How to bleach Whiten Yellow Plastic Toys : Why does it turn yellow?
How to bleach Whiten Yellow Plastic Toys : From my research, which was a while ago, the yellow color is the bromine in the plastic, that migrates to the surface over time. It helps the plastic to be more flexible, and if it is removed, the plastic will become more brittle. Heat will help the bromine migrate faster. So a window display toy, will yellow quickly in the window of the store, because the heat, from the sunlight, will move the bromine faster to the surface. Or a toy that was too close to a heater, will yellow on the heater side. This particular yellowing is not from cigarette smoke. I have seen things stained from smoking, but the smell is really the over whelming thing you notice, not the yellow color.
How to bleach Whiten Yellow Plastic Toys : My personal experience with doing it.
This is a narrative of my journey into using, sunlight, bleach, and peroxide to remove the yellow color in the aging plastic toys. I have heard of other people doing this too, and I would love to hear from them as well on their experiences.
If you decide to try these techniques, know that it is at your own risk. Each toy is different, and requires different approaches to restoring them. Also please take the necessary safety measures, such as eye protection, and be careful, as bleach, and peroxide can hurt your skin. I always start a new unknown project slowly, and then as I know how it works out, I can make it go faster with stronger peroxides.
I found hydrogen peroxide, with bleach, along with a lot of sun, works the best. And really, the best, for preserving toys, is just the sunlight method only. If time is an issue, then I carefully use the peroxide, and bleach method to whiten up older toys. Most decals will not survive being bleached, so try to avoid getting bleach on them. I do sell a lot of replacement decals, and you can check out my store to see if I have what you need,
You can find peroxide pretty much anywhere, but in Canada, we are not allowed to buy it from a beauty store, so I just used over the counter hair color peroxide, and Oxi clean from the cleaning isle. I do think that the cream bleach or fine powder bleach would work better, but I had to use what I had. I might try to grind up the Oxi Clean next time, or even just do a good soak in a water solution with just Oxi Clean first.
If you make your solution too thick in any area, that area gets whiter faster, so it is very important you have an even coat. One of my featured projects is this Playskool Victorian Dollhouse Restore.
I used a hair color brush, to as evenly as possible, paste the bleach on. And I avoided the areas that were not discolored.
Then I put the dollhouse in a clear plastic recycling bag.
And I watched it closely for the entire day. Making sure it was wet, and that it was in constant sunlight.
I noticed the yellow color was not lifting evenly. For this Dollhouse, it would have been much better to take it apart, and bleach each piece out flat, so the bleach stayed on it evenly. But I really didn’t have 60 hours to put into the project. I do have a green house. I quickly cleaned off the bleach, and dried it out. There was discoloration, in blotches. Therefore the best I could do at that point, was slow…. I just put the dollhouse in my green house for about a month. I kept watching it, seeing how much it changed, but I was able to turn it as I needed to, and it didn’t get over done, and having all the color washed out.
Eventually, the color, including the blotches evened out as best as it could. There is still a lot more work needed on this dollhouse, but I am too afraid to continue with bleaching it. The plastic has already become brittle.
The pink on the finished project is more pink now, than orange / salmon color, the blue is more blue, rather than greeny blue, and the yellow, is more like the original pastel yellow, rather than the bright yellow.
How to bleach Whiten Yellow Plastic Toys : Whitening Vintage Fisher Price Toys
I have done this whitening process, with tones of Fisher Price Fun With food toys.
The sunlight gets the yellow out nicely. But adding the bleach and peroxide, speeds up the process. I just make sure I only used it on the white areas, and watch it like a hawk. I make sure it is spread evenly, so that it doesn’t look blotchy.
How to bleach Whiten Yellow Plastic Toys : Sunlight also quickly removes markers, and most pen marks.
I have picked up quite a few large plastic furniture items for kids, that have marker on them. The thrift store usually sells them cheap. The best way to get rid of the marker, is to put the chair in the sunlight. That’s it, and it usually goes away quickly depending on the time of year it is.
How to bleach Whiten Yellow Plastic Toys : Does it matter what time of the year it is, for the sunlight?
Here in Canada, in July we get a lot stronger sun, and more hours a day for it. So I do all my whitening in July / Aug. The heat of the summer will help the chemicals along faster.
How to bleach Whiten Yellow Plastic Toys : Yes, you can over do it! Color can fade.
Pink, and purple, seem to be colors that fade quickly. Red, will fade to pink… etc.. I got my daughter this beautiful Vintage Little Tikes Beauty Salon. We played with it for a long time. I put it outside in the shade when she didn’t play with it anymore. It is now white. And it was in the shady spot in my yard for maybe six months. It wasn’t long.
How to bleach Whiten Yellow Plastic Toys : Yes, you can over do it! Plastic become brittle.
I tried removing the yellow from some clear Fisher Price Fun with Food glasses, and I got busy and forgot about them.
When I came out to look at them, they were very brittle, and they crumbled along the edges. I do have some pictures of my older work, but I can’t find them at the moment. Here is an example of just a little bit too much bleaching, the plastic will crack easily.
When you bleach them, you are removing the bromine that migrated to the outside. When the bromine is gone, the plastic looses its flexibility.
The same can be said about play kitchens that are left outside. The knobs particularly from the Vintage Little Tikes ones, will become very brittle if they are left outside. So be careful if you have to remove them.
How to bleach Whiten Yellow Plastic Toys : Yes, you can over do it! Colored Plastic becomes White
When you forget about colored plastic, it can get bleached out to white, and if it is not evenly put on, the white will be blotchy as well. Here is an example of a Fisher Price Fun With Food cupcake tray, that I forgot about too.
I realize here I am showing mostly my mistakes, but I do have lots of examples of successful projects. You wouldn’t even think it was bleached. For me, I learn from mistakes, and I hope that my readers will be able to learn from them as well.
My knowledge of chemistry is limited, so if I have made errors, please let me know.