Retrobrite
I can do science!


I admit, this was one of those things that I had to do myself before I would accept that it would work.

Plastics used in domestic products are 'brominated'. By that, I mean they are impregnated with bromine to act as a fire retardant. The downside to this is that UV reacts with the bromine and causes it to discolour. White plastics, over time, usually go yellow. My grey Atari went yellowy green. It's not dirt or smoke (if you smoke), it's a chemical reaction.

This is where some clever person realised that the process could be reversed with hydrogen peroxide and UV, and Retrobrite was born!

Now rather than go into it fully I'll point you too a couple of resources on this to cover the basics.

Retrobrite Wiki
8-Bit Guy does Retrobrite

How I've done it is by buying in this lot.

What we have here is a pair of 25W UV fluorescent bulbs to go into my desk lamps, a box of latex gloves and a small tub of Bblonde 40 12% from Superdrug. Essentially the UK equivalent of the US hair product 8-Bit Guy uses in his video. The reason to use the hair product is that it's already in a creme format so there's no mixing to be done, you can just apply it out of the bottle.

The process is thus:

  • Dismantle the computer/console to get the parts you want to treat
  • Thoroughly clean the parts, wash them if necessary.
  • Coat them with Retrobrite. Use hands (wearing gloves), brushes, whatever works
  • Wrap them in cling film or put them in a sealable bag. This stops the Retrobrite from drying up
  • Put it under you UV lamp. Rotating it occasionally to get even coverage

    Now if you live somewhere sunny or it's a particularly sunny day, it can be much faster left outside in the sun. Under my weak UV lamps however, it can take around 24hrs for it to do it's thing. I suspect if you had access to some sun bed tubes or something like that, it'd be massively quicker.

    Once complete, unwrap and wash the plastics with water to remove the Retrobrite. When dry, re-assemble and marvel at the fact that your kit looks new again! Though bear in mind that Retrobrite may reverse the process, it does not stop it. So cover your kit up when you're not using it to stop it going yellow again.


    before


    after


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