Thread Number: 8318
Why does white plastic turn fag ash yellow?
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Post# 158120   10/1/2006 at 09:52 (6,015 days old) by robm (Buxted)        

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When I moved to Sussex an intergrated AEG 2200 was left for me. As you can see from the pic one dial has yellowed and the other has not. I remember this happening a lot to Hotpoint Polar white machines, which looked great when bought but over time looked like they'd been in the smoking room.

Does anyone know why this happens so randomly or how to remove the staining?

BTW the AEG (or really Zanussi, I think) is a bit ropey now but not a bad little machine. It's a bit basic and doesn't seem to have a balance sensor which means it can be lively spinning. It does for washing my cats bedding. In the pic it's spinning at 1200rpm.


Post# 158126 , Reply# 1   10/1/2006 at 10:40 (6,015 days old) by westytoploader ()        

I've seen the last of the mid-90's GE Profile Filter-Flo washers with the white control panel, and almost every one has horribly yellowed knobs. Only 1 or 2 of them was still white.

Post# 158130 , Reply# 2   10/1/2006 at 10:48 (6,015 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Rob, I don't know why either. This is one of the reasons why I do not like white-on-white appliances. Friends here built a house in 1987 with that color appliances. Within 5 years the control panel on their Whirlpool dishwasher (the entire panel mind you) had yellowed, the control knob was even yellower, and was a noticeable contrast to the white metal panels on the front of the machine.

Post# 158134 , Reply# 3   10/1/2006 at 11:27 (6,015 days old) by maytagbear (N.E. Ohio)        
It has something to do

with light exposure, and plastic chemistry.

I say it's just "luck of the draw."


Post# 158152 , Reply# 4   10/1/2006 at 13:38 (6,015 days old) by newwave1 (Lincoln, United Kingdom)        

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Its beyond me why machines do that. All i no is it annoys me and i wish they wouldn't or they would make more funky colour machines like they used to lol.

Also..i'd love to know/see abit more bout ya aeg/zanussi! I've always liked that model but never seen anythin other than a pic of them!


Post# 158220 , Reply# 5   10/1/2006 at 18:31 (6,015 days old) by nasadowsk ()        

Yet another 'feature' of plastics :/

I had a Saturn (car) for 12 years. By the time I tossed it, there were body gaps you could stick your fingers into - the plastic body panels ultimately shrink and distort like crazy. I think GM's dumping them thankfully.

The other fun one is the old Kodak 8/Super 8 projectors where the gears are made out of some weird plastic that basically disintegrates over time. Watching a movie then *bam*, motion stops and the film in the gate burns up.

(Too bad Bakelite fell out of favor - that stuff lasts FOREVER)

Post# 158229 , Reply# 6   10/1/2006 at 19:33 (6,015 days old) by johnb300m (Chicago)        

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uh oh. we have one of those ghetto Super8 projectors still. we have alot of movies still on super 8. i don't think my dad's ever going to transfer those over.

Post# 158261 , Reply# 7   10/1/2006 at 21:38 (6,015 days old) by nasadowsk ()        

Here's the GOOD NEWS:

Keep that Super 8 in a good cool, dry, dark place. If it's Kodachrome, it'll keep its color....for decades.

You can still find Super 8 projectors readily, so it's no biggie (yet).

but yeah, any Kodak super 8 projector is basically a time bomb that'll blow up in use.

Post# 158275 , Reply# 8   10/2/2006 at 00:13 (6,015 days old) by dadoes (TX,U.S. of A.)        

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The white plastic timer knob on my F&P DE04 dryer is getting yellowed, but the rest of the panel is not, and neither is the washer's control panel and plastic lid/top.

Post# 158290 , Reply# 9   10/2/2006 at 03:10 (6,015 days old) by robm (Buxted)        
Sunlight exposure

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It's interesting that sun exposure seems to be the cause (thanks for that Maytagbear).

Thinking about it, machines outside secondhand shops can really be very stained, but that could just be age.

It really is annoying and does ruin the look of the machine. It's the equivalant to washing machine wrinkles. Maybe some sun block would help LOL! It's not just humans that need to stay out of the sun eh??

One other odd thing, on the white dial the lettering faded, I wrote the numbers on (badly I must add). But on the yellow dial the lettering is as strong as ever. This makes me think they are of a different sort of plastic.

Post# 158292 , Reply# 10   10/2/2006 at 03:22 (6,015 days old) by robm (Buxted)        
Message to Darren (newwave)

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Hi Darren in answer to your message.

When I moved last year the AEG was left for us. I moved it to our wash house. I think it only dates from about 98 when the previous house owners moved there and installed a new kitchen (the machine was intergrated). I found the price tag in instructions, it was a massive 849 from Seeboard. A rip off I think for a basic WD.

It has a quietish brush motor but the bearings are going. It's fairly sturdy but does shake a bit due to little or no out of balance sensor. Water levels are lowish but it does fill up deep on the last rinse. It spins at 850 and 1200, although a slower spin would be desirable for very delicate clothes. It has basic programme dials, unfortunately the drier dial is broken and it doesn't turn the drier off. All in all it's not bad but I don't think it was worth 849. Like I have heard with a lot of Zanussi's the bearings are starting to fail, making a ball racing sound, so I only use it occassionally.

I would love to do a film but need to install the software to enable me to download from video. Hopefully will do that soon.

Post# 158297 , Reply# 11   10/2/2006 at 03:45 (6,015 days old) by chestermikeuk (Rainhill *Home of the RailwayTrials* Merseyside,UK)        
Mellow Yellow

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Hi Rob

I think its the luck of the draw with the composition of the plastics etc, I dont think its to do with the sun, or smoking, I`ve seen many an appliance in a sunless basement or laundry room with said feature....Hotpoint "Polar White" was the worst...

I picked up a Servis/Hitachi washer dryer that was white when new and now a has a lovely beige tint, am experimenting with flash bleac at the moment!!!


Post# 158350 , Reply# 12   10/2/2006 at 10:06 (6,014 days old) by toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

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oooh you mean cigarette-ash yellow. gotcha

Post# 158359 , Reply# 13   10/2/2006 at 10:25 (6,014 days old) by newwave1 (Lincoln, United Kingdom)        

newwave1's profile picture
It sounds like a fairly nice basic machine. Do you use it very often? I'd love to see some more pics of it if you ever have anytime.

It always bugs me why integral machines seem to rob you of so much cash for very little features. I think if intergral machines were to ever take off they'd need more ranges and features, similar to what fagor of spain do. They've a flashy all singin all dancin electronic intergral unit.

I saw their massive 8kg machine while i was there last and complained as to why my parents only bought a basic machine for our home in spain, when we dont have a basic one at home in UK lol. My Dad didnt schrimp on the TV:P Thought i'd include a pic of the 8kg monster. i was goin to get one until i found out it wasnt goin to be in their uk line.....yet!

Post# 158601 , Reply# 14   10/3/2006 at 17:15 (6,013 days old) by volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        
UV light.

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Some types of plastic, such as those often used for knobs, can become yellowed by exposure to ultraviolet light. The damage can be seen in a yellow color, and an embrittlement of the plastic. UV light comes from the sun, but also from fluorescent lighting. If a dark basement has fluorescent lights, the plastic may still turn yellow and become brittle.

I hope this helps,
Put sunglasses on your appliances!

Post# 158630 , Reply# 15   10/3/2006 at 21:01 (6,013 days old) by gadgetgary (Bristol,CT)        

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My Neptune washer sits under a small fluorescent fixture that I use almost constantly as a nitelite. Interestingly, the washer buttons have 'yellowed' more than the dryer buttons, which sits only a few feet away.

Post# 158635 , Reply# 16   10/3/2006 at 21:08 (6,013 days old) by gadgetgary (Bristol,CT)        

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And here is a picture of the dryer....Notice that the buttons are not as yellowed as the washer.

Post# 158636 , Reply# 17   10/3/2006 at 21:11 (6,013 days old) by toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

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*WOW* interesting Gary.

So does this mean that those (compact screw-in) fluorescents, since they emit UVs light, are also fading fabrics, paint on walls and artwork?

If so, then i'd have to say SO not worth any energy savings if they are indeed destroying the contents of the room..........

Post# 158659 , Reply# 18   10/4/2006 at 00:31 (6,013 days old) by volvoguy87 (Cincinnati, OH)        
More UV Light

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Those compact fluorescent lights are indeed troublesome. I'm in the field of historic preservation and it is a tough balence between energy-efficient fluorescent lights and regular incandescent lights which use lots of energy and make lots of heat. To determine what kind of lighting is the least damaging, look and see what museums are using, particularly art museums. Personally I like the look of carbon filaments, but at $14.00 per bulb, they aren't practical most of the time, but boy do they lend a nice ambiance to a room!

No wonder they always say to store things in cool, dark places,

Post# 158726 , Reply# 19   10/4/2006 at 11:19 (6,012 days old) by cehalstead (Charleston, WV)        
just a thought...

...wonder if the intensity of the "yellowing" is related to the presence/absence of smokers in the house?????

Post# 158736 , Reply# 20   10/4/2006 at 12:11 (6,012 days old) by rp2813 (Sannazay)        

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My '97 Amana pair is starting to show signs of this type of yellowing. Especially the handle on the dryer door. These machines are in a garage with a north facing window and never receive direct sunlight. There is no flourescent lighting. I'm assuming that just indirect sunlight is enough to cause the yellowing.

Post# 158744 , Reply# 21   10/4/2006 at 14:24 (6,012 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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My Miele and AEG sets are in a bathroom with a huge window on the Southwest. They get lots of sunlight on sunny days. I have no problem with plastic parts getting yellow.

Post# 158751 , Reply# 22   10/4/2006 at 15:47 (6,012 days old) by seamusuk (Dover Kent UK)        
Energy saving lamps......

seamusuk's profile picture
My cable company advises they can block the infra red from the remote to the digital decoder, and in certain cases can cause the channel to change randomly!!!.

Cant say ive had any probs tho :)


Post# 158763 , Reply# 23   10/4/2006 at 18:28 (6,012 days old) by toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        
I want HALF It was, after all, my idea........

toggleswitch's profile picture
OK kids there is money to be made here.

My understanding is that a typical fluorescent tube creates UV light by passing current through the tube. The tube's COATING converts it to visible light (It fluoresces.)

All that is needed is a coating that FULLY blocks UV light and some good marketing gimmicks to create a demand.

Post# 158768 , Reply# 24   10/4/2006 at 19:34 (6,012 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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I have a big fluorescent light in my laundry room so I can see stuff. My 1994 Maytag Dependable Care dryer--the buttons are as white as the metal panel and so is the door handle. So, go figure.

Post# 158816 , Reply# 25   10/5/2006 at 04:14 (6,012 days old) by robm (Buxted)        

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It does seem to be a very random thing. You can see on the controls of my machine at top of this thread, the Prog dial is white, the buttons and drying dial are slightly yellow and the temp dial is very yellow. Very bizarre and frankly ennoying.

Has anyone ever mangaged to get rid of it?


Post# 158906 , Reply# 26   10/5/2006 at 10:50 (6,011 days old) by rp2813 (Sannazay)        

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I've noticed this on white telephones also. I have a mid-70's issue Western Electric "Trimline" rotary phone in white and the base for it has yellowed but the handset hasn't. They seem to be made out of the same materials. Maybe it's an issue with the way the batches were mixed or whatever they do at the plastic/resin factory where the molds are made. My mom also has an older AT&T big button phone that she relies on due to vision problems. It has yellowed badly where you grip the handset but is otherwise fine. Maybe body oils have something to do with this too? It seems to only be a problem with white. Almond or beige seem to retain their coloring fine.

Post# 158913 , Reply# 27   10/5/2006 at 11:45 (6,011 days old) by kirk280980 ()        

One thing I've noticed is that yellowing often does not appear consistently amongst different appliances of the same brand. My old Zanussi dishwasher turned an off-white colour, yet the Zanussi dryer and fridge still looked pristine up until the day they were carted off.

Currently have a Zanussi washing machine, and the plastic parts are getting a slight creamy tinge as time goes by. Most of my other appliances - dishwasher, dryer, fridge-freezer and microwave - are Bosch, and none of these have discoloured in the slightest. Can only assume this is down to varying grades of plastic used in different brands/models. Random indeed!

In the past I've tried removing parts and scrubbing them, running them through a dishwasher, soaking in a hot oxygen bleach solution and even using chlorine bleach. Never made the slightest bit of difference, because the discolouration isn't on the surface, rather it's within the plastic itself. In the end I decided not to let it bother me, because it doesn't affect the function of the appliance in any way.

Post# 158925 , Reply# 28   10/5/2006 at 14:10 (6,011 days old) by glamwales ()        
Gloss ?

Could white gloss be used or a plastic spray ?

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