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04-1-2018 09:51:03  #1


Nicotine on white plastic keys

Hi all,
  I did a search for this topic and I didn't see it, so hopefully someone has some advice. I was just given a Montegomery Ward Signature 300 and the previous owner was apparently a heavy smoker. The white plastic keys are really stained. I have tried dish soap, rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, oxi clean in water mixture and a few other household cleaners (haven't tried scrubbing bubbles yet) that are safe for plastics. I'm making some progress but I haven't been able to return the keys to completely white. The whole key isn't yellow, it's basically like a fingerprint. Does anybody have tried and true methods for getting the nicotine off the keys? Thanks!!
Jeff

 

04-1-2018 13:10:46  #2


Re: Nicotine on white plastic keys

How about the rest of the machine? It's probably got stains too. I have used ammonia to clean all manner of stuff off the keys, and it seems to work well on the shell of the machines too. You may in the end, though, just not be able to get those stains completely off the keys. Maybe hydrogen peroxide (consumer strength) may work too.

I've never checked whether there are any products on the market aimed specifically at removing nicotine stains. Others may have some ideas too.

 

04-1-2018 13:32:47  #3


Re: Nicotine on white plastic keys

Hi Jeff

​If it is nicotine or tar on the keys, Scrubbing Bubbles® will lift it off. Lift the inner workings out of the plastic case so the keys and space bar are out in the open and set the machine in the kitchen sink. The keys must be completely dry before you start. Spray Scrubbing Bubbles® directly onto the keys and let soak for 10 to 30 seconds. If the white foam turns brown, you know it's working. Scrub the keys with a soft bristled dish brush and rinse off with hot water being careful not to get any water into the inner workings, then dry off with a soft cloth or towel.

​If this does not work, the plastic of the keys has probably oxidized due to the fire retardant 'bromine' in the plastic turning brown. If this is the case, you'll need to use a home made solution called Retro-Brite to actually reverse the molecular level change in the plastic's chemical make up. Do a Google search on "retrobrite" and all sorts of pages will come up giving you the recipe, method of use and length of time to keep the plastic parts in the solution. Hope this points you in the right direction,

​Sky

 

05-1-2018 21:12:21  #4


Re: Nicotine on white plastic keys

Thanks for the advice! I used the scrubbing bubbles and I actually wrapped the remainder of the machine in plastic wrap so I wouldn't get anything in there. Although the keys look a bit brighter, I think I will have to go with the retrobrite. The interesting thing is that the keys are not uniformly yellow which is what brought me to the nicotine idea in the first place. Side note, I googled retrobrite as you suggested and it's quite a debated subject on best formulation.
Jeff

     Thread Starter
 

06-1-2018 09:15:05  #5


Re: Nicotine on white plastic keys

I would not have thought that it was nicotine - to deposit enough of it from the fingers to the keys to leave a visible stain would be nigh impossible.  Even folk who 'chew tobacco', and spit out a brown fluid regularly would not have it on their hands.


Sincerely,
beak.
 
 

06-1-2018 11:51:18  #6


Re: Nicotine on white plastic keys

The keys do look visibly better today after the scrubbing bubbles. The yellowing is confined to certain parts of the keys and it's almost textured for lack of a better word, like 30 year old cheeto dust left on the keys to harden!

     Thread Starter
 

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