How To Clean Plexiglass (Without Scratching It)

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Nothing’s more frustrating than having dusty, stained, or cloudy plexiglass. Luckily, cleaning plexiglass is pretty easy, but it needs to be done carefully so that the glass doesn’t get damaged. So, what’s the best way to clean plexiglass?

To clean plexiglass, first remove excess dust particles using compressed air, a blow dryer, or a mix of soap and cold water. Then spray on an acrylic cleaning product, like Rolite, or a homemade solution and wipe it away with a non-abrasive cloth until the residue is gone.  

If you use this time-tested technique, you should have crystal-clear plexiglass in no time. Let’s take a closer look at the process, as well as how to prevent scratches and how to repair scratched plexiglass. 

How to Clean Plexiglass

Plexiglass Pieces

Plexiglass is often used as an alternative to real glass because it’s safer, easier to cut, lightweight, and affordable. It’s typically made of acrylic material, which is quite sensitive to abrasive cleaning products, so it may get scratched if you don’t clean it with care.

The most important step to clean your plexiglass is removing dust and dirt that has been collected on the glass. You can then spray it with an acrylic cleaning product like Rolite (on Amazon)

Let’s go through the cleaning steps in detail:

Remove Dust and Dirt 

The first step to cleaning your plexiglass is to remove dust and dirt particles. You’ll probably damage the glass if you use a regular duster, so using a hair dryer or compressed air is the best way to blow away the dirt. You can also wash your plexiglass with water to remove loose dust. 

Here’s how to effectively remove the dust particles from plexiglass: 

Remove Dust With Air

  • Blow the dust off: Simply blow on the dusty area with your mouth if the glass isn’t too dirty. Keep your head at the proper distance, or the dust could get in your eyes, nose, or mouth. 
  • Use a dryer: You can use a hair dryer to blow the dirt particles off your plexiglass. Make sure to use the coolest setting, as the hot air can damage the plexiglass. Also, keep the surroundings covered to prevent dust from spreading around. 
  • Use a compressed air can: A can of compressed air (on Amazon) is also helpful, especially when removing thick layers of dust from plexiglass. 

Wash Your Plexiglass With Cold Water

Another effective way to remove dust and dirt particles from your plexiglass is to wash it with cold water. Cold water won’t damage the plexiglass, and you won’t have to worry about fading. Here’s how to wash plexiglass: 

  1. Put some dish soap in cold water and mix it properly. 
  1. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it over the affected area. Let the solution sit for about 10-15 minutes so that it loosens the dust and dirt. 
  1. Pour cold plain water over the plexiglass to remove the solution from its surface. Gently wipe it with a non-abrasive cloth. 

Make sure to avoid hot water, as it can cause damage to your plexiglass. 

Apply Your Cleaner and Wipe the Plexiglass Dry 

Once the dirt is removed, you can spray on your acrylic cleaner, and then it’s time to wipe your plexiglass to dry it. You can use a non-abrasive clean cloth that won’t damage your plexiglass. 

While many cleaning cloths are available, a microfiber cloth (on Amazon) is ideal for plexiglass. Microfiber cloth doesn’t dig into small pores of plexiglass and won’t cause scratches. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth, you can use a cheesecloth, terry cloth, jersey cloth, or other non-abrasive sponges. 

You’ll need to be very careful while wiping along the plexiglass surface, so as not to cause any damage.

If your plexiglass is still dirty, you can give it another wash with cold water. This will wipe away any remaining cleaning solution and dirty spots and will give your plexiglass an appealing shine. 

Wipe your plexiglass until it’s dry to avoid water stains.   

Which Materials and Cleaning Methods Should Be Avoided? 

You should avoid products that contain alcohol, ammonia, and aromatics because they can scratch the plexiglass or make it look cloudy. Also avoid using abrasive cloths or solvents that can easily dig into the small pores of your plexiglass and can cause scratches. 

While vinegar is a good glass cleaner, you should avoid using it to clean plexiglass because it has acidic properties that can easily damage the glass. 

Also, avoid any chemicals that contain acids. If you can’t get a special acrylic cleaner, use a homemade solution instead. 

How to Remove Scratches From Plexiglass 

Transparent plexiglass cubes in production

Regularly cleaning your plexiglass with the methods discussed above can prevent it from getting scratched. However, you’ll probably need some special tricks to restore your plexiglass if it’s already scratched.

Some of the options include scraping, buffing, sanding, and flaming the glass. Let’s discuss each of them in more detail: 

Scrape Your Plexiglass 

Use a razor blade or any other sharp scraping tool to remove hard scratches and machine markings on your plexiglass. This will eliminate the scratches and smooth down the glass’s surface. You can also use the scraping tool to smooth out uneven plexiglass angles.

Hold the scraping tool at around a 10-degree angle, so that it doesn’t dig into the glass surface and cause damage. You’ll need to carefully move the blade from side to side to scrape out the scratches evenly. 

Be careful while using a sharp blade, as it can cause bad injuries if you use it incorrectly. 

Sand Your Plexiglass

If you want to remove deep scratches and markings from your plexiglass, sanding the glass can do the trick. Sanding will also give you an excellent finish on your acrylic glass. It can even fix minor scratches on car windows.

Slowly move the sander evenly over the affected surface until the scratches and marks are removed. Don’t put more pressure on your plexiglass, and keep the sander moving to prevent heat build-up, which can damage your plexiglass.

If the scratches are deeper, start with 220-grit or 320-grit paper, moving towards 600-grit to 800-grit sandpaper later on. 

Buff Your Plexiglass

For a clear and polished finish on your plexiglass, the ideal method is to buff a surface that has recently been sanded. 

Stationary buffing wheels are largely considered to be effective for this task. You’ll probably need to use an 8-12 inch diameter piece of bleached muslin to prevent heat buildup that can damage your plexiglass. 

If you want a luster finish, use a fast-cutting compound; and use a medium-cutting compound for a glossy finish. 

Flame Polishing

Flame polishing is also effective at shining plexiglass, but it’s only for professionals. Use a hydrogen-oxide torch to remove any buildups on the surface of your plexiglass after sanding and buffing for smooth acrylic edges. 

Be careful though, as the torch can melt your acrylic glass if it’s set too high!  

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