How to Get Scratches Out of Glass? With Glass Polishing Compound, of course!

Can we all agree that scratches are the worst, especially if they are on your windshield? Have you ever wondered how exactly they came to be? 

It’s pretty simple. The leading cause is your windshield wiper blades. Over time, the rubber starts to wear off, and the metal scrapes against your window. So technically, you can avoid the problem altogether, but if you are anything like me, you will probably forget to do so. Lucky for us, windshield scratches are not the end of the world, and you can fix them with a simple glass polishing compound.

What Is Cerium Oxide Glass Polish?

Out of all the auto glass-polishing compounds, the best ones have to be those with cerium oxide. What exactly is this mysterious compound?

To make a long story short, cerium oxide is found in everything from glass cleaners to skincare products and even nuclear reactors. Chances are, you have probably seen the compound somewhere without knowing it. Cerium oxide has a high refractive index and is transparent in visible light. Because of this, it is often used in eyeglasses and camera lenses. How does cerium oxide glass polish work?

Simple! When used on glass, it produces a harder and more resistant surface. The cerium oxide glass-polishing compound also acts as an antireflective material and makes the surface easier to clean. It is often part of scratch repair kits. Now, let’s move on to the big question: Where can you locally buy cerium oxide?

10 Best Glass-Polishing Kits on the Market

Finding glass-polishing kits in your local shops is not as difficult as you might think. In fact, here are ten of the best kits available on the market today!

1. McKee’s 37 Krystal Vision Glass Polish Kit – Best for Cloudy Glass

McKee's 37 MK37-8000 Krystal Vision Glass Kit (5-Piece)
  • Safely remove water spots, mystery film, and bug splatter
  • 100% surface safe formulas
  • Ammonia and alcohol free

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re looking for a glass-polishing kit that safely removes water spots, mystery film, and bug splatter, then you are in luck. This is one of the better polishers I have used, and let me tell you one thing – it does exactly what it says. 

The spray is very simple to use, and a piece of cloth is provided to clean the glass. You should dab a bit of the high-performance restorer onto a coarse sponge (it has to be coarse) as you rub the windshield up and down. Voila! Now you should have a spotless windshield.

The glass polish is also ammonia- and alcohol-free. However, you can’t use this product to fill in those pesky scratches. For that, you will need something more. Still, for what it is, the glass-polishing tool is terrific.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Ammonia- and alcohol-free
Cons
  • No cerium oxide

2. GP14054 GP-PRO Professional-Grade Glass-Polishing Compound, Glass Polishing Solution 3.4oz – Best for Hairline Scratches 

GP14054 GP-PRO Professional Grade Glass Polishing Compound, Glass Polishing Solution 3.4oz
  • 3.4ozProfessional Grade Glass Polishing Solution delivers a uniform particle size, on average 2.3 micron,
  • This is a combination of a high concentration of rear earth oxides to provide the best possible finish in all polishing applications.
  • Can be used on any type of glass including automotive glass, toughened glass.

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here we go! This is the first entry on my list with some rare earth oxide capable of filling up hairline scratches – but only hairline scratches. Before we proceed, I should also mention that, unlike the previous entry, this is not a kit but simply an auto glass-polishing compound. Thus, you will have to find a cleaner spray from somewhere else.

With all that being said, this is a fantastic product that can polish surface marks, water damage, stain, and limescale. It can even remove light scratches. I recommend using a drill polisher adapter instead of a simple cloth or even a buffing pad. That doesn’t mean you can’t use the latter two. However, a drill will do a better job, but it will also be much faster. I am just a random car fanatic, so take that as you will.

Pros
  • Removes hairline scratches
  • Cerium oxide
Cons
  • No additional equipment

3. Cerium Oxide Glass-Polishing Compound, 8oz by TechnologyLK – Best for Superficial Scratches

Cerium Oxide Glass Polishing Compound - 8 Oz
  • Cerium Oxide Polishing Compound
  • Fast acting scratch remover
  • Used to remove superficial surface scratches

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking to repair superficial scratches, it doesn’t get better than pure cerium oxide. 

Although it’s getting harder and harder to find the pure glass polish compound, places like Amazon still have it available for the average Joe. 

Cerium oxide is extremely easy to use and very fast-acting. All you have to do is mix two parts powder with one part warm water. This creates a viscous paste that can fill in most light scratches. If some of those scratches are on the stubborn side, all you have to do is mix with less water for a more aggressive approach. On the other hand, if all you want is to polish the windshield, add more water.

This solution only works on minor scratches. Here is an older man’s tip: If you run a nail across your glass and it catches in the scratch, this product won’t be able to fill it up.

Pros
  • Easy to ese
  • Fast-acting
Cons
  • Doesn’t work on deeper scratches

4. CarPro Ceriglass Kit – Best Polisher

CarPro Ceriglass Kit
  • Will not distort glass
  • Great for restoring old windshields
  • For hand or machine use

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is yet another cerium oxide glass polish that can fill up some minor scratches, but it can also do so much more. Unlike your typical cerium oxide, this compound resembles more of a liquid than a paste.

The glass polish will clean your windshield to a T. It’s also effortless to use. Just dab a bit of the liquid on a piece of cloth or a buffer pad, and watch as your old windshield begins to shine once more. Much more than that, it’s great for polishing Plexiglas and restoring headlights. However, doing it by hand will take a long time, so I recommend using an electric buffer. 

The only downside I can think of is that the glass polish doesn’t work on aftermarket window tint, painted, or coated glass. So if you have any of those things, maybe keep scrolling for my number one pick.

Pros
  • Cerium oxide compound
  • Amazing polish
Cons
  • Doesn’t work on aftermarket window tint, painted, or coated glass

5. Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner, 16oz Bottle – Best for Stubborn Stains

Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner, 16 oz Bottle
  • Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner was designed to remove the very toughest, etched in, hard water build up and stains from any glass surface
  • By combining an acid gel, with our Extreme Cutting Abrasives and a full spectrum of industrial strength cleaners, Driven Extreme Duty Glass...
  • Safely Removes:Severe Hard Water Spots, Calcium and Mineral Buildup, Heavy Lime Scale, Salt Spray Deposit, Rust Deposit, Alkali, Mold & Mildew,...

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

So far, I have mainly talked about products that either fill in hairline scratches or polish light stains. What if you happen to have something more stubborn, like limescale, mold, or even rust? Well, I say you need just as stubborn of a glass polish, something designed for that specific purpose – dare I say something extreme.

The Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner combines acid gel, extreme cutting abrasives, and a full spectrum of industrial glass cleaners. The result is an easy-to-use product that can eliminate everything from the most challenging water spots to rust deposits, alkali, mold, and even mildew. The downside is that this glass polish doesn’t have a trace of cerium oxide, so it won’t fill up your scratches. For what it is, it does a pretty great job, not to mention that your car will smell like lemon afterward.

Pros
  • Can remove almost anything
  • Pleasant scent
Cons
  • No cerium oxide

6. Meguiar’s G8408EU Perfect Clarity Glass-Polishing Compound – Best for Light Polish

Meguiar's G8408EU Perfect Clarity Glass Polishing Compound 236 ml
  • Deep cleans glass & removes water spots
  • Improves glass clarity and smoothness
  • Removes wiper marks

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sometimes, you don’t need an extreme glass polishing paste. Sometimes, you want a quick and thorough cleaning that will leave your windshield looking brand new. That’s where this compound comes into play.

The Meguiar’s glass polish provides profound and beautiful clarity to your windshield. It removes those stubborn water spots and wiper marks. Like most products on this list, it’s also straightforward to use. Apply it to a piece of cloth, and wipe the desired area. Afterward, use a standard glass cleaner to remove any residue. The brand also recommends you use their pads, but I have found that a simple microfiber cloth works just as well.

Although the most significant downside has to be that this is not a cerium oxide glass polish, you can’t use it to remove those pesky scratches. Even so, if you are looking to do some light polishing, it doesn’t get better than this.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Perfect clarity
Cons
  • Not a glass scratch remover

7. Autoglym Car Glass Polish and Treatment Product – Best for General Use

325ml Autoglym Glass Polish
  • The Spray And Wipe Formula Removes Stains And Grime
  • This Product Is Ideal To Use As A General Cleaner
  • Great for windows, mirrors and HEADLIGHTS

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sometimes, you need a product that will last you a long while, a glass polisher that you can take out and use whenever you need to. Autoglym is explicitly made for that purpose. So grab your sponge and microfiber cloth as you watch the magic happen. That’s all you need.

What I love about this windshield polish is that it doesn’t require any glass cleaners afterward. Apply it to a coarse sponge, go over the windshield, and finish off with the cloth. With that, it will remove any light stains or grimes from your windows, mirrors, or even headlights. 

While the glass polisher leaves a crystal-clear finish, it doesn’t fill up scratches. The product doesn’t have any cerium oxide in it. Thus, if your windshield has taken minor damage, you are better off looking somewhere else.

Pros
  • Perfect for daily use
  • Long-lasting
Cons
  • Doesn’t fill up scratches

8. Griot’s Garage 10862 Complete Compound 16oz – Best Fine Polish

Griot's Garage 11017 Glass Polish (Fine) 16oz
  • Fine Glass Polish is for mild spots you normally see on your windshield, sunroof, and side glass.
  • Clean windows are a matter of style and safety
  • Removes mild water spots

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are a stylish individual, you will appreciate this glass polisher – not because it makes your windshield shine, but simply because the bottle looks fancy. In all honesty, it’s probably one of the best-looking car products out there.

Don’t worry, though, as this cerium oxide polish is much more than a pretty face. Griot’s Garage completely removes mild water spots and road film, but it also extends the life of your wipers. Likewise, the rare earth oxide in the polish helps it fill in light scratches. Keep in mind, though, that you should use the rule of the fingernail. If you run your nail across a scratch and it doesn’t catch, then this glass polisher will fill it up. Otherwise, you will need something with more power.

The only downside I see with this fancy product is that you will have to buy all the additional equipment you need separately. That includes glass cleaner, glass sealant, and cotton pads.

Pros
  • Stylish bottle
  • Extends life of wipers
  • Fills in light scratches
Cons
  • Additional equipment required

9. Glass Polish 21005 DIY Windshield Polishing Kit, Automotive Glass Polishing Solution – Best Glass Polishing Kit

GLASS POLISH 21005 DIY Windshield Polishing Kit, Automotive Glass Polishing Solution
  • ✅ Do-It-Yourself Automotive Glass Polishing Kit. Polishing Solution for any types of glass surfaces.
  • ✅ Easy to use with an electric drill, comes with universal 6mm drill attachment.
  • ✅ Suitable for removing haziness left by wiper blade, scuffs, superficial scratches, hard water deposits, adhesive residue, tree sap.

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are anything like me, you prefer to have all your DIY equipment in one place. That’s why I love the following product. 

The auto glass-polishing kit comes with a 3-inch hook-and-loop backing pad with universal drill attachment, two 3-inch GP-PRO felt polishing pads, 1.7-oz fine glass polishing compound (fully recyclable), and high-quality glass cloth. These are everything you need to make your windshield shine like a star.

The glass-polishing compound itself is safe to use on any type of glass, including toughened and even laminated. More than that, it removes superficial scratches, hard water deposits, adhesive residue, and tree sap. The only problem I have is that it falls short when it comes to slightly deeper scratches. For that, you will need something made explicitly for scratch removal.

Pros
  • Everything you need
  • Works on any type of glass
  • Removes superficial scratches
Cons
  • Doesn’t work on deeper scratches

10. 3M Glass-Polishing Compound, Defect Repair and Scratch Removal, Cerium Oxide Mineral, One-Step Polishing, 60150 – Best Overall

Sale
3M Glass Polishing Compound - Defect Repair and Scratch Removal - Cerium Oxide Mineral - One Step Polishing - 60150
  • A bottled liquid compound used for defect repair and scratch removal
  • Polish assorted glass surfaces and parts in one easy step
  • Cerium oxide mineral breaks down quickly for a bright finish

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I am sure you have heard of the 3M glass-polishing compound. If not, then you have heard of 3M before. They are a multinational conglomerate, after all. So, going into this review, my expectations were pretty high, yet they were still met.

The 3M glass-polishing compound is everything you need from a product such as this. Not only will it polish your windshield or any glass really to a T, but it will remove every scratch there is, no matter how deep. The cerium oxide inside it breaks down quickly, leaving a brighter finish. The glass-polishing compound doesn’t require additional cleaning after use – no wax, chemical cleaners, fillers, or glazing oils. Put a few drops on a buffing pad, and go over the desired area. That’s all – you’re done!

Honestly, I am even struggling to come up with some negatives for this product. However, I can’t just say it’s the best glass polishing compound and move on. So the one con I have is that the product doesn’t come with a drill attachment or a buffing pad. You will need to buy those separately.

Pros
  • Almost no additional equipment required
  • Perfect polish
  • Fills in every type of scratch
  • Really easy to use
Cons
  • Buffing pad not included

Glass-Polishing Compound – FAQ

There are so many things we wish we knew about glass-polishing compounds. Thus, to fill our thirsty minds, here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about them.

Q: Can you polish scratches out of your auto glass/mirror?

A: Yes, and it’s quickly done. Purchase a glass polish kit, most of which contain a polishing compound, along with a buffing pad. Generally speaking, cerium oxide is the most common and most effective type out there, but other available products function much in the same way. An acrylic scratch remover is very similar to cerium oxide, only that it comes in liquid form. Let it drip onto the buffing pad and watch the magic happen. 

This type works best on lighter scratches. Another alternative is something you already have in your home, and I am talking about white toothpaste. While not as effective as the other two, the typical household item will work after several applications. Get a non-gel toothpaste, and mix it with some baking soda. Next, then buff it into the scratch with a pad.

Q: What is an alternative to cerium oxide?

A: Apart from the above-mentioned compounds, the closest alternative is tin oxide. By all accounts, this compound looks and acts similar to its cousin, cerium oxide. You even apply it the same way. So if for some reason you can’t find cerium, tin oxide is the next best thing. That, however, doesn’t mean you have to go looking through thick and thin for something that might be hard to find. You can also use baking soda mixed with some water or even acrylic nail polish. Most of these alternatives are applied in the same way. The only difference is the curing time and effectiveness of the compound.

Q: How does cerium oxide work exactly? 

A: Cerium oxide is a chemical compound with at least one oxygen atom. It is very versatile and used in almost every industry. The way it interacts with your windshield is by producing a silicon-like substance that fills in those pesky scratches. This substance is softer than glass and much easier to polish.

Q: What’s the difference between polishing and rubbing compounds?

A: Polishing compounds are generally less abrasive. They are used mainly for cleaning and, well, polishing of a vehicle. Those compounds are easier to apply and have fewer finishing procedures. They are best used for removing stains and light scratches and helping your windshield shine.

On the other hand, rubbing compounds fix more significant issues, such as moderate scratches and imperfections. They can also restore old paint from oxidation. However, these compounds require more time for preparations as well as specialized tools. Because of this, they are mainly used by professionals.

Q: What is the best auto glass-polishing compound?

A: Well, this is an easy one. The answer is a 3M glass-polishing compound. They are a large and trusted company for a reason. This product also goes beyond delivering precisely what you are looking for from the best glass polishing compound.

Q: Can I go DIY with home products? 

A: Yes, of course. I love DIY, and I prefer DIY options than expensive cerium oxide glass polish kits or going to a professional. Just grab your toothpaste and baking soda, and get your hands greasy. I would even recommend repairing a cracked windshield yourself. There is just something magical about doing a task yourself.

Conclusion

Sometimes, while driving, you might get a chip, while other times, it’s a simple scratch. While there are many glass-polishing compounds, the best ones have to be those with cerium oxide. Depending on the concentration of this rare earth oxide and the mixture of other elements, the compound will repair anything from light scratches to deeper ones.

Now, while many products use cerium oxide, only 3M could be considered the best glass-polishing compound out there. Still, you might be looking for something lighter, or you might not even have a scratch to repair. Luckily, we live in a time where you can choose based on your needs.

Best Selling Glass Polishing Compounds

Bestseller No. 1
Griot's Garage 11017 Glass Polish (Fine) 16oz
Griot's Garage 11017 Glass Polish (Fine) 16oz
Clean windows are a matter of style and safety; Removes mild water spots; Helps extend the life of your wipers
$26.00
SaleBestseller No. 2
3M Glass Polishing Compound - Defect Repair and Scratch Removal - Cerium Oxide Mineral - One Step Polishing - 60150
3M Glass Polishing Compound - Defect Repair and Scratch Removal - Cerium Oxide Mineral - One Step Polishing - 60150
A bottled liquid compound used for defect repair and scratch removal; Polish assorted glass surfaces and parts...
$56.49
Bestseller No. 3
Cerium Oxide Glass Polishing Compound - 8 Oz
Cerium Oxide Glass Polishing Compound - 8 Oz
Cerium Oxide Polishing Compound; Fast acting scratch remover; Used to remove superficial surface scratches
$12.05
Bestseller No. 4
Meguiar's G8408EU Perfect Clarity Glass Polishing Compound 236 ml
Meguiar's G8408EU Perfect Clarity Glass Polishing Compound 236 ml
Deep cleans glass & removes water spots; Improves glass clarity and smoothness; Removes wiper marks
$22.80
Bestseller No. 5
GP14054 GP-PRO Professional Grade Glass Polishing Compound, Glass Polishing Solution 3.4oz
GP14054 GP-PRO Professional Grade Glass Polishing Compound, Glass Polishing Solution 3.4oz
Can be used on any type of glass including automotive glass, toughened glass.; Polish away, surface marks,...
$16.95

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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