*Disclamer: This is not a guide. Hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous if treated incorrectly. Avoid touching your eyes, drinking it, keep away from Pets and Kids, wear safety goggles and old clothes. You might not get the same results I did, there are far better and more detail posts on the internet about Retrobright, I am just sharing my experience.
After a small amount research I have found a very cheap and effective way to remove the stubborn yellow stains that have become all too common on our beloved retro consoles. This “yellowing” is nothing more that a chemical reaction caused by a fire retardant spray on the plastics reacting to prolonged sunlight. Removing this is purely cosmetic and to paraphrase Naked Snake “gives you no tactical advantage whatsoever.” But who doesn’t want their retro console looking it’s best!?
I bought my Commodore 64 on eBay with help from my supporters on Patreon (thanks guys) I plan on making some C64 videos and the last thing I wanted was an unsightly yellowed tape deck next to my nice clean console. So I got to work and decided to document the process here is my step by step process below.
My Shopping List
Here is the cheap part mentioned in the title I used Super Drug Jerome Russell B Blonde Cream Peroxide 40 Vol 12% Lightner which is only £1.69 a bottle! There you have it premade Retrobright cheaper than chips, I have seen other posts online that require you to buy 3 different products and mix it… nonsense! I Just bought this instead, here is a link.
2. An artist paintbrush
3. A star head screwdriver
4. An old toothbrush to clean the case
5. Cling Film
6. Cleaning products
7. Some old sheets to set the plastic on
8. Rubber Gloves (to clean and handle the peroxide)
9. Sunlight! (hard to come by in Northern Ireland)
My first step was to take the case apart removing the board and wires leaving me with just the case. At this stage I give the case a good clean and removed some of the more stubborn marks, if you find some marks that won’t come off “use the force”.
Once cleaned and dried I took my cases outside, threw down an old sheet and started painting on the peroxide. I only applied a thin layer of this stuff and I used a cheap old paintbrush I had. A tip I picked up is to wrap the case in cling film at this stage and I also rotated the case every hour or so to make sure parts in shadow were exposed to the sun too. The sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, I left mine out at 9am – 3pm and I was lucky to get a sunny day considering it was near the end of September.
Next I cleaned off the peroxide it is really important not to get this stuff on your hands or ingest it so I wore a pair of rubber gloves. It is harder than you might think to remove this stuff, I can only describe it as slimy. I gave the case a blast with the garden hose but still found I had to scrub a lot more off.
All that was left for me to do at this stage was make sure the case was nice and dry before putting it back together again. In some of the pictures it is hard to see the difference but I blame that on my camera. I can honestly say my tape deck now looks brand new and it was really satisfying to take something old that I remember from my childhood and restore it. I think video game history needs to be preserved, the good thing about this technique is that it’s cheap and effective.