How to Remove Scratches from Acrylic (Perspex)

This has got to be one of the most commonly asked questions – “can I get scratches out of Perspex?”   And the answer of course is, it depends!.

Light surface scratching can be buffed out of acrylic. Deep scratches on the other hand are a little more difficult but we will provide suggestions about address both.

Before we do though the first question to ask yourself has to be “is it worth it”? Is it worth spending time and money restoring something, particularly if it has a low replacement cost, or do you just bite the bullet and buy a new one.

If the scratches cover more than say 30% to 50% of the item or if the scratching affects a large area (half a square metre or more) it wouldn’t be worth the effort. If the acrylic is very old and has UV damage (signs of yellowing and/or crazing) it certainly will not be viable.

On the other hand, if it is a valuable item, a keepsake or something which is no longer available and it may be worth having a go.  And of course these days many bathroom products like baths and hand basins are made from acrylic so these methods may be worthwhile trying in those situations.

So, first off light scratches:

  • You will need some 800 and 1200 grit wet and dry paper, and some metal polish (Brasso works well).
  • Fold the 800 grit and using water rub in a circular motion until most of the noticeable scratches become hard to see.  Keep enough moisture on the paper so that a slight slurry forms.
  • Move onto the 1200 grit and apply the same way with water until there is absolutely no sign of any scratches.
  • Once satisfied that all scratches have been removed wipe dry with a clean soft cloth.  The area that you have buffed may now seem duller that the surrounding acrylic so the metal polish (Brasso for example) can now be applied with a soft dry cloth to bring back the shine.  It may take a few applications and a fair amount of rubbing.  Work in a circular motion.  Persistence and patience will pay off.

Deeper scratches:

  • Deeper scratches can be buffed out the same way as above but you may need to start with 600 grit before moving on to 1200 grit and metal polish.  If the scratch is particularly deep, say .5mm or more it probably isn’t worth it.  A simple test is to run your finger over the scratch and if your nail really catches in the groove it may be too big to buff out.

 

Back to Tips of the Trade