How to Fix Scratches on Glass

By Mary Hunt

August 21, 2019 5 min read

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

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 and 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 not just any toothpaste. You want non-gel whitening toothpaste that contains baking soda, such as Arm & Hammer Advance White.

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 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 are your best choice. This is a 12-sheet assortment of finish sanding paper ranging from #3000 to #7000 grit. The grit 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 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, it 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 and your lenses have UV, anti-reflective or other types of coatings, DO NOT use any of these methods. You will turn small annoying scratches into a total disaster.

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

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, "Ask Mary a Question." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: StockSnap at Pixabay

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