Retrobright (stylized as Retr0bright) is a chemical mixture used to remove yellowing from ABS plastic computer and electronics cases, including computers that were manufactured by Commodore and Apple in the 1980s and 1990s, and various video game consoles and cartridges.
Yellowing is caused by both bromine and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Many of the ABS plastics used in consumer electronics devices are typically “brominated”—combined with bromine as a fire retardant—to meet fire safety standards. The method was discovered in 2008, and the process has been continually refined since.
There is still some debate over the long-term effectiveness of this technique. Some have discovered the yellowing reappears, and there is discussion of factors that may result in this happening. There are also some concerns that the process weakens the plastic.
The optimum mixture and conditions for reversing yellowing of plastics:
- Hydrogen peroxide solution. 12% or 6% work the same.
- Approximately 1/4 teaspoonful (4.9 ml) per gallon (3.8 l) (1/3072) of Tetraacetylethylenediamine (TAED)-based laundry booster (concentrations of TAED vary).
- A source of heat, namely UV light, from sunlight or a UV lamp,
Xanthan gum or arrowroot can be added to the mixture, creating an easier-to-apply gel. In addition to homemade gel mixtures, hydrogen peroxide-based hair bleaching creams available at beauty supply stores can also be used as a ready-made mix.
Certain beauty salon products that are primarily composed of hydrogen peroxide can also be used as an alternative to Retr0bright, as it has been discovered to be almost identical in effect, and already "creamy" so that it can be applied less wastefully to yellowed plastics (especially large devices such as computer panels or monitors). This eliminates the difficulty of having to put together a batch directly from the instructions.
- Ángel Jiménez de Luis (May 25, 2010). "Retr0bright lava más blanco" [Retr0bright washes more white]. El Mundo.
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- Stewart, Terry (January 17, 2013). "Retr0Bright (or RetroBright) treated plastics re-yellowing even with minimal light exposure?" (published January 15, 2013). Retrieved September 21, 2017.
- Petersen, Anja Liss (January 19, 2011). "Afrensning af plast med RetrObright" [Plastic cleaning with RetrObright] (in Danish). Retrieved September 21, 2017.
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- Murray, David (August 20, 2017). Adventures in Retrobrite - New techniques for restoring yellowed plastic!. The 8-Bit Guy. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
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- Murray, David (April 6, 2013). How to fix yellowed plastics on old computers!. The 8-Bit Guy. Retrieved May 29, 2017.