Tough white coating on old screwdriver handles


Hello,
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 oldest screwdrivers.
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...
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Mr. Land wrote: ...

If they're very old, I'd expect it is simply oxidation of the plastic. Not much can do about it if so...
--
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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).
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professorpaul wrote:

pretty up screwdrivers in the factory before shipping.
-- aem sends...
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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.
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replying to dpb, dr007 wrote:

Use your propane or MAPP torch on it. Be gentle at first until you get the feel.
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On Fri, 19 Jul 2013 02:52:25 +0000, dr007

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.

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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.
Joe
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Thanks for all the replies, folks. Thought I had a super-fungus rampant in my toolboxes. Cheers.
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On Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 1:28:59 PM UTC-4, Mr. Land wrote:

I don't know the cause of this problem, but the handles do clean up nicely with a scotch pad and some water. I found the coating comes off very easily.
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On Sat, 18 Jul 2015 11:42:40 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I am willing to bet Mr. Land found the answer about eight years ago right after he posted his question. Sheesh.
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Probably not.
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On 7/18/2015 5:23 PM, Gordon Shumway wrote:

still stinks, year later.
--
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Christopher A. Young
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On 7/18/2015 2:42 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Hmm. Question from 2008, finally answered?
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Christopher A. Young
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com writes:

If you had read the whole thread (from 2008), you would know more than you would want to know about the subject.
--
Dan Espen

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On Sat, 18 Jul 2015 11:42:40 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

But he said the coating was tough, so I guess he knows HIS coating doesn't come off easily.
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