How to Remove Oxidation From Clear Plastic

Plastic household products can be great investments, yet it often discolors with age. From yellowed Tupperware to faded car headlights, oxidation is a frequent problem among plastic items.

Many products on the market that claim to remove oxidation fail miserably or leave behind sticky residue, but you don’t need an expensive chemical cleaner – simple household items and some elbow grease are sufficient to bring plastic back to its original state.

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil’s bright scent and invigorating effect aside, lemon oil offers many household uses beyond its tropical aroma and feel. Lemon oil serves as an effective natural alternative to toxic cleaners found in conventional household cleaners; plus it acts as a great degreaser and residue remover which makes light work of cleaning hard-to-reach plastic surfaces like dashboards.

Time after time, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can damage and discolor plastic items that have been exposed to outdoor elements for extended periods. This process, known as oxidation, can leave behind a powdery substance on clear plastic objects like children’s outdoor toys or garden furniture – often making cleaning with traditional household cleaning products difficult or impossible.

Lemon oil can quickly and effectively restore faded plastics back to their original appearance, especially items left outside in the weather, such as lawn chairs or children’s outdoor toys. Simply spray some lemon oil directly on the surface, wait a few minutes, and use household cleaner to scrub away any lingering residue or discolorations left by this method.

Baking soda can also help restore plastics that have been compromised by oxidation, providing another great means of restoration. Baking soda’s nonabrasive surface-cleaning ability makes it ideal for tough stains like soap scum and hard water spots on shower doors and bathtubs, for example. Simply combine some baking soda with hot water and apply to affected areas before scrubbing as usual to clean. Once scrubbed off, use a wet cloth to wipe over it before leaving it alone to dry completely.

Lemon oil offers natural cleaning benefits while simultaneously being an effective deodorizer, helping eliminate unpleasant odors in garbage disposals, kitchen drains and trashcans. Furthermore, its antibacterial properties allow it to eliminate unpleasant scents in plastic storage items in your basement or garage that might otherwise smell unpleasant when the time comes for deep cleaning! Lemon oil’s deodorizing abilities could also come in handy when deodorizing plastic items that you are keeping safe for storage purposes – this life hack may not come to mind immediately but could come in handy when cleaning time rolls around!


At toothpaste helps plastic look its best too! With its slightly abrasive ingredients, toothpaste has also proven an invaluable aid in clearing away surface contamination on plastic items like headlights. Simply apply some toothpaste onto a damp cloth and rub over plastic surfaces – especially headlights – in order to remove yellowing. Use another damp cloth and scrub the plastic thoroughly until all oxidation has been eliminated before rinsing with cold water for rinse off, repeating as necessary until completely restored; more heavily oxidized pieces may require sanding before being cleaned before being rinsed with cool water after each application of toothpaste. Heavy oxidized headlights may require sanding in order to restore them!

There are various products on the market which promise to repair or restore faded plastics on cars. While some of these may provide short-term relief, leaving wet, greasy-looking spots behind that actually make plastic look worse!

Some of these products can also cause irreparable harm to plastic by breaking it down brittlely and stripping its protective UV coating – prompting faster discoloration of its surface.

Baking soda is an indispensable household product that serves multiple functions. From stain removal and deodorization, to creating a powerful cleaning solution with vinegar. As always, it is wise to test any new cleaning product on an inconspicuous area of the vehicle first – particularly for luxury or older cars with more delicate surfaces – prior to using on plastic or paint surfaces; any damage could prove expensive and unaffordable; to reduce risks always opt for non-abrasive cleaners when it comes to plastic surface care.

Cooking Spray

Cooking spray is an aerosolized form of oil designed to coat surfaces in an aerosol can. It typically contains lecithin, which emulsifies, dimethyl silicone as an anti-foaming agent and propellant such as butane or propane; commonly referred to by its acronym PAM; these components help prevent food from sticking to pan bottoms while simultaneously eliminating oxidation from plastic surfaces like automobile windows, headlights and motorcycle windscreens.

Though many products on the market promise to restore faded plastic’s shine quickly and effectively, most fade out quickly – often within minutes – as soon as their effects wear off. Furthermore, some produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which irritate eyes and skin upon inhalation. Meguiar’s PlastX offers more reliable results by effectively eliminating light oxidation, chemical degradation, surface contamination, light scratches and light oxidation from rigid and flexible polycarbonates alike.

One way to remove oxidation from clear plastics is with chlorine bleach. Diluting one tablespoon in one cup of water will remove liquid stains such as coffee, tea or soda spills; ink marks; and tomato stains while also killing germs and disinfecting plastic surfaces.

White vinegar can also help clean oxidized plastics efficiently. Soak plasticware in equal parts white vinegar and hot water for at least 10 minutes, before draining and rinsing it off using hot water.

Vinegar can erode certain plastics, including polycarbonates and acrylics. To address this, baking soda-vinegar cleaning solutions may be better suited as an alternative solution – they will both protect your plastic while leaving items sparkling! Recipes for such cleaners can be found online; alternatively you could make one yourself at home using common household cleaning supplies and elbow grease! The results will make the effort worth your while – plus it’s much less costly than purchasing expensive plastic restorers! The oxidation that affects plastic can also cause it to appear dull or cloudy over time – something other restorers do nothing about!


Clear plastic may become dull and discolored over time, but cleaning it doesn’t need to be difficult with just some elbow grease (and maybe an abrasive scrub if the damage is really severe). There are various techniques you can use to restore its former glory by eliminating oxidation stains on its surface – some even help prevent future formation of such spots!

Vinegar can help with mild oxidation and stain removal, as well as eliminating mildew and mold growth. A mixture of one part vinegar to four parts water can be used to spray over any dirty surface to clean it and inhibit mildew or mold growth, including plastic furniture, car upholstery and awnings – though be wary when using colored plastic as this could bleach out its hues!

Plastic exposed to sunlight can become yellow or brown over time due to oxidation, typically caused by dirt that accumulates inside it. To reverse the process, vinegar or special deoxidizers such as MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) should be applied or even heat guns used to dissolve this layer and restore its original hue.

Buffing plastic surfaces using a wool or foam polishing pad is an alternative way to restore their shine, although paper towels may leave behind scratches. When applying light pressure with circular movements of buffing pads it should only take several seconds per time before moving the buffer off-center; keeping it stationary may lead to burn marks on its base layer or warp of the plastic material.

Boat supply stores carry many products designed specifically to remove heavy oxidation from gelcoat. While these require more effort than standard household cleaners, they can still be effective. Furthermore, some products contain fillers to fill microscopic pores in the gelcoat and add an additional layer of corrosion protection over time.