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Improving dishwasher-worn Bakelite

Prior to our providing new Bakelite parts, the only option we knew of restoring faded dishwasher-worn Bakelite to its original look was a complicated process of repeated sanding process with finer and finer sandpaper offered by one restorer.  They came out looking decent but it was a labor intensive (and expensive) process.

Availability of new handles made the a non-issue for many parts, but there are still some that we don’t produce, like the very early Revere Ware cookware handles.  If fading (probably from repeated washing in a dish washer – see our test) is the issue, then we just came across something which might help.

We recently came across a blog post that talks about restoring Revere Ware pots and pans.

Their suggestion for Bakelite is:

What you need to do with these is actually use Mineral oil and rub it into the handles. Let them sit for a while (mine sat for a day) and then wipe off any access oil. This will bring them back to looking good.

From the pictures, there does seem to be quite an improvement:

Before:

After:

There does appear to be considerable improvement, although you can easily tell the difference in the after photo between the original Bakelite shine on one handle, and the rest of them with mineral oil restoration.  For parts that simply aren’t available anymore, it can probably make a difference.

2 Responses to Improving dishwasher-worn Bakelite

  1. Jason Myers April 13, 2021 at 4:16 pm #

    Quick question can you still use Bakelite revereware handles that are worn, or faded. What I mean regards to abestos leaking from handles. AS YOU KNOW they are made with abestos which keeps them from burning.

    • RevereWareParts April 13, 2021 at 6:21 pm #

      To clarify, I don’t believe asbestos is used to prevent the handles from burning. Rather, because it is fibrous, it provides reinforcing strength to the Bakelite. Whatever material used for that purpose needs to be heat resistant, which asbestos is. The chemical composition of the phenolic plastic that is Bakelite has heat resistance all on its own.

      To answer your question, Because the asbestos is fully encapsulated in the Bakelite, I don’t believe it poses any risk. The further deterioration of the Bakelite (which occurs very slowly) happens in the high temperatures of the dishwasher and from exposure to the dishwashing chemicals. Any asbestos released during that deterioration doesn’t become friable and goes down the drain with the wash / rinse water.

      As far as I know, it poses no health risk.

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