So we know how to whiten yellow toys... how about KEEPING them white?

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Hello everyone!

Wow this is odd, I haven't been active on the forum for years. Truth be told when I joined I was a young teenager, now I'm a young adult! While I'm still active on my Youtube channel (Jcc2224), I haven't popped into the forums for a while. I'm still collecting Star Wars modern and vintage, and in the time I have been gone I have noticed many of my most cherished figures in my collection - my troopers - yellow and degrade.

I have tried two methods of whitening them, hydrogen peroxide solution, and Clairol 40 cream. Both did wonders for restoring the whiteness of my vintage and modern troopers. However, within 6 months-1 year, most of them have returned to a yellow state. While some have remained nice and white (my three vintage Stormtroopers), others have yellowed again, and worsened (30th Anniversary Stormtroopers). While I could treat them over and over again surely, I want a one-and-done way to get my toys white and for them to STAY white for at least a few years. I've heard of spraying them with UV-resistant clear-coat, but I am not sure if that's just people guessing or if it's a proven method.

I looked on previous forum discussions and did not see an answer to this, but if this has already been discussed before I would love to be directed to it.

Thank you, and I hope everyone's staying safe!
Adam (Jcc2224)
 

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Don't do it. You are chemically damaging the plastic for the long term and are likely to make things worse. It's been reported that chemically treated plastics can become chalky and brittle and can easily break.

Unfortunately white plastics are more prone to instability and discolouration. There was an old thread discussing this in detail with input from a member who was a chemical engineer but it might have been lost in the forum purge a while back. You should never use anything more harsh than warm soapy water to clean these things.
 
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Thank you for the reply but I'm afraid it doesn't do much good regarding the issue. Are you saying the answer is "they're yellow now, deal with it"? Because I know soap and water isn't gunna fix anything! Haha

I know the issue stems from the chemicals they put in the plastic that kept it flame-resistant, where it causes the molecular bonds to break and give it a yellow color. I have experienced this degradation myself, my family's vacuum (grey plastic) turned yellow and broke apart, but that was grey swirly plastic, and likely fell victim to a form of "Gold plastic syndrome".

I may be hoping for some sort of miracle cure to my old yellowed toys, but I'm keeping the hope alive! Thank you again for the input though!
 
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Unfortunately, there's nothing that can turn back the hands of time and make the figures pristine white again. I've tried to resist doing those bleaching treatments on my figures, and honestly, I sort of came to peace with them being yellow. Yellowing is just the natural progression of the plastic. No avoiding it unless you have well ventilated climate controlled storage that doesn't see UV light.

If you just want something to display, you could paint some beaters back to white with an air-brush, but eh.
 
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Unfortunately, there's nothing that can turn back the hands of time and make the figures pristine white again. I've tried to resist doing those bleaching treatments on my figures, and honestly, I sort of came to peace with them being yellow. Yellowing is just the natural progression of the plastic. No avoiding it unless you have well ventilated climate controlled storage that doesn't see UV light.

If you just want something to display, you could paint some beaters back to white with an air-brush, but eh.
Well my vintage stormtroopers beg to differ. They were treated with Clairol 40 cream about a year ago and are still pristine white after the treatment. Other figures on the other hand return to being yellow, some become worse, or some just get a little "tan" look to them.

Many restorations of vintage toys involve the hydrogen peroxide treatment, and while it looks pretty at first, I fear that their items will return to being yellow as mine have. I'm hoping there's a way to ensure they don't.
 
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I've read in many places that it's worse after bleaching in the long run. Others here have said the same. Some CLAIM using like dashboard cleaner/sealer (like ArmorAll wipes) helps it, but I can't say I'd want to try it. Some toy "restorations" are thrown online to promote a product (think retrobrite) and do not show you any long term results by design. As others have said here, these only work in the short term and you're chemically altering the plastic in the process. The long term effects may be worse than living with the yellowing. If you've done it already, it's just a crap shoot. Don't know how any figure will turn out, finally.

Best "restoration" video I've seen is from ToyPolloi, specifically his Slave-1 resto, but he only used warm, soapy water, as a cleanser.

The vintage figures were maybe a better material (or at least different grade/type) to start with, so that may be why they reacted differently than the others. I have vintage carded trooper figures that are still white, and also some modern era stuff that is yellow without seeing the light of day since purchase. There's tons of factors for each case, so it's hard to say why one would be better than the other.

Like I said though, I'm fine with mine being yellowed if that's what happens. Guess I should ask, why does the yellowing bother you so much?
 
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Like I said though, I'm fine with mine being yellowed if that's what happens. Guess I should ask, why does the yellowing bother you so much?
Seriously, 100%, I have the utmost respect for your outlook on yellowing, I can only DREAM of reaching the acceptance you have. I know it's not the end of the world and at the end of the day, they're just toys and it's a luxury to even have them. But I guess it just disheartens me that my escapism, my collection, and the toys I've grown up with and kept are looking degraded and yellow and weird. Perhaps if I don't find any sort of permanent solution to the problem I can learn to accept it as you have, but I'm holding out.
 
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Seriously, 100%, I have the utmost respect for your outlook on yellowing, I can only DREAM of reaching the acceptance you have. I know it's not the end of the world and at the end of the day, they're just toys and it's a luxury to even have them. But I guess it just disheartens me that my escapism, my collection, and the toys I've grown up with and kept are looking degraded and yellow and weird. Perhaps if I don't find any sort of permanent solution to the problem I can learn to accept it as you have, but I'm holding out.
You'll hear a lot of that "damaging" the plastic from de-yellowing aka- retro brite technique to figures. Technically it only hurts the plastic in so much as its bleaching the fire retardant chemical in the plastic to return it to white. Some items go back yellow quicker then others based on the amount of yellowing and amount of chemical used in the production process that's bled out from UV/heat exposure. 8-bit guy on YouTube did a variety of items he restored white.

However you may try a change in technique, the Clariol 40 or Salon Sallys40 volume cream volumizer is about 12-ish% hydrogen peroxide. I use it sometimes but I'm bad about not coating the figure evenly and the whitening gets splotchy. I submerge my figures that yellow in clear tubs or mason jars to make sure the figure gets peroxide evenly over it also to make sure it gets evenly covered in direct sunlight.

There's ways to get higher% peroxide besides the 3% over the counter stuff from the drugstore to use. Sunlight for UV and Heat are the keys. 8-bit guy showed that you technically don't even have to cover/submerge the item in higher % peroxide.

Instead he just put the item on a base and placed it in a large tub and poured the peroxide around the base in the bottom of the tub and put a clear glass top over the tub and set it in the hot bright sun. It whitened the item as though he had it submerged in the peroxide. I guess its because the UV light and the heat cause the peroxide fumes to do the same trick as submerging an item but it's undetermined if the treatment lasted as long as submerging. Here's a link to him retro-brighting an old PC console. I also will drop in a video from OddTinkering... he shows a way to whiten plastic on a PS1slim using the clear tub and strips of UV-LED lights (it takes longer but may be useful in cloudy climates)


 
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There's another tutorial I found for restoration. It's a solution like amoral but its actually restoring the chemicals back to the plastic. Some chemist approved this method stating it was simply putting back what time erased.

This method was simply soap and water with the chemicals put back in afterwards. I'm wondering if the combination of the 2 methods would both restore and keep.
 
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What is the magic light for clearing the plastic. Its UV and then ????
Yes, UV light ... which is ironic since sunlight actually yellows white plastic can actually restore it if applied with hydrogen peroxide. So sunlight w/heat or just UV led strips as in the OddTinkering video i posted above.
 
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Yes, UV light ... which is ironic since sunlight actually yellows white plastic can actually restore it if applied with hydrogen peroxide. So sunlight w/heat or just UV led strips as in the OddTinkering video i posted above.
It's a combination of light . We see UV yes but what's the white light flashing in between, or is he just turning the UV part off to check occasionally, hence white light
 
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Seriously, 100%, I have the utmost respect for your outlook on yellowing, I can only DREAM of reaching the acceptance you have. I know it's not the end of the world and at the end of the day, they're just toys and it's a luxury to even have them. But I guess it just disheartens me that my escapism, my collection, and the toys I've grown up with and kept are looking degraded and yellow and weird. Perhaps if I don't find any sort of permanent solution to the problem I can learn to accept it as you have, but I'm holding out.
Yeah, I actually learned with coins that it's better to leave things as you find them. Yellow, dirty, or whatever. Coins are even worse in that people don't even want them cleaned! I guess accepting the yellowing makes me appreciate more the minty white figures that are out there because they are genuinely rare and hard to find. Don't get me wrong, I do try to actively hold out for the best figures I can find, but I'm not super heart broken if I get some yellow ones in the mix. The bleached ones can be good or bad, depending on how they are sold (if even sold) and someone doesn't mention that they have bleached the figures.

For your own collection and figures, I respect your rights to do as you please. After all, it's you paid for the right to own the figures, so no one can tell you to do what you don't want to do with them. At least you're not dissolving them by the thousands (like one guy on YouTube, link below) in a twisted plot against current movie management somehow destroying his childhood memories. We're just having a healthy discussion on opinions here. Nice chatting with you.

Pathetic Man-Child Destroys 2,387 Vintage Star Wars Figures
 
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It's a combination of light . We see UV yes but what's the white light flashing in between, or is he just turning the UV part off to check occasionally, hence white light
I assume to check the progress or to explain that there's a time lapse... I'd say to retro-brighten that vintage Falcon hull it took a few hours easily if not more and the white light going in and out was him checking it. In the Playstation 1 video they use UV LED strips and encircle the bottom of his plastic tub but lets it vent as his LED's get hot he explains.

8-bit guy sets his out in large tubs in the sun for hours, the UV light and heat from him saran wrapping the top of his tub makes the plastic PC parts he's retro-brighting very hot from his video. But aside from the UV light the heat helps he thinks.
 
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I assume to check the progress or to explain that there's a time lapse... I'd say to retro-brighten that vintage Falcon hull it took 6-10hrs easily if not more and the white light going in and out was him checking it. In the Playstation 1 video they use UV LED strips and encircle the bottom of his plastic tub but lets it vent as his LED's get hot he explains.

8-bit guy sets his out in large tubs in the sun for hours, the UV light and heat from him saran wrapping the top of his tub makes the plastic PC parts he's retro-brighting very hot from his video. But aside from the UV light the heat helps he thinks.
Sounds like you have contact. Can you ask what's hes using for the rivet and punch system please
 
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I've tried various methods of the peroxide bath for yellowed figures. You can buy some fairly strong peroxide at a beauty supply store. I don't know about other states, but in Maine you can only buy 40% off the shelf without a license for hair styling. If you have a license to work in a salon, I think you can get up to 70%. I've also have various degrees of success. Some of them have stayed pretty white, while others have turned yellow. Some only slightly, some far worse than before. I've had the best overall luck with the typical drug store stuff, and two or three days soaking in a jar while in direct sunlight.

As for the figures ONLY turning yellow because of UV light, that is also not true. I have a Darth Vader case full of 31 Stormtroopers. The case is kept closed, in room temperature, away from any and all sunlight. Last time I opened the case, I think I had 6-10 of them turning yellow. You also have to be VERY careful with figures that have any color paint other than black. I had a Hoth Luke wind up with a faded scarf and boots.
 
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As for the figures ONLY turning yellow because of UV light, that is also not true. I have a Darth Vader case full of 31 Stormtroopers. The case is kept closed, in room temperature, away from any and all sunlight. Last time I opened the case, I think I had 6-10 of them turning yellow. You also have to be VERY careful with figures that have any color paint other than black. I had a Hoth Luke wind up with a faded scarf and boots.
True. Yellowing just stands out more on white figures, but the plastic degradation happens across the gambit. Lando's blue plastic can yellow pretty terribly but just seems greenish or darker blue, and Chewbacca's limbs turn green regularly. It just seems to be the luck of the draw and the batch of plastic/paint that was used and where the figures were produced.
 
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Speaking of yellow plastic I bought this VOTC Endor Han Solo today at a shop because it was cheap. I took it out of the package and I noticed beneath the trench coat he's yellowing at the torso, but only on the back, the tummy, and not the chest or arms. Why?
 

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Speaking of yellow plastic I bought this VOTC Endor Han Solo today at a shop because it was cheap. I took it out of the package and I noticed beneath the trench coat he's yellowing at the torso, but only on the back, the tummy, and not the chest or arms. Why?
Different type of plastic than that which is not yellowing.
 
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It's weird that my stuff from the 1950's holds up better than Star Wars figures. Different kind of plastic I guess.
 
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It's weird that my stuff from the 1950's holds up better than Star Wars figures. Different kind of plastic I guess.
I though modern plastics didn't come out until the 1960's or 70's? I know I have a super old radio that has what they used to call Bakelite for the bezel and buttons. It's a different and earlier type of plastic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite#:~:text=Bakelite (/ˈbeɪk,reaction of phenol with formaldehyde.

I think the appeal of modern plastics is they are dirt cheap compared with other composites, but cheap doesn't mean good or long lasting...
 
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@Pop-Up Saber my dinosaurs were sculpted in the 50’s but Marx reissued them continuously until their final bankruptcy around ‘82. So I would imagine a few different types of plastic were used. And I know several color variations were used by Marx which can be helpful for dating some of the critters.
 
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@Pop-Up Saber my dinosaurs were sculpted in the 50’s but Marx reissued them continuously until their final bankruptcy around ‘82. So I would imagine a few different types of plastic were used. And I know several color variations were used by Marx which can be helpful for dating some of the critters.
Interesting. Manufacturers probably used higher grade materials back in that era compared to today (or the 70's). It's like cars of the pre-80's, they last because the materials were just better (steel is real). Find any modern day car after 70 years from when it was produced and it'll probably be missing half of it's parts because a lot of our cars are ABS or other composites that will become brittle and crack/break apart. It's not feasible to produce a car made of 90% today, which is why a lot of stuff today is (sadly) disposable.
 
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I still have a truck I bought new in 2001. I don't use it much anymore but the other day I drove it and about a foot of plastic under the dashboard just fell. It was as brittle as a saltine cracker. Modern plastic is low grade.
 
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I may be missing something but do you just wipe the white part of a figure on emerge it? What happens to the colors other than white when emerged?
 
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I still have a truck I bought new in 2001. I don't use it much anymore but the other day I drove it and about a foot of plastic under the dashboard just fell. It was as brittle as a saltine cracker. Modern plastic is low grade.
Meant to say it's not feasible to make a car with 90% steel (or even aluminum) above.. but yeah. The plastic world is a brittle b----! LOL. Almost all manufacturers use low grade stuff because hey, looks good when you put your money down to buy it! After that? Who cares, you already gave your cash away... modern business model.
 
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I still have a truck I bought new in 2001. I don't use it much anymore but the other day I drove it and about a foot of plastic under the dashboard just fell. It was as brittle as a saltine cracker. Modern plastic is low grade.
Difference between a solid plastic toy and a plastic panels exposed to drastic sunlight and temperature changes over 20 years.
 
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