How To Clean An Acrylic Display Case

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To clean your acrylic display case properly you will need the right choice of cloth and cleaning products.

The cases we offer at Sports Display Cases feature durable acrylic material that is long lasting and less prone to shattering, as many of the other leading sports display case vendors the market. However, if not cleaned and taken care of on a regular basis, over time, the acrylic, no matter its high quality, can turn yellow or cloudy. One reason for this is that the wrong type of cleaner and the wrong type of rag were used for cleaning the acrylic surface.

Knowing that a little care goes a long way, we’ve put together a 3 easy-to-follow steps guide for you to use and take good care of any display frame, featuring an acrylic surface. Find the guide below, followed by the answers to your most commonly asked questions about keeping your display cases in the best condition possible:

How To Clean Your Acrylic Display Case in 3 Steps

Keeping your display case clean should be a priority. Afterall, your display case keeps your memorabilia like new.

  1. Take a dry lint-free cloth and use short, gentle strokes across the surface to clear any debris, residue or dust.Avoid using too much pressure as it may cause stress fractures.
  2. With a small amount of water (soapy water is the best and safest solution for cleaning acrylic surfaces) another cloth and clean the entire surface, working in sections.
  3. Once the surface is clean, the final step is to dry it. As before, always use a fresh lint-free cloth with slow, gentle strokes to avoid streaks. If the rag gets too damp, use a fresh one to finish drying. This prevents streaks and water spots.

What Cleaning Products To Use For an Acrylic Surface?

Pure water or soapy water is the best cleaning solution to use for an acrylic surface.

While there are specific products designed for cleaning acrylic, water alone will clean the surface. Depending on how dirty the acrylic is, you can use detergents that were made for this specific use.

If you decide to use other cleaning products, we highly recommend the products of Novus. On their website you will find a good cleaning and polishing kit, containing everything you will need at a good price.

What type of Cloth Should you Use?

The type of cloth you use for cleaning is just as important as the product you use. The wrong type will leave tiny scratches or streaks and smears behind, so choose them with care.

The best method for long lasting displays is to use a soft lint-free cloth and only use it for that purpose. Many prefer to use them only once and use a fresh one each time to avoid grit or residue.

Disposable cloths are sometimes a go-to for many because they are easy to use and inexpensive. The problem with these is that they contain products that can leave the case discolored or cause streaking.

What To Avoid When Cleaning Acrylic Display Cases

Always keep in mind that the acrylic surfaces of your display case can be very easily scratched from harsh cleaners, scrubbers and even from a paper towel.

The main things to remember here are to:

  • Avoid ammonia-based solutions
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners and scrubbers
  • Never use paper towel and always avoid using the same rag or cloth that you use for cleaning other surfaces or paper towel

No Ammonia-based solutions

Glass cleaners and other harsh chemicals used around the house are often made for multi-purpose use and could contain ammonia. This means they are not formulated for all surfaces, and may be damaging to your case. You might not notice any issues during the first few weeks or months when using products that contain ammonia or alcohol in them but this is because discoloration may take time to appear but once it does it can be difficult to remove.

Never use solutions that contain ammonia (such as Windex or Formula 409), gasoline, denatured alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, or acetone, which will cause the acrylic to craze with minute cracks.

Another common mistake is to use cleaners marketed as natural or organic. People often use these thinking that they are somehow safer for surfaces but this is seldom the case.
There are always some exceptions, but many of these ‘safer’ alternatives can damage the surface. For this reason, avoid using them if you want to avoid yellowing or cloudiness.

No abrasive cleaners and scrubbers

Abrasive materials, such as scouring pads or rough sponges, will cause scuffs and scratches. Over time, this can lead to the display case looking worn out and cloudy.

No paper towel, no used or dirty rags

Never use a paper towel to clean the acrylic it most scratch it.

Also, we highly recommend you not to use the same rag or cloth you have used for cleaning other surfaces. One problem with this is that there may be grit or residue left behind from cleaning other surfaces. And grit is a big concern when reusing the same cloth around the home. Grit can come in the form of dirt, dust, or even small pieces of metal or glass. The grit left behind can cause small scuffs or cracks along the surface.

How To Remove Scratches From the Acrylic Surface?

The best way to handle scratches is to treat them immediately. To do this, you will need either a few products, or a scratch treatment kit for acrylics.

The steps involved in treating scratches will vary depending on the severity of the scratches. Faint or light marks may need only a gentle treatment and polishing while severe marks may need more in depth care.

When looking for a scratch removal or treatment product, be sure to check that it is compatible with the material. Be sure to check the label to verify that it is safe before you use it.

If you have a lot of memorabilia on display in your home you may want to consider a scratch treatment kit. These are available as ready to use kits, or purchased as separate items. The kits are often easier to use as they include products for all types of scratches. As we have recommended you above, Novus Plastic Products are a good choice.

How To Remove Sticky Residue With Ease?

Sticky residue is another common issue that may run into when cleaning the displays. Residue may be due to adhesive left behind from stickers or labels.

The best method for removing adhesive residue is to look for a product rated for use with acrylics. These can remove the adhesives without damaging the material or discoloring it.

If you do use a safe product, always follow the provided instructions and work in small sections. As a general rule, always try out a test spot on the material first before using it on the entire case. The test spot can be a small corner near the back or an edge facing a wall. This makes it easier to check for any potential issues.

Never use sharp objects as they may cause scratches in the acrylic. Also don’t try to remove the residue with strong solvents or remover. These products are harsh and will damage the surface if they come in contact with most acrylics.

After removing the residue, always clean the area with a separate cloth and a little water to remove any traces of the product.

Monitor your display case and its acrylic front regularly for changes in appearance and try to clean it on a regular basis. With proper care, your sports display cases  will look new for years to come, making your memorabilia take center stage.

If you have any questions or in doubt about your display case, do not hesitate to call our toll free number: (877) 26-CASES.

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Author: Michael Azif

Works at Sports Display Cases. Sports enthusiast of sports memorabilia and display cases.