Replacing Outdated Glass

How To Make Your Windshield Truly Clean And Clear

You can somewhat clean your windshield using glass cleaner and a few paper towels, but to get crystal clear glass without haze or loss of clarity, you will need to perform deep cleaning and scratch removal. Below is a list of what you will need to eliminate deep-seated "micro-debris" and remove scratches, too, as well as a step-by-step procedure to follow:

Tools and materials needed

  • Quadruple aught (0000) steel wool pads

  • Cerium oxide powder

  • 3-inch felt buffing wheel with steel shank

  • Ammonia-based glass cleaner

  • Flat, disposable container

  • Garden hose

  • Distilled water

  • Craft stick

  • Microfiber towel

  • Eye protection

  • Old clothes

  • Newspaper

  • Masking tape

Step-by-step procedure

1. Prepare the work site - Begin the process of deep cleaning and scratch removal by parking the car in a well-lit area, though preferably not in direct sunlight. You will also want to be close to an electrical outlet since an electric drill will be used in a later step. Once you have the vehicle situated, rinse the windshield with a hose to clean away any substantial debris, such as leaves, twigs or bird droppings.

2. Scrub windshield with steel wool - Once you have rinsed the windshield thoroughly, the next step is to use steel wool to remove deposits that can't be removed by ordinary glass cleaner. Dip the steel wool pads in a container of clean, distilled water and scrub the glass in a circular motion while applying firm pressure. Periodically rinse the windshield with clean water to remove loosened deposits and steel wool debris. If your pad wears down or the fibers begin to separate, throw it away and use a new one to continue. Once you have finished scrubbing, give the windshield a final rinse.

3. Protect surrounding areas of the vehicle - The scratch removal process will involve some amount of mess due to the use of cerium oxide slurry, so you should take measures to protect other parts of the vehicle, such as the hood and surrounding trim. Use masking tape and newspaper sheets to cover painted areas as well as chrome and plastic components.

4. Remove scratches with the cerium oxide slurry - After you have protected all the areas you wish to cover, prepare a slurry of cerium oxide by pouring one-half cup of the powder into a flat container. Add one-half cup of distilled water, and stir the mixture with a craft stick or similar object until it is well-mixed.

Before you begin buffing, put on eye protection to keep slurry from being slung into your eyes. Insert the shank of the felt buffing wheel into the drill chuck and dip the pad into the slurry. Do not saturate the pad with the mixture; instead, the pad should be merely wet on its bottom side. Next, place the pad on the glass and slowly depress the drill trigger to begin turning the wheel. Keep the speeds slow, and do not exceed 1,000 revolutions per minute to avoid generating too much heat. Periodically touch the glass to be sure it is not overheating; stop buffing and allow the glass to cool if it becomes too warm to touch.

Move the pad across the surface of the glass at a moderate rate of speed in an up-and-down pattern. Periodically dip the pad into the slurry as it begins to dry; never use a dry pad on the glass to avoid causing damage.

Finally, rinse the glass thoroughly with a garden hose to remove all the slurry. Also, be sure to rinse any residue that might run off onto your car's finish.

5. Give the windshield a final cleaning and polishing - Once you have deep cleaned the windshield and removed scratches, finish up by cleaning the windshield with an ammonia-based glass cleaner and microfiber towel. Spray a little glass cleaner on the windshield at a time, then wipe it away using a dry part of the towel.

For more tips on caring for, repairing, or replacing your windshield, contact a company like Econo Glass Company.