When preparing your home for resale you may notice some minor, yet unsightly, scratches on your windows. This can be common on older windows that are situated near tree branches that contact the glass as the wind blows. Or perhaps small children have scratched the glass while playing with their toys. In either case, removing window scratches prior to the home inspection is advisable. It never surprises me to learn that such a minor detail has turned off a prospective buyer.
Removing Window Scratches with Cerium Oxide
Mix a small amount of Cerium Oxide with water to create a slurry. Introduce enough water so that the slurry has the consistency of a heavy cream. Use a small bowl so it will be easy to dab the slurry onto your polishing pad.
Before applying the solution to the glass be sure to clean the window to remove any dirt and grease. This is an important step to remove any coarse debris which will actually cause additional scratches when you start to polish the glass.
To easily identify the area to be buffed, mark the opposite side of the glass with tape or a crayon. This way you will know the precise area you need to focus on when you start to polish. Otherwise it can be very difficult to see the scratches once the slurry is applied.
Mount a firm polishing pad to a small hand-drill. Apply a liberal amount of the slurry to the polishing pad. Move the pad back and forth and up and down over the area where the scratches are. Avoid introducing too much heat during the polishing process by applying gentle, even pressure. Be sure to keep the surface wet during the entire process by continuously adding more of the slurry to the polishing pad.
After you work the scratched area, wipe off the slurry residue with a damp cloth so that you can reevaluate the area. If the scratches are still visible, re-apply the slurry to the polishing pad and repeat the process. Continue polishing until the window scratches are no longer visible.
CAUTION: If the initial scratches were deep enough that you can feel them with your fingernail, the Cerium Oxide will be inadequate. You would need to grind the glass in multiple steps with progressively finer grit. This is best performed by a professional, and may even necessitate the need for replacement glass.