Ultimate Guide to Glass Polishing: Products and Techniques for Flawless Results

man polishing a car windshield

Understanding Glass Polish and Its Purpose

Glass polish, similar to paint or plastic polish, is a compound designed to remove scratches from your car’s glass surfaces. Applied with an orbital polisher or by hand, glass polish utilizes an abrasive compound to gently remove the top layer of the glass, resulting in a clean and even surface. An effective compound begins with a coarser abrasive that breaks down during the polishing process, creating a finer and finer cut until you reach a flawless finish.

Identifying When to Use Glass Polish

You know that it’s time to use a glass polish when you notice small swirls or scratches in the glass. Occasionally headlights or the sun will hit your windshield at just the right angle and you will notice scratches. In extreme cases, the scratches may even cause light to refract into your eyes causing headaches and a dangerous driving situation. When this happens you know that it is time to find a good glass polish.

If you’re looking for a glass polish because you have hard water stains or stuck-on debris then you may enjoy our article reviewing the best hard water stain removers. They don’t just work on hard water stains but any stuck-on debris.

Advantages of Using a Glass Polish

  1. Glass polish will remove light scratches and swirls in your glass.
  2. Glass polish will quickly remove hard water spots.
  3. When used consistently it will increase the life of your windshield wipers by giving them a smooth surface to slide on.
  4. It makes the perfect prep to completely clean your glass before applying a glass sealant.

Top Glass Polish Recommendations

Best Overall: Griot’s Garage Fine Glass Polish

Griot's Garage Fine Glass Polish

Our top pick, Griot’s Garage Fine Glass Polish, is specifically designed for glass surfaces. It effectively removes hard water spots, light swirls, and scratches. When used regularly, this polish can also extend the life of your windshield wipers. Suitable for hand application or with an electric orbital polisher.

Best Polishing Compound: 3M Glass Polishing Compound

3M Glass Polishing Compound

This is the 3M Glass Polishing Compound and our pick for the best glass polishing compound. This is a professional compound that requires a commercial use agreement to be purchased. That being said this is an amazing polish for automotive glass. That is because it has cerium oxide which starts coarse to grind down the glass but it breaks down quickly to a finer grit to polish and smooth the glass to a brilliant shine. This product contains no wax, chemical cleaners, fillers or glazing oils. This polish only requires 2 to 4 drops per square foot so it will last you for a very long time. It also requires no cleanup for super easy use.

Budget Pick: Gel-Gloss No Streak Glass Wax Polish

Gel-Gloss No Streak Glass Wax Polish

This is the Gel-Gloss No Streak Glass Wax Polish and our favorite pick for a budget glass polish. This is a professional grade product that contains enough liquid to do 2,000 square feet of glass. However, it remains at an affordable price. This polish not only takes out hard water spots, scratches, and swirls but also leaves behind a wax to protect the glass in the future. This product is amazing because it even works in direct sunlight, something that can’t be said about most other glass polishes.

How to Correctly Polish Glass – Video Explanation

Essential Glass Polishing Tools and Techniques

Best Glass Polishing Pad: Griot’s Garage 6″ Glass Polishing Pad

Griot's Garage 6" Glass Polishing Pad

The Griot’s Garage 6″ Glass Polishing Pad is an excellent choice for tackling extreme dirt or defects in glass. These washable and reusable pads require an orbital polisher for attachment. They enable quick and aggressive removal of dirt, hard water spots, and light defects like scratches from glass surfaces. While not mandatory for achieving pristine glass, these polishing pads make the process faster and more efficient.

Best Glass Polishing Cloth: E-Cloth Glass & Polishing Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

E-Cloth Glass & Polishing Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

The E-Cloth Glass & Polishing Microfiber Cleaning Cloth is the easiest way to maintain clarity once your windows are cleaned. That is because these cloths are designed to work without any cleaning solution, so you just wipe them over the glass, and they will easily remove dirt, bugs, and water spots that haven’t been baked in yet. I keep them in the driver’s side door pocket for quick touchups. They have saved me from the time and the effort required when cleaning up messes that have sat on your glass for too long and have now hardened.

Best Glass Polishing Powder: Cerium Oxide High Grade Glass Polishing Powder Solution

Cerium Oxide High Grade Glass Polishing Powder Solution

This Cerium Oxide High Grade Glass Polishing Powder Solution may seem like a complex solution, but some people prefer it because it allows you to change the aggressiveness of the cut to match your needs. This is a final stage polishing powder, so you mix it with water and then use either a hand felt pad for light surface cleanup or an orbital polisher to remove light scratches and surface repair.

How you dial in the aggressiveness of the polishing powder is by adding more or less water. If you have a light defect you need to remove, then you would use more powder and less water. If you are just trying to get a thorough cleaning for your glass, then you could use less powder and more water, giving you an effective clean without being overly abrasive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Glass Polish?

Glass polish is a liquid with ultra fine abrasive particles suspended within it. When it is rubbed against glass those abrasive particles strip away a very fine layer of glass removing any debris or scratches on the surface.

Can I Polish Scratches Out of Glass?

You can polish light surface scratches and swirls out of glass, but if the scratch is too deep, then there is nothing that can be done, and the scratch may need to be sealed or the glass replaced.

What Product Removes Scratches From Glass?

To remove scratches from glass, your best bet is to use a glass polish. A compounding polish with an orbital polisher will work best to take out deep scratches, while light scratches will only need a fine low grit polish by hand.

Can Toothpaste Remove Scratches From Glass?

Toothpaste has a naturally abrasive quality that is used to polish your teeth while brushing. Because of this, toothpaste can also be used to polish glass. It is not strong enough to remove scratches, but it can be used to polish away debris or hard water stains.