloth to work the compound firmly into the glass in a tight circular motion.
  • As you work the rubbing compound into the glass, use the spray bottle to keep the work area damp. Switch to a new terry cloth and apply fresh rubbing compound onto the surface when the cloth becomes dirty.
  • Continue working the rubbing compound into the glass until the water spots are polished away. Once you've successfully removed the acid rain spot, move on to another section of the glass surface.

Once you've achieved the desired results, wrap things up by rinsing the entire glass surface with clean water. Follow up by drying the glass with a clean microfiber towel.

What If It Doesn't Work?

Sometimes acid rain spots can be a bit stubborn to remove. If the rubbing compound doesn't remove it on the first pass, you may need another pass or two to completely remove the water spots.

If the above steps don't work, no matter how many times you perform them, then you may be dealing with water spots that have permanently etched themselves deep within the glass. In this case, your only alternative is to have the affected glass replaced by an auto glass specialist.

Keeping Water Spots at Bay

Once you've rid your car windows of its water spots, chances are you'll want to keep them from coming back. A great way of keeping water spots at bay involves the use of water-repelling glass treatments. While untreated glass surfaces allow water to linger, water-repelling coatings cause water to bead up and off the glass surface. This prevents acid-laden rainwater from lingering long enough to etch itself into the glass.   

For more information and assistance with repairing your car's windows, talk with professionals in auto glass repair and replacement.