Black Rabbit

Do modern white bricks still turn yellow?

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I've realized that the vast majority of my collection is comprised of white bricks. Am I setting myself up for disaster a few years down the road? I know most of my pre-2000's Lego is borderline unusable because of the significant change in colour.

Is there still a yellowing effect on white bricks made recently?

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"Disaster" would be an appropriate term if the yellowing process was irreversible. :wink:

Vast quantities of 2% hydrogen peroxide (a.k.a. oxidated water) and natural UV rays from the sun combined are said to reverse the yellowing nicely. You can get a liter bottle of H2O2 for about 1-2 US bucks.

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"Disaster" would be an appropriate term if the yellowing process was irreversible. :wink:

Vast quantities of 2% hydrogen peroxide (a.k.a. oxidated water) and natural UV rays from the sun combined are said to reverse the yellowing nicely. You can get a liter bottle of H2O2 for about 1-2 US bucks.

I've heard from a couple people that it can give the bricks a slightly rough texture. Is that true?

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Adding Oxy Action Crystal White to the hydrogen peroxide and sunlight will catalyse the reaction from days to hours (or hours to minutes depending on concentration of hydrogen peroxide, degree of discoloration, intensity of sunlight and temperature).

Using hydrogen peroxide doesn't make the pieces rough, but does make them ever so slightly more grippy when you slide your fingers across their surface. It's as if they weren't really clean before and now they are.

Back to the OP's question: I believe that TLG continues to use the same additives to its white ABS, so yes, new white parts will eventually turn off-white. The good news is that there's no limit to the number of times you can 'reset' the whiteness using the H2O2 + Oxy + UV method.

Edited by AmperZand

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I've heard from a couple people that it can give the bricks a slightly rough texture. Is that true?

I'm not sure, as personally never tried this (all my old Lego parts are back home 400KM from where I live; those I have with me are good as new), but I saw many photos in "before-after" theme and all of them shown the whitening process. Nobody mentioned anything about the texture. So maybe it's a thing, but I don't think so - it's just 3% H2O2, so I don't believe it's a degrading factor. Maybe it depends on the time it took to soak the parts while they stay in sunlight? The oxidated water may go warm in a container in the sunlight as much as a regular water...

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As I understand, older bricks would yellow because of bromide compounds included in the plastic. This was especially true for blues and whites. As the pieces aged, the bromide would slowly and naturally separate from the plastic and appear on the surface.

H2O2 does a pretty good job removing this; in my experience, adding OxyClean doesn't change it--just soaking in H2O2 in sunlight took less than a day to make them white again, and I didn't notice any change in texture. Once I tried cleaning with Magic Eraser, and that did cause a noticeable textural change.

In the 90's TLG changed their plastics and sources, so the bromide was no longer included. These newer bricks should not yellow unless they are exposed to sunlight or similar harsh lighting conditions. I wouldn't worry about it much, and if your collection does yellow a bit, H2O2 should do the trick.

Edited by rodiziorobs

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Once I tried cleaning with Magic Eraser, and that did cause a noticeable textural change.

I'm sorry that your parts were damaged but glad others can learn from your experience. I have heard people recommend Magic Eraser for use on LEGO, but I would never countenance that. Magic Eraser contains an abrasive, albeit a mild one, that can very easily dull LEGO. I tried Magic Eraser on a test piece of LEGO and it ruined the sheen.

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And yet I've had a white warg sitting on the car dashboard for over a year (it sits in the sun while I'm at work) and it is still white. Sadly that is not the result I want.

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I have some late 2000s white bricks that are not as white as a brand new. It could be whatever is in the air you breathe too.

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And yet I've had a white warg sitting on the car dashboard for over a year (it sits in the sun while I'm at work) and it is still white. Sadly that is not the result I want.

Maybe your car's windshield have some sort of UV protection. If, for whatever reason, you want your pieces to get yellow i think you should expose them to direct daylight with no glass in between

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In my experience whitening doesn't effect the look or feel of bricks but it does make them clutch harder and sometimes "squeak" when connected. I'm not sure but it seems like this wears off with use.

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As I'm going to buy some old, probably yellowed trans part, I'd like to know if the peroxide bath works with transparent parts

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"Disaster" would be an appropriate term if the yellowing process was irreversible. :wink:

Vast quantities of 2% hydrogen peroxide (a.k.a. oxidated water) and natural UV rays from the sun combined are said to reverse the yellowing nicely. You can get a liter bottle of H2O2 for about 1-2 US bucks.

hmm. I might give that ashot. I have like what, probably more than two thousand yellowed bricks. But how do I use H2O2?

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Thanks to peroxide, It takes right now 5 to 7 days (WInter, indoor, near a window) to turn an ugly yellowish part in a white "as new" part.

Have you tried adding Oxy Action Crystal White? Even in low light, you should be able to cut that to a few hours, maybe a couple of days at worst.

Edited by AmperZand

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Maybe your car's windshield have some sort of UV protection.

But not enough to prevent sunburn!

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This topic has been inactive lately but I'm having a lot of trouble with the issue, so I bring it up again.

To answer the original question: yes, modern white bricks do still turn yellow. I have some white plates that I bought brand new, stored in a dark spot away from direct (or even indirect) sunlight, no smoke, and yet they turned yellowish in a few months. It is quite eerie to see the clean, unused, "milky" new surface of white parts that turned to a uniform, almost tan colour.

I've done the retr0bright process on quite a lot of my old and discolored parts, with and without Oxy, various time intervals and H2O2 concentrations, and mostly it worked like a charm. Then I put away the treated parts (again: no UV, no smoke) and some months later a LOT of them are back to the same or even worse yellowish condition.
I've researched the net if anyone had the same problem of re-yellowing after treatment, and apparently I'm not the only one, but nobody could actually explain it yet. I'm living in a fairly hot apartment (around 23-25°C = 73-77°F, even higher in the summer) and I'm beginning to wonder if that has something to do with it.

So, chemists, material engineers or anyone out there with a solution, PLEASE HELP!

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3 hours ago, GREG998 said:

My conclusion is the problem is more heat related than light related, as parts stored in total dark still turn yellow.

Let's put this to the test.

Anyone have any white bricks stored in a basement, or even just out of the light in a cold climate like Alaska or Northers Canada?

 

Another question i have: Has anyone retreated any reyellowed pieces? Did they rereyellow?

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8 hours ago, splatman said:

Another question i have: Has anyone retreated any reyellowed pieces? Did they rereyellow?

Yes, I have and yes, they did.

Here's the story: I keep the parts in sortiiment cabinets with transparent plastic drawers, but the cabinets are
A) stored face-to-face (i.e. their solid black side walls are outwards so the light can't exactly get in), and
B) a plastic bag is pulled over them, as I live in a fairly dry and dusty neighbourhood and try to keep my parts clean.
The cabinets are then put on the top shelf behind the shadow of a large wardrobe. It is the darkest but also, I suppose, the warmest part of the room, hence my suspicion about heat.

Now, a few years ago I spent a couple of summer weeks treating my old parts and almost every one of them returned to its original white colour. Then I put them aside in the sortiment cabinets. Some months later I discovered they all went back to yellow, so I retreated them the following summer and again, everything was perfect. And after a few months they are yellow again, plus I discovered a few of my brand new and unused white parts turned to almost tan.

Just like Greg998 wrote, some totally random parts remained white after being treated, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

I've fully understood the chemical processes behind retr0bright and I am totally at a loss trying to explain what is happening :(

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I have this problem too.
My city sets bought in the period 2005-2012 have turned yellow., and newer ones are starting
I have tried the retr0bright method but beyond it being temporary, it also works ONLY on white and old gray (doesn't work on the "new" bluish gray), the other colors, including transparent, come out "foggy".

In my opinion lego should do something very quickly about it because after my small and not super expensive sets have degraded in just about 10 years, I have some concerns for my newer expensive sets and also i'm starting to question myself if it's worth buying big sets as expensive as €350.

I have researched the problem deeply and I've found out that pieces with hinges, locking hinge and other particular-shaped bricks are not affected AT ALL by the yellowing (examples: piece 87058, 44302, 44571)

These pieces clearly doesn't contain bromine, so why do others have to? Maybe if there was a method to "wash away" bromine, the pieces would return to their original color...
I'm not a chemist, nor i have any useful knowledge about chemistry, but this research -> https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22575175/?i=2&from=/22236948/related
looks like a suitable solution for our problem (notice that Methanol is poisonous so I don't want to try)

And lastly, speaking of risks, since bromine also is dangerous for health, do we have to worry about our bricks not only looking bad but also being a danger?

Sorry for the long post but this yellowing thing, for me being a very passionate collector, is very VERY annoying

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From what I understand the bromine is a flame retardant, there is a thread on the second page called Yellowing in which a member @Grover explains it quite well, he is apparently a chemist.  

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On 11/5/2017 at 1:36 AM, splatman said:

Another question i have: Has anyone retreated any reyellowed pieces? Did they rereyellow? 

Yep, sadly. That's why I now consider yellowing as "irreversible" (unless you wanna bother de-yellowing every 6 months, something you'd only do for rare & expensive stuff)

It annoys me more for a couple of other toys/dolls (like old CY Girls) that I've left in the sun, knowing those would be harder to de-yellow & not something I'd redo all the time.

But I don't get it, de-yellowing has been done so massively on old consoles/computers, why aren't we seeing stories of all those having re-yellowed?

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14 hours ago, anothergol said:

Yep, sadly. That's why I now consider yellowing as "irreversible" (unless you wanna bother de-yellowing every 6 months, something you'd only do for rare & expensive stuff)

It annoys me more for a couple of other toys/dolls (like old CY Girls) that I've left in the sun, knowing those would be harder to de-yellow & not something I'd redo all the time.

But I don't get it, de-yellowing has been done so massively on old consoles/computers, why aren't we seeing stories of all those having re-yellowed?

You didn't mention this still applies to LEGO, as the company might have changed plastic over the years. While your example with other toys might not be this progressive and still use old-LEGO-like plastic formula, which is prone to yellowing.

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My understanding is that any exposure to light triggers the process of yellowing - so even if you then store them away in the dark, they'll still yellow as the process has already started. I think I also read that the more they're exposed to light, the worse it becomes, but that could be me misremembering.

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