Asked on Sep 04, 2014

Yellowed refrigerator door handles

Any suggestions on how I can brighten my handles up when cleaning my refrigerator? Thanks

Yellowing on handles especially toward the bottom
  27 answers
  • Debbie Harris Debbie Harris on Sep 04, 2014
    Have you tried a bleach wash? Or the Mr. Clean erasers?
    • See 1 previous
    • Z Z on Sep 06, 2014
      @Christine, I think the best way to resolve this would be to remove the handles and use Kylon Fusion Spray Paint for plastics. You could even dress up the fridge by painting them a color that matches your kitchen decor.
  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Sep 06, 2014
    You may have to replace the handles to get them white again. I'd first try bleaching them though. If you take them off the doors it would be easier to soak. Problem is that the bleach breaks down the finish and the plastic becomes brittle, and stains easily.
  • Marianna Martyniuk Marianna Martyniuk on Sep 07, 2014
    I have a similar problem with my fridge, especially in the water trap so I use a product to break down water stains on mine. It is a cleaner for limescale like you use in the kettle or on bathroom taps that have gone a bit white. Don't leave it on too long or it will work through the paint!
  • Marianna Martyniuk Marianna Martyniuk on Sep 07, 2014
    In England it is called Lime Lite or Cif bathroom spray whatever I have in the house that removes limescale. I can buy a thickened one here which works quite well but I am on holiday at the moment so I can't look under my kitchen sink.
  • Marianna Martyniuk Marianna Martyniuk on Sep 07, 2014
    Viakal just remembered!
  • Z Z on Sep 07, 2014
    @Christine, I think the best way to resolve this would be to remove the handles and use Kylon Fusion Spray Paint for plastics. You could even dress up the fridge by painting them a color that matches your kitchen decor if you wanted to.
    • See 2 previous
    • BootzB BootzB on Sep 08, 2014
      @Christine Willson You can usually find the 'specs' for appliances online, the schematics show how to remove and ID all parts. Or replacement appliance handles can be purchased, I broke a few oven parts and was able to replace with new. Search (your brand) replacement handles. Aside: I had great luck with heavy duty majic eraser on textured fridge handles I also love the idea of painting... make them an accent color, like exclamation points! (
  • Liz Liz on Sep 07, 2014
    We had a refrigerator with handles that were all yellowed too! When we had to look for a new refrigerator(that one broke), the salesman told us that you'll never get rid of the yellowing. It's the sunlight that does it. Before I that I had tried everything from spray cleaners to straight bleach! You could probably replace the handles with stainless ones?
  • Barbara C Barbara C on Oct 10, 2014
    It is not the sunlight that makes it Yellow.It is the natural oil and dirt from your hands that builds up over years of opening the door.The handles are easy to replace.Order from your manufacturer parts dept.catalog on line.
  • Christine Willson Christine Willson on Oct 10, 2014
    I tried reordering. I like the idea of painting, just have to figure out how to remove them!, thanx to all :)
  • Janice D'Amico Janice D'Amico on Oct 13, 2014
    I'm sorry to disagree, but it is something other the oil from your hands. I've had this happen on 2 fridges and a microwave. The yellowing is to consistent, and runs from one end to the other. The handles are a different type of plastic than the rest of the fridge and they age differently. I think painting them or ordering new ones are your only choices.
  • Jean Jean on Oct 13, 2014
    i have always had the best of luck with bleach wipes and magic erasers they do wonders for those handles, i would be leary of painting them because it would have to be redone so often to keep up with it....good luck to you and your handles
  • Laurie Powell Laurie Powell on Oct 14, 2014
    I have the problem of yellowing on all of my white appliances with white plastic handles, even my microwave! None of them are in direct sunlight. Time is the enemy.
  • Susan Ledoux Herring Susan Ledoux Herring on Oct 30, 2014
    I agree that it is not the sunlight but is the oil from your hands. I make sure that I wipe the handles down after doing dishes. Works for me.
    • Sam2678235 Sam2678235 on Oct 18, 2015
      @Susan Ledoux Herring No, it is not oil from hands. The yellowing occurs all over the plastic, and is too uniform and widespread to be the result of oily hands. If it was, it would be localized toward the center of the handle. It is the result of UV rays from sunlight and/or fluorescent lighting.
  • Phoebe anne Phoebe anne on Oct 31, 2014
    Me too! yellowing handles, no sunlight, tried magic erasers, bleach cleaners, etc., and concluded it was not anything that could be removed. I'd recently bought some appliance touch-up paint (in a little nail polish type bottle), so I grabbed that and slapped it on the worst part. It doesn't seem to show up as a repair and seems to be working.
  • TwilaB TwilaB on Oct 31, 2014
    You can try a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. This also happens if there are smokers in the house.....
  • Bernice H Bernice H on Oct 31, 2014
    @Z I agree with you. I would as suggested, paint a silver or chrome or stainless color, then seal with a poly? I do not agree it is the oils from our hands etc that yellows the plastic. I just looked at my oven door, there are 2 different plastics on the handle, the handle is not yellow but the ends of the handle are yellow, a different textured plastic. my refrig handle is not yellow, it is a smooth plastic, but the ends of the handle, a different plastic are yellow. Same with my microwave; where the touch buttons are is all yellow, but the rest of the plastic in the mic itself is not. The whole button panel is yellowed, but I do not put my hands all over the panel, so my thinking is ..the type of plastic used. I don't know if Kevin @KMS Woodworks is still with us, but I am sure he can explain the difference, he was in a science/chemical type of field if I remember correctly. anyway, for what it is worth, but @Christine Willson do let us know what you do. I just noticed another posting on yellow appliance plastic too. wow!
  • Tim D. (The Retro Den) Tim D. (The Retro Den) on Nov 02, 2014
    Remove the door handles and spray with three light coats of Rustoleums 2x. Emphasis on the work light... Three thin coats an hour or so apart are better that One thick coat...Then spray with two coats,of their clear spray... Both dry very quickly. But best to wait 24 hours... Me curing in the sun helps too. Problem solved
    • See 5 previous
    • Tim D. (The Retro Den) Tim D. (The Retro Den) on Nov 21, 2014
      Christine...excellent... Glad it worked out for you
  • Tim D. (The Retro Den) Tim D. (The Retro Den) on Nov 03, 2014
    Please let me know how you make out?
    • See 1 previous
    • Tim D. (The Retro Den) Tim D. (The Retro Den) on Nov 04, 2014
      Was spraying my kitchen cabinets today and spotted on the can that it says it's for plastic as well just make sure you clean the handles very well before you paint and make sure you rinse the soap off very well and allow the to dry very well... Best of luck. 😎 not sure if you will need to remove the handles or not. All depends on how handy you are. You could just use mashing take as well... Watch out for overspray... That is one tough paint. I spray painted a glass panels door and did not tape off the glass as I thought it would we smile to sprayed off with a razor... So such luck... I was scraping for two days...😖 please let me know how you make out...
  • Kelly Fritz Kelly Fritz on Nov 06, 2014
    I can't seemed to find any screws to dismantle the handles?
  • Christine Willson Christine Willson on Nov 07, 2014
    If u look at the top of my handles and bottom there r flat tabs. I very very carefully with a thin knife popped them off. The screws R now exposed. I am going to do Dons advice a paint.just the tabs, as these r what are mainly yellowed. I'm hoping he will post again or email me exactly what type of paint. The post stopped at "Rustoleum",& and when I clicked I could not see the rest.
  • Barbara C Barbara C on Nov 07, 2014
    Get on a step ladder and follow the handles all the way up. You will find where the handles are attached.
  • Tig850853 Tig850853 on Nov 20, 2014
    The Mr Clean Magic Eraser will take care of this problem! Last weekend I gave each of my appliances a "once over" and I am still admiring how white my fridge handles and microwave look! Usually a hard scrub with the eraser once every 6 months is good enough, with the normal cleaning the rest of the year.
  • Deirdre Sullivan Deirdre Sullivan on Nov 20, 2014
    I also use rubbing alcohol. I will apply with a cotton swap and rub. It usually does the trick on stubborn stains if I don't have bleach on hand.
  • Deirdre Sullivan Deirdre Sullivan on Dec 16, 2014
    the magic eraser works too!
  • Christine Willson Christine Willson on Dec 16, 2014
    I removed handles and spray painted them and they look great!
  • LAWRENCE LAWRENCE on Feb 06, 2021

    Here' a tip from an American PhD chemist: All plastics oxidize when exposed to oxygen (especially noticeable over over long periods of time). The air we breathe is about 20% oxygen. Oxidized plastic is yellow. If the plastic handles were originally white then this oxidation shows up as a yellow discoloration in the plastic over time. Dark plastics, in fact all consumer-grade (inexpensive) plastics oxidize but the yellow discoloration really shows up on a white plastic or light plastic backgrounds. Depending on the type of plastic usually [1] removing the plastic door handle and [2] soaking it in a mixture of 50% vinegar (acetic acid) and 50% distilled water over night will make it white again and it will look like new. After thoroughly drying the handle (24 hr in a warm place), three very light sprays with a clear coat spray such as 'Rustoleum' clear coat spray or equivalent ('Painter's touch' clear coat spray; 'Tremclad' clear coat spray, etc., or any equivalent clear coat spray) will keep your white door handles looking like new for at least 2-3 years. The clear coat spray isolates the plastic in the white door handle from the oxidizing atmosphere thus preserving the plastic's color.

  • Shirley Cobb Shirley Cobb on Apr 26, 2022

    I just whitened mine. With hydrogen peroxide and used enough baking soda to make a paste. Smeared it on left it for 11/2 hrs and white as new.

    • Lisa Lisa on Feb 01, 2023

      I just tried this and have to wait the hour and a half but I could swear I see a difference already! Thank you and celebrating you today 😀