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Brick de-yellowing techniques


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#151 Brickadeer

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 10:19 AM

View PostOtherworld, on 15 December 2011 - 08:04 AM, said:

I really want to know if it is possible to clean printed pieces, cause I have many torsos and legs (printed) that have acquired a disgusting color. Is it necessary to leave the pieces in the sun? Have anyone's bricks get brittle cause of the whitening process?
I have not found a method yet to stop the process yellowing. Since it's a chemical reaction of the material itself, it can't be simply "cleaned".

Keep your bricks out of the sun. Basically, that is the most important thing you can do to avoid discolouring your bricks.

#152 enlighter

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 07:49 AM

View Postchris_austin, on 26 June 2009 - 04:05 AM, said:

If anyone from the UK successfully does this with something other than OxyClean then please post here. I don't think OxyClean is available here.


I believe you can find it on amazon.com or similar products for VERY cheap...

#153 Otherworld

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 05:37 PM

I went to Wal-mart last night (Mexico) and found this:

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Is this one useful too?
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#154 TheLegoDr

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 10:03 PM

View PostBrickadeer, on 21 December 2011 - 10:19 AM, said:

I have not found a method yet to stop the process yellowing. Since it's a chemical reaction of the material itself, it can't be simply "cleaned".

Keep your bricks out of the sun. Basically, that is the most important thing you can do to avoid discolouring your bricks.

Not to start an argument, just an observance. I would like to believe that all you have to do is not have your bricks in the sun, but my entire childhood I avoided sunlight with any of my Lego bricks and then they were put into storage for 15 years in a dark tote covered in the back of a garage with no sunlight and the pieces have still yellowed/discolored. So I don't think it is as simple as that. I think it is just age in general that can cause some of the problems. These bricks are pushing 20-25 years old, so eventually plastic will discolor. Which means, if cleaning does not work, then you have to purchase more new bricks.
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#155 CP5670

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:40 AM

Quote

Sorry to share some discouraging experience of my friend. My friend did successfully bleached bricks with serious yellowing using hydrogen perioxide a year ago, but very sadly, the yellowing would reappear after months later, and the yellowing got even poorer before bleaching. So be cautious.

Has anyone else had this happen? I was a bit worried about this earlier. ABS is often treated with a protective coating to make it more resistant to UV, and the oxidizing process that removes the thin, discolored layer from a brick may also be wiping out the coating.

Quote

Not to start an argument, just an observance. I would like to believe that all you have to do is not have your bricks in the sun, but my entire childhood I avoided sunlight with any of my Lego bricks and then they were put into storage for 15 years in a dark tote covered in the back of a garage with no sunlight and the pieces have still yellowed/discolored. So I don't think it is as simple as that. I think it is just age in general that can cause some of the problems. These bricks are pushing 20-25 years old, so eventually plastic will discolor. Which means, if cleaning does not work, then you have to purchase more new bricks.

There were some particular batches of white bricks in the early 90s that will discolor due to oxygen exposure regardless of sunlight, even if you keep them in the dark. I have several pieces from that period that are yellowed. Except for those pieces, you can prevent the discoloring by keeping any UV out.

#156 Otherworld

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:00 AM

I just tried the mix on a piece with a sticker (a 90's piece, the sticker was kind of worn already (waited like 8 hours) and it didn't even damage a little bit, it just cleaned everything  :classic: And it's still perfectly glued to the piece.
Though the sticker has red and blue color, don't know if it can fade other colors.

:classic:
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#157 The Blue Brick

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:41 AM

I myself have also tried to bleach my bricks, mostly from the 80's and it didn't work. I now have all my yellowed white bricks in a container and I actually sometimes use them for mocs, such as old buildings or bases where they are not seen. Thats how I use them now. I might try some of these tips that you suggested now.  :classic:

#158 SNIPE

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 07:10 PM

Can you use Cola in a basin to un yellow them?

#159 Modulex Guy

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:44 AM

View PostSNIPE, on 02 May 2012 - 07:10 PM, said:

Can you use Cola in a basin to un yellow them?

No, Cola would not work because you are tying to fight chemical oxidation with acidity. you need hydrogen peroxide and an oxy based cleaner to essentially reverse the oxidation process.

And to those wondering why some bricks still turn yellow despite not being in sunlight, it is because the ABS plastic mix contains a chemical that is a fire retardant, this chemical has a side effect to cause the bricks to yellow.
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#160 kungpo

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:25 PM

My daughter is busy building all the modular houses and wanted to build my old Market Street. I grabbed it down from the loft after putting it away a couple of years ago where it had been on display on one of the window sills on the house.

Anyway, I (must) have put it away without noticing that some of the pieces are really badly yellowed. Having re-opened the box and little freezer bags of pieces I'm seeing LOADS of nasty looking White and Blue pieces.

I've seen a few references to Retrobright, so I've aquired the Hydrogen Peroxide and Oxi action power, but before I start, I'm wondering if anyone has had any success with this?

I hope it works as I've noticed that my Cafe Corner has lots of yellowed pieces (still on display) and will probably need a tidy up before it goes on my daughters shelf with all the other modulars.

#161 nfl_solo

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:40 PM

I used salon peroxide (Clairoxide 40 Volume Clear Developer).
I followed the guide from this link http://brickjungle.b...g-guide_21.html.
I used just under 2 cups of the peroxide since that was all that was left in the bottle, and 1/4 tsp of oxi.
I mixed the oxi in a little water then added it to the peroxide in an old plastic tupperware dish.
I put in a number of white and old gray pcs that were yellow and discolored, including a couple star wars biker scout torsos, leg assemblies and helmets.
I put the mixture in a plastic container and put outside on the patio around noon then I transferred the container to the garage at night around 10pm, mixing the solution and flipping pcs with a spoon every few hours.
After 24 hours I used a colander to catch and rinse the pcs well under cool running water. After the parts were rinsed I set them on a towel to dry in front of a fan.

I have to say I was really surprised at how well this worked. The pcs become much brighter/whiter than I thought they would. I think keeping them in the solution for 24 hours made the difference.
After the initial few hours there appeared to be no change it worked slow and steady. This process also had no negative affect on the printed pcs I tried it on.

#162 roamingstudio

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:32 PM

Normally the addition of 'sun' helps. However I have bleached coloured items by this approach. Currently my favorite is to use 'Vanish Colour with Oxyclean' tech - plus a large glass baking tray. And plenty of direct sunshine. Normally whites take 1-2 days; and light grey about 1 day. Blues can take about 1-2 days, but keep checking them.

Sometimes the Vanish trick leaves residue - so I occasionally clean them also with a bit of lemon juice before rinsing and drying. It can be quite satisfying seeing really old yellow whites turn... white. And it was much cheaper than having to buy Hydrogen Peroxide. Just slower.

#163 kungpo

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:34 PM

View Postroamingstudio, on 24 May 2012 - 08:32 PM, said:

Normally the addition of 'sun' helps. However I have bleached coloured items by this approach. Currently my favorite is to use 'Vanish Colour with Oxyclean' tech - plus a large glass baking tray. And plenty of direct sunshine. Normally whites take 1-2 days; and light grey about 1 day. Blues can take about 1-2 days, but keep checking them.

Sometimes the Vanish trick leaves residue - so I occasionally clean them also with a bit of lemon juice before rinsing and drying. It can be quite satisfying seeing really old yellow whites turn... white. And it was much cheaper than having to buy Hydrogen Peroxide. Just slower.

I'v had all the bits sitting in a solution of Vanish Oxi on it's own, but after two days not much change - probably not enough sunlight (being indoors and all).

Will try with Peroxide out in the day over the weekend and see what happens!

#164 Ricecracker

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:48 PM

Merged with the existing discussion.

#165 Robominer

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 03:38 PM

Hi all.
I was looking over my collection and I noticed that my Collectible Minifigures Scientist's hair was slightly yellowed. I'll post a picture later. I'm wondering if this is because of the same problem with sunlight, or something else.
Can someone help me identify the problem, and possibly suggest any solutions?
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#166 Legocrazy81

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:10 AM

I know this has been asked a million times(and will get merged), but I searched and found a few solutions. One says bowl of bleach, leave in a week or so. Another in the same thread said lukewarm soapy water. I thought I remember Oxiclean.

Now, do I have to soak pieces in a bowl or can I use a toothbrush to clean them without taking the set apart? I'm having issues with light bley pieces in my Modulars, and of course, white.

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#167 splatman

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:46 AM

Retr0bright is said to be a good one, though I don't know about treating/cleaning built sets/MOCs w/o disassembly.

#168 Rick

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 07:57 AM

View PostLegocrazy81, on 27 March 2013 - 03:10 AM, said:

I know this has been asked a million times(and will get merged), but I searched and found a few solutions.
Then why do you make a new thread for it? :sceptic:  We're trying to keep the forum organised. Next time, please put a little more effort in and find the appropriate thread. It shouldn't be too much work as I found it in under 10 seconds in the pinned GD&N index.

Merged indeed.

#169 antp

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 01:23 PM

Last year I made a text with some of the most yellowed parts that I had, with some Vanish Oxi Action (the small bright pink bucket with powder) in water, it works quite well :

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the whitest bricks were not treated, they are just there for reference.
I guess I should add peroxide for better results but I do not know where to find that...

#170 SheepEater

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 03:29 PM

View Postantp, on 27 March 2013 - 01:23 PM, said:

I guess I should add peroxide for better results but I do not know where to find that...

You can find basic 3% hydrogen peroxide in most drugstores. Their intended use is for desinfecting wounds.

Anyway after reading this entire topic in Easter weekend I decided to give it a go this morning. I bought a very nice, large glass jar, a jar of oxyclean (powder) and 3% peroxide. They also had 9% peroxide but it was of the opaque variety. :sceptic:

I needed a large glass jar because I have quite a few large wheels to whiten, including two very yellowed 8880 wheels. Posted ImageI emptied two full 450ml bottles of peroxide along with about 3 teaspoons of Oxyclean. I placed the glass jar on my balcony in the best possible spot ( I live in an appartment). Wish me luck!

Do you think opaque 9% peroxyde would block the sun from the bricks too much?

Edited by SheepEater, 07 April 2013 - 01:21 AM.


#171 timmyc1983

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 03:47 PM

View PostSheepEater, on 06 April 2013 - 03:29 PM, said:

Do you think opaque 9% peroxyde would block the sun from the bricks too much?

From my understanding and experience the sun quickens the reaction, and once the reaction begins you can't stop it. I used this method a few months ago to huge success with opaque peroxyde. And we don't have OxyBright or whatever the brand is here so i just picked up some other brand with oxy in the name haha. But i was stoked with the results, all the bricks i tried came out really bright white.

One tip tho, make sure you don't make the solution too deep. You're better off having several containers with shallow solution, rather than one large one with deep solution... Not sure why but i had a whole bucket full that weren't turning, when i transferred them into several smaller containers it worked very quickly....

Good luck!!

Edited by timmyc1983, 06 April 2013 - 03:47 PM.

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#172 SheepEater

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 04:07 PM

View Posttimmyc1983, on 06 April 2013 - 03:47 PM, said:


One tip tho, make sure you don't make the solution too deep. You're better off having several containers with shallow solution, rather than one large one with deep solution... Not sure why but i had a whole bucket full that weren't turning, when i transferred them into several smaller containers it worked very quickly....

Maybe because the "brew" goes up to the surface?

#173 Legocrazy81

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 05:07 PM

View PostSheepEater, on 06 April 2013 - 03:29 PM, said:



You can find basic 3% hydrogen peroxide in most drugstores. Their intended use is for desinfecting wounds.

Anyway after reading this entire topic in Easter weekend I decided to give it a go this morning. I bought a very nice, large glass jar, a jar of oxyclean (powder) and 3% peroxide. They also had 9% peroxide but it was of the opaque variety. :sceptic:

I needed a large glass jar because I have quite a few large wheels to whiten, including two very yellowed 8880 wheels. Posted ImageI emptied two full 540ml bottles of peroxide along with about 3 teaspoons of Oxyclean. I placed the glass jar on my balcony in the best possible spot ( I live in an appartment). Wish me luck!

Do you think opaque 9% peroxyde would block the sun from the bricks too much?

I was going to try Oxyclean, how has/is it working for you? What's you formula for cleaning? How much water/Oxy/Peroxide?
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#174 SheepEater

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 06:59 PM

I only just started, the bricks have been in the jar only for less than 3 hours as I'm writing this, so obviously it's too early for me to judge the results.

I used 3 teaspoons of Oxyclean, and 900ml (two 450 ml bottles) of 3% hydrogen peroxide. NO Water.

#175 timmyc1983

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 06:51 AM

View PostSheepEater, on 06 April 2013 - 04:07 PM, said:

Maybe because the "brew" goes up to the surface?

Yeah that makes more sense. I originally put it down to the fact that the sun couldn't reach the bottom part of the solution therefore the reaction was taking longer... But i don't think that's what it was now cos the reaction just wasn't happening full stop... The bubbles weren't appearing like they should when the reaction takes place....

I'm no chemist haha :grin:
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