Whitening with peroxyde
Hey folks, I’m gonna try my best at explaining how to use hydrogen peroxyde to whiten yellowed plastic. First things first, I’ll start with a short warning/disclaimer :
The chemical that you will use here is extremely harmful. It’s slightly corrosive and irritating. I strongly advise the use of protective gloves and eyewear when handling it. Also, make sure to wear adequate clothing (i.e. old clothes you don’t care about), because if you were to spill some of it on your clothes, it would damage them. I’ll let you imagine what it’d do if you spilt on your skin. Use at your own risk.
STEP 1 Here’s a picture of everything I use in the process :
1. Hydrogen peroxyde 2. Protective gloves (no, they don’t have to be pink ;-) 3. A small jar with a lid 4. The parts of the figure which have yellowed, and which you want to whiten
Here’s a close-up of the Peroxyde I use here in France.
I like to work with disassembled parts through this process. I remove all the screws as well as the t-bar.
STEP 2 Pour some of the peroxyde into the jar. You want to pour enough to cover the parts when you dunk them into the jar (some parts will float though, that’s normal).
STEP 3 After you throw all parts you want to restore into the jar, put the lid back in place. Then you’ll want to expose the jar to sunlight. Apparently, there’s a chemical reaction between the peroxyde and UVs. Some people claim that they get similar results even when they don’t expose the jar to direct sunlight, but it seems to take a much longer period of time in that case. So it’s possible that UVs are a catalyst to make the whole process quicker.
Leave the jar in direct sunlight for a few hours – you’ll quickly observe the formation of bubbles in the solution. That’s the beginning of the chemical reaction.
STEP 4 Check on the parts after an hour – you should be able to see some results already. I recommend checking frequently to make sure you get the results you want. If you leave your figure parts too long in the solution, there’s a risk that they end up discolored. So you want to check out often.
STEP 5 Once you’ve achieved satisfactory results, open the jar (remember to wear protective gloves when handling that stuff !!) and retrieve the parts. You don’t have to throw away the peroxyde, as you can actually re-use it !
STEP 6 Then you’ll want to rinse the parts thoroughly with water, and let them dry on a paper towel overnight. I like to throw them in a small jar filled with water for 30mn (to make sure they’re rinsed properly).
Additional issues :
- It’s possible that using peroxyde could alter the quality of the plastic. Right now, there’s no way to know if figures that were immersed in peroxyde will stand the test of time. It’s possible that ’84 Storm Shadow you just cleaned will just become brittle 5 years from now.
- It seems the quality of the plastic is different on the elbow joint, than on the rest of the arms. I’ve had strange results where the elbow joint would get discolored much quicker than the rest of the arms. Be aware of this potential issue and see pictures below. If you look carefully, you’ll notice Stretcher’s forearms have turned greener shade of brown after the process. Now if you look at Storm Shadow V1’s pics, you’ll notice that the skin tone on the elbow joint is much lighter than what it was before the process. It is also much lighter than the rest of the arms after the process – it’s most likely made of a different plastic and reacted quicker to the Peroxyde.
This method works great for neutral colors (i.e. white, grey, Cobra blue etc.) Bright colors (yellow, red, orange etc.) will lose in intensity. For instance, a bright red Cobra sigil on the ’84 Storm Shadow sleeve will turn into a paler shade of red, even orange.