Clear plastics, such as acrylic, can be practical, economical, and sturdy alternatives to glass. Lightweight yet elegant, clear plastic dishes and cups can be ideal for picnics and other outdoor affairs, and families with young children will appreciate the clarity of glass coupled with the durability of plastic. However, just like fine dishware, clear plastic requires special care to keep it in optimum shape. The proper cleansers and storage will ensure that your clear plastics last for many years to come.

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Glass or clear plastic? The proper care makes it difficult to tell the difference.

Step 1

Spray the surface of your plastic with an all-surface, streak-free liquid cleaner, such as Windex. Avoid powdered cleaning products, as the granules will be too abrasive for the plastic and will lead to scratches and damage. For dirt or detritus that is stuck on the plastic surface, let the cleaning solution sit for one minute.

Step 2

Apply a rag dipped in warm soapy water to tacky stains, such as syrups or sticker residue, and let set for a few minutes. Remove rag, dry with a soft cloth, then apply cleanser as described above to remove smudges left behind.

Step 3

Wipe the plastic surface clean with a soft, absorbent towel. Feel free to apply a little extra effort to areas with excess debris. For intricate plastic objects, such as figurines, clean between crevices with a cotton swab or ball. Paper towels can be used occasionally, but extended application may damage plastic surfaces. Avoid using steel wool and other abrasive materials. Dry clear plastic thoroughly, and wash only when necessary.