Sunday, July 29, 2012

Whitening/Brightening Lego

In my last post, I showed how easily the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser took out pen, sharpie and all sorts of other marks on Lego (and almost everything else in your house).

But it's powerless against the yellow discoloration of Lego from constant sun (UV) exposure.

No worries though, where the Magic Eraser leaves off, hydrogen peroxide picks up.

I've been reading up on how to "un-yellowify" Lego bricks and everything pointed to H2O2. So I picked up a few bottles (3%) at the drug store (about $1 each) and poured it into a large glass casserole dish. I placed a sheet of aluminum foil under the glass and parked the whole thing next to a sunny window.

Then I went through some of my older bricks and found a few volunteers.

This is the underside of a white plate that was so deeply stained in a few places, it looked like it had a bad cigarette habit. I thought for sure this one was beyond salvaging.

White Lego plate before the Hydrogen Peroxide bath

And these bluish grey wedges had a clear delineation of where the brick was exposed to the sun.

Bluish grey Lego wedges before the Hydrogen Peroxide bath

I threw everything into the hydrogen peroxide mixture and let it sit for a day, occasionally stirring things around.

Hydrogen Peroxide bath

Wow.

Completely impressed. Here's the same plate a day later:

White Lego plate AFTER the Hydrogen Peroxide bath

And the blue wedges after only 6 hours:

Bluish grey Lego wedges AFTER the Hydrogen Peroxide bath

Here's a side by side comparison of the before and after for the white plate. 

Hydrogen Peroxide: Before and After

A few things to note:

1. Your container has to be glass - use a jar or a casserole dish, something that lets the sun shine through. The aluminum foil is not necessary but definitely speeds up the process and helps reflect the sunlight to the underside.

2. Mix/stir things around every few hours and try to keep it in direct sun as much as possible. I moved the dish around a few times to different locations in the house to maximize the time in the sun.

3. 24 hours is a minimum for deeply stained white bricks.

4. For colors, I recommend a much shorter period. It will depend on the level of discoloration but I advise taking out the bricks every few hours and letting it dry thoroughly before inspecting the color. I made the mistake of putting those bluish grey wedges back in the glass for another day - although the yellow disappeared, the bricks took on a cloudy, whitish appearance. So it is possible to "bleach" it too much.

5. If you have a small cut on your hands (oooooh, I don't know... like a paper cut!!), use a spoon or something to stir the Lego around because hydrogen peroxide stings like a son of a bitch!

6. Halfway through the experiment, I was already getting great results but I decided to throw in a tablespoon of Oxy powder. I can't really tell if it made an improvement or not.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, I just got some bulk Lego and need to whiten some whites!

    Where do they sell the Magic Eraser from your last post? Thanks

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    Replies
    1. You can find Magic Erasers in grocery stores, drug stores, and big box stores like walmart and Target. They are usually in the cleaning section.

      You can also buy them from Amazon.

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