Safely Clean Acrylic for Picture Frames

Written by Mark Rogers

Acrylic, sold under the brand names Acrylite and Plexiglas, is an extremely popular option for picture frame glazing. This type of frame glazing is shatterproof, lightweight and an excellent thermal insulator, making it ideal for large framing projects — glass can be restrictively heavy — or picture frames in children’s rooms, as there is no risk of breaking. Like traditional glass glazing, acrylic glazing also comes in UV-filter and non-glare varieties to further protect photos and art.

While acrylic glazing has many advantages, it is more prone to scratching than glass. Traditional cleaning and dusting methods could actually damage the glazing permanently — paper towels, for example, are basically ground up wood pulp, making them too rough to use when cleaning acrylic. To protect your frame and keep your art visible, use acrylic-safe cleaning supplies and methods.

Best Cleaning Cloths for Acrylic

Instead of dusting or cleaning with a paper towel, use a smooth microfiber towel to wipe down your frames. These soft towels, often made from polyester and/or nylon, will not scratch the delicate acrylic unlike tougher rags. They also trap dirt more easily due to the tiny size of the fibers, allowing you to really dig into the corners of the frame and trap dust without damaging any part of the frame. Lint-free options are best to keep the frame’s viewing area clean and clear, and this style of towel won’t scratch the acrylic or leave particles behind. As an added bonus, microfiber towels are better for the environment as they’re machine washable and reusable.

Best Cleaners for Acrylic

Pay close attention to the type of cleaner you use on the acrylic. Alcohol-based cleaners can be damaging to plastic — acrylic is a type of plastic — and other common cleaning ingredients can seep through the frame and damage the art or photo. When cleaning or dusting picture frames, avoid any cleaners that contain ammonia as it can be harmful to the artwork. Many common glass cleaners contain some amount of ammonia, so take care to read the label.

Choose cleaners made for frame and art cleaning to care for your framed artwork. Brillianize Acrylic Cleaner & Polish is an all-in-one frame glazing cleaner and polisher that is safe for use on glass, acrylic and other plastics, and most hard, shiny surfaces such as metal picture frames. The cleaner is ammonia-free and alcohol-free, making it safe for both the frame and the art. Brillianize not only cleans glazing, it reduces static charge on and around the frame, helping to prevent dust buildup.

Unpacking and Caring for Acrylic

When you first receive a picture frame with acrylic glazing, it will arrive with a thin protective cover. Before removing the protective cover, dampen a soft cloth with water and wipe down all the edges to reduce static charge. You can then apply Brillianize to both sides of the acrylic to reduce the buildup of static electricity. Watch a video to learn more about acrylic glazing.

You may only have to lightly dust frames on a weekly basis. If you don’t have the time or need for weekly dusting, clean your picture frames with the acrylic cleaner if you notice dust quickly accumulating or the glazing is smudged or dotted with fingerprints.
With these simple tips for cleaning picture frames with acrylic glazing, you can keep your artwork looking like new for years to come.

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3 thoughts on “Safely Clean Acrylic for Picture Frames”

  • Cade Brown

    Loved all that you've shared. Mark, you'll be happy to hear that you've sorted out a huge problem. Many people come to us asking for something that can be used to clean their picture frames. We, at PaintboxSoho recommend them few solutions to apply on their frames. However, I found your solution more reliable & so will recommend it too. Thanks for sharing.

  • Maya

    Thank you. This was very helpful. Recently purchased a tapestry framed in back of plexi glass. The plexi glass has a piece of tape stuck to it and I am not sure how to remove it. Any suggestions. Am on my way to purchase Brillainize.

    • Mark Rogers

      Maya, make sure you only use a microfiber cloth when you try to clean it, otherwise you will dull and blur the acrylic. Not sure if Brillianize will remove the adhesive, but it is a great general cleaner that is very safe. If it does not do the job then give these people a call, they are experts on acrylic:

  • […] For tips on cleaning your acrylic glazing after you remove the cover and during the life of your framed art, check out our blog on Safely Cleaning Picture Frame Plexiglas and Acrylic. […]


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