How to clean dusty plastic sheet protectors?
May 24, 2020 4:14 AM   Subscribe

I left a few dozen clear plastic sheet protectors in an uncovered box and now they are covered in dust. Is there a way to clean them quickly and efficiently?

They are not the super smooth kind but appear more... porous? granular? I was thinking of just soaking them in lukewarm water but I'm not sure it'll get the dust (and dusty smell) off. I probably shouldn't use soap on them, right?

Wiping them off one by one would be an exhausting chore plus I'm not sure if they are clean inside. This sound like such a stupid question but I'm honestly exhausted from all the cleaning I did today.
posted by M. to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
I know we are all trying to reduce our plastic waste but this is not worth your time or stress. A new purchase is less than $5, your time has more value.

Unacceptable to throw them out? Put on a pair of leggings and sit with your legs extended and pressed tight together. Run the sheets through your thighs like a shredder. Wash the leggings.

(But really, just pitch these and buy new when you actually need them.)
posted by phunniemee at 4:38 AM on May 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

If the dust isn't "sticky" but just dusty, I would use the shower to rinse them, especially if you have a handheld. Quick and easy.

I do this with anything dusty I can get away with, including a wicker basket once.
posted by stillnocturnal at 4:59 AM on May 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

The sheet protectors I used to use were made of a fragile plastic that would scratch easily. So washing them won't work.

Do you have a feather duster? Or the modern version, a Swiffer duster? Might work.
posted by tmdonahue at 5:08 AM on May 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeah, they are a bit sticky.

I feel guilty about throwing them out especially since I am not sure whether they belong in the recycling bin (I am in Europe so US rules probably don't apply).
posted by M. at 5:46 AM on May 24, 2020

Are you sure they’re all covered in dust? If they were stacked, the dust probably wouldn’t have gotten between them. It might be mostly on top and along the sides.

If you have a vacuum with an attachment, you can probably get a lot of the dust with that. Then wipe off what remains. (I’ve had to do something similar.)
posted by FencingGal at 6:08 AM on May 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

The dust is sticking to them because of static. Any kind of dry wiping, including using a duster, will just increase the static charge and push the dust around. Rinsing with water should dissipate the charge. Then you can hang them on a shower rod or clothesline to dry. If they are sticky from some substance on them, rinsing will also abate that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:30 AM on May 24, 2020 [4 favorites]

Shower, plug the drain, get an inch of water, toss in some soap, take the opportunity to clean your shower afterwards, take a shower and you can do it naked and get three jobs done at once.

Treat them like disshes, throw a big pot on the stove and heat up some water, add soap, toss them in, wipe them down, rinse in the hot sink, let them dry. The hotter water without damaging the plastic the better, it will evaporate and dry faster.

I swear, I just pulled a dusty ethernet cable out of storage and washed it in the sink. YMMV.

There's not much surface grime that hot water doesn't fix as long ad the thing doesn't melt.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:58 PM on May 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would take them outside, pin them to a beam on the patio, and turn the hose onto them.
Messy job, no matter what you do.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:48 AM on May 26, 2020


What I ended up doing was dumping them in the biggest bucket I could find with warm water and a bit of soap. After a few minutes I rinsed them under the shower. They got wet and soapy inside so I left them out to dry in a pile by the window. They wouldn't dry (the water made them stick together) so I dried them one by one using a semi-hard surface (my ironing board) and a sock as a squeegee. It was a lot of work but they are now clean and dry in a drawer.

Thank you for all the tips and encouragement!
posted by M. at 6:17 AM on May 30, 2020

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