In the sections, we provide information on water spots and Paint Etching including a solution with our two stages of spot-free de-ionising water filtration system.
What Are Water Spots?
Water spots are the little circular dots that can be left on your car after you leave water droplets to dry on it. They can ruin the appearance of your vehicle’s paintwork and can eventually cause permanent damage.
These tiny spots are actually little deposits of minerals and metals that were present in the water supply as dissolved solids. There are several types of dissolved solids commonly found in Australian water supplies including:
Manganese oxides and carbonates
The amount of dissolved solids is measured in parts per million and referred to as Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). The higher the TDS, the higher the level of dissolved solids (including minerals) in your water.
What Is Paint Etching?
When mineral deposits and chemical contaminants are left on a vehicle’s paint for a long period, they can begin to have a corrosive effect.
This corrosive effect can cause microscopic craters to develop in the clear coat or top paint layer of your vehicle’s paint job. These craters will attract more water, causing the accumulation of even more contaminants which further deepens the indentations.
After several days or months, this can cause a serious amount of damage to your vehicle’s paint job and ruin its appearance.
Fixing paint etching is not an easy job. It usually requires heavy compounding or sanding, which is best performed by a professional car detailer.
The solution is to wash and dry the car without leaving water on the vehicle, another option is to use a water filtration system.
De-ionising Water Filter For Car Washing
A spot-free car washing using a de-ionising water filtration system can solve this problem.
These systems use a combination of carbonfiltration and an ion-exchange resin to capture dissolved solids and chemicals in your water — protecting your vehicle from damage. This is called a two-stage process:
Stage 1: Carbon Filtration
A high flow carbon filter is used to reduce chlorine, sediment, metal particles, and harsh chemicals in the water. Most systems will use a filter with a 5-10 micron rating as it still allows for sufficient water flow for a pressure washer or garden hose.
This stage is critical as it reduces chlorine, which can damage ion exchange resin.
Stage 2: Ion Exchange Filtration
Stage 2 is a vessel holding ion exchange resin. Ion exchange resin is a bead-like substance made from an organic polymer substrate.
The resin beads are porous, providing a large surface area with tiny cracks capable of trapping and releasing ions (particles, atoms or molecules with a net electrical charge).
Ion exchange resin is extremely effective at trapping contaminants like magnesium and calcium carbonate, which are primarily responsible for water spot formation.
The resin will exchange the magnesium and calcium ions found in hard water for sodium ions, which are harmless to your vehicle’s paintwork.
Ion exchange resins can remove all TDS from water, ensuring a spot-free wash every time. However, as the resin gradually fills up with contaminants, it will begin to release TDS back into the water.
That is why regular testing of your water using a TDS metre is advised.
A TDS of 0 means there are no dissolved solids present and water spots will not form after you leave water on your car to dry.
The TDS of Australian town water is usually somewhere between 50ppm to 1,000ppm. This means using town water on your vehicle and allowing it to dry virtually guarantees you will have water spots.
Even rainwater can cause water spots, despite it having an extremely low TDS. That’s because raindrops will mix with dust and other contaminants that are already present on your paint, leaving spots behind as it dries.
If you leave water spots on your car for a long time, the sun will eventually bake them onto the surface of the paint. At this point, they will be very difficult to remove and you may need to employ a professional car detailer to treat your paint.