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How to Clean Acrylic Plastic

Acrylic plastic is a type of thermoplastic called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and is often referred to as Plexiglas® or Perspex®. It is a shatter-resistant replacement for glass and often used in modern furniture, aquariums, windows and office products. Sculptures and other artwork can also be made of acrylic.

Things You Will Need

  • Non-abrasive cloth
  • Plastic polish
  • Detergent
  • Power buffer
  • Fine grit plastic polish

Acrylic plastic is a type of thermoplastic called polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and is often referred to as Plexiglas® or Perspex®.  It is a shatter-resistant replacement for glass and often used in modern furniture, aquariums, windows and office products.

Sculptures and other artwork can also be made of acrylic.  While items made of transparent acrylic can be very beautiful and sturdy, keeping them clean and undamaged is important.

  1. Remove any surface dirt carefully by gently blowing it off or running warm water over it. Do not rub.
  2. Spray the surface of the acrylic with a plastic polish. Use a very mild detergent and warm water if a plastic polish is not available. Spray a small area rather than the whole surface.
  3. Clean the surface with a soft, non-abrasive cloth made specifically for polishing acrylic, using small, slow circular strokes.
  4. Dry the acrylic by gently blotting the surface with a clean, dry and non-abrasive polishing cloth before cleaning the next small section.
  5. Remove fine scratches from the surface of the acrylic with a power buffer specifically made for polishing plastic with a clean cotton bonnet. A find grit plastic polish should be used.
  6. Tip

    To prevent scratches, always blow any dirt or dust from the surface of the acrylic you would like to clean instead of rubbing it off. If there is a lot of dust, run warm, clean water over it. Use disposable cloths rather than reusable ones to ensure the smoothest polishing surface.

    Warning

    Never use cleaners with ammonia, as they may damage the surface of the acrylic. This includes most household cleaners.

    Never use a dry cloth, which may scratch the surface, or bare hands to wipe off acrylic as this will embed dirt and oils into the plastic and eat away the surface.

Things You Will Need

  • Non-abrasive cloth
  • Plastic polish
  • Detergent
  • Power buffer
  • Fine grit plastic polish

Tips

  • To prevent scratches, always blow any dirt or dust from the surface of the acrylic you would like to clean instead of rubbing it off. If there is a lot of dust, run warm, clean water over it.
  • Use disposable cloths rather than reusable ones to ensure the smoothest polishing surface.

Warnings

  • Never use cleaners with ammonia, as they may damage the surface of the acrylic. This includes most household cleaners.
  • Never use a dry cloth, which may scratch the surface, or bare hands to wipe off acrylic as this will embed dirt and oils into the plastic and eat away the surface.

About the Author

Eirik Ott is a professional performance poet, freelance writer, graphic designer, Apple Computer enthusiast and photographer. Since graduating from Chico State University with a degree in journalism in 2000, he has written for newspapers and magazines such as "The Reno Gazette-Journal," "The Austin American-Statesman," "Bust Magazine" and "Poets & Writers Magazine." He is based in Austin, Texas.

Photo Credits

  • Artem Kononenko/Demand Media
  • Artem Kononenko/Demand Media
  • Artem Kononenko/Demand Media
  • Artem Kononenko/Demand Media
  • Artem Kononenko/Demand Media
  • Artem Kononenko/Demand Media
  • Artem Kononenko/Demand Media