How to Clean PVC Plastic

Written by john gugie
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PVC or its chemical name, polyvinyl chloride, is a popular thermoplastic (a plastic that becomes liquid when heated and a brittle and glassy when cooled) polymer. PVC is one of the most valuable products in the chemical industry. It is cheap, durable, and easy to use. PVC is used in a wide variety of products, such as building material (instead of wood, concrete or steel), vinyl siding, magnetic stripe cards, window profiles, vinyl records, figurines, toys, pipes, furniture and more. In its softer forms, it is used is products such as clothing, upholstery, flexible hoses, tubing, flooring, roofing and electrical cable insulation. PVC was first discovered accidentally in 1835 by French chemist and physicist, Henri Victor Regnault. PVC had no useful purposes because it was too brittle. It was not until 1926, when Waldo Semon and the B.F. Goodrich Company developed a method to soften PVC by blending it with other substances to make it flexible and allow its use in many commercial products.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dish soap
  • Bleach
  • Bucket
  • Mop or sponge
  • Rubber gloves (recommended)
  • White cloth
  • Paper towel
  • Nylon scouring pad (optional)
  • Non-gel toothpaste (optional)
  • 100 grit sandpaper (optional)

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  1. 1

    Mix 1/2 cup dish soap and 1 quart of bleach in a bucket until foamy.

  2. 2

    Pour the mixture on the PVC or use a mop or sponge. If using a sponge, be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid the bleach contacting skin.

  3. 3

    Let it set for about 30 minutes.

  4. 4

    Wash the PVC off with water with a mop, sponge or hose.

  5. 5

    Wipe the PVC with a white cloth or paper towel. Use a nylon scouring pad if the stains are too strong.

  6. 6

    Rub non-gel toothpaste on the PVC with a paper towel and buff with a clean white cloth if the PVC needs to be shined or have minor scratches removed.

  7. 7

    Lightly sand the PVC with 100 grit sandpaper for really ground in stains.

Tips and warnings

  • Other substances which others have used to clean PVC plastic include: bleach-based scrubbing soaps, cream cleaners, lemon juice, hot soapy water, oven cleaners and PVC restorers.
  • Do not use cleaners containing acid or solvents like acetone.

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