How does hydrogen peroxide whiten plastic?

Plastic is one of the most common materials found in any home since it is used as the main component to manufacture all kinds of objects, whether toys, household appliances, decorative elements, kitchen utensils, etc.

Although the main characteristics of plastic are its flexibility and resistance, with the passage of time, it loses its white color and tends to adopt a yellowish tone that gives an image of deterioration and dirt. This effect appears much earlier and faster if the plastic objects do not receive basic cleaning care or if they are constantly exposed to the sun.

If you want to whiten plastic items so that they look impeccable again, you should know that normal cleaning is not enough. To achieve excellent results, it is necessary to use certain products and put certain tips into practice.

Why does the plastic turn yellow?

It usually occurs in ABS plastics and is caused by bromine. When this plastic is exposed to ultraviolet light, the bromine molecules destabilize, leaching to the surface.

The chemistry of modern plastics has been greatly improved, and it is very difficult to see this phenomenon. In contrast, all the plastics we saw in devices manufactured from the 1980s to the early 2000s are affected by this phenomenon.

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In fact, this yellowing effect does not affect equally, seeing PCs or consoles more yellow than others, even if they are the same product. Also, it is possible to see how a machine presents this effect in plastic, but not in other parts, creating a kind of bicolor.

Can it be bleached or restored?

Yes, it can. Several years ago, the community of users (today called gamers) got together to try to solve this aesthetic problem (it does not affect the performance of the device). They found out that hydrogen peroxide would remove the bromine molecules from the plastic.

This solution restored the white color, but only temporarily, and the process could even make the plastic more brittle. Of course, the white color lasts for several years, although it turns yellow again.

All these users pooled their wisdom and created Retr0bright, which consists of a complete recipe that serves as a guide on how to whiten plastic. You can check out Retr0bright on their official website. You might find more guides (like the one from The 8-bit Guy) which are also very good.

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After all, Retr0bright is just a mixture created from several products, being the main ingredient for this bleaching process. After that, we will need other materials.

What is oxygen peroxide used for?

Oxygen peroxide, also called hydrogen peroxide, is a chemical compound formed simply with water and oxygen. This substance kills pathogenic microorganisms by oxidizing them and releasing water and oxygen in their place. It, therefore, has antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. This is why oxygen peroxide is frequently used:

– In industry
– In the sanitary system
– To disinfect
– To restore artistic works
– In the household
– In hair (cosmetic products)

Depending on the intended use, it is best to obtain hydrogen peroxide with one concentration or another. For example, for industrial uses, a concentration of 30% is needed; on the other hand, for disinfecting wounds, a concentration of 3% is sufficient.

Contraindications of hydrogen peroxide

Although the use of hydrogen peroxide is widespread and is used even by health personnel, there are certain precautionary measures that should be taken, such as the following:

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– Do not ingest: hydrogen peroxide can only be used externally.
– Children under two years of age: with small children, this product should be used with caution, as their skin is much more delicate than that of an adult. Therefore, in these cases, it is always better to have a doctor recommend its use.
– Do not mix with other products: mixing it with other chemical components can be counterproductive, as it could create an adverse chemical reaction for our organism.
– Avoid contact with certain areas: such as the eyes, mucous membranes, and sensitive parts of the skin.
– Avoid contact with food: also with beverages. As a precaution, it is best to store the product in an area away from the kitchen.