As a pet owner, you'll have doors and windows that are either frosted or scratched up most of the time; the same applies to windscreens— and no, we can't always blame the sun. These surfaces are made of a transparent plastic material known as Plexiglass or acrylic plastic. Long story short— plexiglass scratches or that frosted appearance are sure and inevitable. So with this minor life crisis in mind, we searched for the best plexiglass scratch remover the market could offer for each situation.
Let's dig right in!
How Do You Maintain A Scratch-free Plexiglass Surface?
There are many products and specialized equipment in the market for removing scratches from Plexiglass, plastic cleaning, restoration, and polishing. We tested a good number of them and did a little digging, so you wouldn't have to sift through all that.
As mentioned earlier, acrylic – better known as Plexiglass, Perspex, or Lucite – is a popular form of plastic widely used due to its many advantages. For instance, Plexiglass has exceptional optical clarity and weighs 50% less than regular glass. However, compared to polycarbonate plastics, Plexiglass scratches more easily, which is not just a little unappealing but could lead to further damage.
Thankfully, with acrylic scratch removers and a tad bit of elbow grease, it's much easier to repair or remove scratches on the acrylic than to create the scratches in the first place.
First, you'll need to evaluate the surface, further guiding and determining the product and tools you'll need for the process, whether light, moderate or deep scratches on the plexiglass surface.
Maintenance and Polishing of Plexiglass
a) Never use paper towels; instead of removing scratches, they might cause further damage. So always stick with a microfiber cloth for cleaning and polishing.
b) Soapy water is acrylic's most effective and safest cleaning solution.
c) Always avoid the impulse to rub off the cleaning solution or plexiglass surface with a dry cloth, no matter how badly you want to clean the accumulated dust quickly.
d) Take a small amount of the acrylic polishing paste, spread it on the surface of the Plexiglass, and start buffing/polishing by hand or using a cloth disc.
e) Don't buff too long.
f) Never clean the plexiglass or acrylic surfaces using a scouring sponge.
How to Best Evaluate the Scratches on Acrylic Plastic?
As you evaluate the scratched area on the acrylic, it's vital to ensure that the surface is scratched and not just crazing.
Did the scratches appear right after cleaning the acrylic using a chemical-based cleaner? If so, it's most likely chemical damage commonly known as crazing— not scratching.
This is how it'd appear.
Image Credit: carvilleplastics.com
Crazing will require aggressive sanding and polishing to clear, but it will often never look as good as new, so getting a new sheet is generally advised if the crazed area is significantly large.
Scratched acrylic would instead look like this.
Image Credit: pinterest.com
Once you have determined that the Plexiglass is scratched, you'll need to determine the depth of the scratch. This helps decide the best acrylic cleaner and removal technique.
One way to evaluate the depth of the scratches is to run your fingernail over them lightly.
If the scratch catches your fingernail, it's likely a deep scratch. If possible, try to estimate how deep the scratch is. Any scratch that's deeper than 5 mm is categorized under heavy scratches. Generally, these are regarded as either irreparable or can occasionally be mended using specialty buffing tools.
Like deeper scratches, deep cracks also cannot be easily fixed. We'd recommend purchasing a new acrylic sheet or going for a tougher option, like polycarbonate.
Light to moderate scratches on Plexiglass is easier to deal with. With a good quality plexiglass scratch cleaner, wet and dry grit sandpaper, circular motions, and a few applications, you can remove scratches from Plexiglass.
This review will focus on the best plexiglass scratch removers you can use to fix 'light' or small to moderate scratches on Plexiglass.
1. Meguiar’s G190200 Quik Scratch Eraser Kit
- CAR KIT FOR PAINT BLEMISHES: 1 Meguiar's Quik Car Scratch Eraser...
- DRILL ACTIVATED: Meguiar's Scratch Eraser Pad attaches to a...
- EASY SCRATCH REMOVAL: Meguiar's ScratchX is a car scratch remover...
- TO USE: Shake well, apply ScratchX to the included eraser pad,...
- NEXT STEPS: Follow up with a wax like Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik...
The Meguiar's G190200 Quik scratch eraser kit also makes it to the list. The kit comes with Meguiar's proprietary eraser pad, ScratchX 2.0 paint cleaner, and a premium ScratchX Meguiar microfiber cloth to remove scratches from plexiglass surfaces.
Image Credit: amazon.com
It was originally formulated to cater to yacht detailing businesses, but Mer-maids has developed a widespread use and application outside the marine industry as a plastics cleaner.
The silicone and isopropyl alcohol formulation leave an anti-static, anti-fog, and protective coating. The Mer-maids plexiglass cleaner and polish formula may be a little concerning, but it doesn't harm hard plastics. From research, we also noticed that it doesn't contain any ammonia, petroleum distillates, or any nasty ingredients.
For those who prefer a product with no silicone, Mer-maids has an alternative cleaner, the Plas-Tec, that doesn't contain silicone.
It is easy to use and can be virtually used on any acrylic or plastic surface that needs restoration and clearing. This includes helmet shields, vinyl curtains and windows, Plexiglass and chrome galley equipment, soft side boat windows, flybridge wind deflectors, etc.
2. Plexus Plastic Cleaner (Protectant and Polish)
- Plexus seals the pores in plastic surfaces with a micro-thin...
- Developed for use in the aviation industry - specifically, for...
- Use it on your vinyl windows, hatch covers, mirrors, laminated...
- Its convenient aerosol applicator prevents dripping, leaking,...
Plexus is another unique test product we used that also comes in an aerosol spray can. It was originally developed for aircraft as a commercial-grade plastic cleaner, protectant, and polish but is still suitable for domestic use on various clear plastics.
Image Credit: amazon.com
Our trials show that this protective wax is uniquely formulated to effectively clean and fill small scratches on different plastic surfaces, including acrylic sheets. In addition, its micro-thin layer of shiny formula makes it more suited for small to medium scratches.
Besides removing scratches from Plexiglass, it easily cleans up remarkably well for a clear plexiglass surface that's not foggy. This is handy, especially if you're a pet owner who wants to maintain a clean, clear, and scratch-free plexiglass door or window. It can also be used on helmets, snowmobiles, windshields, motorcycles, watercraft, sunglasses, etc.
Besides filling the pores on Plexiglass with scratches, it also leaves a non-greasy, non-static protective coat with a strong resistance to dust and fogginess.
In addition to the restoration and cleaning, the Plexus plastic cleaner is a great polish that you could use for regular maintenance or end-of-the-season clean-ups.
This fine scratch remover comes in an easy-to-work-with 13-ounce spray can that maintains a fresh scent from all the tested products. That's a plus, especially when using it around the house.
3. Sumner Laboratories (23305) 210 Plus Plastic Scratch Remover, Cleaner, and Polish
- Restore abused plastics and remove surface scratches on clear &...
- Can be used to repair scratches on plastic, isinglass, Lucite,...
- This very mildly abrasive, anti-static, anti-fog, fingerprint...
- It is safe to use indoor and outdoor and is not harmful to...
- Follow up your scratch removal with the 210 Plastic Cleaner and...
Sumner Laboratories (23304) 210 Plastic Cleaner and Polish
- 210 Plastic Cleaner/Polish seals the pores in plastic surfaces...
- Will remove marks from crayons, magic markers, paint over sprays,...
- Use it on your vinyl windows, hatch covers, mirrors, laminated...
- The evaporating properties in the formula makes cleaning quick...
- Makes colored plastics vibrant, clear plastic virtually...
The 210 Plus plastic scratch remover, cleaner, and polish by Sumner Laboratories, is a two-part plexiglass restoration and protection system. The first part consists of a squirt scratch remover that we found was quite easy to use. We noticed that the white gooey liquid with a slight citrussy scent does a great job covering fine surface scratches and blemishes on different plastics, including Plexiglass.
However, on the downside, our research shows that this mild abrasive remover contains petroleum distillates— meaning it's quite flammable.
Image Credit: amazon.com
As a heavy-duty cleaner, we noticed that it could remove marks from paint oversprays, crayons, magic markers, or any residue from masking tape and adhesive backings.
After using the squirt 210 plus scratch cleaner, it's recommended to follow it up with the 210 aerosol plastic cleaner and polish it for a shiny, fully protected plexiglass surface. Both products worked well in training, restoring, and clearing those nasty marks. The only catch— you'll have to buy them separately.
Image Credit: amazon.com
Besides removing marks and heavy-duty cleaning, this duo leaves a lustrous protective coating that's anti-static and anti-fog and helps keep off those nasty fingerprints. In addition, this helps restore optical clarity for clear and clean plexiglass surfaces.
The whole cleaning and polishing process is easy and convenient and doesn't leave streaks or swirl marks due to the evaporative properties they both come with.
These products work on a variety of surfaces and plastics, including Plexiglass. The duo can be used on painted surfaces, automobiles, aircraft, and RVs— anywhere plastics are used.
4. NOVUS 7100 Plastic Polish Kit
- The NOVUS Polish Kit is perfect for protecting, cleaning,...
- Country of origin : United States
- Package weight : 2.0 Lbs
- Product type : Auto Accessory
NOVUS is a reputable brand that's known to produce one of the best scratch removers. This kit is so good that My Sweet Petunia, the maker of the MISTI stamping tool, recommended it.
Each solution in the NOVUS 7100 plastic polish kit comes in an 8 oz. spray bottle. The formula in each bottle efficiently clears and removes scratches on Plexiglass, fiberglass, polycarbonate windshields, windows, etc.
It comes in three cleaning formulas for different scratches; NOVUS No. 1, NOVUS No. 2, and NOVUS No. 3. These solutions are used to clear scratches from Plexiglass, ranging from light to heavy scratches.
The NOVUS No. 1 formula is the foundation of Novus' plastic polish product line. It's best suited when you need to clean Plexiglass for a clear surface. However, we noticed it also works quite well as a window cleaner, especially if you have foggy windows.
Gently wipe the acrylic polish in a circular motion using a clean cloth. From our trials, a microfiber cloth cleans and polishes the surface best.
NOVUS No. 2 is primarily a fine scratch remover that's also an acrylic polish. With repeated use and a clean cloth, we could remove that frosty appearance and restore some of the faded or discolored plastics. However, we noticed that it's also a great abrasive polish. While using grit sandpaper in a circular motion, we also managed to rub the abrasions off the acrylic and other plastics.
NOVUS No. 3 is a more abrasive polish that removes deep scratches and abrasions from acrylic surfaces. This seemed to be the remedy in situations where the damage on our acrylic sheets was too severe to be restored by only using polish.
From the different trials, we noted that this is an aggressive cleaner that's most suited to remove scratches off different plastics besides Plexiglass.
Besides removing scratches from Plexiglass, this is an anti-fog formula that leaves a lustrous shine on the surface. It also eliminates static and repels dust, so you won't need to clean up too often.
This kit worked well and laid down a fine film with no noticeable residue. We loved that this smooth, greaseless formula helps keep fingerprints off and doesn't contain any abrasive or harsh chemicals that would spoil acrylic sheets.
The Novus 7100 kit also comes with one dry cloth and one microfiber cloth, which you'll need for the application process. We'd warn against using other materials such as paper towels. This would only make things worse.
5. Mer-Maids Plexiglass Plastic Cleaner and Polish Spray
- 16 oz bottle. Cleans and Polishes all Plexiglass and plastic...
- Anti-fog, great for helmet face shields, safety goggles, soft...
- Anti-static, reduces scratches caused by particles that are...
The Mer-Maids plexiglass plastic cleaner and polish spray is a runny silicone-based liquid spray that performs plexiglass cleaning and maintenance. It's so good that it's one of the best plexiglass cleaners approved by Altuglas, Plexiglass manufacturer, and GE, manufacturer of Lexan, for use.
Image Credit: amazon.com
Instead of using the microfiber cloth, the drill eraser pad is an option. With this, you can quickly erase light scratches, clear scuff marks, paint transfers, fingernail marks, light defects, etc., on plexiglass surfaces.
The ScratchX solution contains microscopic abrasives that make up an efficient abrasion cleaner that's quite effective and quick in safely erasing blemishes and light scratches.
The proprietary 4" ScratchX eraser pad is pre-drill activated that attaches to a standard household drill foam attachment. We found this handy, especially when polishing or buffing off deep marks, so you won't have to use so much energy to remove scratches from Plexiglass.
The kit also includes a thick premium 16" x 16" PX microfiber cloth that is dual-sided with microfiber. This material is incomparably better to use compared to traditional terry towels.
The microfiber towel comes in handy if you don't have a standard drill. After application, we used it in a circular motion until the area was dry, as the last polishing step. This helps leave a brilliant shine with a high-gloss protective finish.
Acrylic or plexiglass products are widely used in homes or workplaces, so they'll likely be scratched. However, it has great physical attributes, such as flexibility, that allow it to be easily buffed with special, slightly abrasive cleaning formulations that remove scratches.
However, not all scratches can be remedied. As a rule of thumb, removing scratches from Plexiglass is easy if the scratch is less than 5 mm deep. However, if the plexiglass piece has sustained a relatively deep scratch, cracked, or undergone such intense crazing, it may be time to replace the acrylic. Again, it's possible to fix. However, the amount of effort and specialized tools outweigh the worth.
With a few pieces of equipment, physical effort, and either of the best plexiglass scratch cleaners we've discussed, you can quickly repair any markings, clear discolorations, or fogginess. Each option we've discussed best suits particular surfaces and scratches levels. This comprehensive review will help you settle on what's best for you. Good luck!
What Should You Consider for the Best Plexiglass Scratch Cleaner?
i) Always avoid ammonia-based scratch removers; these include home glass cleaners. These products contain harmful ingredients that damage the plexiglass surface, leaving it a little cloudy.
ii) Always carefully check the packaging for intended use, and only use products that are particularly meant to be used on acrylic.
iii) Some abrasive plexiglass scratch cleaners could destroy the vinyl surface, so it's mostly advised to use a soft cloth to clean and polish it.
iv) Always avoid ammonia, and alcohol-based plexiglass cleaners, since they are known to dissolve plastics, especially on Plexiglass.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Plexiglass Scratch Cleaners
1. Can toothpaste be used to remove scratches from Plexiglass?
Toothpaste contains a compound known as silica which is abrasive enough to help clear minor scratches. It's quite effective in removing small surface marks on soft plastics. A non-gel paste with baking soda would be best.
Just squeeze out a pea-sized amount of the toothpaste, and ensure it's enough to cover the scratch. Then start buffing in a circular motion until the surface has evened out. You can use a damp cloth after to clean up the area.
2. How does a heat gun work in clearing out scratches on Plexiglass?
Steadily move the heat gun over the scratched region in continuous back-and-forth motions. This helps soften the plexiglass surface, allowing it to expand and fill the gaps created by the scratches. This helps make them disappear.