Meguiars PlastX:
Good product, or more hype

The Meguiars PlastX plastic cleaner and polish is designed for plastic. Specifically recommended to use to restore plastic headlights. But is it really?

The front of the label says clear plastic cleaner and polish, but on the reverse side of the label you are presented with more information and instructions. Some of which is confusing, some of which makes sense.

The cosmetic car care industry is so full of bad labeling, misrepresentation, and marketing hype, it is extremely difficult at times to figure out exactly what to do with a product!

Meguiars PlastX:
Just what is it safe for?

This is the question I would like answered!

Meguiars PlastX

Is this a dedicated plastic polish made exclusively for headlights, or is it really a general polish for any type of plastic? And what about the other products Meguiar's makes dedicated to cleaning, polishing or detailing plastic on your car:

  • Plastic cleaner?
  • Plastic polish?
  • Plastic detailer?

I wonder how many people know that virtually every set of headlights are made of plastic and not glass.

To add further confusion to the moment, every headlight I have ever come across has been coated. It is called a clear coat and it is was gives your headlights their true, UV protection. This is the same reason your car paint has a clear coat.

And yet the Meguiars PlastX plastic polish, while stating it is perfect for use to restore headlights, says it is NOT safe for coated plastics.

Of course they don't actually inform you as to what they mean by coated:

  • Plastic with a clear coat?
  • Plastic with an anti-glare coating?

I still have people ask me if headlights are still made of glass or plastic. (Yes, headlights are made almost exclusively of plastic regardless of how much your vehicle costs)

Plastic Cleaner, Polish or Detailer:
Do we really need this many products?

Meguiars PlastX plastic polishes

Plastic cleaner, polish, or detailer?

This all depends on how you categorize or define what these terms mean to you.

Any topic that requires the use of these terms is automatically a problem right from the start when attempting to educate.

  • Cleaner
  • Polish
  • Detailer

I am only going to discuss these terms since these are the 3 main terms that Meguiar's uses in the effort to sell you not one, but 4 different products just to make your plastics look better.

( I realize this is a generalization itself, but at the end of the day is that not what you are after? You want the many types of plastic parts of your car to look better. You think you want the best plastic cleaner and polish, but I bet what you really want is plastic that is cleaner and better looking. This means you are actually chasing the desired end result, and you just accept that there is a means in obtaining that end result. Meguiars PlastX might simply be one of many means in realizing that end result)

Meguiar's PlastX

Meguiar's G12310 PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish, 10 Fluid Ounces

  • Good product so long as you don't have massive expectations
  • Largely labeled and promoted as headlight restorer
  • Very mild abrasives (uses aluminum oxide as the abrasive particles) 
  • Can be used on so many other types of plastics due to its rather mild abrasive/cleaning formulation

Darren's Tips: If you came looking and already convinced that you want and need the Meguiars PlastX than you needn't read any further. But if you want to fist allow me to pull back the curtain on another hyped-up topic of detailing, and then help you become fully informed, then I strongly suggest you keep reading.

meguiars mirror glaze plastic cleaners and polishes

Meguiars PlastX Cleaner and Polish:
The polish that is, or the polish that isn't?

Meguiar's Clear Plastic Polish

Meguiar's M10 Mirror Glaze Clear Plastic Polish - 8 oz.

  • Contains no abrasives
  • Contains chemicals that perform what is referred to as chemical cleaning

Meguiar's Clear Plastic Cleaner

Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Clear Plastic Cleaner 8 Fluid Ounces

  • Made using diatomaceous earth as the form of abrasives
  • Has the ability to actually restore some level of clarity, gloss, and discoloration due to the abrasives

Darren's Tips: I would not get overly excited about this product if you have plastic of any kind that is anything more than mildly weathered. While this product does have some abrasives to it, this product is also very mild in its formulation and will prove only effective on the most mild of needs.

Meguiar's Plastic Detailer

Meguiar’s M1808 Mirror Glaze Clear Plastic Detailer, 8 Fluid Ounces

  • A great product to maintain plastic (so long as you don't mind a completely redundant product
  • Use on any virtually any plastic surface or component
  • Contains no abrasives
  • Says it will restore optical clarity, but not sure how it can do that with no chemical or abrasive technology

Darren's Tip: If you love dedicated products than you will likely appreciate this product. But you can use so many other products that you probably already have to maintain plastics: car wax, spray wax, spray detailers, quick detailers, etc.

Meguiars PlastX:
Polish, cleaner, or what?

Good question, right!

The term "polish" is one of the most misused generalizations within the world of cosmetic car care. While the Meguiars PlastX is not labeled specifically as "Plastic Polish" (PlastX is its official name) it does call it a plastic cleaner and polish as the sub-headline under the PlastX label.

The term "polish" alone can be one of three things:

  1. Something you do (you polish a car)
  2. Something you buy (you buy some polish to polish your car)
  3. A group of people that originate from the country of Poland. (Polish people)

So here we have a global company called Meguiar's, trying to sell you more product not less product, using massive generalizations to create (4) different types of plastic polishes, cleaners, and detailers, when it could literally be reduced down to (2) products:

  1.  A plastic polish that has both chemical and abrasives for cleaning/polishing ( a product you can use to restore dull, faded, or weathered plastic materials)
  2. A product to maintain your plastic once it has been cleaned/polished

Searching for Meguiars PlastX has probably rendered you more confused than ever!

I don't want you confused. I want you informed. I Specifically I want you to be able to go away being a fully informed and educated car owner and consumer.

I will go into further detail and see if I can't help you down this rather complex path so you can emerge a much more informed consumer and car owner.

What Is Meguiars PlastX Used For

According to the labeling, it suggest its major use is for restoring worn plastic headlights. And as I have illustrated so far, Meguiar's does a very poor job in educating you and or being very clear (no pun intended) as to the exact uses and abilities of this product.

From restoring plastic headlights in general, to "cleaning/polishing" other types of plastics, the directions are kind of specific while simultaneously being very ambiguous.

The directions state that the Meguiars Plast X is effective at restoring non-coated plastic headlights, and can also be used on other non-coated plastics, eg: Plexiglass, plastic convertible windows, helmet face shields, CD's, etc.

Aren't Headlights Made Of Glass

This is a common mistake made by a lot of people. headlights used to be made of glass, but modern day headlights are made of plastic regardless of the cost of the vehicle.

And even further, headlights in virtually every case are in fact coated. Just like your car paint that has a clear coating, your headlights also have a clear coating that provides UV protection.

And if this is really the case (trust me; it is the case), then why would Meguiars PlastX label its product as an effective product to be used to restore headlights, but then warn against using on any coated plastics?

Perhaps Meguiar's needs to clarify (no pun intended once again) what they mean by "coated". Coated with an anti-glare film, like on navigation screens, or the clear coating used on your plastic headlights that filter out harmful UV rays?

Is Meguiars PlastX A Good Product To Restore headlights

Yes. So long as you have very low standards or expectations for this product in removing anything but the lightest of oxidation on your headlights.

Most headlights that need restoring will require more aggressive techniques than this product will deliver.

This product will restore some clarity to headlights, nut will prove very ineffective at headlights where the clear coat is heavily faded, yellowing, or peeling.

What Kind Of Plastics Can Meguiars PlastX Be Used To Polish

Virtually any kind of plastic you can imagine. My own professional disclaimer is that I would not use this product on any type of LCD screen, navigation screen, or infotainment screen. But any type of plastic past that and I would give it a thumbs up.

So long as you don't have unrealistic expectations due to the fact that this product does not contain heavy abrasives that would be required to do any heavy lifting of plastic polishing or restoring.

Meguiars PlastX Summary

I hope I have unpacked this subject sufficiently to where you can now walk away having at least a fighting chance in choosing the best product to suit your specific needs.

This industry continues to fascinate with the continuous innovations, but also frustrate me with the endless marketing hype and misrepresentation1

I wish you much success in your detailing efforts!


Darren Priest

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