Even with the best care, clear acrylic, polycarbonate, PVC and vinyl windows eventually turn hazy, yellow, cloudy and brittle. Clear vinyl is the least durable of all.
Yet, you can restore certain see-through panels and curtains if they are not too far gone, extending their useful lives for another season or two. You can also eliminate fine scratches in some materials. One caveat: Don’t try to restore coated polycarbonate panels — it will just mar the coating. For uncoated plastics, here are five key steps, gleaned from interviews with the expert staffs at Meguiar’s and Star brite.
Quick Tip: If you happen to drop an applicator or cloth, get a fresh, clean one. The old one may have picked up sand, grit or dried salt that can scratch the clear material.
Rinse with plenty of fresh water to wash off dust and grit, and then gently wash with a mild soap such as Ivory Liquid and a soft, clean cloth to loosen any dried salt and hard-water spots. Rinse again with fresh water.
Don’t let the panels air-dry, as this can leave mineral deposits that turn abrasive in later steps. Wipe the curtains or panels dry with a clean microfiber cloth.
Apply by hand a formula such as Meguiar’s No. 17 Clear Plastic Cleaner ($9.34, meguiarsdirect.com) or Star brite’s Clear Plastic Restorer ($7.46, marinepartssource.com) using a foam applicator pad. Tape off canvas borders to avoid stains. Buff out gently with a clean microfiber towel
Apply with a clean foam applicator pad a polish such as Meguiar’s No. 10 Clear Plastic Polish ($9.34, meguiarsdirect.com) or Star brite Clear Plastic Polish ($7.46, marinepartssource.com). Buff out gently with a fresh microfiber towel.
Use a mist-and-wipe cleaner/conditioner such as Meguiar’s No. 142 Clear Plastic and Vinyl Window Wax ($14.44, meguiarsdirect.com) or Star brite’s View Guard Clear Plastic Treatment ($10.78, marinepartssource.com). Apply with a clean microfiber cloth. Repeat after each cleaning so it looks good as long as possible.