Rejuvenating Cloudy Windows Easily

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

A quick and easy way to make a big improvement if your windows are clouded. No, it's not perfect . . . but it isn't a major project either.

The pictures just don’t show the full difference.

Used to be, you couldn’t see out the windows on Barefoot Gal. Oh, you knew if it was day or night, and I could see Paz’s (our dog) outline as she walked around the deck. But make out details? No way.

A quick and easy way to make a big improvement if your windows are clouded. No, it's not perfect . . . but it isn't a major project either.

Now I can.

A quick and easy way to make a big improvement if your windows are clouded. No, it's not perfect . . . but it isn't a major project either.

Friends aboard another Gemini told us how they’d restored their windows –  a long, multi-step process – and, admittedly, theirs are totally clear now. But our priority now is to get the boat back in the water and I had just a few hours of “waiting time” between other higher-priority projects. I was looking for an 80% solution with 20% of the effort.

Last winter when spent ten days aboard Beagle Knot (they’re now offering fully crewed charters), LaDonna told me how she’d “unclouded” their windows with a product called Prism Polish. So I got some.

Yesterday, I used it on our windows. Both Dave and I are amazed at the difference – and it didn’t take a lot of time or effort, to be honest. To be sure, the windows aren’t 100% perfect – there’s still a bit of cloudiness and you can see water streaks on two of them. But you can see out the windows, and they’re shiny on the outside.

A quick and easy way to make a big improvement if your windows are clouded. No, it's not perfect . . . but it isn't a major project either.

I did two-thirds of our windows in just over an hour (still have a couple to do). Added bonus: Prism Polish is a lot less expensive than many of the specialty products sold for restoring plastics.

I’m not declaring this to be the ultimate in rejuvenating windows. But if you’re like us and want a big improvement quickly and easily until such time as you can “really” do the windows, it’s perfect. It’s also great if – like on Beagle Knot – the windows weren’t as bad to start. LaDonna got theirs totally clear with just Prism Polish.

The containers of Prism Polish say that it’s for cleaning metal. When I first saw the container, I wondered if I was really buying the right stuff. I looked on their web site and they show restoring windows with the “metal” polish – it’s not some different product that they make.

It’s simple to use. Start by washing the windows with dish soap and water.* You’re just trying to get any dirt off so you won’t grind it in. Let the windows dry – a few drops of water remaining are okay, you just don’t want to dilute the polish too much.

Then use a soft cloth to rub the Prism Polish all over the window. Old terry cloth towels are great for this step – they have a bit of bite to rub with. Expect the polish on the rag to change color a bit, going from a very light gray to whatever color (probably brownish) your windows are tinted. That’s normal and shows that you’re getting the oxidation off.

Then use a fresh soft rag (old t-shirts are good) to buff it out (no need to wait for it to dry) – or you can use an electrical buffer. It is very easy to buff, even doing it by hand, and literally just took minutes.

I did the first window by hand, then wondered if a buffer would give any better results. The answer is that I couldn’t see any difference.

There. You’re done. But now you’ll need curtains so your neighbors can’t see in.

I got Prism Polish on Amazon — I’ve never seen it in a store. The 6 ounce container has enough for all our windows, but I’ll be needing more to do our stainless. The 16-ounce is a little better deal. (They also make a liquid version; the links below are the paste, which is what I used.) The company says it’s also good for removing cloudiness on isinglass but I haven’t tried it.

*Don’t use ammonia, alcohol, bleach, gasoline or acetone on Lexan windows. That’s right – no Windex, which contains ammonia. It can cause cloudiness — what you’re trying to get rid of! Dish soap and water is best.

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  1. Wow!

  2. Ritchard Findlay says:

    The ancient Beckson ports on my boat were far too gone for an 80-20 solution. I took them off one at a time and wet-sanded them from 400 thru 1600 then after all that sanding, they were polished with headlight restorer and a small buffing wheel. They’re still not perfect, but given their condition prior, they’re not bad at all.

    You got lucky!

  3. I have been using Prism Polish for years. You can use it on practically anything! The company usually has a booth at the boat shows.

  4. What are your windows made of?

  5. Such a difference.

  6. Sarah Finlayson

  7. Need to remember this one!

  8. Nice, must give that a go on my 35 year old boat windows

  9. Thanks of sharing, I’m going to try it out on our arft cabin windows.:)

  10. I just finished doing the rest of the windows. We both commented on how much lighter it is inside the boat 🙂

  11. Meguiars Plastic X and Flitz plastic cleaner really worked great on my dodger windows that I was going to replace but after using Plastic X with a small orange buffing pad on 18volt drill they look like new again

  12. Prism Polish is the best!!

  13. It won’t ship to australia

  14. We tried just about every brand of polish to restore the brass and bronze inside our 1971 Columbia 43. Prism was by far the best. We then used it on our stainless and it works great on that too. Our deadlights are in pretty good shape, but I might try it just the same.


  15. Joel Turner says:

    Did you use it on the windshield?

  16. Lynn Duggan says:

    Prism Polish has replaced every old polish I have ever had! I use it on silver, pewter, anything metal… Fabulous . Great as an oxidizer for fiberglass as well… Little goes a long way. I have some on our boat and some in the house. In areas it may turn to a more liguid form… In hot weather. It is still good so don’t toss it! Great on jewelry too!

  17. Barbara Lowell says:

    I have vinyl lanai windows on front and back of my little house. They also get cloudy and acid rain stains. Would love to hear back from you how long this lasts, because other products I try look great for a few weeks, then slowly it creeps all the way back.

  18. There are some good ammonia-free cleaners that can be used on boats without any damage to plastics … and that clean well. We use GLASS-PLUS in our factory to clean Lexan parts before they get packaged. • It pays to check for ammonia in ALL products used for cleaning on boats, since ammonia degrades plastics over time. Plain water is often underrated as a good cleaner.

  19. I’ve used it on 1966 gel coat that was heavily oxidized it was easy AND worked great. I also used it on an “unanodized” mast….worked great.

  20. Kelly Purnton says:

    I’d love to hear how it works on stainless if you ever care to write about it – my stanchions are older and in need of “refreshing”. And the vinyl window of my dodger isn’t as clear as it was a few years ago…Thank you for your thoroughness, Carolyn!

    • Hi Kelly, Our boat was built in 1971 and the stanchions and other stainless fixtures are original. The boat was neglected for about a decade before we bought it. We tried just about every polish on the market and Prism worked the best on the stainless, bronze and brass on the boat, hands down.

    • Lynn duggan says:

      It works great…. And lasts a long time. I just gave some to a guy cleaning his boat in a boatyard we are in and he has ordered it to complete his total hull and stainless… Even the covering of his lifelines and Windows!

  21. Pat Horan says:

    Will this product remove water marks from rain????

  22. Flitz Polish will also bring back your windows as well using the blue ball and great for your hatches and all stainless steel but using the yellow ball. I had my headlights on my car so cloudy the lights didn’t help at night until we tried the Flitz and completely brought then back to almost brand new!!

  23. Prism Polish is the most fantastic stuff… Only glass and metal cleaner I use… Great if sterling flatware!

  24. OK – So we sailed over to a music festival today and while we were hanging out, I mentioned this to my husband. “I have some in my bag – wanna try it?” so I went ahead and cleaned the windows. WOW!!! SO much better!!! Thanks for the tip! Now we know to buy some more at the boat show in 2 weeks! 😀

  25. Oh my I can’t thank you enough for this information. After trying so many things, I ordered the Prism and can finally see out our ports! 30 yr old I fears they were just too old. Now we can enjoy them until we do update them down the road. I wish I knew how to post my before and after here.

  26. Prentiss Berry says:

    I recently used prism polish on the headlights on my car based upon this post; it worked wonderfully.

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