Cleaning Bakelite Trim

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For a Deep Cleaning
  1. Remove the Bakelite pieces to be cleaned
  2. Remove any non-Bakelite attachments, i.e. any chrome emblems and rubber door lock grommets
  3. Dip a combination sponge/scratch pad in a shallow bucket of warm water
  4. Sprinkle Bon Ami cleanser on the scratch-pad*
  5. Gently rub the Bakelite piece, using a long straight motion using generous amounts of water
  6. Dry with terry cloth, dishcloth, or (clean) diaper
  7. Apply Meguiar's "Color Restorer" according to instructions
  8. When dry, wipe off excess
  9. Follow that up with Meguiar's "Plastic Cleaner No. 17" and "Plastic Polish No. 10", or Carnuba Wax (your choice)
  10. Reinstall Bakelite
*Bon Ami is the only non-abrasive cleanser on the market today — also use it to clean windshields

For a Lesser Cleaning

  1. Follow steps 5 and 6

International Ponton Owners Group (IPOG) / Tip # 001

An IPOG member shared a useful tip with me last year. This will help bring up the original semi-glossy appearance to ailing Bakelite trim. I was dubious at first, but now after more than seven months, the Bakelite still looks clean and polished. After you clean the Bakelite, use a clean cotton t-shirt, rag or diaper to apply petroleum jelly directly to the trim pieces. A very fine layer is all you need. Wipe down all of the excess with a dry area of the cloth as you would if waxing the body of the car. The lower portion of the window surrounds might need a little extra attention due to the fact that they are in a more direct line with the elements. At first, I thought I might regret it, but if I happened to apply a little too much petroleum jelly in some areas (obvious in hot weather because it forms drips) I just wiped the excess off with the cloth. It did not seem to attract any extra dust, and it still retains the freshly polished appearance. - Jeff Miller / January 30, 2003

Ponton Bulletin Board / Tip # 002

April 14, 2004: Uwe writes, "I used 1000 grit wet sanding paper on all my Bakelite and then used a bench mounted polishing arbor with medium and then fine plastic rouge to polish the parts. They came out looking fantastic. Afterwards I applied a coat of Carnauba wax to the finished surface."

Created: November 7, 1997 / Ray Ilich
Last Update: September 07, 2021
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