Saturday, December 4, 2010

Plexiglass Sheet - Cleaning Plexiglass - Plexiglass Scratch Removal

Plexiglass Sheet Tips - Cleaning Plexiglass & Plexiglass Scratch Removal - video thanks to Rohm and Haas (now Arkema).

So these topics are quite related to edge polishing of Plexiglas as well!

Cleaning Plexiglass - think of plexiglass a a fine piece of wood. You would never treat it certain ways. Never use 409. Never use Windex. Never spill dirt or potting mix on the surface and then wipe off with your bare hand. But, we DO that with Plexiglass! Why is that? We are our own worst enemy when it comes to common sense and cleaning this plastic sheet. Well. most plastic sheet and material that we see around our homes is very chemical resistant and throwaway/recyclable. But Plexiglass is used in applications where we want it to LAST. So cleaning is a very important part of long term service. Plexiglass made in the USA does NOT yellow. However, if you use 409 or WIndex daily and it's exposed to the sun, you WILL get crazing - little cracks as the UV interacts with ammonia. No fix for this condition. Call my plastics company for another piece... :-) What to use? Simple.

Small Amount of Dish Soap and Water. Clean paper towel or soft cotton cloth. Rinse with water. Dry with soft cloth. Repeat.

Brillianize Polish and Cleaner. My favorite for 40 years. They add a little silicon to make it a little slicker on drying. I like it on my guitars as well.

Novus #1 polish and cleaner. Similar to Brillianize without the silicon. Part of a 3 step system.

Pledge - the standard stuff. The latest commercials show the Pledge Guy squirting it on way more than wood. I still like Brillianize best.

Scratch Removal

When your beautiful piece of Lucite acrylic scratches, you can fix it quickly! If you can't feel the scratch with your fingernail, then Novus#2 or #3 should restore the finish. Otherwise, you will need to sand and buff the area that is scratched to return the shine (see next paragraph). It's the same way we polish the edges of thick pieces of acrylic here at Ridout Plastics - it works! This procedure ONLY works on acrylic. It does not work on styrene (like the colored boxes we sell) or on polycarbonate (Lexan, Tuffak, Makrolon). They both look clear, but they cannot be restored.

Scratch Removal Solution: Sand the affected area with 150, 320, then 400 Wet/Dry, then 600 Wet/Dry and 800 if you can locate it. Use a buffing wheel on your drill with the Plastic Buffing Compound or White Diamond as Rouge is too fine. Let the buffing compound do the work to restore the shine. Do not press hard or you will "burn" the compound into the plastic. This works quite well and quickly.

Note about Motorcycle fairings and car headlight restoration.
The motorcycle windshields are typically Lexan Polycarbonate. Scratches don't come out, but cleaning with Brillianize is a MUST. The fairings can be maintained with Novus #2 on a regular basis. The fading and yellowed headlight covers on your car are polycarbonate. There are a few expensive solutions out there, and I recommend a simple solution of sanding with 320 grit and then spraying a clear acrylic lacquer over them. The clarity will not be completly restored but they will look better!

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