Sunday, November 20, 2011

Knitting Machine Yellowed? Make It White Again!

Time and sunlight will yellow any knitting machine. Although a yellowed machine is just as good as a white one, I prefer the white/beige color the machines were when purchased new. The knitting machine at the top of this blog page was whitened using the below process.

Here are two-(2) pictures of a carriage I whitened:



I did some snooping around and developed a recipe to whiten the plastic back to it's original color. You must disassemble the plastic parts from the machine and carriages - no exceptions. Then just mix up the recipe, spread it on, place the parts in plastic bags or cover with plastic wrap so they do not dry out during the process. Once this is done place in the sun or under a UV light until whitened. Once completed simply wash off with a mild dish washing liquid and water, dry and reassemble! Simple.

Here is the recipe I use:

1-Cup 40 Volume Clear Hair Peroxide (you can purchase at a beauty supply "Sally" has it)

1-Tablespoon Xanthan Gum powder (Wal-Mart Super Center has it in the baking aisle) - used by folks who avoid gluten, a thickening agent that does not need heat

½-Teaspoon Glycerin (again Wal-Mart in the vitamin area) - this is optional - it is used to help the solution "stick" to the plastic

1-Teaspoon Oxy Clean - any brand of laundry oxygenator - diluted in 2 tablespoons VERY hot water

In a blender, pour in the peroxide and xanthan, blend for approximately 5- 10 seconds. Add the glycerin (if using) and Oxy Clean, blend another 5 seconds. The mixture is done.

I applied to the surfaces of the plastic using latex gloves (hair peroxide is a much stronger version of the one we use on minor cuts) and a silicone pastry brush. Once all areas were well covered, I either placed them in a zip-lock bag or wrapped them in kitchen plastic wrap (to repent drying). Now for the important in the sun! The UV rays that caused the yellowing will now act as the catalyst to remove the yellowing. After an hour in the sun, the difference was incredible. I check for "dry" spots and reapplied if needed. The "baking" process took 2-4 hours depending on how yellow the piece was. The items can also be placed under a UV light indoors, not a black light.

If you need any assistance, please email me, I would be happy to help!


  1. Hi Tom
    How do you think I would get on with my massive collection - I dunno what it is in Brittany but so many of my gorgeous machines have turned or are turning that horrendous Nicotine Yellow - and I hate it - one thing about my vintage machines - the colours are still beautiful,

    Kind regards, Maggi

  2. Hi Tom,
    How would I restore a Brother electronic kh930? I am nervous about the electronics.

    1. Hi Judy. Just take the plastic covers off, it is easy to remove any of the electronic components and etc. You only want the white plastic to undergo the whitening.

  3. Hello Tom,
    Thank you for this. Is it okay to store the leftovers in a glass jar?
    Kind regards

  4. Hi, I have a couple of questions. Would you recommend a second application? Does this mixture expand to about 4 or 5 times is original volume? (mine did) It became very frothy, and because Anne asked if you could store leftovers in a jar, I'm assuming hers did not. My first application did wonders but I still have darker plastic on the side where it was left in a window (not by me)