How to repair chemically etched glass

Written by melissa j. bell | 13/05/2017
How to repair chemically etched glass
A smooth, clear glass window. (window image by aldaer from

Glass etching often has physical damage one the surface of glass, often from grit, sandblasting or accidental scratching. Some chemicals, like hydrochloric acid, will pit the surface of a piece of glass. Other chemical reactions, such as metal oxidation on screens, will cause an etched look on nearby glass, which appears as a white or hazy coating. This etched look penetrates the glass surface and cannot be removed by regular glass cleaners. You can repair both types of chemical etching with a few simple products and a great deal of time.

Clean the surface of the etched glass with a good glass cleaner and a soft bristle brush. Also gently scrape away any stubborn dirt spots with a wooden scraper.

Wet a 0000 grade steel wool pad and gently scrub over the surface of the glass, focusing on the etched areas. Do not press down hard into the glass.

Dry the glass, using a squeegee. You can also use a soft, clean cloth.

Attach a hard felt polishing pad to your drill and apply a small amount of abrasive polishing compound, which you can find at any jewellery supply store.

Turn the drill to the lowest possible setting and apply the polishing pad to the glass surface, focusing only on the etched parts of the glass. Move the pad over the etches in a slow motion, without pressing down into the glass.

Remove the polishing pad when the glass begins to get warm, and let the glass cool. Polish again, then stop when the glass gets warm again. Repeat this process until all etches are removed.

Clean the surface of the glass with glass cleaner and a soft bristle brush, to remove any dirt or surface oils. Scrape away stubborn spots with a wooden scraper.

Take an oxidation removal product, such as Bio-Clean or Restoro, and put a small amount of it onto a sponge.

Rub the sponge over the etched sections of glass in small, even circles. Continue rubbing until the oxidation remover dries.

Wipe down the surface of the glass with a clean cloth.

Wash the glass surface with plain soap or your basic glass cleaner to remove the residue from the oxidation removal product.

Things you need

  • Chemically etched glass
  • Glass cleaner
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Wooden scraper
  • 0000 grade steel wool pad
  • Squeegee
  • Hard felt polishing pad
  • Drill
  • Abrasive jewellery polishing compound
  • Oxidation remover
  • Sponge
  • Clean cloth
  • Soap

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