Being a collector of retro computers and games consoles I’ve always been disappointed to see my older kit slowly turn yellow with age, despite my best efforts to keep them away from too much UV light.

Recently I discovered that the process can be reversed, and that a handful of ingredients, all relatively easily obtained, plus a dose of UV light is the key to doing so.

Details of the process and ingredients, plus the back story of how this all came about can be found here: Retr0Bright

The basic gist is that many manufacturers added bromine to their plastic casings as a fire retardant, and it’s that bromine that causes the yellowing when exposed to UV light.

I’m not going to go into details about mixing up Retr0Bright, save to say make sure you wear eye protection and latex gloves, because one of the ingredients, hydrogen peroxide, can be quite nasty.

What I am going to talk about are my first experiences with the lovely whitening goo!

First off, it really is best to use a blender to mix in the Xantham gum used as a gelling agent, as it has a tendency to clump, and in fact I would suggest that you experiment with the amount you add, and even add in slowly in order to get a nice smooth consistency.

Personally I used the amounts recommended, dropped straight in, but ended up with something really thick and goopy, with some clumps, even when using the blender. I’ll add in a bit at a time next time with blending in between.

I had 3 items to test out the goo on, an Apple adb mouse and keyboard case, and an Atari ST case, and spread the mixture across the parts.

The key to the process is exposure to UV when coated with the goo, so mine were placed out in the sunshine. A point to bear in mind here is that you should wrap/cover the coated parts in cling film to prevent the goo from drying out.

Once the sun went in I popped them under a UV bulb on a timer, as I wanted to give the parts around 8 hours of exposure.

The results so far have been a mixed bag, with a good even change of colour on the Apple parts, but a very dappled result on the Atari, which to be fair was extremely badly discoloured.

To be fair, the Atari needs probably a second or even third go.

Looking at the process as a whole, I’d say that one of the difficulties, and aside from getting the texture of the mix right, is getting the UV distribution right, and sunlight is best for that, but I think if you wanted to do this on a regular basis, it would be worth setting up a permanent work station with multiple UV sources.

I’m going to do this again, and will also add some pictures, but it may be after I get moved to our new house.