Sandpaper On Car Windows: A Solution For Scratches?

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Dealing with scratches on your windows or windshield is part of being a car owner. But not every scratch means you need a new windshield, as there are several at-home tools you can use to remove scratches yourself. 

Sandpaper can remove minor and very shallow scratches from car windows. But it must be wet/dry sandpaper and #3000 grit or finer. Even then, sandpaper will not work for any scratches that can be felt or have any indentation, though it can remove some tough grime.

Want to learn more about how to use sandpaper to fix scratches on your windshield? Let’s look at the process for using sandpaper on your car windows as well as other alternatives you may need to use. 

Can You Use Sandpaper on Car Windows?

Professional washer wiping car window

It is possible to fix scratches on a car window with sandpaper. But only if the scratches are superficial. 

If you had a rock bounce off your windshield, leaving a dent, this is, unfortunately, a scratch that sandpaper can’t fix. In fact, any scratch you can feel when you run your fingers over it will likely not be fixed by sandpaper. 

But if you have an area of light scratching, perhaps from using an abrasive sponge to clean your windshield improperly, a bit of sandpaper might do the trick.

Does Any Sandpaper Work?

Just as sandpaper won’t fix every scratch, you cannot just grab a piece of sandpaper out of the garage and start sanding. Instead, you need special sandpaper to buff glass, known as wet/dry waterproof sandpaper. 

The wet/dry waterproof sandpaper comes in various grits, usually as fine as #7000. You need very fine sandpaper to buff the scratches out of the glass without further damaging it. For best results, you should start with a wet/dry sandpaper around #3000.

How to Fix Scratches with Sandpaper

Besides just picking the right sandpaper, there is also a proper method for using it on glass. Below are the directions for fixing scratches in your window using sandpaper.

Step 1: Cut the Sandpaper

Cut the #3000 sandpaper (on Amazon) into a piece that fits the size of your hand.

Step 2: Wet the Glass

You purchased the wet/dry sandpaper for a reason and never apply sandpaper to dry glass. Instead, pour water on the window, especially the area you plan to sand. 

Step 3: Use a Circular Motion

Use a gentle circular motion on the entire window (not just the part with the scratches). After a few rounds, the scratches should begin to disappear. 

Step 4: Change Sandpaper

If the scratches have gotten smaller, but aren’t yet gone, switch to a #5000 or #7000 sandpaper (on Amazon) to finish the job. Use the same circular motion.

Step 5: Be Patient

Don’t try to rush the process. Some windows need several minutes to see results. Just keep up the circular motion until the scratches are gone.

Alternatives for Fixing Scratches on Your Car Window

Using sandpaper on your glass car windows can be a nerve-wracking process. There are, however, several alternative ways to fix scratches on your car windows without having to worry about using sandpaper. 


Toothpaste, specifically non-gel whitening toothpaste (on Amazon) containing baking soda, can be applied to cracks in your glass to help diminish their appearance. First, apply a little to dry glass, then work into the cracks with a circular motion. When washed away, the cracks should disappear.

Clear Nail Polish

Clear nail polish (on Amazon) can also fill cracks too large for the sandpaper or toothpaste trick. Start by cleaning and drying the area before applying a thin layer of nail polish. You will want to continue until you fill the entire crack. 

Once it’s dry, apply some nail polish remover to a cloth, and wipe the surface where the scratches were. This will remove nail polish from your windshield without removing what was used to fill the cracks. 

Professional Help

Man repair crack on car windshield

Unfortunately, some cracks are too large to be solved with toothpaste, nail polish, or sandpaper. When this is the case, you will want to head to someone experienced in auto glass as they may have other solutions for repairing the glass on your vehicle. 

Final Thoughts on Using Sandpaper on Car Windows

Overall, sandpaper can be a great way to remove minor scratches from your car windows. You must be careful, however, because you must use special sandpaper, which can only be used on cosmetic scratches.

If you doubt whether sandpaper is the right solution, ask for professional help! 

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