If you've noticed the plastics on your Midi Controller keyboard and keys turning yellow, I just may have a solution to bring those yellowing keys back to pearly whites.

I did a post a while back on how many things I bought that were made with plastic were disintegrating and turning into a gooey mess. I never thought my Midi Control Keyboard would stand the same plight, but... apparently I was wrong.

I purchased Brand new a E-MU XBoard 25 midi controller keyboard back in 2007-2008. I may have had it out of the box all of a couple months before having to box it back up and put it in storage. AC'd storage that is. I took it out again a few years back for again maybe all of a month before again boxing it up and putting it into ac storage.

Fast forward to the beginning of December 2016 I had an opportunity with a newly acquired PC that I turned into a DAW system, the one I'm typing on as a matter of fact, to again pull out my trusty E-MU XBoard 25. But this time when I did, i noticed immediately, the whole thing had yellowed. And the pitch control had turned sticky. Just fracking GREAT! I thought. I hardly got a chance to use it and now it too has turned and started to disintegrate.

Looking around on the internet i noticed those for sale on Ebay such as the one seen below had also turned yellow. Especially the keys.

With mine, it was the entire controller had yellowed. In addition, the pitch wheels had turned sticky. The USB cable was the worse....

I tried some cable cleaner on the cable... nothing I know of is going to bring it back to clear. It's permanently yellowed I would imagine.

But I took a chance on my controller using a product for cleaning yellowed car headlights. In my case, Meguiar's PlastX. And it worked!

Now before you go rubbing a headlight cleaner all over your yellowed midi controller. I suggest you test a spot first. The bottle I have of Meguiar's is not the newest formula either. I picked this bottle up a few years ago before they changed the formula. The new stuff is crap by the way.

Another musician who saw what I was doing to mine said he uses something for acrylic to bring his keys back white. He said it's like water, not a liquid paste like the PlastX I used. I don't know exactly what he is using but I have my suspicion it's Novus.

If you want to do what I did... here's what you'll need.

A Plastic cleaner.
An Applicator cloth and Polish cloth.
Some Q-Tip swabs.

And so you know, my 25 key controller took about an hour and a half to thoroughly clean and polish it. I did the whole thing, including in between and on the sides of the keys. Judge how long your's will take depending on how completely you plan on cleaning and polishing yours.

Keep in mind it does not take much plastic cleaner. Use it extremely sparingly, And rub it into the cloth first then apply it to the controller.

It may be a little difficult to discern as I took all the pics with my phone in not the best of lighting. But my controller we pretty dang yellow. Below are pics as I went along.

The control knobs before and after...

Before on left - After on right

You can see below after removing the control knobs how different the right side is from middle C left side.

Half way there, with control knobs removed..

Interface done, control knobs put back on...
The control interface now completed along with half the keys.

The amount of yellowing being removed is evidant by what was on the rags and Q-Tips I used.

Q-Tips for tight spots and sides of keys

Yellow Brown from the keys and black from the silver.

PlastX removed even the heavy yellowing!

An hour and half later, my E-MU XBaord 25 was finally finished and looking a heck of a lot better.
What a freakin' pain, but definitely worth it,

Finished Polishing!

As for the sticky pitch wheels, I found after a couple weeks just being in the air helped a little. And using them took away most of the stickiness.

For me, and for the moment, it's time to repack my controller away till next time I get a chance to take it out again.

And back in the box it goes,,,

At least the silver is silver and the keys white and black again. How long will this last till I have to do it again?

...only time will tell.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!
- chase -

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