Quick Guide to Remove Scratches from Windshields

Windshield scratches can sometimes appear out of nowhere. While it is something you cannot avoid, scratches could suddenly emerge while cleaning the glass from dirt and grits. A scratch is a common automotive glass problem that recurs many times over the car’s life, and knowing your options for windshield scratch repair is essential to proper car care and maintenance.

A scratch on the windshield may not be as unsightly as a ding or as problematic as a crack. However, they can get in the way of the driver’s clear visuals of the road through the scratched glass. You’ll have to find a way to get rid of the nuisance to avoid driving distractions, especially if the scratches are clearly visible in the driver’s line of sight. How did the scratch appear in the first place? Here’s a quick look at some of the most common causes of windshield scratches and how to remove them.

What Causes Windshield Scratches

It’s a fact—glass scratches can be annoying. While some scratches appear by accident, some emerge because of negligence. If you want to avoid getting scratches on your windshield, you need to know the common causes so you can take preventive measures to keep your windshield in pristine condition.

Windshield Wipers

The awful screeching sound of the wiper blades is irritating but could also mean possible glass damage. The movements of the wiper blades are no longer smooth and cause friction with the windshield, probably due to the absence of water if you accidentally turn on the wiper when it’s not raining. The unwanted friction is usually caused by dust particles and small debris on the glass while the wiper is moving.

Worn-out wiper blades can also cause scratches on the windshield since these blades have a special design to firmly press against the glass. The oscillating action of the wiper blades could result in the metal digging into the windshield’s surface when the blade is worn out. This creates small indentations and scratches throughout the surface of the wiper’s coverage area. In this case, you’ll need to know how to remove windshield wiper scratches.

Improper Cleaning Method

Sometimes, cleaning may look like giving the car a favor, but sometimes, you are doing more harm than good because of improper cleaning methods. Don’t use any cloth to wipe out the dirt on the glass because some cloth have protruding clotheslines that could result in scratches. Also, the use of dirty cloth to wipe some tough grits could leave some streaks on the glass while cleaning. Instead, use a lint-free microfiber cloth to clean the windshield. Microfiber is washable, super absorbent, and streak-free, leaving the glass shiny and clean.

Likewise, improper use of abrasive scrub brushes to slough away grit could leave some streak marks. Refer to professionals for the correct way of buffering the glass, or check out some guides on how to properly perform the tasks. Sometimes, your windshield could also get some scratches from the spinning cleaners of an automatic car wash. It is best to clean your car in trusted car wash centers to ensure not just good quality cleaning but also windshield protection.

Tree Branches

If you’re driving an all-terrain off-road vehicle, chances are you will have the confidence to drive through uncharted territories with extending tree limbs getting in the way. These tree branches that extend to the road and are low enough to reach your car could leave some streaks on the windshield glass. Thus, drive carefully. Sometimes, we tend to only protect the paint from scratches, giving little attention to windshields, which can also have some scratch marks.

Can Scratched Auto Glass Be Fixed?

Only two things can happen to the windshield when there are scratches—you can either fix itor opt for total windshield replacement. Every car owner would usually wish for the former and avoid the latter due to the expensive cost. There is, however, a fingernail test you can perform to determine if you can remove the scratch from your windshield or not.

The Fingernail Test for Scratched Windshield Glass

The fingernail test is a simple test anyone can perform to determine the repairability of the scratch. Just run your fingernail through the damaged area, and pray it won’t get snagged. If the fingernail catches the scratch, it means the glass break is deep enough to require a more professional approach. However, if you can barely feel the scratch on the windshield, this means the damage is only superficial and you can fix your scratched windshield at a small price to pay compared to the costs of total windshield glass replacement.

Scratch vs Crack

A scratch in the windshield does not go all the way through the glass, like a crack does. However, it can become worse over time. Scratches may obstruct vision, making driving more dangerous. Scratches can also be simply annoying to some drivers. The best way to avoid scratches is to change windshield wiper blades regularly (see our guide on the best blades here); however, scratches from road debris are inevitably going to occur on any windshield.

How to Remove Scratches from Windshields

There are many ways to remove windshield scratches. These options will always tempt most car owners to use some natural remedies or ingredients you can quickly pick out from the kitchen. While there’s no guarantee these methods can remove windshield scratches, it would be best to go for the scientific method proven in laboratories to work after several tests. Nonetheless, it is still good to know the available DIY options to remove windshield scratches.

Car windshield glass scratch repair can be done professionally or with DIY kit. Light scratches can often be polished away, removing them or significantly reducing their appearance. Deep scratches require specialty polishing kits, and these types of repairs should be performed by a professional. A windshield repair technician can provide a quote for scratch repair, depending upon the depth of the scratches as well as the area to be repaired.

Baking Soda

The popular baking soda has multiple uses other than baking. It can treat heartburn, get rid of bad breath and refresh the mouth, soothe canker sores, whiten your teeth, relieve itchy skins and sunburns, and, of course, remove scratches in the windshield.

Things you need to fix a scratched windshield:

  1. Baking soda
  2. Water
  3. Lint-free microfiber cloth

Steps for Using Baking Sodafor Scratch Removal

To start the repair using baking soda, make a paste from an equal amount of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the damaged surface area, and rub it in circular motion using a microfiber cloth. Keep rubbing several times, and wipe off excess paste with water or dry cloth. Repeat the procedures for a few days until the scratches disappear.

Acrylic Nail Polish

Like baking soda, acrylic nail polish has several uses beyond polishing fingernails. Its sealing properties toughen enough to provide a certain level of protection. However, the application process is more straightforward than baking soda since no mixing is required.

Things you need to fix the scratch:

  1. Acrylic nail polish
  2. Water
  3. Lint-free microfiber cloth

Steps for Using Acrylic Nail Polish to Remove Glass Scratches 

You can apply the acrylic nail polish directly to the scratches and let it dry and toughen for a couple of minutes. Wipe off the excess liquids with a microfiber cloth for a glossy finish. However, this could work only for minor and shallow scratches.

Cerium Oxide 

Also referred to as ceric oxide, cerium oxide is an oxidation of cerium, a rare-earth metal in the form of pale yellow-white powder. It is an important commercial product utilized in various fields, such as hydrogen production, sensing, fuel cells, photocatalysis, semiconductor devices, catalysis, adsorption, and biomedical uses. Cerium oxide has sealing properties that make it ideal for removing glass scratches.

Things you need to fix the scratch:

  1. Cerium oxide
  2. Water
  3. Microfiber damp cloth

Steps for Using Cerium Oxide for Scratch Removal

To fix glass scratch using cerium oxide, you need to create a paste using two parts cerium oxide and one part lukewarm water. You can adjust the amount of water according to the level of repair you want to achieve. Add more water if you wish to only polish the scratch surface to make it less visible. For more aggressive window scratch repairs, decrease the amount of water for a creamy paste. Apply the cerium oxide paste on the windshield scratches, and wipe off the excess amount with microfiber cloth.

Glass Scrub Compound

Glass scrub compound products are marketed to get rid of stubborn glass dirt and tough grimes and grits. These products also work on light scratches in windshields and automotive glasses. The scrub compounds have leveling materials that smoothen the surface of the glass, thereby removing scratches at the same time. Thus, it works both ways—cleaning and scratch removal. However, this only works for light hairline scratches. For deeper cuts, you need a more aggressive approach.

Things you need for automotive glass scratch repair:

  1. Glass scrub compound products
  2. Microfiber cloth
  3. Water spray

Step-by-step Process in Using Glass Scrub Compounds for Getting Rid of Glass Scratches

To ensure a good repair job when using glass scrub products to remove scratches, you must follow the instructions correctly. Otherwise, you might end up having more minor scratches instead of removing a single scratch. At the start, clean the repair area, and apply the compound to a damp, lint-free microfiber cloth. Afterward, rub the damp cloth on the scratch area in circular motion and with even pressure. In between rotations, spray the repair area with distilled water to ensure it is wet at all times while rubbing; otherwise, more fine scratches will appear. Sometimes, this may require a repeat process for a couple of days until the scratch is gone.

Non-gel Toothpaste

The refreshing toothpaste doesn’t just whiten and clean your teeth. It also acts as a grinding paste that levels the glass surface and smoothens the whole area. Thus, the minty toothpaste offers an economical and easy way of removing shallow scratches on the car’s windshield.

Things you for automotive glass scratch repair:

  1. Non-gel white toothpaste
  2. Damp microfiber cloth
  3. Water spray

Steps for Removing Windshield Scratches Using Toothpaste

To fix windshield scratches using toothpaste, apply some purely white non-gel toothpaste on a lint-free damp cloth, preferably microfiber. In circular motion, rub the paste on the damaged area for a minute or two. Check for improvements on the visibility of the scratch, and reapply as necessary until the scratch is no longer visible. As always, wipe off excess residues for a shiny finish.

Windshield Scratch Remover

There is no better way to fix a scratch problem on a car’s windshield than to use a windshield scratch remover or a product specifically made for solving the issue. These windshield scratch remover kits can fix not just scratches but also other types of damages and minor breaks on the glass, such as bullseye cracks, dings, spiderweb breaks, and more. Some kits have additional repair tools to force the liquid through the deep cracks to ensure every gap is filled for a more durable repair job.

These kits were expertly designed to withstand all weather and the rough outdoor conditions of driving. They are made of either silicone or resin-based materials with sufficient viscosity to penetrate deeper cracks. After observing enough curing time, these repair liquids will toughen in a clear finish that blends well with the glass.

Things you need to fix the scratch:

  1. Windshield repair kit
  2. Lint-free microfiber cloth

Steps to Remove Scratches Using Repair Kits

Windshield repair kits are all-in-one products that contain everything you need to remove those nasty scratches on the glass of your car. Thus, you don’t have to mix it with water like the other DIY methods of scratch repair. In this case, the repair liquid is enough to fix the crack. However, aside from the windshield polishing kit, you still need a lint-free microfiber cloth for cleaning the glass, which is usually not provided in some kits.

To start the job, clean the crack’s surrounding area to get rid of the tiny particles and debris, which could interfere with the repair. Once the area is clean, apply the repair liquid directly to the scratch. Remove the excess residues and observe the required curing time indicated in the product label, which usually ranges from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the brand of the windshield glass repair kit. In some cases, curing may require exposure to direct sunlight. Once it is cured, clean the glass using the microfiber cloth for a glossy finish. The entire process is simple and quick, which can be done within an hour.

Best Windshield Repair Kit for Scratches

It can be overwhelming to choose the right brand considering many similar products in the market. However, there’s a technique for choosing the right product for a specific damage. If the kit contains a repair tool, it is ideal for repairing glass damages concentrated around the point of impact, such as minor chips and bullseye breaks, which require an additional push, deeper into the cuts. The repair tool forces the repair liquid into the crack for good quality and durable repair. Since there are more items inside each kit, they are also more expensive compared to solo kits without other items but a tube containing the repair liquid.

For scratches, one of the recommended brands is the Versachem Windshield and Glass Sealer, which is a silicon-based repair kit that works perfectly for scratches. Check out the review for more details of the product. Another good repair kit for scratches is the Permatex Flowable Silicone and Glass Sealer, which is also a silicon-based product that is effective in getting rid of windshield blemishes. There’s also a review of the product for more details.

Best Solution for Windshield Scratches

Scratch removal presents a broad range of options that include a couple of DIY projects from kitchen materials to common products on store shelves. While some methods may work in eliminating the nuisance streaks on the windshield that could be glaring at the strike of sunlight, some techniques only provide temporary solutions, especially when the rough driving conditions start to wear out these quick fixes. If you want a permanent solution, you’re better off with a windshield scratch repair kit designed for durability and strength amidst the stress of driving. Has your windshield sustained more damage? Go ahead and check out our other article on the best car windshield repair kits for various types of damages.

Best Selling Windshield Scratch Repair Kits

Bestseller No. 1
GLASS POLISH 21005 DIY Windshield Polishing Kit, Automotive Glass Polishing Solution
GLASS POLISH 21005 DIY Windshield Polishing Kit, Automotive Glass Polishing Solution
✅ Easy to use with an electric drill, comes with universal 6mm drill attachment.; ✅ Improves glass clarity...
$24.95
Bestseller No. 3
SaleBestseller No. 4
Rain-X 600001 Windshield Repair Kit
Rain-X 600001 Windshield Repair Kit
Easy to use - takes only minutes; Repairs all types of laminated windshields; Minimizes the appearance of...
$9.99

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

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