Plexiglass is a versatile and durable material that has many uses. To get the most out of your plexiglass and keep it in the best condition, you need to know how to take care of it. This includes knowing the best way to polish it, as some cleaners can be very bad for it and cause scratches and damage.
A microfiber cloth with some mild soap should be good enough for polishing plexiglass. Commercial polishes are available if there are deeper scratches you need to get rid of. You should never use ammonia or solvent-based cleaners, or steel wool because this can make the issue worse.
Let’s take a closer look at how to polish plexiglass, including the best method, what you should never use, and how to prevent scratches.
What is the Best Method for Polishing Plexiglass?
When polishing plexiglass, it’s best to use a soft microfiber cloth with mild soap and gently rub circles around the plexiglass.
Many polishes and buffing solutions aren’t built for such a delicate material, so make sure any commercial product you plan to use has been tried and proven on plexiglass. Commercial products really only need to be used if the scratches can’t be buffed out with mild soap and a cloth.
How Do You Remove Scratches From Plexiglass?
For light scratches, you can use a soft microfiber cloth and a mild soap solution to gently clean and buff the surface of the plexiglass. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with water to remove any soap residue when done and dry the plexiglass.
For deeper scratches, you can use a specialized plexiglass polish that’s designed to remove scratches and restore the surface of the material. Make sure to use a soft cloth for application and don’t use an abrasive pad or steel wool to apply it, as this can scratch the plexiglass.
If you have access to a power buffer, you can use a polishing compound and buffing wheel to remove deeper scratches and restore the clarity of the plexiglass. Be sure to use a low speed and light pressure to avoid damaging the material. However, if the scratches are so deep they’re hard to remove, it can be better to hire a professional to help.
Supplies You’ll Need
Depending on the method you want to use to polish your plexiglass and how deep the scratches are, you’ll need the following materials:
- A soft microfiber cloth (on Amazon)
- Mild soap
- Plexiglass polish
You’ll want to use a plexiglass polish which can specifically be used on acrylic material, not just glass which is something different altogether. Rolite Ultra Fine Scratch Remover (on Amazon) is a good option for this, as is PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner (on Amazon).
If you’re not sure if the polish you’ve chosen can be used on plexiglass, you can look at reviews, or pick one that is definitely good for the material.
What Products Should You Avoid?
Any product that is too abrasive should never be used on plexiglass. Scrubbing it with an abrasive pad or steel wool, for example, is bad, as that will just create more scratches.
You should also never use a polish or buffing compound that’s for glass and doesn’t mention any use on another material. Despite the misleading name, plexiglass isn’t actually made of glass and if you use materials on it that are specifically formulated for something else, it could cause some serious and expensive damage. Often, that damage is irreversible.
You should also be careful with what cleaning solution you use. Ammonia-based products, for example, are far too harsh for plexiglass. For the most part, mild soap should be good enough to clean your plexiglass and you be patient with the process rather than resort to a harsher chemical if it’s taking a while.
How to Prevent Scratches on Your Plexiglass
Although plexiglass is a durable material, it can be prone to scratches. Here are some ways to ensure you avoid that.
Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a microfiber towel to clean your plexiglass. Avoid using abrasive or harsh cleaning agents, such as ammonia-based or solvent-based cleaners, which can scratch the surface, as mentioned above.
Don’t Touch the Glass
Avoid touching the surface of your plexiglass with your fingers or any other objects that may scratch it. If necessary, use gloves or other protective gear to handle it, but it’s best to avoid touching it altogether.
Use Protective Film
Apply a protective film or sheet to the surface of your plexiglass to reduce the risk of scratches. These films are usually made of polyethylene or polyester, and you can remove them when no longer needed. Don’t confuse these with tinting film, which is much more difficult to remove.
Store it Properly
Store your plexiglass in a clean and dry location away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures, if it’s possible. Cover it with a protective material, such as a cloth or plastic sheet, to prevent dust or debris from accumulating on the surface.
Of course, this isn’t always possible, especially as plexiglass is a popular material for windows and skylights. In this case, a protective film is usually the best option for keeping it somewhat away from the sunlight and weather.
Get a Professional to Install it
If you’re unsure about how to install your plexiglass or need it to be customized to fit a specific application, consider hiring a professional to do it for you. They can make sure that the plexiglass is properly installed and protected from scratches.
Overall, plexiglass isn’t particularly high-maintenance to take care of as long as you know how to avoid scratches. It’s a great material for many purposes, including windows and skylights. However, it is very important to make sure you know how to take care of it, including polishing it properly so you don’t cause damage that’s difficult, or even impossible, to reverse.