Like anything else, plexiglass needs to be cleaned, especially when it gets cloudy. But since plexiglass is made of sensitive acrylic material, you’re likely to scratch or damage it when cleaning it. So, what are the most effective methods to clean cloudy plexiglass without damaging it?
A soft microfiber cloth or a non-abrasive acrylic cleaner can do the trick if your plexiglass is not too cloudy. You can also use dish soap and water mixture to clean your cloudy plexiglass without leaving streaks. Other methods include sanding, buffing, or scraping to remove grime residue.
Let’s discuss how to apply these methods effectively, what you should do to polish your plexiglass for a glossy look, and what materials you should avoid while cleaning cloudy plexiglass.
How to Remove Cloudiness from Plexiglass
One of the easiest methods to remove mild cloudiness and dust from your plexiglass is to apply air pressure and clean it with a soft cloth. An acrylic cleaning product can also help. Other methods to clean your cloudy plexiglass include washing with water and dish soap, sanding, buffing, or scraping.
Let’s discuss each method in more detail:
Use a Soft Cloth or Acrylic Cleaners
Here’s how to effectively use a soft cloth or an acrylic cleaning product to clean your cloudy plexiglass:
Use a Soft Cloth
Use a soft microfiber cloth to remove dust and debris from the surface of the plexiglass. A microfiber cloth is a scientifically proven tool to absorb excess moisture and remove stains off your plexiglass without scratching it.
You can also use a soft cotton cloth, as it won’t penetrate the tiny pores of your plexiglass to cause cracks.
Use Acrylic Cleaners
Acrylic cleaners will help you remove grime residue from your plexiglass, improving its transparency. However, use acrylic cleaners that don’t contain toxic chemicals, which may leave streaks on your plexiglass.
If your plexiglass isn’t too cloudy, you can make your own cleaning solution by mixing dish soap with cold water. All you need to do is to spray the solution over the cloudy area of your plexiglass and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
Then, gently rub it with a microfiber cloth, and rinse the solution away with cold water to get a cloud-free finish.
Other Cleaning Methods to Try
Making a non-abrasive acrylic cleanser by mixing water and dish soap is one of the easiest ways to clean your cloudy plexiglass. Other advanced cleaning methods include sanding, buffing, or scraping to remove hard grime from your plexiglass.
Let’s discuss how to use these methods without scratching your plexiglass:
Water and Dish Soap
Dish soap works best to remove cloudy grime from your plexiglass surface without leaving streaks. Be sure to use cold water to avoid melting the acrylic glass.
Follow these steps to rightly wash your plexiglass:
- First, put dish soap into the cold water.
- Stir the mixture until the dish soap is completely dissolved. Check if you need to add more dish soap since a too-watery solution can add more clouds to your plexiglass.
- Pour the solution into a spray bottle, and spray it thoroughly over the cloudy spots.
- Let the solution sit for about 20 minutes before rubbing it with a soft microfiber cloth. While rubbing, don’t go hard, as it can damage your plexiglass.
- Use cold water to wash out the solution over the glass. For a glossy finish, use a dry microfiber cloth to absorb the remaining moisture over the plexiglass surface.
Sanding, Buffing, or Scraping the Plexiglass
More drastic methods to clean your cloudy plexiglass include sanding, buffing, or scrapping the plexiglass. Be careful with each, as you may get yourself injured.
Here’s how you should apply these methods.
Sanding your plexiglass will take harsh grime residue off the glass surface while giving you an excellent finish. Move the sander gently over the affected area without putting more pressure that can damage your plexiglass. Keep the sander moving to avoid heat buildup, which can crack or melt the acrylic glass.
Run the sander from 220-grit or 320-grit paper for more stubborn clouds, moving towards 600-grit to 800-grit sandpaper later.
Use a stationary buffing wheel to properly buff the cloudy area right after sanding it. You may need to apply new wax polishing to the buffing cloth to get glossy edges. A fast-cutting compound can give you a luster finish, while you can use a medium-cutting compound for a glossy finish.
Don’t put extra pressure during the buffing process, as it can easily crack your plexiglass.
A razor blade or any other scraping tool can help you remove hard grime residue from your plexiglass surface without leaving streaks. Make sure not to dig on the plexiglass surface since it’s sensitive to sharp tools.
Also, don’t move the razor unevenly, as it can add scratches to your plexiglass. And be careful with the razor, so you may not get injured.
How to Polish Plexiglass
You can perfectly restore your plexiglass’s glossy look and transparency by applying flame polishing, but this method is recommended for professionals.
Use a hydrogen-oxide torch to blast heat to the affected plexiglass surface. When the cloudy buildups are removed, you can use a microfiber cloth to clean the affected area.
Be careful with this method, as the torch can melt the acrylic material if it is set on a high level.
You can also use commercial polishing products that are suitable for your acrylic plexiglass. Some of the most common products include Plexus Plastic Cleaner Protectant and Polish (on Amazon), Fitz Multi-purpose Polish and Cleaner Paste (on Amazon), and 210 Plus Plastic Scratch Remover and Polish (on Amazon).
Follow these steps to polish plexiglass:
- Start with thoroughly sparkling cleaning solution over the affected area on your plexiglass.
- Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then rub it with a non-abrasive cloth.
- Rinse the glass with cold water, and use a microfiber cloth to absorb the remaining moisture over its surface while giving it a final finish.
A non-abrasive removal compound can also help you retain the glossy shine of your plexiglass while removing any hard stains.
Materials to Avoid Using on Plexiglass
Avoid using the following materials to clean your cloudy plexiglass, as they can cause mild streaks or hard scratches on the plexiglass:
- Ammonia: Don’t use any cleaning solution containing ammonia, as it may leave streaks on your plexiglass. Ammonia may also release chemical fumes that can harm your eyes or skin and affect your respiration.
- Abrasive Cleaners: Although abrasive cleaners can remove dust and cloudy stains off your plexiglass, they are not worth using as they may cause scratches on your acrylic glass.
- Acetone: Acetone, polish, and other solvent cleansers have acidic properties, which can fade your plexiglass and may even cause scratches.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can attack the plexiglass surface and break the chain of acrylic polymers, causing cracks in your plexiglass. Avoid using alcohol for cleaning your cloudy plexiglass.
- Petroleum-Based Glass Cleaners: You should also avoid using Windex 40 or other petroleum-based glass cleaners to clean your cloudy plexiglass because they are harsh and can damage your glass.