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How to avoid Yellowing of Grey/white pieces

joeejoee Member Posts: 42
edited August 2012 in Everything else LEGO
I recently set up my old 1980s Castle sets for my son and me to play with. It's set up on a TV entertainment unit in the basement close a window which always has the blinds shut on it.
I don't want the pieces to yellow over time so I'm wondering if I should move it to a different place. In the past I kept my older sets on my shelf in my room for about 15 years and they never yellowed, however many pieces I had left stored in my bucket did over the same time did yellow. Does anyone know where/how to keep their sets displayed and to avoid yellowing?
Thanks

Comments

  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 407
    Hmm, your mention of pieces stored in a bucket turning yellow while displayed sets did not. I found that statement curious because I kept my sets from the 90s displayed in my room for about 8 years. When I moved in 2003, I do not recall seeing many sets with white parts being yellowed. However, months later, when I decided to take a look and unpack some of them, many, if not all, the white bricks were yellowed! It was quite the shock. At the time, I thought it was just my memory playing tricks on me--that the sets looked this yellow at the time I packed them up. I just never noticed because the change was gradual over the years.

    Now I am thinking it might be like a time bomb effect. You can leave your sets on display where they can be hit by UV rays from the Sun's light, but the chemical process that changes the bricks' colors won't be evident until the light is taken away i.e. the bricks are packed up.

    But I am no chemist. As for practical advice and my lesson learned, under no circumstance let your sets be displayed in sunlight for very long. My childhood room had 4 windows across two walls, one of which had an eastern exposure so I always got the morning sun. Even with curtains, the Lego sets on the opposite wall got drenched. I wouldn't even trust blinds.

    Right now, I'm keeping everything in a closet and in their original box for protection. The dream is that one day, I will have a house with a large room with great ventilation and NO windows so I can have a proper permanent display area like I did in my youth.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 3,743 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 10,326
    edited August 2012
    I bought a Lego Studios set awhile back. It was a white bank that had exploding action. I got another one for my birthday. Instead of returning it, I just combined the two sets to make one proper town bank. It was displayed in an area that got a lot of Sun. What is curious to me is that almost every other brick or plate yellowed and some did not, even though they were all exposed.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,526
    edited August 2012
    I wrote a joke, and deleted it again.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 3,743 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 10,326
    Well that sucks. It was probably a good idea. I don't see a lot of people with a sense of humor on here ;)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,399
    legomatt said:

    I wrote a joke, and deleted it again.

    Pitfall69 said:

    Well that sucks. It was probably a good idea. I don't see a lot of people with a sense of humor on here ;)

    Lat time I exposed my bits to the sun, they went red. I won't be doing that again.
    LuLego
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO USMember Posts: 8,267
    I believe that someone has explained in the past that once the pieces are exposed to Sunlight they start to degrade. So putting them in a window for 6 months, then moving them to a box will not help.
    Basically avoid any direct sunlight.. I have gotten paranoid enough about it that I have started to think about removing from any indirect sunlight that may be too bright and can damage still, but I believe it is only direct sunlight.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 3,743 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 10,326
  • dehnehsudehnehsu Bay Area, Calif.Member Posts: 107
    edited August 2012
    Not only sunlight is harmful, don't forget the UV from Flourescent lighting. Even CFL's (Compact Flourescent Lights with the twisty spiral bulb) may have cracks in the phosphor coating allowing UV light to escape. So close the shades and curtains and stick with Incandescent, Halogen, or LED lighting.



    Interesting info, Scroll down to "deterioration" in this link...
    zincpanic.com/article/25252.html


    .
  • joeejoee Member Posts: 42
    Thanks for the advice. I'll have to move them away from the window. I was worried the slight dampness of a basement might trigger it too but that seems to be okay.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,526
    edited August 2012
    I don't know why but Fritzl came to mind...

    ("but this joke he doesn't delete?! oy vey!")
  • Erinlyn80Erinlyn80 Member Posts: 29
    I got some really old pieces that were yellowed as part of a large bulk sale and since they were cheap i soaked them in oxyclean which significantly whitened them but it may have removed the shiny type finish as they seem to feel a bit different now but they look good.
  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 407
    dehnehsu said:

    Not only sunlight is harmful, don't forget the UV from Flourescent lighting. Even CFL's (Compact Flourescent Lights with the twisty spiral bulb) may have cracks in the phosphor coating allowing UV light to escape. So close the shades and curtains and stick with Incandescent, Halogen, or LED lighting.



    Interesting info, Scroll down to "deterioration" in this link...
    zincpanic.com/article/25252.html


    .

    Best link and information I've seen on Brickset! I will keep this duly in mind when I have a place of my own. It will have one large, window-less, halogen light-filled room...filled with Lego sets!
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 3,743 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 10,326
    I have mine in a clean room. You have to hose yourself down before entering...lol
    mithridate
  • dehnehsudehnehsu Bay Area, Calif.Member Posts: 107
    Lego_Lord_Mayorca. Not only Tungsten, Halogen, LED lighting but keep your LEGO builds in a cool tempature controlled glass display with the Oxygen pumped out (a vacuum) or filled with Nitrogen.
    mithridateMaffyD
  • CupIsHalfEmptyCupIsHalfEmpty CanadaMember Posts: 547
    I may just be thinking out loud here, but glass does not pass UV. Glass is clear because it passes frequencies of light that are visible to the human eye. To ultra violet, that glass window looks just like a wall. That's why we don't get sun burn while driving in a vehicle.

    So if it's UV that discolors the bricks, it may be coming from a different source of light such as the lightbulbs.

    So why would something that sat in the sun filled room for years discolor after being packed away?

  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    edited August 2012
    ^ Glass blocks most UV, but not all. You certainly *can* get sunburned driving in a vehicle with the windows up. I have many times before on long trips. Of course, it's no where near as bad as if there were no window.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 3,743 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 10,326
    Yes, so over time your Lego will start to yellow. You could put UV filtered glass windows in the room you are going to display your Lego. This will also cut down on the heat. We just put one in the foyer $1,800 installed...ouch,but it is already paying dividends.
  • doriansdaddoriansdad CTCMember Posts: 1,337
    Well I have purchased older sealed sets (talking 10+ years old) and the pieces while brand new in sealed bags never having seen light other than initially in the factory have still been yellowed upon opening.

    I believe I read an official response from TLG sometime ago and they said you need some light but not too much to avoid yellowing......my experience seems to backup the official theory.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 3,743 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 10,326
    When I turn the light on, my Legos scatter and run under the furniture
    mithridate
  • SquareSideSquareSide Member Posts: 170
    I'm a vampire, so I have a blanket covering my only window in my room. Pretty sure my Hoth sets are ok... >_>
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO USMember Posts: 8,267
    Erinlyn80 said:

    I got some really old pieces that were yellowed as part of a large bulk sale and since they were cheap i soaked them in oxyclean which significantly whitened them but it may have removed the shiny type finish as they seem to feel a bit different now but they look good.

    I really do not buy the Oxyclean and the other solution for this (I forget the same: Retro Brite or something?)
    Both have their drawbacks.. quite simply put them next to a regular, non treated, but non yellowed, brick. You will see some bad shading differences, and it only really 'works' if the whole brick is sun damaged.. I saw an auction on eBay where they 'restored' the bricks using that Peroxide concoction and you could plainly see what bricks with 'treatment' as they had a different shade than untouched bricks AND you could still see the yellowing where part of the brick, but not the whole brick, as discolored....
    I guess you are using them solely for 'filler' brick for a building or house where no one will see them that is one thing (but then why really try to retro brite them?)but I see people trying to sell LEGO that has had this done and it bothers me,, at least this seller was honest about the attempt and trying to 'restore' the brick.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 1,997
    ^ I have restored a 6990 set with the white bricks where some were yellowed unevenly and some were yellowed and some were still white. I did use the peroxide and they all look very good when the set is built and I am pretty picky with color. You can't see the difference or tell which bricks were soaked and which never got touched. So maybe the set you saw wasn't done very well. The Oxyclean is not a good idea. It tends to "dry" the bricks out and leave them feeling brittle.
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    Anyone try dyeing yellowed bricks back to white again? Like what's being talked about on the dyeing thread?
  • LaziterLaziter Member Posts: 76
    I hate to break it to you..
    Sunlight does some things, but it's not the only cause of yellowing bricks.
    Humidity and heat does its toll too. Heat, as you all know, expand things, even plastic. Humidity carries particles such as dust and even smaller particles.
    As plastic is not an even material, it will attract those small particles and they may eventually "set" in plastic.
    While the above is very common, UV rays has a factor too. UV is natures own bleach. Believe or not, but white is not a color, it's a shade. That shade will turn yellow over time if exposed to UV rays (I still refuse to call it light), the same UV rays are emitted from just about any electrical lightsource you can find (some are more enhanced that others, commonly used for reptiles).

    It is possible to avoid the yellow effect; Clean the bricks every now and then, just use what you use to do the dishes by hand.
  • EricEric Queensland, AustraliaMember Posts: 376
    ^ I would say it's too hard/expensive to dye parts at all, let alone the difficult colour of white.

    But, interestingly, I used the peroxide concoction, to very successfully correct my yellowed 5521 Sea Jet, it was very successful, for about 6 months, after which I realised that they had re-yellowed again. So, I would say there is definitely evidence to support the whole, 'stored' sunlight proposal.
  • BanditBandit Member Posts: 890
    ^ there's a current thread going on all about the successful and easy dyeing of parts...
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 3,743 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 10,326
    Well...I soaked my yellowed Legos for 24 hours and not one of them changed back to white. They are going to be donated to my daughter now.
  • @ madforLEGO: I used a plastic container full of H2O2. The colors and shinyness stayed the same except for some parts that still haven't de-yellowed because they were covered up by other parts and some grey parts that started to become white due to overexposure of sunlight.
    To get perfect results would necessitate examining each and every brick separately, turn them so only the yellowed sides get UV exposure, preferably under a lamp but at that point it makes more sense to just buy new bricks unless it's some uncommon 5$ part or figure.
    To say Hydrogen Peroxide based solutions ruin all bricks is a bit harsh, the colors are only noticeably affected if treated too long. For a bulk treatment it is a good solution.
    And on the topic of shinyness that seems to be a general problem of age as well. I had some white wall parts from the 90s, they look unchanged from the Hydrogen Peroxide and I can't even remember them being as shiny as currently produced bricks. Same or worse with the parts I have that were produced in the 60s.

    The real problem with de-yellowing is that my bricks simply yellowed again, even worse than before, in just 6 months. Probably wasn't a good idea to put them straight into storage bins again. I heard of the "allergic" reaction beforehand, that something might stand in UV light for years with no problems but once boxed it would start yellowing very visibly, but I though the treatment would have put a "reset" on that reaction.

    I wonder what would happen if in a couple of years the parts would be treated again and put into an aforementioned "dream room" with no windows? Wouldn't that be just as bad as putting them into boxes or is the small amount of UV light from the electric light enough to work as a deterrent? Now you have to make two rooms, one for sunlight exposed and one for unexposed toys. Sounds to me like the real solution is to just buy it all again.
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