How to remove yellowing on refrigerator plastic

Updated November 21, 2016

Open any refrigerator and you're likely to be greeting by an abundance of white plastic. Pure and pristine, white plastic gives the appliance a fresh look. However, over time even the most immaculate refrigerator will gradually begin to yellow. Sunlight, age, excessive heat, exposure to dust and dirt, transfer oils from the hands and chemical reactions from household cleaners can cause white plastic to take on a dingy appearance. However, there are a few everyday items that can be used to brighten white plastic and safely remove the yellow.

Pour ½ cup of baking soda into a small bowl. Add enough distilled white vinegar to form a heavy paste. In addition to having natural bleaching properties, baking soda is slightly abrasive. When mixed with a weak acid, like vinegar, the resulting cleanser dissolves sticky residue while gently scrubbing away stained surface materials.

Apply the mixture to any discoloured areas of the refrigerator with an old toothbrush. Scrub gently, moving the bristles in small circles. Wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove the cleanser. If the yellow is still visible, repeat the treatment or try a different remedy.

Soak a soft cloth in lemon juice. Wring the cloth to remove any surplus fluid and then place the damp fabric over the yellowed plastic. Once the entire stain is covered with material, secure the cloth with clothes pins. Leave the cloth in place for two to four hours, adding more lemon juice, if needed, to keep the fabric moist.

Remove the cloth and visually assess the results. If any discolouration remains, sprinkle 1 tsp of table salt over the stain. Rub the area briskly with a wet sponge and then rinse with cool water.

Dab whitening toothpaste over any remaining yellow areas. Cover the stains in a thick layer of paste and then scrub with the damp bristles of an old toothbrush. Wipe the excess toothpaste away with a wet sponge and repeat if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Old toothbrush
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Lemon juice
  • Clothes pins
  • Table salt
  • Sponge
  • Whitening toothpaste
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About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.