Safe and effective waatermark removal on glass!

eohl79

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Safe and effective watermark removal on glass!

Happy New Year BTW everyone!


Waterspot/mark is a very common problem. Most cars are constantly being subjected to the daily harshness of acid rain, contaminants in the air, hard water, etc and left off drying in the blazing sun. The severity of water spot/mark usually depends on how well the surface of the paint/glass is being protected. A severe waterspot/mark usually stems from residue/chemicals in the water droplets/streaks reacting with the surface (paint/glass/plastic/rubber) and leaving a very unsightly mark.

This article that I am posting here has nothing to do with paint correction but treating the effects on glass instead. My daily driver, my K-car, has been under constant abuse day in and out and left in the open 24/7. With little or no protection except a weekly car wash for the past 9-years, one can expect all sort of problems. This is also my guinea pig on my journey venturing into the wonderful world of detailing. Watermarks is present on all windows. Some windows more severe, some less. The thing that bugs me the most is when driving in the morning or heavy rain. The waterspots/marks causes poor visibility. Even the effectiveness of the wipe blade is reduced. The window on the driver and passenger side is blurred and thus causing problems when trying to view the side mirrors.

Ok, less talk and more action. I am going to depict the watermark problem, corrective action and subsequent protection to the glass surface in the following pictures with description for one of my car windows. The sequence of correction to remove the watermark starts from the least aggressive method first as the severity of the watermark is unknown.

First of all, let's take a look at the test subject. A window that has been left unwashed for a day.


Figure 1: Test subject, unwashed window

Not too bad or dirty. However, there are still minute particles and dirt which I will clean up quickly with my regular combo:
1. Optimum no-rinse wash aka ONR
2. Cheap wooly MF for ONRing the glass
3. Osren white chamois for drying off the glass
4. Osren premium microfiber towel to buff dry and residual water and pick up any lint left behind


Figure 2: ONR kit

Here is a pic after cleaning the glass with ONR. You can clearly see watermarks/spots all over the glass. ONR stands no chance in removing the watermarks.


Figure 3: After ONR wash, watermarks still visible

Next, I use the following:
1. Optimum no-rinse clay lube ratio
2. Soft-99 detailing clay


Figure 4: Clay and clay lube to see if it does any good to the watermarks

After claying, the glass did feel smoother with the clay picking up some embedded surface contaminants. However watermarks are still visible.


Figure 5: After ONR wash, watermarks still visible

Next up in my arsenal, OPC 1:3 diluted ratio

Figure 6: OPC 1:3 diluted

After using OPC 1:3, there are some visible contaminants picked up by observing the MF cloth. It is not a solution to the water streaks. But lets inspect for watermark/spot on a dry surface.


Figure 7: After washing off OPC 1:3, water streaks clearly visible. This bothers me the most.

After drying... watermarks/spots still there. Already done several OPC 1:3 cleaning and wipe downs but to no avail. Guess the water marks is already etched in.


Figure 8: Water marks still visible after OPC 1:3 cleaning

Now, from reading forums and asking people around, there is usually two solutions which people would recommend:
1. Acid based cleaner - Good in removing watermark/spot but never use it on a scratched glass or wiper area - the acid may seep in through the crevices and cause more problems. Might cause hazing to the glass. Might eat or damage paintwork/plastic/rubber, etc if not handled with care. Dangerous to skin. Need to keep running water at bay to wash off ASAP after use. Handle with great care!!!!!
2. Glass polishing - Polishing is by means of using abrasives to remove a thin layer off the surface in order to remove imperfection. Problem here glass is a very hard material. The front car windscreen is usually laminated glass and made up of softer glass. All the rest is usually tempered glass which is way harder. Based on my experience, the regular paint compounds with the harshest rotary pads seems like using very fine polish on glass - not much correction. You would need rocks or diamonds to really give glass any cut. There are special glass polish/compounds which contains Cerium Oxide but is a little hard for me to obtain at the moment. There are also other tools and abrasives out there that designed for polishing glass.

Knowing the options available to me from above, I chose #2. The acid based cleaners are simply too dangerous to my linking and the outcome is a bit unpredictable. So I went to Osren to find out more on what they have in store to help me solve my watermark problems. The safest prescribed remedy:

1. Osren abrasive powder based watermark remover
2. 3M microfine sanding pads


Figure 9: Osren abrasive powder based watermark remover and 3M microfine sanding pads to the rescue

Osren abrasive watermark remover is pretty simple and safe to use. All you needed to do is mist the glass surface work area, spread some abrasive powder on a damp sanding pad and work on the area. Not too wet and not too dry. If the pad do get dry after working on the surface for a period of time, spray some water not on the glass but on the back of the pad to get going. This prevents the sanding slurry from running all over the place. One tip is to cling wrap the metal panels underneath the glass to prevent marring the paintwork and the messy clean up process. Work on horizontal lines, then vertical lines to ensure even and edge-to-edge coverage. Wash down properly once you think you are done!


Figure 10: Sanding slurry

After using the abrasives, be sure to do a proper clean down on the glass and all other panels underneath the window. You really don't want the harsh abrasives to mar the paint work!


Figure 11: Check out the zero water beading on the glass surface after sanding down with the abrasives! Notice the water tension surrounding my finger!


Figure 12: After removing my finger...


Figure 13: After a quick wipedown with ONR, Tadaaaaa! Water beads return!


Figure 14: Water spots/marks gone!

After the sanding process, there is almost no watermark/spots to be found! Glass appears clearer and very very smooth - better than after claying. What is left behind is the scratches and pits on the glass. I've done on a test spot, no matter what pressure or amount of abrasives used, it is almost impossible to level out scratches and pits on the glass. For that, you would need some real glass cutting compound.

I did notice that the scratches/pits is visible with a strong white LED back light. If possible shine along the edge of the glass.


Figure 15: Notice the pits on the glass highlighted by the LED backlight?

And lastly, the final protection with Opti-seal and the short nap side of Osren's premium MF towel.


Figure 16: Opti-seal for protection

Thanks for viewing.

Disclaimer:
- I've tested only on tempered glass on my car. Don't know if the abrasives would cause scratches on laminated glass.
- This is a DIY project. Always do a test spot first.
- Don't blame me if something bad happens! Share what you know.
- No I'm not selling any of the products or providing any services! Don't ask me for price!


Figure 17: Tested on temperlite glass. Oh, yeah it is Jan 01, 2012. Buckle up on the rear!!!


All feedback appreciated!
 
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Veloc

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Thank you!!! Watermarks on glass has always been a tough thing to remove... Now we know what product to use...
 

s1tl

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but i heard sanding ur windows will cause micromarrings...my bmw e36 windscreen had the same treatment by the previous owner. no watermarks but full of micro marrings which glares at night.

If you could, can u snap a photo inside the car with the street light shinining through? im curious of the results. if no marring i can consider using this edi =D
 

eohl79

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Thank you!!! Watermarks on glass has always been a tough thing to remove... Now we know what product to use...
Thanks bro. One thing though, have not tried it on laminated windscreen. Will do so when I have time. Appreciate any feedback, concerns. The watermarks seems to bother me more than the undetailed paintwork though on my beat up car...


but i heard sanding ur windows will cause micromarrings...my bmw e36 windscreen had the same treatment by the previous owner. no watermarks but full of micro marrings which glares at night.

If you could, can u snap a photo inside the car with the street light shinining through? im curious of the results. if no marring i can consider using this edi =D
Hi bro Josh, think need to know how previous owner sanded his windscreen - what kind of sandpaper, etc. If it is the front windscreen, the glass is softer and can mar easily because of laminated glass. This method that I am posting here uses the 3M microfine sanding pad which holds water and is slightly abrasive (higher than 1000 grit). The abrasive gives the extra edge of polishing the glass. By spraying less or more water and controlling the amount of pad pressure, the abrasiveness can be varied. I have not tried it yet on front car windscreen yet or laminated glass. Will post pics of the night shot when I have time today or tomorrow. Not sure it will work for all car glass though.

---------- Post added at 08:28 AM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 08:25 AM ----------

This is what I meant by shining a high powered LED torch light along the edge of the glass. You can see all the defects including those within the glass. Did not see it with the halogen light straight on.

 

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nicely done...!!!

Kindly advice where to get 3M microfine sanding pads?
Veloc, maybe you could help me... using to restore my lamps..
 

Veloc

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nicely done...!!!

Kindly advice where to get 3M microfine sanding pads?
Veloc, maybe you could help me... using to restore my lamps..
I've been waiting for you man! Haha. Anyways, Lamps don't need those. Just sanding and polish.
 

eohl79

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nicely done...!!!

Kindly advice where to get 3M microfine sanding pads?
Veloc, maybe you could help me... using to restore my lamps..
Thanks. Can get everything from Osren. Problem using the pad compared to sand paper is you are missing a backing pad for even sanding especially on softer material. Follow Veloc's advise. Good for sanding curved area though.

Dude, nice shirt.
ha... Old rag shirt wor...
 

Izso

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Wow this is something else. I want to do something about the bleedin' watermarks on my front windscreen. When you find some sort of product that does the trick let me know!
 

eohl79

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but i heard sanding ur windows will cause micromarrings...my bmw e36 windscreen had the same treatment by the previous owner. no watermarks but full of micro marrings which glares at night.

If you could, can u snap a photo inside the car with the street light shinining through? im curious of the results. if no marring i can consider using this edi =D
Bro Josh, results as requested. Here are my findings. Night shot with street lighting - reflective and transmissive light source. Using my Sony NEX C3 camera with pancake lens on twilight mode and ISO6400. No sanding marks or marring visible. Just pits/scratches and defects within glass. No watermarks.


Figure 19: Reflected light source. ISO-6400, twilight mode.


Figure 20: Transmissive light source. ISO-6400, twilight mode.

---------- Post added at 11:50 PM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 11:45 PM ----------

Wow this is something else. I want to do something about the bleedin' watermarks on my front windscreen. When you find some sort of product that does the trick let me know!
Bro Izso, do you have a picture of the bleeding watermark? I am still a little reserved about correcting laminated front windscreen glass. Need to do some reading up and some experimentation - don't want to hack through, spread false info and cause misery. Heard that some glass can be harder, some softer. So not sure about final outcome yet. Will keep everyone updated when I have time...
 

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Nice.. if you figure something out do share! I'd like to post it up as a feature since a lot of people have this issue!

(Btw, my "bleedin" was a figure of speech. Like saying "bloody windscreen". Hehe)
 

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I'm having this problem too.. thanks for sharing the info... can i know where to get osren products? and also the other products used here..
 

eohl79

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I'm having this problem too.. thanks for sharing the info... can i know where to get osren products? and also the other products used here..
Search for Osren Malaysia. Their main office is in KL. They carry a lot of detailing stuff there. Call them up. Optimum stuff you need to search the forum for the sifus and PM them. Do a search for "Detailien".
 

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great effort
and thanks for your precious time sharing with us, by all means avoid acid, F....H.... asked those who has done that....avoid R...x too....amonia & killing all yr wiper blades

it is safe when u dot it slowly & make sure u have plenty of water as lube

as for front windscreen - I have reservation

OOS it is has been best for all exterior - once every 3 months for all exterior ....that bottle will last u for 10 years protection

as for front windscreen - monthly application will be great

Thank you for sharing
 

s1tl

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Bro Josh, results as requested. Here are my findings. Night shot with street lighting - reflective and transmissive light source. Using my Sony NEX C3 camera with pancake lens on twilight mode and ISO6400. No sanding marks or marring visible. Just pits/scratches and defects within glass. No watermarks.


Figure 19: Reflected light source. ISO-6400, twilight mode.


Figure 20: Transmissive light source. ISO-6400, twilight mode.

---------- Post added at 11:50 PM ---------- 6 hour anti-bump limit - Previous post was at 11:45 PM ----------



Bro Izso, do you have a picture of the bleeding watermark? I am still a little reserved about correcting laminated front windscreen glass. Need to do some reading up and some experimentation - don't want to hack through, spread false info and cause misery. Heard that some glass can be harder, some softer. So not sure about final outcome yet. Will keep everyone updated when I have time...
WAAAA im so touched u noticed my request =D thank you very much! Now i can safely try this method! awesomely done bro! sheer awesomeness!



great effort
and thanks for your precious time sharing with us, by all means avoid acid, F....H.... asked those who has done that....avoid R...x too....amonia & killing all yr wiper blades

it is safe when u dot it slowly & make sure u have plenty of water as lube

as for front windscreen - I have reservation

OOS it is has been best for all exterior - once every 3 months for all exterior ....that bottle will last u for 10 years protection

as for front windscreen - monthly application will be great

Thank you for sharing
Bro Kc, ive done a durability test on the OOS on windscreen and i found out it can last up to 4-5months of rain and sun and still beads and when driving up to 80km/h the water still flies up like you just applied Rain X. Thumbs up for Dr. G epic inventions
 

Rafale

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What a great result..Nice & clean windows!

I've been having a tough time trying to clean my front windscreen (pics attached).. tried claying, using scotchbrite and all sorts of glass cleaner but the watermarks are really stubborn..now I just leave em' be :hmmmm:

Eohl79, what grades of sanding paper did you used? 1500? Few years back I attended a micro-buffing class to remove fine scratches off acrylic surfaces by using 2000 grades and above..but I don't think those superfine paper are easily to find off the shelf..
 

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eohl79

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WAAAA im so touched u noticed my request =D thank you very much! Now i can safely try this method! awesomely done bro! sheer awesomeness!
No problem bro, just sharing info but just like KC said, front windscreen... some reservation there.


What a great result..Nice & clean windows!

I've been having a tough time trying to clean my front windscreen (pics attached).. tried claying, using scotchbrite and all sorts of glass cleaner but the watermarks are really stubborn..now I just leave em' be :hmmmm:

Eohl79, what grades of sanding paper did you used? 1500? Few years back I attended a micro-buffing class to remove fine scratches off acrylic surfaces by using 2000 grades and above..but I don't think those superfine paper are easily to find off the shelf..
Wah... that front windscreen watermarks are bad. Before you go off doing any correction, the inspection and evaluation step is very critical. It will lead you to use the right tools, products and techniques for correction. I would avoid the sand paper, scotchbrite, etc.

I was using a 3M sanding pad/sponge. It is a microfine type with grit size between 1200 and 1500. So it is quite harsh by itself. Looking at the grit range indicates that the tolerance of the grit size and variation is pretty wide. Don't use it for fine paint work. Remember it is a sanding pad/sponge and not sanding paper. The key to using the sanding pad with the abrasive powder is water. The 3M sanding pad holds up more water than a regular sand paper with a backing. By controlling the amount of water that you spray directly on the pad and pressure applied, you can control the amount of polishing to the glass - abrasiveness. I try to maintain a consistent pad pressure and spray on more water after several passes to reduce the abrasiveness. you can get those fine grit sandpaper easily from those big hardware stores like CSM hardware in Shah Alam. Usually they carry up to 2000 grit. Sometimes they do stock 3000 grit too. However those sandpaper are not as high quality as unigrit type sandpaper. Always do a test spot first!

For front windscreen polishing, can try to contact the legendary bro Fishbonez for more info. He has done it before with a DA as seen from his blog.

THANKS to everyone for the "likes".
 

eohl79

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Don't know how many people here has actually used the 3M sanding pads but after using it on 1 passenger side window and rear hatch windscreen (both of which are tempered glass), the abrasiveness of sanding pad has reduced quite a bit. This is also after I've washed down the pad to ensure that all the watermark abrasive powder is not present. Will see if it will work for the other windows. Likely will do it this weekend so stay tuned.
 

eohl79

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Here are some pics of a condition that you should avoid using acid based watermark cleaners (besides it being dangerous to handle) as consulted from bro Henry @ Osren. Take note that I have already removed the watermarks on the rear windscreen. Whatever that is left behind are scratches and pits which is not possible to remove with my techniques above. Acid can get into the crevices of the scratches of the wiper blade area and cause hazing and poor visibility. Also indicates why you should always try to keep your car clean. Don't forget to clean your wiper blades properly and regularly. Even if glass is harder than paint.clear coat, it can still be scratched! The more the scratches and the deeper it is, the more streaks and poor visibility during a rainy day. Same goes to those who use opti coat on their paintwork, it is not a bullet proof or permanent coating. It acts as another layer of protection that's all!


Figure 21: Rear wind screen, tempered glass with wiper blade scratch marks


Figure 22: Zoom in of scratch marks
 

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anyone tried using Autosol Metal Polish on water marks before?
someone suggested it will react with the watermarks, which is heavy metal sediments anyway.
 

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I doubt autosol will help. It'll probably remove the watermark but cause scratches since it's so abrasive?
 

eohl79

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There are lots of polishes labeled as for both glass and chrome polishing. Glass is quite hard so it needs some coarse or fine abrasives with real cutting abilities. Autosol might work but i don't know how it would finish which also depends on the glass surface hardness, etc. Just don't forget to clean the residual oils away. The finishing and the amount of work done also depends on the technique and tools used - hand with plenty of elbow grease, ROB, DA or rotary. Watermark is not heavy metal sediment - mercury, lead, cadmium, etc. It is usually either mineral deposit or more severe - etching on the glass. That's why I worked on my car glass from least aggressive first to more aggressive method (but not the most aggressive as I don't have the products and tools). Always do a test spot first on an inconspicuous area first that won't hinder your visibility while driving. Inspect the outcome thoroughly under bright light. Don't forget, car windscreen and passenger windows are very important parts of the car for both protection and visibility.
 
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Here are some pics of a condition that you should avoid using acid based watermark cleaners


Figure 21: Rear wind screen, tempered glass with wiper blade scratch marks


Figure 22: Zoom in of scratch marks
Yupp
agreed & the key is soak your 3m sand paper longer & let it be softer before sanding

YOU got very nice pic...thanks for taking time to share with us
thats lot of effort
 

eohl79

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Yupp
agreed & the key is soak your 3m sand paper longer & let it be softer before sanding

YOU got very nice pic...thanks for taking time to share with us
thats lot of effort
Thanks for the good tip bro KC. :adore: wise sifu tips must remember

No problem, got inspired from all your works. Only can learn from sharing. Nothing to lose.
 

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No problem bro, just sharing info but just like KC said, front windscreen... some reservation there.



Wah... that front windscreen watermarks are bad. Before you go off doing any correction, the inspection and evaluation step is very critical. It will lead you to use the right tools, products and techniques for correction. I would avoid the sand paper, scotchbrite, etc.

I was using a 3M sanding pad/sponge. It is a microfine type with grit size between 1200 and 1500. So it is quite harsh by itself. Looking at the grit range indicates that the tolerance of the grit size and variation is pretty wide. Don't use it for fine paint work. Remember it is a sanding pad/sponge and not sanding paper. The key to using the sanding pad with the abrasive powder is water. The 3M sanding pad holds up more water than a regular sand paper with a backing. By controlling the amount of water that you spray directly on the pad and pressure applied, you can control the amount of polishing to the glass - abrasiveness. I try to maintain a consistent pad pressure and spray on more water after several passes to reduce the abrasiveness. you can get those fine grit sandpaper easily from those big hardware stores like CSM hardware in Shah Alam. Usually they carry up to 2000 grit. Sometimes they do stock 3000 grit too. However those sandpaper are not as high quality as unigrit type sandpaper. Always do a test spot first!

For front windscreen polishing, can try to contact the legendary bro Fishbonez for more info. He has done it before with a DA as seen from his blog.

THANKS to everyone for the "likes".
Hmm, its been 2 weeks since I last refer to this thread and looks like my ignorance has taught me a good lesson.
I tried rubbing my front windscreen using grit 2000 paper + lubricated with some undiluted carwash liquid and it resulted in tiny circular scratches & marrings/holograms all over the windscreen :banghead:, I should've tested it with grit 5000 paper first instead of going on with 2K grit lol :stupid:

I'm going to look for the items you've used esp like the Osren waterspot and the 3M superfine sanding pad... at this point I'm not sure whether the scratches can be corrected or not or maybe I'll just get it replaced :smokin:
 

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Hmm, its been 2 weeks since I last refer to this thread and looks like my ignorance has taught me a good lesson.
I tried rubbing my front windscreen using grit 2000 paper + lubricated with some undiluted carwash liquid and it resulted in tiny circular scratches & marrings/holograms all over the windscreen :banghead:, I should've tested it with grit 5000 paper first instead of going on with 2K grit lol :stupid:

I'm going to look for the items you've used esp like the Osren waterspot and the 3M superfine sanding pad... at this point I'm not sure whether the scratches can be corrected or not or maybe I'll just get it replaced :smokin:
Oh..oh. I've tried Osren sanding pad and watermark remover on tempered glass and find it almost impossible to.remove scratches. Front windscreen is soft and scratches easily. Still a bit reserved on trying it on my windscreen. Perhaps I will go to the windscreen shop to get a test piece from a broken one. That's why always do a test spot if unsure. Did you soak the 2000 grit sand paper long enough? Also did you use a backing foam? Good luck and let us know the outcome.
 

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Just a heads up for those who plan to sand thier windscreen. Well never sand your glass with sandpaper or scotchbrite (message for car owners who leave their cars to maids for cleaning, works well on woks, not your car)

Note *3M Softback Sanding Sponge is no where near 2000# Sand Paper (Although it feels abrasive, it is actually quite fine). It is finer and it is not the same range as sandpapers or sanding discs. There's a sponge there that makes it much safer than a sandpaper with your hands or sanding pad.

PS: eohl, you can still use that Sanding Sponge which you have used although it doesn't feel gritty anymore. Use until you find it difficult to remove watermarks. Also we're working on a more ergonomic add on for the sanding sponge. Stay tuned :idea:
 

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Just a heads up for those who plan to sand thier windscreen. Well never sand your glass with sandpaper or scotchbrite (message for car owners who leave their cars to maids for cleaning, works well on woks, not your car)

Note *3M Softback Sanding Sponge is no where near 2000# Sand Paper (Although it feels abrasive, it is actually quite fine). It is finer and it is not the same range as sandpapers or sanding discs. There's a sponge there that makes it much safer than a sandpaper with your hands or sanding pad.

PS: eohl, you can still use that Sanding Sponge which you have used although it doesn't feel gritty anymore. Use until you find it difficult to remove watermarks. Also we're working on a more ergonomic add on for the sanding sponge. Stay tuned :idea:
Thanks Henry. Keep me updated once you have the new goodies. Hehehe.

Will go test on windscreen later.
 

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KC,
I have the same problem on my gf myvi, not only on the glass, but the watermark also on the roof / paint. May I know how to clean it? I washed with ONR, but the watermark is still there.

What are the step and solution required to clean that?


Many thanks.