Author Topic: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500  (Read 2703 times)

Offline cloyd

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Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« on: May 31, 2016, 08:16:38 PM »
I read the thread about improving the color of the plastic phones using peroxide.  I didn't see anyone talking about black phones.  The black WE500 (1957) that I have has very brownish staining to the white numbers and letters.  In cleaning the phone I suspect tobacco, possibly, chewing tobacco.  I know, gross.  All over the phone.  Anyway, was treating the black phones not mentioned because they are so easy or because you just can't peroxide them without ruining them?  What can I use?

Tina
-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- 1885

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2016, 08:49:14 PM »
Probably the best way to improve the numbers & letters would be sanding. I don't think bleach or peroxide would be a good idea though I have never tried it. The number rings can be sanded to remove the outer layers, the white is injected through the back and goes all the way through. Just follow the threads about wetsanding, there are a few. I start with 400 for badly faded phones, maybe 600 grit would be OK for the dial ring, then just work up to 800, 1000, 1200 & finish with 1600.
Harry Smith
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unbeldi

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2016, 09:22:32 PM »
Yes, I also suspect that the yellowing is nicotine and other airborne organics settling on the surface.

While those might bleach with Clorox or peroxide too,  I would first scrub the set thoroughly with a good kitchen cleaner.  I particularly love Fantastic.  It works well on all sorts of organic deposits and has a bleaching component too.   I don't know how many gallons of Fantastic I have gone through just cleaning telephone housings and parts. At Costco they have the big refill bottles.  I use it on all sorts of parts, even the metal bases, PVC and Neoprene cords, and once a while even on dials before I put them into the ultrasonic cleaner.  On nicotine stained housings I brush the surface with a stiff tooth brush under frequent spraying, once a while rinsing in hot water.

While there is probably no reason to believe that black housings do not discolor from flame-retardant fillers in the plastic, the black color easily masks the discoloration, it seems.   The main reason for using the oxidizers (bleach, peroxide) is to save the effort of sanding that Harry just described, which is very hard for fine details on the surface, or tight corners and such. But when the discoloration is from airborne deposits, cleaning is easier and quicker than bleaching or sanding.

« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 09:26:00 PM by unbeldi »

Offline cloyd

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2016, 01:28:56 PM »
Thank you for the advice.  I'll try sanding at this point.

Unbeldi, you mentioned using the ultrasonic cleaner with dials.  I have wondered about using my little ultrasonic cleaner with dials.  May I have some details?  How long? detergent? What kind of machine do you have? How do you dry them?

Thank you,
Tina
-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- 1885

unbeldi

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2016, 03:13:16 PM »
Thank you for the advice.  I'll try sanding at this point.

Unbeldi, you mentioned using the ultrasonic cleaner with dials.  I have wondered about using my little ultrasonic cleaner with dials.  May I have some details?  How long? detergent? What kind of machine do you have? How do you dry them?

Thank you,
Tina

I guess the time depends entirely on the power of the unit.  With mine I use the highest setting, 15 minutes, and then maybe another 5 or 10.  For some reason it seems also used to have cleaned fast when it was new.    Just using water is not enough, I use a good shot of Dawn Powerclean.
Last time it may have been too strong:


LOL.

unbeldi

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2016, 03:42:47 PM »
After the cleaning cycle it might be good to add another one in clean water, but I just rinse well, shake it out, and let it dry in air.
Then the dial should be oiled.


Ok, you don't have to disassemble the dial. I just did that in this case, because it was entirely frozen, and could not be rotated at all. Perhaps I'll write about that separately.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 03:45:24 PM by unbeldi »

Offline NorthernElectric

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2016, 06:05:34 PM »
Spray 9 works great on smoke stains, maybe rubbing alcohol too.  Another idea is a magic eraser or no-name melamine sponge.
Cliff

Offline cloyd

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2016, 09:12:55 AM »
Just using water is not enough, I use a good shot of Dawn Powerclean.
Last time it may have been too strong:  LOL.

Too much Dawn Powerclean turns brass bits into gold jewelry?!  I think that I'll try that right away!
Tina
-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- 1885

Offline cloyd

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2016, 09:15:25 AM »
Spray 9 works great on smoke stains, maybe rubbing alcohol too.  Another idea is a magic eraser or no-name melamine sponge.

Cliff,
Thanks for the tip.  After Spray Nine was praised for cleaning grungy cords, I went out and found some.  I'll give it a try.
Tina
-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- 1885

unbeldi

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2016, 09:20:45 AM »
Too much Dawn Powerclean turns brass bits into gold jewelry?!  I think that I'll try that right away!
Tina

Ah, I forgot to mention... the secret of the alchemists.
No wonder, I was missing a few parts later.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 09:24:23 AM by unbeldi »

Offline Pourme

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2016, 09:43:05 PM »
Unbeldi, are you familiar with the ultra sonic cleaner sold by Harbor Freight?... If not is there one particular one you would recommend?
Benny

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Offline Weco355aman

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2016, 01:37:54 AM »
Clean the number ring. Place it in the sun for 2 day's. This will make the white brighter. I do this with Beige, ivory, black, moss green, ITT ash, and most dark colors. Blue, white, needs hydrogen Peroxide and sun. 
Phil

Offline 19and41

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2016, 02:13:19 PM »
Dawn liquid is a good cleaner, but I have had some problems with it corroding metals.  The dispenser I used with it used a stainless steel ball as a check valve and it corroded a hole in it with prolonged exposure.  It would drip from time to time into my stainless steel sink and it ate a crater out of that too.  Changed to Palmolive and problem ended.
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unbeldi

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2016, 03:09:13 PM »
Dawn liquid is a good cleaner, but I have had some problems with it corroding metals.  The dispenser I used with it used a stainless steel ball as a check valve and it corroded a hole in it with prolonged exposure.  It would drip from time to time into my stainless steel sink and it ate a crater out of that too.  Changed to Palmolive and problem ended.

Well, store in plastic.
Even water corrodes many metals.

unbeldi

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Re: Whitening numbers on a black WE 500
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2016, 03:11:06 PM »
Unbeldi, are you familiar with the ultra sonic cleaner sold by Harbor Freight?... If not is there one particular one you would recommend?

Nope, and no.
I just bought one that had a large tank and whose price I couldn't resist.