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More than bullets, the thing that most often spoils a beautiful, crystal-clear sheet of bullet proof glass is an unlikely culprit: Windex.
“It’s rare that this stuff gets shot,” explains Total Security Solutions vice president Jim Richards, “although it does happen from time to time. In 12 or 13 years, I’ve only replaced 1 or 2 pieces of bullet proof glass that have been shot. It truly is a deterrent; armed robbers typically target banks or gas stations because they don’t have some kind of protection. They don’t want to spend time messing around with someone who’s installed a bullet proof barrier.”
Windex and Bullet Proof Crazing
Bullet proof glass is a major investment, and will look great for years with proper maintenance. Jim and his staff are emphatic: You do not want to ever clean bullet proof glass with Windex.
When bullet proof polycarbonate or acrylic are cut, drilled, or flame-polish, microscopic fractures form in the plastic. These are not visible to the naked eye, and are structurally inconsequential. “But Windex attacks the edges of those fractures,” Jim explains, “and it will look like there’s cracks going into the glass. It’s what’s called crazing, and it makes the material look terrible,” even though it has no impact on the material’s bullet resistance.
Surface scratches can be buffed out of polycarbonate or acrylic, but crazing creates a haze that penetrates the surface; according to Jim, “when it’s done, it’s done.”
Proper Care and Cleaning of Bullet Proof Glass
- Gently dust with a soft lint-free cloth (like an old t-shirt).
- Wash with a solution of warm water and mild soap or detergent, using a soft cloth or natural sponge. Keep the sponge sopping wet. Blot dry with clean soft cloth.
- Remove grease and oil using hexane, kerosene, or naphtha, not aromatic compounds like benzene.
- Surface scratches can be buffed out of acrylic by hand.
- Polish acrylic or polycarbonate with quality commercial wax. This fills minor scratches, restoring the original smooth surface.
- Never use paper towels on bullet proof glass.
- Never use scouring compounds or abrasive cloth.
- NEVER USE WINDEX!