If you have purchased or you are thinking of purchasing plexiglass or acrylic safety products, you should learn how to properly clean them to avoid damage. Although Plexiglass, also referred to as acrylic or polycarbonate, is physically strong, it scratches easily. It is also a plastic product, which makes it vulnerable to heat and many chemicals. Ammonia and alcohol-based products will damage your new shields, sneeze guards, and dividing walls. Because of this, avoiding all-purpose and glass cleaners is your best bet.
Never rub or wipe your sneeze-guards with dry or abrasive cloths to remove dirt. Doing so will only push the dirt, food, or other residues further into the glass, leaving them behind with minor scratches. So how do you clean your plexiglass shields? It’s easy! Here is your simple step by step guide:
Examine your plexiglass sneeze-guard. Is it dusty or is there leftover grime or grease? When it comes to acrylics, less is more so do what you need to do and no more than that.
If electricity is handy, the best way to begin cleaning your plexiglass divider is with air. An air compressor or even a humble blow dryer works well but only on the cold or non-heat setting. The heat will damage your plexiglass! Beginning at the top left of your sneeze guard, shield or dividing wall, hold your blow dryer at a 45% angle and move down the piece from left to right, and then right to left in a zig-zag pattern until you reach the bottom. Move to the other side of the unit and repeat.
To wash your plexiglass, dip a microfiber or other non-abrasive cloth into a large pail or bowl of lukewarm water. Gently rub the acrylic shield from top to bottom, rinsing and rewetting your cloth often to avoid spreading any debris. When complete, let the Plexi air dry or gently stroke it with a chamois.
If your plexiglass dividing wall or shield is very dirty and water alone doesn’t do the trick, create your own cleaning solution by adding dish soap to your water. Turn the cloth over often as you lightly wash the piece. Rinse with water using a separate soft clean cloth when finished. If you are cleaning a small sneeze guard or shield, you can rinse the piece directly with water in a shower or large slop sink. Just make sure you use light water pressure and keep the water lukewarm for the best results.
Even if you use the utmost care in handling and cleaning your acrylic shields, scratches will inevitably occur over time. You can lessen the appearance of minor scratches by using a small amount of car wax or vaseline applied directly to the scratched area.
If water isn’t available you can invest in a plastic cleaner or you can take a tip from pilots and motorcycle aficionados the world over who have been using Lemon Pledge to clean their plexiglass shields and fill in minor scratches at the same time. Simply spray on and gently wipe off with your microfiber or non-abrasive clean cloth.
Large food particles stubbornly sticking to booth and table dividers can be a common frustration for restaurant and foodservice owners. If none of the instructions cited above work on this problem, take a soft bristle toothbrush, wet it with your water and dishwashing soap mixture, and rub it in small circles on the stubborn spot only, checking often to ensure you are not harming your plexiglass. Rinse with water and a soft cloth. As an added bonus for restauranteurs, Dawn and other liquid dishwashing detergents also combat grease.