Rejuvenate Your Vehicles Stained Or Discolored Interior Plastic
What Causes Plastic To Be Stained And Discolored?
A vehicle's interior plastic can be made up of the following materials: acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), ABS/polycarbonate alloys, polycarbonates, polypropylene, SMA (styrene-maleic anhydride) resins, modified polyphenylene ether (PPE). When UV light makes contact with the plastic for long periods of time it eventually pulls the chemicals in the plastic to the surface causing a white/yellow look. Plastic can also be stained by a spilled soda or coffee if not cleaned for several days.
Can Oxidized Plastic Be Restored?
The short answer is yes. There are a few ways to restore plastic to it's original color. The first way which is popular is by cleaning the part and painting it with 40% peroxide, then saran wrap it with clear plastic and place it in the sun. The UV light interacts with the peroxide causing the hydrogen in the peroxide to bond with the plastic chemicals reverting it back to the original color. This solution I find doesn't last quite as long and eventually starts to whiten/yellow again. The next way is to use a plastic polishing compound that can rejuvenate the plastic, again I believe this is to be a temporary fix and doesn't last as long as my solution. The method I use consists of sandpaper and a propane torch.
With the prices of interior plastic it can get very costly. Another popular reason would be, with older collectible vehicles most people can't find the automotive replacement parts anymore at that point it boils down to it's either deal with a not so good looking accessory, or rejuvenate it yourself. Keep reading, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome!
Why Not Just Buy New Interior Plastic?
Prepping The Interior Plastic
The first step is to clean the plastic thoroughly. You can use rubbing alcohol or any household cleaner. I chose to use Purple Power and then washed the parts off with a hose until they felt grippy. Now you're ready for the rejuvenation process.