How to Repair an Etched Windshield

by Ray Padgett
sur la route image by valérie Beunardeau from

Longtime car owners know that no matter how careful you are, sooner or later your windshield will get etched. Flying sand or pebbles can etch small grooves or nicks. Bad wipers used often enough can etch sweeping patterns. Some vandal could even do it intentionally, scratching the glass with a key just as they might the paint. However it got etched, you may be able to repair the problem yourself.

Step 1

Clean the glass with water and a soft cloth. If is particularly dirty, use a glass cleaner (like Windex).

Step 2

Stir together a one:one:one mixture of jeweler's rouge, glycerin, and water. Two tablespoons of each should be sufficient.

Step 3

Rub that mixture over the etching mark with a soft cloth. Be sure it fills the etching, but do not push too hard or you might make the problem worse.

Step 4

Let it sit at least 30 seconds.

Step 5

Wipe the glass gently with a glass cleaner and a soft cloth. Do not press too deeply or rub too hard; the goal is the leave the solution nestled in the etching and remove the rest.

Repeat one or two more times as needed. If after three rounds you still have the mark, it is deep enough that you will need to take the car in.