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Cleaning Up/How to remove scratches from old windows



I've recently found a job cleaning an 18th century castle for a very kind couple. I've been working for them for a month now and really love my job but I think I just screwed up big time!

I had a bit of spare time during my shift last week during a rather overcast day. I decided to attack some old masking tape which was left around one of the windows since it was painted last year.

I used some high quality adhesive remover on a clean cloth to soften the adhesive and a scraper for vitro-ceramic stovetops to remove the tape. I thought this worked perfectly.

Today the sun was shining brightly when I went into that bedroom to clean the windows and I was aghast to see that there are tons of little scratches along where I scraped the tape away! Apparently my stovetop scraper had a defective blade. I've thrown it out but the damage is done and now my job could be at risk.

Is there any possible way to polish out minor surface scratches from old single pane glass windows? When I go back to the castle next week I plan to take my boss to the bedroom with the problem and come clean but I hope I can have a solution ready to propose!

Please help!


Usually, if you can rub your thumbnail over the pit or scratch and not feel an indentation, the depth is nominal and can be restored. A professional window restoration company would probably have to buff out the scratches with a high speed buffer and slurry mix.

If you can obtain some jeweler's rouge (jeweler's rouge is finely ground ferric oxide and can be obtained online if not locally) you can try to remove the scratches yourself by imitating a professional's method. You will also need to obtain a 3M white pad to help remove the stains. Make sure you are using a white pad because they are graded in colors and other colors will be too abrasive. You can also use an electric car buffer to speed up the work. Basically the method would be like buffing and waxing an automobile, but in this case you are using an abrasive to remove the scratches.

But be forewarned, there is a learning curve to glass restoration and this work may be beyond your expertise.

Hope this helps! Please let me know how things go.  

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Robert Lamb


I'm happy to answer any questions you have regarding the cleaning and restoration of your windows. I can also view your pictures via email and give you advice on what you can do yourself and what needs to be left to the pros. I can also give advise on scratched glass, how to repair it & what caused it. Pressure washing and gutter cleaning are other areas of expertise.


Over 20 years in the window cleaning industry, owning and operating two window cleaning companies, Rob's Window Cleaning and Window Masters and

IWCA, window cleaning network, chamber of commerce

"Window Cleaner" magazine

International Window Cleaning (IWCA) training on man lifts, awning cleaning and window cleaning.

Awards and Honors
Voted best window cleaner in Western Kentucky.

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