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De-yellowing grey train track with bleach?


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#1 alexGS

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 10:42 AM

As the title suggests, I'm trying to improve the appearance of old 12V track. It's been a nerve-wracking process!

Over the last week, I've had some white LEGO pieces sitting in a 50% bleach-water solution. It has been pretty effective, turning the yellowed (and in some cases browned/oranged) pieces back into white.  *sweet*

So, I put some grey tracks in a 50% bleach solution as well. After 24 hours, I took them out. They looked great! Encouraged, I put in some more track - and took that out after about 18 hours. It still looked a little yellowed...

...but by this time, the first set of track had continued to lighten even after removing & rinsing... as it dried, it turned into the track you see in the top straight in the first picture below!  :-/
Attached File  IMG_4049.JPG   33.2K   195 downloads

The bottom track shows how the middle and top tracks looked before any treatment. Horrible, I'm sure you'll agree.

The middle track is what came out today, after 18 hours. Initially still a bit yellowed, but as you can see, it's now a little too light. This is compared with the little-used point on the left of the picture.

Here is a crossing and signal rail. You can see the need for lightening, compared with the similarly-aged but original-condition items alongside.

Attached File  IMG_4046.jpg   23.4K   74 downloads

So also last night, I put a point in with the crossing and some conductor rails. This was perhaps a little too adventurous. After 18 hours, there were the most picturesque orange 'mushrooms' growing on the rails of the point.

And when I took the point out and cleaned it, I found that the corrosion had eaten right through the rails in two places  :'-(

The third picture shows the results (the crossing, the rail, and the point).

Attached File  IMG_4065.JPG   27.62K   82 downloads

As you can see, the light grey is a little closer, but the dark grey of the point has also lightened too much (this happened after rinsing & drying).

I have some more track in there. And another point. It's been four hours. Can I bring myself to leave them overnight?  X-O

-Alex

#2 gylman

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 11:02 AM

I've been through this in the past.  Basically you can get rid of the yellowing, but you always ending makingthe gray too light to varying degrees. If you find a way to consistently achieve the first without the side-efffect of the second, patent it - thousands of AFOLs will be etermally grateful!

#3 Jipay

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 11:13 AM

I think the quality of the plastic evolved since I used a beached based solution to clean up some mid 90's bricks I received from ebay. Those came out cleaned and the colors were intact.
I think you could try other cleanign products like oxi action, which reputations grows a lot in France. It seems like it the miracle product for any type of plastic, but I wasn't able to put my hands on one of those bottles yet

#4 gylman

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 01:17 PM

 jipay, on Mar 30 2006, 11:13 AM, said:

I think the quality of the plastic evolved since I used a beached based solution to clean up some mid 90's bricks I received from ebay. Those came out cleaned and the colors were intact.
I think you could try other cleanign products like oxi action, which reputations grows a lot in France. It seems like it the miracle product for any type of plastic, but I wasn't able to put my hands on one of those bottles yet


It just doesn't make sense that you could do it.  The "yellowing" is not dirt. It's a genuine change in colour due to oxidization (photodegradation) of the plastic and change in its chemical structure. The bleach may reverse this, but is bound to have some effect on the chemical structure that will change the natural gray tone.

Cheers.


p.s. Legofan a better forum than EB?  
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Stick around...... you'll see a thing or two.

#5 Jipay

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 03:40 PM

It makes sense since the pre cited product called "oxi action" is to revert the effect of the oxidation process on the materials, including plastic. Don't ask me the exact chemical process, but everyone who used it told me it was worth the try on the lego bricks since it worked for them (plastic garden furniture and such). So I might try soon and I'll tell you of it's worth the investment

Quote

p.s. Legofan a better forum than EB?
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Stick around...... you'll see a thing or two.

What does that comment exactly refers to ?  *wacko*

#6 gylman

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 06:35 PM

Well, count me skeptical - I did try this quite extensively a couple of years ago.  

I don't believe you can selectively "deoxidize" one colour, and not another one, when the chemical composition of the material is the same.  As the yellowness bleaches off, the gray will lighten too.  

another thought.  How much time does spending all this effort cost. Time = money usually (unless one enjoys cleaning Lego).  For the time (money) of doing this, you are better off just buying nice looking rail off bricklink.

This thought has come to me many-a-time as I sat there with a toothbrush scrubbing caked in dust for 30 minutes on that "wonderful bargain" I just got on eBay.  

I have abandoned buying any set with white in it that is more than 5 years old, and any set with gray that is more than 10 years old if it was built.  

Still, if anyone finds a good way rejuvenate the colour of white, gray, and to a lesser extent blue and yellow, the AFOL world will never be the same. I can just see it now.  



WWW. CLEANYOURLEGO.COM



"ship your old lego sets to us, and we will make them look like they did 25 years ago".



2$ per pound of white
1.50 per pound of gray
1$ per pound of all other colours

Bulk discounts available for quanitites over 100lb.



I'll be there first!

#7 Hobbes

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 08:59 AM

 gylman, on Mar 30 2006, 06:35 PM, said:

WWW. CLEANYOURLEGO.COM
"The Web site cannot be found" :'-(








:-P  ;-)

#8 alexGS

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 12:19 PM

 gylman, on Mar 31 2006, 01:17 AM, said:

p.s. Legofan a better forum than EB?  
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Stick around...... you'll see a thing or two.


ha - yes, I think I understand the reference!
You must be on both forums...  :-D

Right - well, my conclusion so far:

1. White bricks can be made white again, 50% bleach solution, up to a week. Works great.

2. Light grey will always end up lighter once the yellowing is removed. Time period up to 24 hours.

3. Points MUST NOT be bleached (even after four hours, corrosion was pitting the surface of the rails. I didn't leave it overnight...)

4. Conductor rails CAN be bleached - for some reason, the corrosion does not seem to occur (better grade of stainless steel?)

5. It would be lovely to buy new parts - but the PRICE... During my 'day job', I get about US$7/hour. It is easy to blow through a week's work just buying a few items off eBay. Today, I spent a day's work on some train stickers :) Six pieces of track generally sell for about US$20. Better to save what I have, I think.

I would like to buy a MISB 7740 set. That will be about US$500 (months of savings!), but at least the pieces won't be yellowed.

Cheers,
-Alex

#9 TrainTrack

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 12:56 PM

 Hobbes, on Mar 31 2006, 09:59 AM, said:

 gylman, on Mar 30 2006, 06:35 PM, said:

WWW. CLEANYOURLEGO.COM
"The Web site cannot be found" :'-(








:-P  ;-)

I thought you hadn't understood the post, until the  :-P  ;-)             :-$

#10 snefroe

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 10:53 AM

i'm surprised to hear that the yellowing process can be reversed. as Gyl said, it's a chemical process, but i'll be doing this experiment next week as well. unfortunately i have lots of subjects to test it with... :'-(  still, i think you're damaging the plastic, tho...

one question : you're adding bleach to water, right? are we talking about hot or cold water and would it make a difference?

#11 Norro

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 11:04 AM

If anyone can consistantly rescue yellowed parts let me know  X-D

       God Bless,

               Nathan
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#12 snefroe

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 11:18 AM

just talked to yoda about this and he suggested CIF, which is a cleaning product. i just did a test and it works, but i wouldn't recommend it because you create miniscule scratches on your plastic.

so you're better of using "javel" as we in belgium call it. it's a natural chemical product you can find in your regular grocery shop... it's also in cif so it seems every cleaner based on javel would work. It won't damage the plastic...

for the grey bricks, i'd say decrease your dosage or use cif, that way you can control the process in "real time". To my knoledge, cif has never "worked" hours after having been applied... it is time consuming tho...

#13 Jipay

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Posted 08 April 2006 - 05:28 PM

JAVEL = BLEACH  *skull*

As for CIF, I can't recall the american name, but it also exists (in fact, that's an american product by procter &   gamble ;-) ). I am fairely certain there is a CIF sort with a less abrasive effect, I'll check next time I go grocery shopping. I tested so many different detergent products that I am now almost an expert on those lol ! BTW, it might sound weird, but anyone tried some toilet cleaning products on bricks ?

#14 alexGS

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 11:05 AM

 snefroe1, on Apr 8 2006, 10:53 PM, said:

i'm surprised to hear that the yellowing process can be reversed. as Gyl said, it's a chemical process, but i'll be doing this experiment next week as well. unfortunately i have lots of subjects to test it with... :'-(  still, i think you're damaging the plastic, tho...

one question : you're adding bleach to water, right? are we talking about hot or cold water and would it make a difference?

Hi, thanks for the response! :)
Yes, the bleach does work - the results are best on white LEGO. I have had amazing success with other white parts (please look on the LegoFan forum for examples, I can't seem to post pictures here unless they're truly tiny - only a few Kb!)

You can bleach light grey (or other colours) but unfortunately the colour gets lightened as well. For these colours, I recommend leaving outside in bright sunlight (ironically!) as this seems to return the colour about 80% of the way to normal. It's proving hard to do this here in NZ, because it rains every day and we only get a few hours of sunshine every couple of days. Ah well.

I would start with about 1 third bleach:2 thirds water. Leave parts for 24 hours, then check on progress. For the really yellowed (browrange) pieces, up to one week is useful. I find that after a few days, the bleach solution becomes less effective, and this needs to be allowed for (i.e. one week is about twice as effective as two days). As for using hot water, I would expect that to speed things up, but how long is it going to keep hot for? ;)

Bleach does not affect the printing on LEGO elements (to my great relief...)

I don't believe that bleach affects the integrity of the plastic. I have had problems with split LEGO in the past, without using bleach. The pieces that I have bleached still seem to behave perfectly.

Cheers,
-Alex

#15 alex54

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 03:56 PM

You can see the reslut of my experiment:

Posted Image

Right to left:
a very new white piece
a very old one after 5 days in bleach solution, brick that had the same color than the one at its left
a so beautifull suned white piece after spending some times under the sunshines!
and a tan one, just to see that a suned white is more like a tan than a white!

I confirm that the quality of the plastic is the same after than before!
So I have some sets to clean on! I couldn't imagine it works so well :'-)

AlexGS, are you sure that it doesn't affect the prinnting?
Somebody have a solution for pieces with stickers? thanks

Posted Image                        Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image


#16 snefroe

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 04:05 PM

i used bleach to clean printed bricks as well, but i would not recommend that. i didn't wait untill the entire printing was gone, but i could clearly see that the printing was fading...

#17 alexGS

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 09:23 PM

 alex54, on Aug 1 2006, 03:56 AM, said:

I confirm that the quality of the plastic is the same after than before!
So I have some sets to clean on! I couldn't imagine it works so well :'-)

AlexGS, are you sure that it doesn't affect the prinnting?
Somebody have a solution for pieces with stickers? thanks

Good results there; after only five days!
I find that it takes at least a week and usually two.

It would be a good idea to check the state of printed elements every day or two, I now believe they are OK after a week, but get a little faded after two weeks.

Paper-based stickers can be peeled off first and carefully kept...

-Alex

#18 JINZONINGEN73

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:08 PM

*wub*  this topic.

I have such a cleaning project ahead of me. My mocing has slowed to a crawl due to the roof in my 100 year old house caving in, the "Lego bin" room no doubt.
So I've got a mixture of tar water, ancient horse hair / plaster ceiling material, wood dust and lord knows what other century-old nastiness... all in my Lego bins.

The bricks are sticky, nasty, and have the feeling of nails on chalkboard.
It's going to be fun to rescue them, but this topic gives me hope.

Unfortunately, it'll be awhile, as I may have to move yet again, and will need every dollar we can save.
>__<

The oxygen dissolvers sound the best for merely yellowed parts (that aren't white).
I'd also suggest the citrus-based "Goo Gone" for cleaning stuff up, but they're DAMNED expensive & sold in small quantities. But if you've only got a few choice, worshipped pieces you MUST get clean, give that junk a try.
If fluoride isn't dangerous, why was it added to the water in the Russian gulags and by the Germans during world war 2 to make the prisoners "apathetic" to what was going on around them?
Posted Imagehttp://www.astralwer...ix/default.html Posted Image

#19 gylman

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 12:33 PM

More info on bleaching.  It is best avoided

http://www.bricklink...e.asp?ID=161145

#20 JINZONINGEN73

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 07:07 PM

Oh duh... the guy's right!
I can't believe I forgot about peroxide. That stuff cleans tons of junk.  :-|
If fluoride isn't dangerous, why was it added to the water in the Russian gulags and by the Germans during world war 2 to make the prisoners "apathetic" to what was going on around them?
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#21 Robiwan

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 04:25 PM

I have one question.

You speak the hole time from bleach, but what bleach you use? I have used many substance with bleach, but I had always not a gratifying result.  :-(

I hope you say me a couple bleach, with I have success.  :-$

#22 gylman

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 04:49 PM

 Robiwan, on Aug 28 2006, 04:25 PM, said:

I have one question.

You speak the hole time from bleach, but what bleach you use? I have used many substance with bleach, but I had always not a gratifying result.  :-(

I hope you say me a couple bleach, with I have success.  :-$
Well, I think the message is don't use bleach. It damages the bricks apparently. I have used it, and it works in abuot 1-2 weeks. I believe I used standard Javex household bleach diluted 1:1 with water.

I have just put my whites into 3% hydrogen peroxide, and plan to keep them there for 2-4 weeks.  We will see.

#23 CptPJs

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 01:39 PM

Bleach evaporates in hot water, you'll end up with a headache and plain water. Cold water with bleach, always.

Bleach evaporates in hot water, you'll end up with a headache and plain water. Cold water with bleach, always.

#24 Bob De Quatre

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 02:13 PM

Please don't reply to old topic... Even if it's a good advice, this topic is 8 years old!

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