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#0000 Steel Wool On Windows Tricks and Tips


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#1 theveed

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:33 PM

Did search, didn't find anything "concrete".


I've read a lot of good "reviews" about using #0000 steel wool for windows for removing stubborn water spots and other glass stains.

I believe Guru Reports also reported great success on using steel wool with the glass cleaners they tested.

If you've noticed, I've been trying to find #0000 grade here in Manila for a couple of years now, I only see #00 grade or courser. Last week, I finally found a good source of Rhodes America steel wool and I grabbed a bag.
A lot of the tips I've read came from the home/commercial cleaning websites and it ranges from using the steel wool dry to using it with soap or glass cleaners. I've tried it at home and it worked awesome.
I tried using it on a SEVERELY watermarked junk car and I used a light glass polish (it's almost completely liquid - SG like in texture) with the steel wool and it worked wonders. I applied moderate pressure and rubbed in linear motion. I did this on the rear quarterpanel glass of a '96 car.

This is how it looked...

Posted Image


Obviously, the top part is the untouched, the bottom part is the "scrubbed" part... I did it by hand, took no more than 5 minutes with minimal effort for a 1 sq.ft area.

Now here's my problem. I noticed micro scratches on the glass, especially the black part of the glass. Not that noticeable, but I prefer a scratch free (or close to it) result. I tried several approaches ranging from:

1) Using little to no pressure with glass cleaner or shampoo (ala claying pressure)
2) Using little to no pressure with glass polish (mild polish, non abrasive)
3) Using little to no pressure with heavy duty glass polish.
4) Using moderate pressure for the same procedures above.

Needless to say, if it scratches on approach 1-3, #4 will certainly create more scratches. None of the methods I've tried resulted into a scratch free glass.

I'm wondering how guys like Guru Reports and others clean their windows with #0000.

I need tips, tricks and instructions on how to do this safely because this is BY FAR the fastest way to get rid of scaly watermarks like the ones I posted... Should I use a whole "biscuit" of wool pad? Should I roll it into a ball? Circular or linear motion? Etc etc?

It is SOOOOO common that people bring in their cars to my shop and asks us to get rid of such water marks (I've seen worse than the one above) and we have to spend so much time with our normal buffing method.


P.S. Don't bother suggesting vinegar, it won't touch most of our watermark problems here in Manila hehe.

#2 G35stilez

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:53 PM

I had the same results.

My windows were terrible and I ended up using a chrome polish and #0000. It resulted in micro-scratches or swirls. I did it from back to forth so they are much less noticeable than if I went in circles.

To remove? I have no idea. Glass is a very hard surface. I think it's just something your gonna have to live with.

However, if you use Rain-x or wax your windows, it will hide the micro-scratches.

I'm curious to hear anyone elses input.
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#3 gbackus

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 07:53 PM

I really screwed up the top right half of my windshield, and everyone seemed at todays Detail Day seemed to agree that steel wool is bad for glass. I won't be touching that stuff again, and hopefully I'll be able to correct to scracthes, as they aren't deep, but it's the worst looking part of my car.

#4 MattZ28

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 08:12 PM

I'll stick with Zaino Z12....lol
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#5 Dave Holmes

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Posted 08 May 2004 - 08:18 PM

theveed,

I've always used extremely light pressure and a glass cleaner when using #0000 steel wool on glass. I've always been worried about micro-scratches, but luckily haven't run in to that problem. Having said that, I can say I haven't had to do a window quite as bad as in your pic.

I now use a dedicated glass polish for water spotss on windows. It is Duragloss Nu-Glass #755. It is the only stand-alone product I've used that removes baked in water spots from glass (not saying there aren't others, but it's the only one "I've" used with success without steel wool). You may be able to get the Nu-Glass online, but with you being in the Phillipines, I don't know about cost/shipping. I do fully recommend it if you can find it.

Another option that may be more readily available to you is something I read Mike Phillips mention. And that is to polish your glass with Meg's #4 (I think it was on www.showcargarage.com that I read his post). I believe the #4 is Meguiars Heavy Cut, but I could be wrong as I'm going off my aging memory here. If Meguiars is available, you may want to give it a shot, or any other aggressive polish/compound/chemical cleaner. Just always remember to try a test spot first. I would personally use it by PC for the sake of saving my arms, but it may work by hand.

Hope some of this helps.

Dave

PS: I've never had luck with vinegar removing water spots from automotive glass, but it did save a pair of my sunglasses from water spots that glass cleaner couldn't remove!

#6 majik1

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 09:05 AM

ive acyually used the #4 megs heavy cut cleaner by hand, and PC....works fantastic.
cuts through everything and wont scratch like steel wool....leaves a window perfectly clear....follow up w ur fav. window cleaner ...
as always when using a cleaner test a spot 1st....make sure tour NOT working on PLEXIGLASS....
also some windows have a coating or tint that could be affected so test 1st....
i used it on some semis and large work trucks that dont get glass cleaned for years at a time...
and on my personal vehicle...
its a good tip and a good product to keep in your arsenal....

#7 Nick T.

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 10:20 AM

To expand on what majik1 says: When using a new chemical cleaner or abrasive always do a preliminary test on an inconspicuous spot! When using a familiar chemical cleaner or abrasive on a new surface always do a preliminary test on an inconspicuous spot!

Not all glass is created equal. Some glass has a very hard surface (my ‘96 GMC Suburban), some glass is very soft (my ‘04 MINI Cooper), and some is in between (my ‘02 BMW Z3).

Be especially careful when cleaning outside mirrors. The mirrors on late model cars are usually plastic with the reflective coating on the viewing side. Even a mild abrasive will haze these mirrors.
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#8 majik1

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 02:38 PM

awesome post nick:)

#9 SVR

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 03:08 PM

What about a car with pits from being behind trucks and in tropical storm and dust storm. I've been using autosol metal polish on my exterior glass for a while along with Omikron Klearview Blue glass cleaner. I may give Magnum Top Gear Diamond Kote and Autoglym glass polish a go soon too

A friend said to me that it's possible to cut a layer of glass off but It will slightly weaken the strength of the glass.
Almost all glass polishes which are creme, can't be used on tinted windows. I have professional tint and am not sure how to fix my front windscreen.
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#10 Cujo31

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 03:42 PM

I have never had any problems using 0000 Steel Wool on glass. Now if the water spots are so bad that the 0000 SW wont work then you need to step it up a notch to a light to heavy polish.
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#11 LouisanaJeeper

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 04:15 PM

I use Zaino Glass polish w/ a PC + white pad :)

Side mirrors are extremely bad, I have scratched them just cleaning w/ windex and a MF!
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#12 Malachi

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 05:21 PM

Originally posted by Cujo31
I have never had any problems using 0000 Steel Wool on glass. Now if the water spots are so bad that the 0000 SW wont work then you need to step it up a notch to a light to heavy polish.



Are you talking about #83 or #82 or 1ZEPP/PP kind of polishes?

I recently used AIO with 0000 with good results.

#13 SouthernZ71

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 06:18 PM

Originally posted by Malachi
I recently used AIO with 0000 with good results.



OR 0000 wool and IG works well...

I use a light hand and more passes vs. moderate pressure and less passes. takes me roughly 10 mins per window...
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#14 JamCam

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 05:50 PM

theveed,
A product worthy of mention is Bio-Clean. It can be found online at a website called serviceglassworks.com. It is $8.00 for a 20 oz bottle. That is a good price but I don`t know how much shipping they charge. I got mine locally from a glass company. I have been working on water stains on boat windows and Bio-Clean is about the only thing I have found that would really work. I have tried #0000 steel wool with various products and agree that it leaves micro scratches on the glass. Bio-Clean is abrasive and will also leave slight abrasion if used agressively. But with a soft cloth that is shifted to prevent buildup of product it is not abrasive. I found that the abrasive in Bio-Clean would build up on the cloth and eventually act like a sort of mild sandpaper. This stuff is amazing. The windows I`ve dealt with are just like your picture. There is a point when glass is etched by water stains and nothing can take it out. I`ve had some glass that even after sanding it down with a random orbital with 325 grit the etching was still there. But that is not likely on auto glass. Hope this helps!

#15 theveed

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 06:17 PM

Jamcam: That's worth looking at... I'll probably ask a friend to get it for me to save on shipping... Thanks so much.

I'm still amazed with 0000 steel wool... maybe on harder glass it won't cause the marring...

Compounds won't touch these, i've tried using Menz Powergloss, Meg diamond cut, etc... wont work without crazy rubbing.

#16 blackntan

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 07:41 AM

The glass on my miata is super soft.. I've scratched it with #9 and a white pad/PC..

I have the pitting problem too, and am scared to death to use steel wool on it...

Has anyone tried the glass cleaning rotary kit from CMA? Thoughts on that???

#17 TOGWT

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 08:37 AM

~One man’s opinion / observations ~

a) Removing water spots):
·Use water/distilled white vinegar or an Isopropanol Alcohol solution, 5:1 (adjust ratio as required) or try equal parts distilled white vinegar, Isopropanol Alcohol and distilled water to dissolve the alkaline-based mineral water deposits.
·Use a clean spray bottle and a 100% cotton Microfiber cloth to apply the solution to the glass surfaces
·Wipe off any residue from glass and dry with a damp waffle weave towel
·If any ‘water spots’ remain apply Distilled White Vinegar un-diluted to a 100% cotton micro fibre towel, using a medium/heavy pressure on glass surface.
·If this does not remove the ‘water spots’ use Autoglym Car Glass Polish™, and #0000 steel wool, use straight line motions only, circular motions cause swirl marks
·Or apply a quarter size amount of Autoglym Car Glass Polish™ to a damp foam pad attached to a Porter-Cable random orbital buffer using speed # 4.
·Apply to half of the windshield, polishing first in an up and down motion then in a left-to-right motion and then repeat on the other side, proceed to other glass surfaces.
·Wipe off any residue from glass and dry with a damp waffle weave towel
·Inspect glass for clarity and smoothness. Repeat if necessary.

For deeply etched ‘water spots’ or pits in the glass surface do not attempt to polish them out, consult an automotive glass vendor as most glass used is thin and polishing could cause glass to crack.


~Hope this helps~

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#18 majik1

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 06:00 PM

megs diamond cut is a chemical cleaner/cutter only....try using #4 heavy cut cleaner.....it uses mechanical action....or heck dacp if u already have it....

#19 geekysteve

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 06:22 PM

Is it possible that you have a softer glass in Manilla? I've used #0000 steel wool since about 1988 and have never had any problems with it - tried it on everything from Ford Festivas to Mercedes S-Classes, never had an issue.

Either that, or there was some compounding reaction with the polish and the steel wool. I've always used it with a regular glass cleaning liquid (i.e. Windex, 20/20, etc). I did hear from one gentleman who had problems when he used #0000 steel wool with a "home brew" window cleaner - it caused the steel wool to break down and embed fibers in the glass. Not sure what the home brew was made of, but when he switched to regular glass cleaner, all was ok.

Not sure what to suggest other than I'd probably stay away from using a polish with the steel wool. I have a feeling that the two together exponentially increased the scouring ability of the #0000 steel wool. :(

#20 Nick T.

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 06:43 PM

Steve - -

Not all glass is created equally. My ‘96 GMC Suburban’s glass is very hard - after playing with it for eight years I’m pretty sure that the windshield could be cleaned with a hammer and chisel without damage. My ‘04 MINI Cooper S has very soft glass - even light pressure on a test area with #0000 steel wool and Stoner’s Invisible Glass caused scratching. My ‘02 BMW Z3 falls somewhere between these two extremes - no problem light to moderate pressure on the steel wool, but heavy pressure causes scratches.
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