If you collect sports memorabilia and have chosen to display them in acrylic display cases, there are some things you need to know about maintaining them. Acrylic has unique care instructions, so it’s important to learn how to properly clean your acrylic display case to avoid scratching it or dulling the clarity.
To properly maintain your acrylic cases, you should dust them regularly with a microfiber cloth to prevent any dust or dirt building up on the surface. But if you have forgotten to dust them for a while, or have recently brought them out from storage and they’re looking a little fuzzy, we offer some tips on how to clean acrylic display casesand get them looking pristine again.
Why Acrylic Has Special Care Instructions
Acrylic, which is also known as plexiglass, is a type of plastic that is flexible and shatter-resistant. It might not be able to completely replicate the crystalline look of glass, but it is much more durable. However, acrylic is much easier to scratch than glass, so you must use care when deciding which cleaning supplies to use.
How To Clean An Acrylic Display Case
Below we will go through which types of cleaning supplies and agents you should (and shouldn’t) use to keep your acrylic case looking like new.
Use Gentle Cleaning Materials
A microfiber cleaning cloth is the best option for cleaning acrylic because it is non-abrasive and won’t leave behind lint or other particles. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth handy, a 100% cotton soft cloth will do in a pinch.
As for cleaning products, you should either use a cleaner that is specifically designed to clean acrylic, or mild dish soap and water. Anything else would likely be too abrasive and cause scratches.
Novus Plastic polish is widely recognized as one of the best cleaning agents for acrylic. They offer products that not only clean but buff and shine as well.
Avoid Harsh or Abrasive Chemicals and Tools
As mentioned above, you only want to use a microfiber or 100% cotton cloth to clean acrylic. A cotton blend or any cloth containing rayon or polyester is likely to leave scratches. Dishcloths or bathroom towels are too abrasive, and paper towels and newspaper contain wood pulp that gets left behind.
Moreover, you want to avoid any cleaner that has ammonia in it. Glass cleaner, Windex, vinegar or any vinegar-based products will permanently damage your acrylic due to their acidic nature.
Cleaning Your Acrylic Display Case
Here are a few tips for cleaning your acrylic case:
- Use a fresh microfiber cloth if possible. If you can’t, designate a cloth specifically for cleaning your cases. Using other cleaning cloths might transfer residual dirt and abrasive cleaners that can cause scratches.
- If your case is exceptionally dusty, you can spray the cleaning agent directly on the case. If you are spot cleaning, spray your cleaner on a clean microfiber cloth.
- Use long continuous strokes when cleaning. Don’t go over the same spot twice unless you use a clean section of cloth. Don’t press too hard because residual dirt on the cloth can cause scratches.
Clean Wood and Plastic Trim
Some acrylic cases have wood or plastic trim that will also need to be cleaned as regularly as you clean the acrylic. For plastic, apply the same techniques as for acrylic, to prevent visible scratches. For wood, scratches aren't as visible, so you can use any wood-safe cleaner. To clean up fingerprints or smudges, use warm water and a microfiber cloth. If you want to restore shine, use a wood polishing oil.
How to Remove Scratches From Acrylic
If your acrylic case gets scratched, it is possible that you can fix it yourself if the scratch isn’t too deep. You can use sandpaper to buff out the scratch, and an acrylic polish to restore the shine. A&C Plastics offers a detailed tutorial on the process.
If a scratch is deep enough that your fingernail gets caught in it when gliding along the surface, you either need specialized tools to fix it, or you need to go to a professional.
Now that you know the proper cleaning techniques for your acrylic cases, check out the Collectible Supplies acrylic display case selection. We have cases for football, baseball and basketball memorabilia and more! Let Collectible Supplies help you protect your cherished memorabilia for years to come!