The SignFab Guide to Cleaning Acrylic

This guide into cleaning Acrylic products has been built on the insight of Mike Smith our Operations Director. Mike is our in-house industry expert, he sits on the ISA-UK Technical Committee and the ISA-UK General Council which help steer the UK sign industry and contributes to the legal framework which governs our industry. 

You can read more about the role the ISA-UK play in setting signage legislation here.

Acrylic sheets come in many forms and different manufacturing processes, it is prudent to remember to clean the acrylic sheet periodically depending on the environment conditions, especially products that are to be installed in heavily polluted areas (such as near chemical works, foundries, or in coastal environments).

To clean Acrylic sheets, wash with plenty of non-abrasive soap or detergent and water.

A soft, abrasive free cloth, sponge or chamois should be used to gently massage dirty areas of the sheet until stain/dirt is removed. Then dry with a clean damp chamois or lint-free cloth.

Grease and Oil stains may be removed with Kerosene or aliphatic naphtha.

Do not use solvents such as acetone, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, dry cleaning fluid or thinners as they will attack the Acrylic surface causing crazing and stress.
Furthermore, do not use window cleaning products or kitchen/bathroom scouring products as they are abrasive and will scratch the surface.

Note – cleaning does not need to be done until after fabrication has taken place. If you wish you can wax the product to enhance the gloss level. If no scratches are visible on the Acrylic sheet coat the surface with a good grade commercial wax.

The wax should be applied in a thin, even coat and brought to shine by rubbing lightly with a dry, soft cloth such as cotton flannel or flannelette. Not only will this improve the gloss level but it helps smooth out any minor scratches.

Polishing Minor scratches on Acrylic sheet can be removed or reduced by applying a plastic polish. To apply, simply use a small pad of soft cotton flannel dampened with water. Rub the sheet along the length of the scratches with a constant back and forth motion or a circular motion if this is easier. Avoid excess rubbing on any one spot. Several applications may be necessary, but most minor scratches can be reduced and clarity improved in a very short period of time.