Whether it is your windows, mirrors, coffee tables or other glass items in your home, scratches can be a vexing problem and are often very difficult (or even impossible) to get rid of. Generally speaking, if the scratch isn’t too deep, it can be minimized (or possibly eliminated). If your fingernail can be inserted into a scratch, it is usually too deep completely remove. Removing scratches can be a difficult task and should be completed by a professional. If you have a small scuff you’d like to attempt to remove yourself, follow the steps below.
You Will Need:
- Jewelers rouge
- Electric buffer with polishing pad
- Household ammonia
- Warm water
- Spray bottle
- Lint-free cloth or paper towel
- Rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
- Dust mask
The Removal Process:
- Apply a small amount of the Jewelers Rouge (cerium oxide) to the polishing pad. Lamb’s wool is the best and most effective choice for your polishing pad.
- Wearing your dust mask and goggles, use the electric buffer at medium speed (2000-2500 RPM) to buff the scratch with the polishing pad. Use a consistent speed for the best results. Be careful not to exert too much pressure on the glass while buffing, since the scratch may have weakened the glass and you don’t want to risk cracking it. If the scratch is very small, or in an awkward spot, you can try to do the buffing by hand using the polishing pad, but it will take quite a bit of elbow grease, and may not be as effective.
- Finally, clean the glass surface. In the spray bottle, mix ½ ounce of ammonia with 2 cups of warm water. Make sure to wear your goggles, mask and rubber gloves when handling ammonia. Even household ammonia is considered a dangerous chemical, it should be handled with care and should NEVER be mixed with other household cleaners or chemicals, especially bleach. For more information regarding ammonia handling and safety, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Household Product Database and follow the links on that page for the information desired.
- Spray the area that you’ve just buffed with the ammonia/water solution, and wipe with lint free cloth or paper towel.
- If the scratch is still prominent, repeat Steps 1 through 4. If, by the third attempt, the scratch is still prominent, chances are, it cannot be repaired except perhaps by a professional.
Additional Tips and Advice:
- This method is meant for glass with minor scratches and scuffs. Larger scratches require experience and expertise to remove. The buffing of a deeper scratch will heat the glass (particularly tempered glass) which must be cooled slowly to prevent shattering. These types of scratches should be left to professionals or those experienced with buffing glass.
- Jewelers Rouge can be found at most jewelry stores, arts and crafts stores, and online.
- As a feasible alternative to Jewelers Rouge, try using whitening toothpaste. Don’t use a gel, but only the white paste type.
- NEVER use any type of abrasive cleanser as a polishing agent as it will only add more scratches to your glass.
- Some types of glass may retain a dull sheen at the spot where you’ve tried to buff a scratch away. If this happens, and is not fixed by wiping it down with the ammonia/water solution, try applying a coat of clear nail polish.
- To lessen the chance of cracking the glass during the buffing process, if the glass can be removed (i.e. a mirror), it is best to lay it on a flat, solid surface during the buffing.