Things You'll Need
2 microfiber cloths
Clean warm water
Mild non-abrasive cleaner
Non-silicone car-polish (without cleaning solvents)
Unbleached muslin buffing wheel attachment for electric drill
Prevention is paramount; do not use ammonia-based cleaners on acrylic as they will eat into the acrylic and cause damage. Do not use any harsh or abrasive cleaners as they can cause scratches.
Do not start buffing at the edge of the piece of acrylic as the buffing wheel could catch and throw the piece.
Acrylic is a useful safety product that can be used in place of large pieces of glass or where the glass would be easily broken. Although more resistant to breakage, acrylic is easier to scratch than glass so it needs to be cared for quite differently. Harsh or abrasive chemicals should be avoided when cleaning acrylic. Use clean lukewarm water, mild detergent and a soft microfiber cloth to clean acrylic or fine surface scratches could appear, causing the acrylic to become cloudy. Prevention is key to this problem because once your acrylic becomes cloudy a simple cleaning will not fix it; you will need to re-buff the acrylic to restore the smooth and clear surface.
Clean the piece of acrylic with a microfiber cloth and clean warm water. Wipe the acrylic in a gentle circular motion, continually adjusting and rinsing the cloth to avoid wiping dirt onto the acrylic. Not keeping the cloth rinsed could result in more scratches on the surface.
Assess your piece of acrylic to determine whether it needs more cleaning. If there is still dirt on the surface, use your mild non-abrasive cleaner and your microfiber cloth to clean the acrylic as in Step 1. Rewash the acrylic with only clean warm water to remove any residual cleaner.
Blot dry your acrylic using the second microfiber cloth. Allow the acrylic to dry completely before continuing.
Prepare your buffing wheel by attaching it to your drill.
Turn on the drill and touch the tallow stick to the rotating buffing wheel to transfer a small amount of tallow. Quickly add some of the car-polish to the buffing wheel.
Buff your piece of acrylic, starting in the center. Keep constant light pressure and continuously move the buffing wheel back and forth to avoid heat buildup, which could melt the acrylic.
Continue in the manner described in Step 6, adding more car polish when necessary, until the cloudy surface of your acrylic has been buffed clear.
- The Paper Framer: Cleaning Acrylic and Glass
- The Plastics: Acrylic Sheet Edge and Surface Finishing
- Finishing Dot Com: Removing Scratches from Clear Acrylic Sheet
- Ridout Plastics: Care and Cleaning of Plexiglass Acrylic Sheet
- How to Clean Stuff: How to Clean Acrylic Glass
- San Diego Plastics Inc.: Acrylic Plastic
Based in Ottawa, Canada, Erin Black has written for the hearth industry since 2007. Focusing on writing marketing materials, she has worked in the industry since 2001 as an industrial and graphic design consultant. Black received the 2007 HPBAC New Installation Fireplace Design Award. She graduated from the Advanced Interior Design Program at Algonquin College in 2005.