Removing scratches from glass is not always possible with very old, rough, or pronounced scratches, but there are ways to remove or lessen hairline scratches and other small imperfections. You should start by choosing a buffing or polishing compound, and then buffing the glass. Next, the glass will need to be washed and dried. In some cases, a professional will need to be called.
First, remember to keep safety in mind when attempting to remove scratches from glass. This means that very deep scratches and cracks should be handled with care. You should also keep in mind that safety or tempered glass is designed to break under certain conditions, so be sure you do not apply too much pressure while buffing this type of glass.
In order to remove scratches without causing further damage to the glass, choose a polishing or buffing agent that is safe for use with glass. This can include jeweler’s rouge, gel-based toothpaste, or a polishing compound. Do not choose an abrasive polishing cream, as this can cause further scratching. Take a soft buffing pad and apply the compound directly to the pad. Rub the compound over the scratched area in a circular motion, being careful not to apply too much pressure. For deep or large scratches, you can use an electric buffer set to medium speed.
Once you have buffed the glass for a few minutes, check to see if the scratches are disappearing. Apply more compound as needed and continue buffing until you have removed as much of the scratches as possible. In some cases the scratches may no longer be visible. Other times they will appear less pronounced, although not entirely removed.
After you’ve attempted to remove scratches from glass this way, mix two parts ammonia to three parts water and clean the glass thoroughly. This will help provide extra shine and help improve the appearance of the glass. Rinse and then dry the surface with a lint-free towel or rag.
There are certain cases when you may not be able to remove scratches from glass. A general rule of thumb is that if you can insert your fingernail into the glass easily, you will likely not be able to buff the scratch away. Cracks cannot be fixed by buffing under any circumstances and should be fixed by a professional, or the glass should be removed and replaced. If you are unable to remove the scratches by buffing, a professional may be able to get better results. Remember that any deep scratches may compromise the strength of the glass and may warrant a full replacement to ensure safety.