Looking through a windshield that has suffered surface scratches

How to Fix Scratches on Glass

Our homes are well accessorized with glass from windowpanes to shower doors, tabletops and lovely glassware, too. While glass is both beautiful and durable, normal wear and tear or mindless abuse can result in ugly surface scratches on glass.

Looking through a windshield that has suffered surface scratches

I wanted to kick myself around the block. Rather than stop and think, I grabbed a razor blade to remove adhesive stuck to a kitchen window. Instead, I managed to create several ugly surface scratches on glass.

It took a few hours of research and testing to discover three easy ways to fix scratches on glass. Here are the three methods that use ordinary household items together with a little elbow grease, beginning with the easiest and least invasive.

Toothpaste

Provided the scratches are smooth and relatively tiny, toothpaste offers a cheap way to fix scratches on glass. But just not any toothpaste. You want non-gel, whitening toothpaste that contains baking soda. For example, Arm & Hammer AdvancedWhite.

First, clean and dry the area well. Next, apply just a dot of toothpaste to a clean, damp, lint-free cloth. Using small, circular motions, work the toothpaste into the scratches for about a minute. Using a clean area on the wet cloth, wipe away the toothpaste. Inspect to see if the scratch has disappeared. If so, rinse well and buff the glass clean. If evidence of the scratch is still visible, repeat as necessary.

Metal polish

The next way to fix scratches on glass is to rub them out with metal polish. Slightly more abrasive than toothpaste, metal polish is a better method if the scratches are slightly deeper.

There are lots of choices when it comes to metal polish, available at your local home center or on Amazon. I swear by Simichrome All Metal Polish. I use it on silver, brass and now, glass, too.

Sandpaper

Wait. Not any sandpaper and not using any method. This is the mother of all remedies for scratches on glass, but requires careful consideration.

You need wet/dry sandpaper for more severe scratches and Wet/Dry Premium Waterproof Sheets is your best choice. This is a 12-sheet assortment of finish sanding paper ranging from #3000 to #7000 grit. The grit on this type of sanding paper is so fine it will not scratch the glass, the way that woodworker’s sandpaper, steel wool or other abrasive products might.

For severe scratches, start with a piece of #3000 grit paper, cut it to a size that feels comfortable in your hand as you are going to scrub the glass with it. Wet both the glass surface and the sanding paper with water to provide a lubricant. You do not want to do this completely dry.

Using a circular motion, scrub the entire surface of the glass. You will immediately begin to sand out those stubborn scratches.

Next, move up to #5000 and then to #7000 as needed to remove even the tiniest micro scratches that may have been left behind. At this point, you will be polishing the surface to that mirror finish, with what feels like a piece of paper—that’s how fine #7000 grit is.

Depending on the severity of the problem, this could take five minutes or longer to finally achieve the level of success you have in mind. But know it will work. Your glass surface will look like new—no fumes or expensive chemicals.

Cautions

If you have scratches in your eyeglasses, DO NOT use any of these methods if your lenses have UV, reflective, or other types of coatings. You will turn small annoying scratches into a total disaster.

As for all other situations that have resulted in scratches on glass, always test first in an inconspicuous place so you can anticipate your results.

This post originally appeared on the pages of Everyday Cheapskate on 6-29-19.


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6 replies
  1. Robert T
    Robert T says:

    I have a Ford Explorer I had a boat on the luggage racks when my kids took it off it slide off the side and scratch the factory tinted glass don’t know how to remove the scratch

    Reply
  2. julien
    julien says:

    Which option would you recommend for fixing scratches made with a 60-grit sand paper? I was sanding some wood trim on a window when I realized that I made some scratches on the glass along the process.

    Reply
  3. kcjmc
    kcjmc says:

    I wonder if the third option would work on my car windshield. I had to use worn-out wiper blades in a pinch when caught in an unexpected rain shower while driving and now have what look to me, as I’m inferring from the article, like “severe” scratches. If anybody’s tried this, I’d sure appreciate you sharing your results.

    Reply
  4. K Kruse
    K Kruse says:

    The ONE time I allowed someone other than me to wash my beautiful dishes after a formal meal, she grabbed a Scotch-brite scrubbie, and with the green scrub side, wiped out my crystal water goblets. Before I saw what was happening and stopped her, she had used it on all 12. Every single one now has minute scratches all over it. Unfilled on the table they look as though they are cloudy/filmy and unwashed. I am heartbroken, besides the fact that they are super expensive to replace! Once I fill the glass with water, the scratches disappear. Are these safe methods for fine glassware? Which would you suggest I try?

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      While I cannot make any guarantees, my feeling is what do you have to lose? I would choose one piece for testing. And I’d start with the toothpaste method. Go easy, be gentle. Examine the result. You may have to repeat a few times. My window require metal polish but the scratches really did disappear. But it wasn’t immediate. I had to work at it. By the way, this is the reason those green Scotchbrite sponges have been banned from my house. I use only the blue variety, which are scratchless.

      Reply
      • K Kruse
        K Kruse says:

        Thank you, Mary. I will try it. And never again will I allow anyone to help me wash them! Yes, the green sponges are now hidden under my sink for specialty purposes only. I don’t have a dishwasher, but most washing is done with only a dishcloth. After a good soak in hot soapy water, everything comes off. Water is the universal solvent!

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