Does Hard Water Affect Your Vehicle During A Wash?

Posted on: 21 December 2022

Hard water is water that has a high content of dissolved minerals, like magnesium and calcium. You may know that hard water isn't great for your household, as it can wear down appliances and can lead to soap scum in the bathrooms. Some homeowners may use water softeners to correct issues in the home; however, don't forget that hard water can affect your vehicles as well.

Take a look below at why hard water is an issue and how spot-free rinse systems can help. 

What Does Hard Water Do to Vehicles?

If you wash a vehicle with hard water, the surface may dry with unsightly mineral deposits. The problem with mineral deposits is that they can actually etch and scratch the paint if not removed. Although this can be an aesthetic problem, the car paint provides a protective barrier for your vehicle and if it's removed, it can leave any exposed metal open to rust.   

What's the Problem with DIY Cleaning?

If your car has lots of hard water spots, you may want to try and remove these deposits yourself, but if you aren't experienced at removing them, you could accidentally cause more damage to the vehicle. For one thing, when soap is combined with the mineral deposits, it won't lather properly, so you may be adding more residue to the car. While over-the-counter acid-based cleaners can remove lime scale, they have to have the proper dilution and be removed thoroughly so that you aren't damaging the clear coat of your vehicle.

How Can a Spot-Free Rinse System Help?

If you don't have soft water to wash your car, your best bet is to take your vehicle to a car wash with a spot-free rinse system.

The water that's used in these systems is softened using distillation or deionization, in order to remove the minerals that cause water spots and excess suds. The water in these systems is usually separated from other elements so that it isn't mixed in with hard water. Spot-free rinse systems are typically used at the end of a car wash cycle so that if there are any trace minerals, they are rinsed off before the car is dried. However, some car washes may use spot-free rinses throughout the entire wash cycle since some presoak products and detergents may need soft water to properly clean the vehicles. If hard water deposits have already dried on your car, or you have other debris and contaminants—like road tar, deicer, etc., then the car wash facility might offer clay bar treatments after the spot-free rinse. Clay bars are made of detailing-safe resins that can safely pull contaminants from the paintwork and prep the car for a new layer of wax.

Reach out to a car wash and detailing service in your area for more information about their spot-free car rinse system and other detailing treatments.