How to Polish a Glass Windshield

by Contributor

General wear from the elements can make your windshield dirtier than you might think. Mineral deposits, road oils, pollution and a variety of other agents can leave your glass windshield feeling gritty and rough. In these cases, an ordinary glass cleaner will not suffice. You will need to polish your windshield.

Step 1

Assess the current state of your windshield. Windshields that are grittier or scratched will likely need a machine polisher to return them to their "good as new" state, while mildly damaged windshields may be able to be polished sufficiently with a little elbow grease.

Step 2

Purchase a glass polishing agent made specifically for windshields. These products can be found at some auto supply and hardware retailers.

Step 3

Buy or rent a machine polisher if indicated by the condition of your windshield and/or the polishing product you choose. These can also be found at hardware stores, as orbital polishers have a variety of functions beyond auto detailing. Purchase at least one glass polishing disk to go along with your machine polisher.

Step 4

Read the manufacturer's instructions that come with the glass polishing agent for proper application. Most polishers are applied in a circular pattern over the entire windshield, allowed to dry and then rinsed off with water.

Go over the windshield with a clean microfiber cloth to give it a final buffing and remove any residue there might be. The windshield should shine like new and be smooth to the touch when you are finished.


  • If you get polish stuck in the cracks around your windshield, you can use a soft toothbrush to get it out gently.
  • Shallow cracks in your windshield (one's that don't catch a fingernail) can sometimes be polished out.
  • You may need to go over the windshield several times with the glass polish to get it to the desired smoothness.
  • You can purchase glass polishing kits like the one from Proper Auto Care to get most of the products you need in one package (see Resources below).
  • Whether a glass windshield is for an automobile, a motorcycle or a boat, you can use the same techniques to polish it.


  • Never work in direct sunlight when trying to polish a windshield.
  • Don't let the polishing agent come into contact with any of the painted surfaces on your vehicle.

Items you will need

  • Glass polishing agent
  • Microfiber cleaning cloths
  • Machine polisher (optional)
  • Glass polishing disks

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