Appliances such as refrigerators are often made of white plastic. While this may lend a pristine, clean look to the kitchen, white plastic has a tendency to yellow over time and with use. This discoloration is particularly obvious on parts such as door handles, which are repeatedly exposed to dirt and oils. Age and exposure to light or heat also can cause yellowing. While it is not always possible to completely restore white plastic, simple home treatments can help reduce the yellowing and improve the overall appearance of the refrigerator.
Pour 1 cup of baking soda into a bowl and add enough water to make a thick paste. Spread the paste over any areas of discoloration and scrub gently with a damp sponge. Baking soda is mildly abrasive and is also a natural bleaching agent. The combination of effects should help lighten the yellowing. For a stronger cleaning agent, replace the water with distilled white vinegar. Rinse the baking soda away with a damp cloth. If any yellow remains, repeat as needed.
Mix 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach into 2 cups of water. Soak an old rag in the bleach water and wring the cloth out lightly, removing any excess fluid. Place the damp cloth over any yellow plastic, enveloping the affected area. Secure the cloth with clothespins and leave it in place for up to four hours. Remove the cloth and rinse the treated area with a wet cloth to remove any residual bleach.
Treat any remaining stains by scrubbing the affected areas gently with whitening toothpaste. Apply a dime-size dollop of toothpaste to a damp sponge and rub it against the yellow areas, using small, circular motions. Wipe the excess toothpaste away with a damp cloth.