How to Repair & Remove Scratches in Glass

Owning a vehicle means experiencing scratches and dings on glass surfaces. Although excessively deep scratches in glass should not be handled with a DIY kit, as attempting this may cause optical distortion in the glass, most scratches can be removed and repaired using a surface scratch removal kit. In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to repair glass scratches using the Eastwood Deep Scratch Removal Kit.

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Step #1: Getting Started

The Eastwood Deep Scratch Removal Kit contains the following items: A 1/2 lb. jar of glass polishing compound, one 3 in. hook and loop backing pad with 5/8 in.-11 female thread, one 5/8 in.-11 male thread x 1/4 in. shank adapter spindle for drill chuck, one hook and loop backed felt polishing pad, one 3 in. smooth-faced pressure-sensitive type backing pad with 5/8 in.-11 female thread, and one each of three glass scratch removal abrasive discs, course (green), medium (blue) and fine (orange). In addition to these scratch removal kit items, you will also need the following: an electric or pneumatic power tool capable of at least 600 RPM but no greater than 1500 RPM (preferably cordless to avoid contact with water), a fitted respirator mask, eye protection, hand protection, source of slow-running fresh water or a pump spray bottle, non-permanent marker, and plastic drop cloths or other materials to protect the vehicle and surrounding areas from spatter.

Allow yourself plenty of time to work on your glass surfaces as this process can be time consuming. It is important to be patient, not to rush through any of the steps, and to always be safe. Wear eye, hand and breathing protection throughout the entire damage removal and glass polishing processes to protect you from harmful silica dusts and chemicals. If your eyes or mouth come in contact with any of the compound, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Step #2: Damage Removal

The first step to removing the damage from your glass surface is thoroughly cleaning the glass area, both inside and out. Remove any obstructing vehicle accessories, like wipers or trim, to gain full access to the damaged area. Since this process will create a liquid mess, make sure to have plenty of drop cloths, blankets or any other coverings on the floor surrounding the area to minimize clean up later. If any spatter from this procedure gets on a paint finish, quickly and carefully wash it off and cover up the area to prevent any further contact. Put on all of your safety equipment: eye protection, work gloves, and especially, your respirator mask. Assess how deep the scratch in the glass is. Always be sure to use the mildest abrasive disc that you think can remove the scratch in order to avoid any permanent damage on the glass. If you need to use a more abrasive disc, always make sure to use it flat against the surface of the glass with plenty of water to keep the glass and pad wet.

If you are using a machine with a 5/8 inch-11 threaded shaft, thread the smooth-faced three inch backing pad directly onto the shaft. If you are using a cordless drill, thread the adapter spindle into the three inch backing pad. Then, insert the 1/4 inch shank into the chuck and tighten it in place. Remove the protective paper from your abrasive disc of choice. Center it on the three inch backing pad, and press it into place. Use your non-permanent marker to outline the damaged area on the backside of the glass, and wet the front surface of the glass with water. Evenly and in overlapping passes, work your abrasive disc as flat as possible across the whole damaged area, keeping a light and steady pressure on it. Keep your working area on the glass as localized as possible to minimize the removal of the “frosted” appearance later. Continue to keep the surface wet with water from a pump spray bottle or slow-flowing hose. Stop working on the damaged area often and use clean towels to dry the area in order to check your work. Re-wet the area to continue abrading the damaged area, and once the scratch is removed, it is time to move onto the polishing stage.

Step #3: Glass Polishing

After removing the scratch from your glass surface, it is time to restore the surface to its original clarity. If you are using a machine with a 5/8 inch-11 threaded shaft, thread the three inch hook and loop backing pad directly onto the shaft. If you are using a cordless drill, thread the adapter spindle into the three inch backing pad. Then, insert the 1/4 inch shank into the chuck, and tighten it in place. Center the three inch hook and loop backing pad, and press the felt pad onto the backing pad in place. Place the felt pad face down in 1/4 inches of clean water and let it soak for a couple minutes until it is soft. In a completely clean container, mix the glass polishing compound with water until it has a toothpaste-like consistency.

Once your compound is mixed properly, wet the glass surface with water, and apply a small amount of the compound to the now-repaired surface. Work your polishing pad evenly and steadily, making sure to keep the pad completely flat against the surface of the glass. Keep the pad speed between 600 RPM and 1500 RPM. Do not exceed 1500 PRM, as that can permanently damage the glass. Use the compound sparingly, and frequently wet the surface you are polishing with clean water to avoid heat buildup and further glass damage. Once the glass is polished successfully, it should look like brand new, as if the scratch was never there to begin with. Wash the polished surface with a sponge and clean water, and make sure you clean each abrasive and polishing pad that you used before properly storing them in plastic bags for future use.

To learn more about glass repair and for more automotive articles, be sure to visit Eastwood.com.

2 thoughts on “How to Repair & Remove Scratches in Glass”

  • Dan Jones

    I bought a '64 Galaxie and the chips on the windshield make it impossible with at night when headlights hit it or when driving into the sun. Can this technique be used or do I have to buy a new windshield?

    Reply
    • MattM

      If you have actual chips that you can dig into with your fingernail these polishing kits won't remove those unfortunately. These will take scratches and light "sandblasting" from years of driving, but rock chips and such it won't be able to polish out.

      Reply

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