bleeching keycaps?

does anybody has experience with bleeching keycaps? i have a set of of cherry doubleshots (white on black) with quite yellowished legends. Is there any chance to get the legends white again (possibly without turning the black background into gray)?

thx
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Unread post18 Sep 2013, 11:35

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Unread post18 Sep 2013, 13:27

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I tried with some regular chlorine on a single cap and it didn't remove the yellowing at all, even after being submerged for more than 24 hours. So even though what Peter linked to didn't apply, it still wouldn't work. Go with the good old retr0brighting, even though it's kinda expensive.
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Unread post18 Sep 2013, 13:38

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If it's just the caps, it shouldn't cost you too much.
Caps are easier because you can just soak them in the H2O2 and maybe sprinkle in some Oxi-clean if you are in a rush, no need for making the paste.
I dunno how easy it is to get H2O2 in Germany but you can get it from the Chemist here in Aus. Some people use it to make home-made toothpaste I think.
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Unread post18 Sep 2013, 14:15

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002 wrote:[…] I dunno how easy it is to get H2O2 in Germany […]

http://www.ebay.de/itm/251250694816
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Unread post18 Sep 2013, 16:47

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002 wrote:I dunno how easy it is to get H2O2 in Germany but you can get it from the Chemist here in Aus. Some people use it to make home-made toothpaste I think.

You mean what others call the pharmacy? Not tooth paste, but it is used for bleaching hair. I would never put some home made paste that contains H2O2 in my mouth...

I got 35% solution from a home improvement/house paint store. I believe it is used to strip paint or clean old wood window frames or similar.
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Unread post18 Sep 2013, 19:52

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Fuck you Google for ruining YouTube!
thanks for the infos. I will try with that H2O2 plus Oxi. Do i have to put the whole caps just into the liquid or is it better to put it only on the top of the caps. And do i need UV lamp/sunlight as well?
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Unread post18 Sep 2013, 19:56

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It is liquid, so it would run off the caps. It is better to soak. You will need UV.
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Unread post18 Sep 2013, 22:52

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Fuck you Google for ruining YouTube!
Findecanor wrote:Not tooth paste, but it is used for bleaching hair. I would never put some home made paste that contains H2O2 in my mouth...

Ahhh I remembered it wrong. It's mouthwash, not toothpaste. The recipe is even on the bottle lol

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Unread post19 Sep 2013, 03:54

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If you're going for the eBay offer I linked to, it is sort of a paste.
I would recommend diluting it with water, though. If the concentration is too high, you risk ruining the plastic, which will in fact return to its original grey, but with quite visible whitish stains.
Good thing I didn't try it on a keyboard in the first place.
OxyClean was very difficult to dissolve and seemed to have no effect whatsoever.
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Unread post19 Sep 2013, 07:57

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okay...than I will try just with the H2O2 and water mixture. This method was also recommended in another link which I received in a german forum:

http://www.amiga-service.info/rep/bleichen.html
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Unread post19 Sep 2013, 08:28

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kbdfr wrote:OxyClean was very difficult to dissolve and seemed to have no effect whatsoever.

Yes, that's why you need a blender !
And it DOES make a difference :
(Warning : science ahead)
http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/TAED

H2O2 is also used to bleach wood, you may be able to find it in big DIY-shops
or at pro-suppliers .. However, recent 'anti-terror' legislation has given H2O2 a rather bad rep ..
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Unread post19 Sep 2013, 17:01

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I know OxyClean is supposed to act as a catalyst, that's exactly why I bought some.
In an attempt to determine how much of it would be best, I tried different amounts ranging from "very, very much" to "none".
As I said, OxyClean "seemed to have no effect whatsoever", results being the same with "very, very much" and with "none".
I'm not blaming science because my tests did not yield the expected results, but rather my tests for not complying with what science had predicted. Still, OxyClean seemed to have no effect whatsoever :mrgreen:
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Unread post19 Sep 2013, 18:17

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I can actually get some 12% Hydrogen Peroxide (Liquid) yet no one here has yet mentioned what percentage to use when un-yellowing old key-caps?

So which amount would be ideal because I have never done any work with Peroxide and don't want to end up destroying these old key-caps here.
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Unread post11 May 2018, 12:06

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Elrick wrote:I can actually get some 12% Hydrogen Peroxide (Liquid) yet no one here has yet mentioned what percentage to use when un-yellowing old key-caps?

So which amount would be ideal because I have never done any work with Peroxide and don't want to end up destroying these old key-caps here.

check out this 8 bit guy video. should give you various pointers.


but not without risk:
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After watching the video, I tried using hydrogen peroxide and water to bleach keycaps and just heating the bucket to 70° in the microwave, leaving under a towel (to preserve the heat) for two hours before doing it again. I rinsed after four hours.
I had two types of keycaps in the bucket: One (BTC) was less yellowed and the result is quite all right. The other (Wyse) was more yellowed and it is still noticeably yellow.
A few days before I used the same concentration to bleach some very yellow Amiga/Mitsumi keycaps in first 70°C heat, then sun for four hours, then 70°C heat again and four hours (a total of eight hours) and that turned out perfect.

Edit: BTW, I used a sugar thermometer to check the temperature. I stuck it in to the bottom of the plastic bucket.
For rinsing, I put a washing bag around the opening of a large plastic jug, poured the keycaps in and zipped the bag closed leaving the H2O2 in the jug and the keycaps easy to rinse all at once.
I had used the clear plastic jug for the Amiga caps in the sun which was a disadvantage with the 9u space bar because only half of it was submerged in the solution. I thought that ozone oozing from the solution would bleach the rest and stay in jar because it was lidded. The space bar above the surface got actually partically bleached!
When using heat only, I used an opaque wide plastic bucket jar that had no problem fitting a space bar horizontally.
Last edited by Findecanor on 14 May 2018, 14:04, edited 3 times in total.
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zool wrote:check out this 8 bit guy video. should give you various pointers.

but not without risk:

Thank you Zool, much appreciated.

Didn't know that Peroxide itself is subject to a lot of variance here. Keeping it in the sun for a set time whilst also maintaining the proper temps.

Damn, this will be one huge experiment, I love old gear but their yellowing is quite unpleasant to view 24/7.

The 8-Bit guy is really useful and has encouraged me to go out and peroxide the beggars ;) .
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Unread post12 May 2018, 03:32

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I can also highly recommend RetroManCave's more recent video on the topic of retrobrighting without the access to as much sunlight they have in Texas:
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Unread post14 May 2018, 13:45

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snufflecat wrote:I can also highly recommend RetroManCave's more recent video on the topic of retrobrighting without the access to as much sunlight they have in Texas:

Good idea because even though we have lots of sun light, it moves across the sky during the day hence the UV rays get dispersed unevenly over any plastic.

I might go down RetroMan's recommendations simply because once you set up a system, you can routinely 'retrobrite' anything to it's original condition with ease.

The trick is finding enough space amongst the minions, cats and dogs to do this type of procedure at my place.
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Unread post18 May 2018, 11:26

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One of the experiments Ive have been meaning to try is sodium percarbonate as an alternate bleach, anyone had luck with that?
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zool wrote:One of the experiments Ive have been meaning to try is sodium percarbonate as an alternate bleach, anyone had luck with that?

Only in combination with hydrogen peroxide 3% and UV light but it worked great. Satisfying bubbles of retrobrite goodness.
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Unread post18 May 2018, 14:20

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With retrobite i have always found that slow and steady wins the race

You can heat the peroxide etc or use a UV lamp and so on but when i have done it just the sun works best , its slower yes but i have had better results
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andrewjoy wrote:With retrobite i have always found that slow and steady wins the race

You can heat the peroxide etc or use a UV lamp and so on but when i have done it just the sun works best , its slower yes but i have had better results

I definitely agree with the slow and steady part. But in my experience, the sun is a powerhouse of UV light compared to my dinky little blacklight bulb. I don’t have a lot of access to sun in my apartment so I’ve mostly used the little blacklight which seems to get the job done over a couple days. The two times I’ve used the sun, however, the reaction was much more intense and I had to keep a close eye on it as to make sure to keep it even. Even then I ended up with slightly uneven results where a few certain spots got bleached hard.
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Unread post18 May 2018, 14:31

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snacksthecat wrote:
zool wrote:One of the experiments Ive have been meaning to try is sodium percarbonate as an alternate bleach, anyone had luck with that?

Only in combination with hydrogen peroxide 3% and UV light but it worked great. Satisfying bubbles of retrobrite goodness.


It was my understanding the Sodium Percarbonate (Na2CO3 1.5H2O2) when mixed with water yielded a hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) in solution; so it is essentially a stabilized, powdered form of hydrogen peroxide. As a result the strength of your resulting solution would be a factor of the ratio of sodium percarbonate to water and the purity of the sodium percabonate (as it is often mixed with excess sodium carbonate). Therefore, no real need to add extra H2O2.
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Engicoder wrote:
snacksthecat wrote:
zool wrote:One of the experiments Ive have been meaning to try is sodium percarbonate as an alternate bleach, anyone had luck with that?

Only in combination with hydrogen peroxide 3% and UV light but it worked great. Satisfying bubbles of retrobrite goodness.

It was my understanding the Sodium Percarbonate (Na2CO3 1.5H2O2) when mixed with water yielded a hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) in solution; so it is essentially a stabilized, powdered form of hydrogen peroxide. As a result the strength of your resulting solution would be a factor of the ratio of sodium percarbonate to water and the purity of the sodium percabonate (as it is often mixed with excess sodium carbonate). Therefore, no real need to add extra H2O2.

Good to know! Please excuse my bro-science (or in this case board-science).
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Unread post18 May 2018, 18:09

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Engicoder wrote:
snacksthecat wrote:
zool wrote:One of the experiments Ive have been meaning to try is sodium percarbonate as an alternate bleach, anyone had luck with that?

Only in combination with hydrogen peroxide 3% and UV light but it worked great. Satisfying bubbles of retrobrite goodness.


It was my understanding the Sodium Percarbonate (Na2CO3 1.5H2O2) when mixed with water yielded a hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) in solution; so it is essentially a stabilized, powdered form of hydrogen peroxide. As a result the strength of your resulting solution would be a factor of the ratio of sodium percarbonate to water and the purity of the sodium percabonate (as it is often mixed with excess sodium carbonate). Therefore, no real need to add extra H2O2.

My thoughts exactly. I can get some lab time its always just a matter of squaring it with the people that know best. It would be nice to compare the various peroxides srcs with controls. Theory would seem to suggest you could potentially use some laundry powers, as they also often contain other cleaning agents it could be a way to reduce variability due to lingering dirt and oils. As a side note I want to watch the ORP, with and without UV. [just curious]
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Now we are all in agreement of how brilliant the Peroxide is on whitening ALL plastics, I would like to know what is it's usage time?

Meaning how long before the freshly recovered 'original' colouring of the plastic fades back to it's nauseous yellow/brown shading?

This is of course when the restored plastic is kept far away from any light source from our sun.
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Unread post19 May 2018, 01:49

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Elrick wrote:Now we are all in agreement of how brilliant the Peroxide is on whitening ALL plastics, I would like to know what is it's usage time?

Meaning how long before the freshly recovered 'original' colouring of the plastic fades back to it's nauseous yellow/brown shading?

This is of course when the restored plastic is kept far away from any light source from our sun.

The 8-bit Guy had an older Macintosh that had started yellowing again after some two years, and from what I know he's very cautious when it comes to exposing the restored plastics to sunlight and/or even light at all. The yellowing wasn't as bad as it had once been, but it was still noticeable.
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Unread post26 May 2018, 13:09

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I watched that video and honestly i saw a bit of yellow ghosting when he first did it and sure its gotten a bit worse.

As long as it goes yellow again smoothly across the surface i don't see a problem , hell things yellow fast when they are NEW.
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