Shining a Light on Retrobrite

After I gave a presentation on Retrobrite at KansasFest, people asked me to write about the process, never wrote about Retrobrite as there are so many articles and videos on the internet but finally found some time to write about it.

There are many ways to Retrobrite.  I avoid submerging because it’s a waste of peroxide, and maybe toxic for the environment, also don’t wrap in plastic as it allows areas to wrinkle and get more concentrated than others, promoting streaks. I basically paint the gel to the plastic.

Remember to remove all logos, metals and elements that are not benefiting from retrobriite. Snow white are easier to clean, platinum and beige require more “babysitting” and less power (20 strength instead of 40).

I base my technique on a recipe found on the original “Retrobright” site, a guy named Tezza.

Here is the recipe, make sure you wear gloves to avoid chemical burns:

– 100 ml of liquid Peroxide 40, found in beauty supply shops
– One teaspoon of Arrowroot powder
– One teaspoon of Oxy Clean powder

retrobriteMix thoughtfully the three elements in that order, first the Arrowroot and finish with the Oxy Clean. Once mixed up, “paint it” to the plastic you are fixing under a full sun. The mixture will bubble as it’s reacting to the sun. Make sure you spread it evenly, like painting, leaving no “lines” to avoid “streaking”.

Leave the item for about an hour, depending on weather conditions. Some windy or dry places will need reapplying every hour, make sure you rotate the item so all angles get direct sunlight.

The process is not time based or an exact science, you need to be checking every time, maybe washing to remove the coating and inspect the color. It is not for the lazy, that just want to leave and come back to a pristine piece. Leaving some pieces for a long period could end on streaking, fading logos and variations in color or “patches” with different shades.

Hope this overview helps.

– Javier

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About the Author

Javier Rivera

I'm an apple //c fanatic, born in Mexico but living in sunny Miami, FL, the perfect place for retrobrite! I like restoring computers to bring them back to their old glory. Also like to combine new technology with vintage hardware to give new uses to them.