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How Can I Dry My Car And Prevent Watermarks?

The number one problem facing consumers who do their own detail work is the appearance of spots that make it look as if the car was never cleaned in the first place. These spots are a real nuisance, but they’re a problem that can be easily avoided by following a few simple tips. Before heading out to wash, wax, and dry a car so that it looks great during the daily commute, be sure to keep a few of the things below in mind so that unsightly spots and stains can be effectively, permanently avoided.

1. Use a Microfiber Cloth to Reduce Lint Deposits
One of the biggest causes of spots is the typical lint deposit, which actually creates spots due to a number of different factors. The first of these is simply that any leftover lint actually concentrates moisture in a particular area, resulting in a round spot that appears lighter than the paint once everything has dried. These lint deposits also promote streaking, which is even more unsightly when the job is finished.
Using a microfiber cloth eliminates the potential of lint being left being when drying the car off after a wash or wax. These cloths specifically hold lint tightly to the surface, unlike paper towels and even many bath towels or hand towels.

2. Avoid Washing or Waxing Under the Sun
Sure, the midday sun presents a great way to clean the car and enjoy the weather all at once, but its effects on the car’s exterior surfaces won’t be appreciated when drying or waxing the car. The presence of sunlight heats the surface of the car, causing it to dry quickly, but unevenly, enhancing the frequency and size of spots or streaks that can make it look as if the car was never washed in the first place.
Wash the car during cooler weather, underneath a shade tree, or in an interior area where regular midday sunlight will not affect how the car is washed, dried, or waxed. This is the number one way to prevent spots and streaking in most cases.

3. Embrace Water Filtration Devices for Outside Hoses
Even with a microfiber cloth and a preference for detailing in a garage or away from the midday sun, spots can still make their way to the car’s surface. How? The answer is simple: Mineral deposits, as well as excessively hard or soft water, will dry unevenly while leaving behind a thin and unsightly residue in some areas. It’s the same effect as soap scum in the shower or a particularly dirty drinking glass that has been sitting in the sink all day, and it’s something every car owner should be trying to avoid.
Many companies sell filtration systems for homeowners that can either filter the entire home’s water from a central location, or filter the water expelled from a hose through an attachment that clips onto the nozzle. Either way, filtering water can reduce spots, promote a better shine after washing the car, and aid with more effective waxing.

4. Use Free-Flowing Water During the Rinse
The temptation to use a spray or “jet” feature with the hose when rinsing the car is natural, since this tends to get the job done more quickly. With haste comes waste, however, and these faster rinsing methods are the best way to promote spotty finishes on newly washed cars. Instead of opting for a quick rinse, allow the hose to flow freely without a nozzle attached at all. The result will be a self-drying rinse that looks much better in the end.

Defeating Spotty Rinses is Easy
With careful planning and a preference for slower, more deliberate detailing work, car owners can wash, rinse, and wax their car more effectively so that spots are reduced and shine is improved. That’s a winning scenario that will look great no matter where the car is headed afterward.

Sebastian Webb is a writer at a car blog, covering proper daily car maintenance and detailing. If you want to talk more about cars with him, you can contact him on his Facebook page.

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