Question about Alcohol-Based Cleaners on Acrylic

Hi guys,

In your experiences, can alcohol-based cleaners be used on acrylic? I know you’re not supposed to. However, with the ear savers, many of the health care workers are needing to disinfect them with alcohol-based wipes. So, I am wondering if they’ll be okay given the circumstance. I am seeing that many are having to turn them down, even though they would like to use them, because I give them the disclaimer to not use alcohol-based cleaner. I cleaned it with an alcohol-based wipe (70%), and it seemed to be fine with no visible cracking. However, I haven’t had enough to see the long-term effects. It would also seem wasteful for them to be just one-time use ear savers. They’re so sturdy, otherwise! So, I was hoping to get some insight from the forums.

Thank you,

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Considering the circumstance, I told my wife (who is a respiratory therapist) to tell everyone that we donated ear-savers to, at the hospital where she works, that the alcohol cleaners may eventually eat them up. But I haven’t had any reports of them breaking yet. It’s been nearly 2 months, now.

Isopropyl alcohol does bad things to acrylics, Some hand sanitizers do not have Isopropyl alcohol and some do, they would have to try what they use. I was using Purell on acrylic and had no problems but industrial grade that I am using now made a real mess. the difference is not subtle so they could try different alcohols.

In general, alcohol will not harm cast acrylic like the materials from Glowforge (Proofgrade.) I keep 90% Isopropyl on-hand for cleaning up my materials, including acrylic, and have never had an issue.

The only way to know for sure is to keep trying it, and prepare for issues.

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Hi Eflyguy,

Thanks for your response. Could you explain further why the proofgrade cast acrylic will be fine while others may not be? I’m using the proofgrade acrylic. So, I’m happy to hear that the ear savers I donated should be okay with alcohol cleaning.

Thanks, I’ll let the people know that.

That’s great to hear. I’m glad that they’re holding up. Thank you for letting me know.

My answer is based on experience, I don’t have a technical explanation.

I would guess that the lack of microscopic stress fractures after cutting due to how it is manufactured plays a roll.

I have placed “blobs” of various alcohol-bearing products on the surface for hours and there was no evidence after wiping off. Also drops of 90% alcohol that had to be replenished, still no evidence. I have a post about that here somewhere.

When I was working in the hospital we used disinfecting wipes on most things. Alcohol wipes are too small to really be useful when you’re wiping down your supplies.

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That was proofgrade trans violet flexis that I discovered the problem with. I had used proofgrade and non, before that with no issues. Left until the masking had floated away and far more detailed than presently,

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I myself have noticed massive crazing on some clear acrylics I had (I always assumed they were extruded).
However, a majority of my acrylic usage is thin two color and I always use alcohol spray and rub to remove any flash or char, with no cracks or crazing seen.

So experience says no, even though alcohol crazing seems to be a 'known issue" if you search it?
So maybe extruded is part of the problem? Also possible that whatever is used to make a colored layer on two color retards any crazing? Dunno…

(disclaimer: color of plastic does change the property of it. I had some two color that had blue marble for a top color and it was unusable because of flames. Whatever gave it a blue marble hue was fire fuel.)


Kind of like searching for “can a Glowforge catch fire”… sure, it’s happened.

Is it likely? Nope!

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