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Care and Feeding of your AltRider Clear Polycarbonate Headlight Guard

Oct 07, 2016 // The AltRider Garage //

The AltRider headlight guards provide strong protection against stones, bugs, and all kinds of road debris. But over time things get dirty and you want to be able to use all of the light your headlamps are putting out.  Time to clean that headlamp guard!

We chose polycarbonate material because of its excellent light transmission, clarity and incredible shatter-resistant toughness.  This is why it is the choice for aircraft windscreens, bank security windows, safety glasses and many other industrial applications.

Polycarbonate is stronger than glass in terms of breakage, but the surface of the material itself is actually softer.  It will react to certain chemicals and requires specific care to clean correctly and keep looking good for the long haul. Cleaning improperly can result in scratches, hazing, surface crazing and cracking.

Do not clean polycarbonate as you would glass!  And don’t just clean it with whatever general bike cleaner you use, many if not all general glass cleaners and bike cleaners have chemicals that cause damage to polycarbonate plastic parts.

Cleaning Instructions:

  • Thoroughly rinse the headlight guard with water to wet the surface and to float off dirt and mud. For particularly stubborn bug guts, remove the guard and soak it in warm water in a sink for a while.
  • Using a damp soft or microfiber cloth, clean the lens side to side with warm water and a gentle dish soap. Do not use paper towels, they can scratch.
    • Baby shampoo, liquid dish soap or hand washing soap are recommended.
  • Thoroughly rinse with clean water
  • Use a chamois and blot dry or let dry in the wind. 



  • NEVER use petroleum or solvent-containing products like Rain-X or Armor All.
  • NEVER use a dry cloth, or your hands, to wipe off lenses; scratching will occur.
  • NEVER use abrasive cleaners, toothpaste, alkaline cleaners, abrasive pads, or gritty cloths.
  • NEVER scrape with squeegees, razor blades or other sharp instruments.
  • NEVER scrub hard or use brushes.
  • NEVER scrub in a circular motion, use a side to side motion softly.
  • NEVER use glass cleaning fluids (Windex, etc.) or any solvents (gasoline, denatured alcohol, acetone, etc.).
  • NEVER clean in the hot sun or at elevated temperatures.


Below is an example of a headlight guard that was cleaned with a strong “bike cleaner” that contained chemicals not compatible with the plastic. Note the surface cracking does not originate from a cut edge or the holes, but instead appears to erupt directly from the surface of the polycarbonate.

With proper cleaning your headlight guard will last for years to come and continue to provide maximum light transmission along with stout protection from flying debris.


The following cleaning agents are compatible with Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet products when used according to the manufacturer's recommendations:

  • Formula 409® (a registered trademark of Clorox Company)
  • Top Job, Joy® (registered trademarks of Proctor & Gamble)
  • Palmolive Liquid® (a registered trademark of Colgate Palmolive)



Acetaldehyde, Benzyl Alcohol, Chlorobenzene, Formic Acid (conc.), Phosphorus Trichloride

Acetic Acid (conc.), Brake Fluid, Chlorothene, Freon (refrigerant/propellant,) Proplonic Acid

Acetone, Bromobenzene, Cutting Oils, Gasoline, Sodium Sulfide,

Acrylonitrile, Butylic Acid, Cyclo Hexanone, Lacquer Thinner, Sodium Hydroxide

Ammonia, Carbon Tetrachloride, Cyclohexene, Methyl Alcohol, Sodium Nitrate

Ammonium Fluoride, Carbon Disulfid,e Dimethyl Formamid,e Nitrobenzene Tetrahydronaphthalene,

Ammonium Hydroxide, Carbolic Acid, Ethane Tetrachloride, Nitrocellulose Lacquer, Thiophene

Ammonium Sulfide, Caustic Potash Sol. (5%), Ethylamine, Ozone, Toluene

Benzene, Caustic Soda Sol. (5%), Ethyl, Ether Phenol, Turpentine

Benzoic Acid, Chloride, Ethylene Chlorohydrin, Phosphorus Hydroxy, Xylene



Chloroform, Cresol, Dioxane, Ethylene Dichloride, Methylene Chloride, Pyridine