How to Turn ABS Plastic Tubs From Yellow to White

Updated July 20, 2017

Other than plastic wash tubs, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic can be found everywhere in your home and car. That's because it's light, cheap and easy to manufacture. Common examples of ABS include the trim on your car, kitchen utensils and your keyboard and mouse. When working with most plastics, you must use solvents such as acetone in order to strip the top layer before painting. However, this is usually unnecessary when working with ABS, since sanding its surface will remove any wax or paint adhering to it.

Scuff the entire surface of the tubs with 220 grit sandpaper. Your goal is to remove the top layer of the tubs. Roughen the surface, but do not make deep scratches in the plastic.

Scuff the entire surface of the tubs with 600 grit sandpaper. The entire surface should no longer feel smooth.

Wash the tubs with soap and water. Ensure that no dust or particles from sanding remain.

Rinse the tubs with water. Allow them to air dry thoroughly.

Spray the surface of the tubs with a light coat of solvent-based paint. Water-based paint will not adhere to ABS. Allow the tubs to dry for two hours, then apply a second coat.

Let the tubs dry for 24 hours.


Solvents such as acetone make removal of any paint easier.


Always paint in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper, 220 grit
  • Sandpaper, 600 grit
  • Sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Solvent-based spray paint
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About the Author

A Los Angeles native, Arthur Ramsay has been a writer since 2005. His work has appeared in the "San Gabriel Valley Tribune" and "Do It Yourself" magazine. He is earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at California State University in Los Angeles.