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Windows offer crisp, clear views of your surroundings and bring natural light into your home. Although windows appear spotless when installed, natural wear and tear causes minor scratches and imperfections on the surface. Over time, those scratches reduce your window’s clarity and become unsightly. You can use simple household products to fix these scratches and keep your window repair costs low. Our guide explains how to tackle minor window scratch repairs yourself.
What Causes Scratches on Window Glass?
Glass is considered a strong material. Depending on its thickness and weight, glass can withstand several minor impacts before shattering. However, its surface is damaged easily.
Scratches occur when objects scrape or collide with the window surface. Common offenders include tree branches, pet claws, or balls thrown against the surface. Over time, these small scratches accumulate and dull the glass. Cleaning your windows with rough materials such as brushes, scouring pads, or other abrasive materials could further damage them.
To test the severity of your window scratches, run your finger over them. Minor blemishes are barely detectable, while severe scratches are easy to feel. Scratches fall into three categories: superficial, surface, and sub-surface. We’ll review each scratch type below:
- Superficial scratches: Fine scratches or scuffs can’t be felt and are considered shallow. These scratches are hard to see until you stand at a certain angle. Many minor scratches can be fixed using do-it-yourself (DIY) repairs and home remedies.
- Surface scratches: More severe than superficial scratches, these are detectable with your fingernail but shouldn’t catch your nail. Surface scratches are more visible and won’t respond to do-it-yourself methods. You should hire a local glass repair professional to remove these scratches.
- Sub-surface scratches: These deep scratches are the most unsightly and easily felt with your fingertips. They form large channels or gaps in your glass and weaken your windows’ integrity. Sub-surface scratches could lead to window cracking or a more severe break. It’s crucial to resolve sub-surface scratches as soon as possible. You should consider glass replacement if the damage is isolated to one or two panes. More severe damage may require a full replacement window.
4 Window Scratch Repair Methods
Before trying any of these DIY methods, clean the window with a glass cleaner. Cleaning the window removes any dirt or debris that could cause further damage. You can also see the scratches more clearly on a clean surface.
Use a soft cloth to clean and dry the glass thoroughly. Microfiber cloths work well on glass surfaces. Coffee filters also work as a disposable alternative. They withstand moisture, are lint-free, and resist tearing. Avoid using paper towels or newspapers since they can cause scratches and scuffs.
The following materials work best for superficial and minor scratches:
Apply Clear Nail Polish
Clear fingernail polish is a low-cost solution for glass scratch repair. The transparent substance blends perfectly into the glass and fills in the scratches. The polish will seep into the scratches’ grooves and form an invisible seal. Here are the steps for this solution:
- Apply nail polish over the scratches in a thin layer using the applicator brush.
- Allow the polish to dry for one hour.
- Once dry, use a soft, clean cloth with nail polish remover or acetone to remove the excess polish. Be sure not to remove the polish you just applied to the scratches.
Most homeowners already have baking soda in their cabinets, so this is a convenient fix. You’ll also need water, a spoon, a bowl or container, and a soft cloth. Here are the steps:
- Mix one part baking soda and one part water together in a bowl. (For example, if you use two tablespoons of baking soda, you should use two tablespoons of water). Start with a small amount and make more as needed.
- Stir the ingredients together to form a pudding-like paste.
- Dip a soft cloth into the paste to get a small amount.
- Apply the paste to the glass scratches in a circular motion for 30 seconds. This buffing motion ensures the product is distributed into the scratches.
- Check the scratches’ visibility. If you can still see them, apply more paste.
- Use water to rinse away any remaining paste and dry the glass surface.
Non-gel toothpaste is another easy solution for scratch repair. You’ll need white toothpaste, preferably one that contains baking soda. You’ll also need a soft, lint-free cloth.
Here are the steps:
- Apply a small dab of toothpaste to a damp cloth.
- Using small, circular motions, apply the toothpaste to the scratched area for about 30 seconds.
- Wipe off the excess toothpaste and check the result.
- Repeat the steps and apply more toothpaste if the scratches are still visible.
- Once all scratches have been removed, wipe the entire area with a damp cloth to remove any residual toothpaste.
Glass or Metal Polish
If basic do-it-yourself methods aren’t working, consider using a metal or glass polish. Look for metal polish or glass polishing compound that contains cerium oxide, a substance known for hardening glass surfaces. These polishes are available online or in your local hardware store. Do not over-apply this substance as it could potentially damage the glass surface. Follow any specific product instructions to ensure proper application. Here are general instructions for how to use glass or metal polish safely:
- Add some polish to a soft cloth or cotton ball. Use a very small amount for your first application. You should barely see the product on the cloth or cotton ball.
- Gently rub the product over the scratch in a circular motion. Using too much force with the metal polish could cause new window scratches.
- Use a clean, damp cloth to remove any excess product from the glass.
Professional vs. DIY Window Scratch Repair
DIY glass scratch removal typically works for minor scratches, but it could fall short when the damage is extensive or deeper than expected. Homeowners should consider professional glass repair if their DIY methods fail or for more visible surface damage. In the most severe cases, glass replacement is the best resolution for scratched glass. Replacing individual panes is the most cost-effective option. For extensive damage, you should contact a professional window installation company to replace your entire window.
Window scratch repair helps restore your windows’ luster and clarity. While DIY methods help resolve superficial scratches, more severe damage will require professional help. Leaving severe, untreated scratches could lead to cracked or broken glass panes. In these cases, it’s worth the window replacement costs to maintain your home’s safety and security.
Window Scratch Repair FAQ
Can you repair scratched window glass?
Yes, you can repair scratched window glass, depending on the severity of the damage. DIY methods work for minor, superficial scratches. You’ll need to contact a glass repair company for deep scratches and scuffs. In the most severe cases, you may need to replace your window pane or entire window.
How can you fix a scratched window?
You can fix scratched windows with several DIY methods using common household products. Toothpaste, baking soda, or clear nail polish can fill in the scratches. You can also try metal or glass polish. However, using too much polish will cause additional damage.
What causes scratches on windows?
Window scratches occur when the surface is scuffed or scraped by surrounding objects, pets, or normal wear and tear. Using abrasive cleaners and brushes also leaves unwanted marks and scratches on your windows. Even using paper towels or newspapers could cause scratches on your windows.
Can you use DIY methods for severe window scratches?
No, DIY methods won’t work on severe scratches. These methods work for minor, superficial scrapes or scuffs. You should consider a glass repair professional for deep scratches.