What are the best ways to remove scratches from plastic? Our guide outlines the methods, and what not to do to fix scratches on plastic.
Is it possible to remove scratches from plastic? In general, this is possible, but often only a temporary lamination occurs, since the mechanical removal can only be restored with difficulty.
Can I polish plastic with any cloth? The result will not be bad, but it could be better. Fine polishing cloths, on the other hand, do not cause additional scratches.
Can I remove scratches in the plastic with a hair dryer? Yes, in principle plastic surfaces can be processed in this way. However, this requires a lot of sensitivity, as too much heat can melt plastic, but too little does not lead to a good result.
Plastic is quite insensitive in most cases, so it is less complicated to clean the corresponding surface. Especially with plastic, and particularly plastics with a high-gloss look, fine scratches quickly become noticeable. We will show you how to polish plastic and remove fine scratchesso that your car and many other plastic objects shine beautifully again.
1. Clean the plastic first and then polish it
Whether you want to polish matte plastic or remove some scratches on shiny surfaces, you’ll need to give it a thorough cleaning first.
When cleaning, be sure to soak dirt first and carefully remove it. Otherwise, you will blur the dirt and can scratch sensitive areas.
Therefore, it is best to work first by hand and use only detergents without abrasive properties. In addition, you should be careful to always wipe plastic surfaces first with a clean sponge — which should also be as soft as possible so as not to damage the surface.
Attention: The exposure time in the automatic car wash is usually too short, so that the brushes can quickly rub fine dirt particles and thus create scratches in the paint as well as on the plastic parts.
2. Best ways to remove scratches from plastic
Plastic polishing is suitable for many applications. There are some plastics, such as acrylic glass, on which scratches become visible particularly quickly, so regular polishing is necessary.
This is often particularly noticeable in a car that is in the sun. There is hardly a moment when it becomes clearer how well the vehicle is maintained.
To polish plastic, you need the following materials:
- Polishing paste
- Polishing pad
Make sure that the polishing pastes used in each case only end up on the plastic surface. Therefore, work with a small polishing pad, a small polishing cloth or simply glue off the adjacent areas.
Now apply a little of the polish to the pad and rub it. Apply little pressure and walk across the surface several times.
If the polish is exhausted, look at the result and repeat the process if you feel that this is not enough.
If the plastic parts shine beautifully again, you can then seal the surfaces to make it difficult to reattach dirt. The process is similar. Only at the end you need to remove the excess sealing gel.
Tip: Over time, a scratched or matte plastic surface of the headlights can affect your vision. So don’t forget to give the headlights some care with mild autoshampoo. However, classic auto polishing must not be used at this point.
3. Hand polishing vs buffer
You don’t need much polishing paste to make a plastic surface shine again in a new fashion.
Depending on the area involved, it is worth using a little more professional polishing equipment. However, this is far from always necessary or sensible.
Many products are available on the market, some of which offer added value, but are sometimes rather superfluous.
In general, it is best to polish small areas by hand. For several larger areas, however, it is worthwhile to use a polishing machine,which makes it easier for you to move back and forth very frequently.
Simple polishing attachments can also be attached to a cordless screwdriver. In this case, however, you should use a model where you can determine the speed very precisely, so as not to polish much in some places and very little in others. Otherwise, a somewhat mixed result is quickly found.
Attention: Even if toothpaste is sometimes recommended as a home remedy to polish plastic, you are better to avoid this savings option. The fine grain has a grinding effect, so that the surface appears smoother again overall. However, depending on toothpaste, this can also quickly lead to more scratches on the plastic.
Gerhardt Richter is a writer and a trainer at trade technical colleges, specializing in carpentry, plumbing, mechanics and construction.