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How to polish scratches from clear plastic

Updated April 17, 2017

Whether you scratched the plastic lenses on your glasses or the plastic component of a small appliance is starting to show its wear and tear, you can remove the scratches with a soft cloth and some household polish. Alternatively, you can use a commercial scratch removal kit to treat your plastic object. Although deep scratches might resist either method, following a few simple steps will reduce the appearance of scratches and keep your clear plastic object transparent.

Wash the plastic in warm water with mild dish detergent to remove any surface dirt or oils. Dry thoroughly.

Buff the plastic with a mixture of water and either toothpaste or baking soda on a soft rag. Rub the scratched area very gently -- moving the cloth in small circles -- to polish the scratch without harming the undamaged areas. Rinse and wipe dry. Repeat if necessary.

Treat the plastic with furniture polish, automobile wax or brass polish. Apply the polish with a clean, dry cloth. Buff the polish gently into the plastic until the scratches are no longer visible. Wipe away any excess polish.

If you prefer commercial products over household cleaners, purchase a glass etching compound, which is available at many hardware and discount stores. This is a good option for treating plastic eyeglass lenses. Apply a thick coating of the etching compound to the plastic, let it sit for five minutes then wipe it dry. This method works well for coated plastic eyeglass lenses, but may not work for uncoated plastic components. If you proceed with this step, do not allow the etching compound to touch the frames of the glasses, and do not rub it into the plastic lenses.

Consider purchasing a scratch removal kit, if at-home remedies do not work. Follow the kit's instructions carefully.

Tip

Use several clean cloths to apply furniture polish, brass polish or automobile wax to the plastic, as the polish can adhere to the cloth and become less effective.

Warning

Test a small surface area of the plastic before using any of the listed compounds over the entire surface area. Do not use these methods on glass. Do not use these methods on plastic eyeglasses if they are your only pair or are irreplaceable. Keep glass etching compound away from skin, eyes and all other surfaces.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cotton or wool cloth
  • Gentle dish detergent
  • Non-abrasive toothpaste or baking soda
  • Furniture polish, car wax or brass polish
  • Plastic scratch removal kit (optional)
  • Glass etching compound (optional)
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About the Author

Based in southern Indiana, Kristin McFarland has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in the "Indiana Daily Student," "Indianapolis Business Journal," "River Falls Journal," "The Berkeley Daily Planet" and "Rio Grande Sun." McFarland earned a Master of Arts in journalism from Indiana University.