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A protective plastic coating protects a variety of our flat optics, such as optical windows, optical mirrors, and beamsplitters, from scratches during shipping. It can be easily removed prior to use with the quick methods shown in this two minute video. Patrick McKenna, R&D Engineer, demonstrates how to safely and effectively remove the protective plastic coating from a standard N-BK7 window using two methods: Scotch® tape and bamboo tweezers. For additional information, read our Frequently Asked Questions: Optics (http://www.edmundoptics.com/faq-mirrors/).
How do I clean over 21 square feet of oxidized clear plastic on my solar heat panels? It seems every fall, I have to try and do this to improve the solar heat collection.
I’ve tried window cleaner, plastic cleaners and even though about using a clear plastic headlight restoration kit, but those are expensive and I would likely need many kits to cover the area I need.
I found videos here on Youtube about using toothpaste or other concoctions which might work on a relatively small headlight, but I have over 21 square feet (2 square meters) to clean.
So then I found a video by “Corolla” Mike S about using baking soda and Murphy’s Oil Soap:
This is a safe, non-toxic and low cost option to cleaning clear plastic. The oil soap is made with a plant-based oil so should be safe for use on plastic. The baking soda is a very mild abrasive, so should help to remove the oxidation without scratching the plastic. And to top it off, the cost is well under $1 to mix up enough paste to clean my panels.
You can hear the initial scrubbing sound in the video and as that quiets down, that tells you to move to another area as the oxidation has been removed. The cleaner removed easy with water but I left the majority in place and let overnight rains rinse it away.
An application of 303 Aerospace Protectant and a little buffing wrapped up the cleaning process:
As noted, I do see a little discoloration inside the panels as I think some moisture is getting inside and then dust from the air sticks to that. So at some point, I’ll have to remove the plastic and clean the inside before resealing it in place.
But this is the best cleaning method I have found in terms of effectiveness, ease of application and cost. I hope you found this tip helpful, thanks to Mike S for the original idea, be sure to check out his video link.
Thanks for watching!