How to Remove Scratches from Plexiglass

How to Remove Scratches from Plexiglass

Acrylic – also known as Plexiglass, Perspex, and Lucite – is an exceptionally popular type of plastic since it has many useful advantages. Clear acrylic sheets have an exceptional optical clarity. Colored acrylic sheets come in a wide range of colors. Unfortunately, when compared to stronger plastics like polycarbonate, it scratches fairly easily. This creates not only a visually unappealing appearance, but it damages the acrylic’s durability. Thankfully, it’s often much easier to repair acrylic than it is to create the scratches in the first place. Removing surface scratches from acrylic only requires a few simple tools and a bit of determination. In this guide, we will walk through how to evaluate scratches, and provide two methods for repairing light and moderate scratches in acrylic. sandpaper removes scratches from plexiglass

Evaluate the Scratched Acrylic

Before you begin repairing scratches in acrylic, it’s important to make sure that the acrylic is actually scratched. Next, we’ll determine the depth of scratch to help us choose the best method. Deep cracks are difficult to repair. If cracked acrylic must be fixed, there are a few ways to glue acrylic together. However, this won’t necessarily join the acrylic cleanly, and some glue residue may be visible. If this isn’t suitable for your acrylic’s use case, there’s not very much to be done – we would recommend purchasing a new acrylic sheet, or purchasing a stronger plastic like polycarbonate. Next, make sure you’re not actually looking at “crazing.” Did these scratches mysteriously appear shortly after cleaning the acrylic with chemical-based cleaners? It is possible that the scratches are a result of chemical damage and not from scratching. Crazing requires a lot of aggressive sanding and polishing to fix, and often never looks good as new. It’s generally advised that you purchase a new sheet if the crazing is significant. Assess how deep scratches have been made to acrylic. Use your fingernail to lightly rub the acrylic. If the scratch caught your fingernail, then it’s a deep scratch. If the scratch is deep, try to estimate how deep it is. If the scratch is more than 5mm deep, it’s considered irreparable and cannot be repaired with standard buffing tools.

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Removing Mild Plexiglass Scratches

It’s very easy to repair acrylic that has light surface scratches, which generally result from regular wear-and-tear. To begin, get a few basic items ready:

  • Acrylic cleaner (we recommend Novus No. 1)
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Acrylic polish (we recommend Novus No. 2)

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Sandpaper (800 and 1200 grit)

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Water for the sandpaper

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Clean soft cotton or microfiber cloth

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First, we will clean the acrylic. The acrylic may become scratched more easily if there is a small amount of dirt. We recommend spraying Novus No. 1 acrylic cleaner to get the best results. Spray the acrylic with No. 1. You can also use warm water or mild dish detergent to do the job. Then, use the cotton or microfiber cloth to gently wipe down the area. Rinse the acrylic with warm water, use a dry microfiber or cotton cloth to remove excess water. Take a look at the mild scratches. You may not need sandpaper if scratches are visible only on close inspection. We recommend Novus No. 2) directly on the scratched area, and apply consistent, moderate pressure to a clean, soft rag. Move it in a circular motion until you can’t see the scratches – this could take a few minutes. Once the acrylic feels smooth, wipe it off with a microfiber towel or cotton. If scratches remain, you can use the acrylic polish, sandpaper and water to remove them. Then, follow these steps:

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Wet a piece of 800 grit sandpaper, and rub it onto the scratched portion in a circular motion.

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Use a piece of dry 800 grit sandpaper, and rub it onto the same portion in a circular motion

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Alternate between the above two steps for about three minutes. Your acrylic may still look scratched – but we’re not done yet!

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You can lightly rub 1200grit sandpaper into the scratched acrylic by soaking it in water.

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You can then use a piece 1200 grit dry sandpaper to go over the potion once more.

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You can repeat the previous steps until there are no more scratches.

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Take a clean, dry cotton or microfiber cloth. Wipe away any fragments. Attention: Dirty cloths could scratch the acrylic once more!

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Apply Novus No. 2 to the sanded area. Gently use a clean cloth to rub it in.

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Use a soft cloth to gently wipe away any remaining Novus No. 2. Use a damp towel to wipe off any remaining Novus No.

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The acrylic should be shiny and look as new. If the crack is not gone, this means that there was more to the scratch than just a superficial one.

Removing Moderate Plexiglass Scratches

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  • The procedure to repair deeper scratches is similar to the process to repair light scratches, except we’re adding two more items – 600 grit sandpaper and Novus No. 3. Collect the following items:

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Acrylic Polish (we recommend all three Novus products)

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Clean, soft cotton or microfiber cloth

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Sandpaper (600, 800 and 1200 grit)

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Water for the sandpaper

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Make sure that the acrylic sheet is cleaned either with dish soap or Novus No. 1. Then, follow this procedure to remove moderately deep (under 5 mm) scratches from acrylic:

  • Wet a piece of 600 grit sandpaper, and rub it onto the scratched portion in a circular motion.

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Use a piece of dry 600 grit sandpaper, and rub it onto the same portion in a circular motion

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Alternate between the above two steps for about four minutes. Acrylic will appear rough but it is perfectly fine.

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You can use 800 grit Sandpaper to rub the scratched area in a circular motion.

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Use a piece of dry 800 grit sandpaper, and rub it onto the same portion in a circular motion

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Alternate between the above two steps for about three minutes.

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You can lightly rub a piece of 1200grit sandpaper into the scratched part by lightly soaking it in water.

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You can then use a piece 1200 grit sandpaper to rub the potion in a circular motion.

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You can repeat the previous steps until there are no more scratch.

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Use a clean, dry cotton or microfiber cloth to wipe away any traces. Cleanse any pieces. Warning: A dirty cloth can scratch the acrylic again.

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Spray Novus No. 3 to the sanded area. Gently use a clean cloth to polish with a firm, back and forth motion.

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Remove All Novus No. Use a clean, dry cloth.

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Apply Novus No. 2 to the area. Use a soft, firm motion with a clean cloth to gently rub the area.

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Use a cloth to wipe away any remaining cleaner.

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Your acrylic should be free from scratches after this process. Polish the plastic with Novus No. 1 for best results.

Final Thoughts

Whether acrylic plastic is being used for home use or commercial use, it’s an unfortunate reality that it may accidentally become scratched. Thankfully, acrylic’s physical properties allow it to easily be buffed with special, slightly abrasive solutions. If a scratch is less than 5 mm deep, it’s simple to fix acrylic with a few simple tools and a little elbow grease. It may be time to replace acrylic if it has suffered a deep scratch, cracked, or been subjected to intense crazing. To find the best possible replacement piece, visit our acrylic plastic page, or view our selection of cut-to-size acrylic. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about acrylic.

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