How to Remove Scratches From Glass
Before fixing any scratches, you should bear in mind that there are different types of glass, each of which has different applications. The methods 5-Minute Crafts gathered below work best for tempered glass, which is commonly found in glass tables, car windshields, and windows. Also, remember that while some scratches can be fixed, some others can’t or require specialized equipment like buffers or sanders (see section B point 3).
A. Inspect the damage
You don’t always have to replace tempered glass when you see scratches on it. There are basically, 2 types of scratches:
- Superficial: These are surface scratches and they can be easily repaired with DIY methods.
- Deep: These are way harder to remove and they should be treated by a professional or you might cause further damage to the glass.
You can tell these apart because deep scratches can be felt with your fingertip.
B. If scratch is superficial, try this DIY solution
The following methods are easy DIY solutions for superficial tempered glass only. Method 1 uses a light abrasive, method 2 uses moderately abrasive tools, and method 3 uses heavily abrasive tools. That’s why you should start with method 1 and only if it doesn’t work, move on to method 2. Then only if method 2 doesn’t work, try method 3.
1. Toothpaste and a soft cloth
Start by adding a small amount of toothpaste to your soft cloth. Then, buff the scratched glass in small circular motions and rub for a few minutes. Finally, rinse with water. If the scratch is still there, but it’s getting better, repeat the process up to 2 more times to make it disappear. However, if after the first try you see no improvement whatsoever, move on to step 2.
- Make sure your cloth is clean when starting the process.
- Whitening toothpaste is slightly more abrasive than normal toothpaste.
- Some professionals recommend making a paste of baking soda, toothpaste, and water and rubbing it with a damp cloth.
2. Liquid pumice soap or steel wool
If toothpaste isn’t working, you can trade it for pumice liquid soap, which is a heavy-duty abrasive.
The procedure is the same as in step 1. Add a small amount of pumice soap to a soft cloth and buff the glass in circular motions for a few minutes. Rinse off and check to see if the scratches are gone.
Alternatively, you can use steel wool. However, make sure you have #0000 because this superfine grade pad buffs the glass without creating more scratches. The procedure is similar. Buff the scratched glass in circular motions for a few minutes without any soap or any other product and rinse.
- Very important: Do NOT use any oxidized steel wool, or you will scratch your glass. The steel wool has to be in perfect condition.
If scratches are still there after rinsing the glass, you’ll have to move on to the next step (requires special equipment).
3. Buffers or sanders
For this step you’ll need either a buffing wheel or an orbital sander. Chances are you don’t have this equipment at home. Unless you think you’ll use them for other things, you might as well skip this step and call a professional (see step D).
If you decide to carry on, you’ll need to buy a commercial buffing compound that is specially designed to remove scratches or polish metals. Some examples of these are cerium oxide and jeweler’s rouge. If you choose to buy/use an orbital sander, fit it with a soft cloth.
Polish the scratched glass with the tool of your choice. Make sure the compound you used doesn’t dry out, or it will create more scratches. You can keep it moist by squeezing out a bit of water from a wet sponge on the area you’re polishing. The process might take several minutes, after which you should clean the polished area using a soft brush and liquid dish soap. You can repeat the whole process as needed.
C. Other DIY methods you can try on superficial scratches
You can also try using clear nail polish to clear out scratches without damaging the glass. Using the polish brush, spread a thin layer over the scratch. The clear polish will fill in any grooves made by the scratch. Another popular method is treating scratched areas using a cotton ball with metal polish. Rub lightly in circular motions and then wipe it away with a damp cloth.
- Very important: Never use metal polish on your scratched glass more than once. Always apply metal polish on clean dry glass.
D. Call a professional
If you have a deep scratch you might need to call a professional to replace the part that’s scratched. If your glass scratches are superficial but DIY methods didn’t work or you don’t know how to handle equipment like buffers or sanders, then it’s better to call a professional.