Refreshing Interior Plastic

JSanford

Member
Oct 4, 2019
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When I pulled back the drapes to get to my rear speakers, I discovered my rear speaker grills appear to have been painted white. This is really odd since the plastic rear cap is a putty color. The back side of the speaker grills are bare putty colored plastic. I thought perhaps they had oxidized like some old plastic does, but I think it is paint. I have fixed chalky oxidized plastics by using a heat gun in the past, but when I tried that on the speaker grills they burned and melted (you can see the damage in the lower left corner). I tried a non-toxic paint stripper, but by itself it didn't have much effect. I used a palm sander with a scotchbrite style pad with the paint stripper, which had moderate effect. Lastly I got pretty aggressive with a stiff wire brush I got about 98% down to the bast putty plastic.

Yes, yes, I know, the speakers are hidden behind the drapes and no one is ever going to see them, but I am anal like that and will lie awake at night with those thing taunting me 😵

Anyone else had this issue or know of a good way to strip paint off plastic?

Here is the one I have done and the other one that I have not done yet, the back side is untouched.

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tmsnyder

Member
Oct 7, 2019
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Seems like I remember there being a product / cleaner / whitener that was activated by sunlight, for getting the old yellowed plastic white again. I'd never do it personally but remember seeing someone was doing it. Too high a risk of breaking that old fragile plastic imo. My plan is to clean and spray it all with a reasonable off white color, not a bright white spray bomb though.
 

JSanford

Member
Oct 4, 2019
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Hydrogen peroxide, in the form of Salon Care 40 Cream Developer, works great for restoring old plastic that has turned yellow from UV exposure. I have had great results turning old clock radio cabinets white by coating with Salon Care and then putting them in a plastic bag in the sun.

I guess it is possible that the white on my speaker grills is some sort of UV damage. A round of Salon Care can't hurt I guess.
 
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tmsnyder

Member
Oct 7, 2019
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You might have to whiten the plastic that wasn't painted, and then color match paint to re-coat the one that was painted in order to get it to match. Maybe?
 

JBurt

New member
Oct 8, 2019
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Fresno. CA.
It looks to me like your speaker covers have been painted. My unpainted speaker covers and headliners have turned a darker brown with age.
Anyway, here is a link to reversing UV damage on ABS.
I plan on using this technique on my headliners when I get to that part of my list. I don't know if it actually reconditions the plastic so it's not so brittle, but I doubt it.
 

JSanford

Member
Oct 4, 2019
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You can skip all the other ingredients in "retrobrite" and just use straight Salon Care 40, or any other 40% peroxide hair "bleach."

My plastic headliner caps are more of a putty color. I don't think they were bright white to begin with.
 

JSanford

Member
Oct 4, 2019
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A several hour soak in a product called "Motsenbocker's Lift Off Spray Paint and Graffiti Remover" followed by scrubbing with a soft wire brush got most all of the white paint off.

Now the speaker grills blend in better with the plastic walls. Of course one I put the curtains back you won't see any of it LOL

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Kevin F

New member
Oct 9, 2019
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Were the walls originally white or where they a cream color? I always thought they were white and browned out due to sunlight over time?