Couldn't find anything about this, so thought I'd ask here.
I have quite a few old screwdrivers that have been stored in metal
toolboxes in a damp, but not wet, basement. Over the years I've
noticed a tough, white coating appear on the handles of some of the
Is this some sort of mildew, or a chemical separation of the plastic
of the handles, or...?
I've found it pretty difficult to clean this stuff off - is there a
particular solvent that would be best to use?
Thanks for any info...
I would agree that it is simple deterioration of the plastic. To
"spruce them up," you might see if the "Fusion" plastic paint in some
suitable color might help. Make sure to get all the grease off -- a
good detergent, or run them through the dishwasher (the chief domestic
engineer might not be pleased, however).
Be *very* carefull with acetone. It temporarily disolves plastic and
turns plastic to goo. If you use a flash coating to "spruce it up" be
very carefull not to touch it while it is in the goo state. Touch it
and one's fingerprint will become a permenant feature.
fI don't think oxidation is the right word, but yes, it comes from the
plastic itself. Maybe you could paint the handles with lacquer or
something. I have the same problem with specific tools, not
necessarily old ones, and once I found out it wasn't mold, I stopped
worrying about it.
Older cellulose acetate/butyrate plastics would absorb a bit of
moisture and 'whiten'. When thoroughly dried, the effect disappeared.
Try drying them out by exposure to a modest temperature of maybe 140 F
or so for a while, That should not distort the plastic and ought to
speed up any moisture migration. Worth a try.
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