Knowing how to clean acrylic correctly is key to preserving its attractive appearance. Acrylic – which is also called Plexiglas, Lucite and Acrylite — is a popular alternative to glass for many applications because it is translucent, light weight and impact resistant. Clear, colored and opaque acrylic is also available. Because acrylic sheets and glazing are susceptible to scratches and abrasions as well as damage by some solvents, it is important to follow these guidelines for cleaning, repairing and protecting your acrylic items.
The best way to clean acrylic is with a specialty cleaning product such as Novus No.1 or Brillianize. NEVER use window cleaning fluids with ammonia (such as Windex or Formula 409), gasoline, denatured alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, or acetone, which will cause the acrylic to craze with minute cracks. A mild solution of soap or detergent and water can also be used safely.
Begin by gently blowing away any loose dust or dirt from the acrylic’s surface.
Apply the specialty cleaning product (or soap and water solution) with a dampened non-abrasive/non-contaminating/lint-free soft cloth, microfiber cloth or cellulose sponge.
Rinse well with clear, clean water.
Blot dry with a chamois, damp cellulose sponge or microfiber cloth to prevent water spotting.
Note: Grease, oil and tar may be removed with a good grade of hexane, naptha or kerosene. Be sure to wash these solvents off quickly to prevent damage to the acrylic.
It’s possible to remove minor scratches and abrasions from acrylic. One technique is to apply a thin, even coat of automobile polish (not cleaner polish) or floor or automobile wax with a clean, soft cloth. Follow by buffing lightly with a clean, damp cloth to remove static electricity, which attracts dirt.
Another way to remove fine scratches and haziness from acrylic is to use a mild abrasive polish such as Novus No. 2. To remove heavier scratches and abrasions, try Novus No. 3.
Haziness, which is caused by age, exposure to the sun or cleaning with the wrong products, can be minimized or eliminated by careful sanding with a series of grits followed by buffing with a plastic polish. For step-by-step instructions on removing hazing, go to “How to Remove Haze from Plexiglas.”
Cracks in an acrylic sheet can be kept from lengthening by drilling a 1/8-inch diameter hole at each end of the crack and fill the holes with silicone sealant.
If these methods aren’t successful, contact a knowledgeable professional to repair and restore the luster to your acrylic.
If you are working with a new sheet of acrylic, leave the thin protective masking film on for as long as possible.
For a lustrous shine that resists fogging, repels dust and eliminates static, apply a thin, even coat Novus No. 1 with a clean, soft cloth.
Avoid dropping your acrylic item. Dropping is the primary cause of cracking and chipping.
Never use sharp tools, such as a razor blades or putty knifes, to remove dirt or foreign material from an acrylic surface.
And always remember to never use abrasive cleansers, abrasive pads, or gritty cloths when you clean acrylic.
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