To say that I’ve tried my hand at brightening up some of my older machines would be an understatement. I’ve tried doing it to an Amiga 500, an 1200 and even an old Macintosh ADB keyboard that had gone rather yellow. The only success I’ve had to date, was with an Amiga mouse which I changed from smoker’s yellow to having a slight case of jaundice. I’ve never had the shocking ‘Wow’ factor results that other people have posted online, it’s been something of a white whale. So it’s no surprise that every now and then I find myself coming back to have another go, this time with two Apple Pro USB keyboards. Less than 10 years old, both look like they came from a heavy smoking environment, when in actuality they were white when I put them in storage. Clearly, being boxed in the attic has not done them any good. I started with the worst of the two and began stripping it down, removing the keys into an ice-cream tub. I then painted the main keyboard with some 40% Blonde hair bleach, which you can pick up from Boots and Home Bargains here in the UK. In the past I have tried using solutions of Peroxide, mixed with wall paper paste. This ended up ruining the A500 case I had tried restoring. Using the little gold bottle of hair bleach had been suggested to me by Merlin. No not the Wizard(!) but the Amibay username of the chap who came up with Retr0brite to start with. After a lengthy discussion via Skype, where I felt increasingly in over my head, Merlin aka Dave Stevenson finally said I should forget all about mixing bottles and just go for the easy approach. This was great news as up until then I’d begun to think to do Retr0brite you required a PHD in potions and wizardry.
So cancelling my application to Hogwarts, I waited patiently for sunshine and in Yorkshire you have to be patient. Fortunately I was able to bag two good days of sun, albeit with the occasional shower. The results took me by surprise. While the main body of the keyboard had been covered in cream peroxide and wrapped in cling film. I’d submerged the keys in a solution of 40% vol peroxide and hot water, with a little oxi vanish mixed in. The keys had only slightly brightened up, where as the keyboard while not restored to its original ivory white, was noticeably less yellow.
For now, I’m biding my time until we have more sunshine. Then I plan to apply cream to the keys as well and see what the results are. For now I think it is fair to say that I’ve given up using liquid peroxide, in favour of using cream.
So keep watching this space folks!