Telecommunications Tech Blog December 2013
Refurbishing your Own Phones, Computers & Tools is Easy &
By Mike Sandman •
For the most part phones and
computers are more dependable than ever, but they're always getting dirty since
we're always touching them. Pretty much like your car.
There are a ton of phones still out
there that were sold in the late 90s. They still work fine, but they look
terrible. There are lots of computers, monitors and keyboards that work great
but don't look so hot.
The scourge of telephone and computer
refurbishing is the "yellowing" of the plastic by UV light. Whether it's the sun
or fluorescent lights most plastic is not UV stable. So it yellows
There's no way to fix UV discoloring
except by replacing or painting the plastic. But you can use the innards of a UV
discolored device to fix a broken device that's not UV discolored. It will
probably have to be cleaned up, but that's cheap and easy!
Telephone and computer manufacturers
rode the light colored plastic trail as far as they could, making a ton of money
by refurbishing phones and computers that were yellowed (using new plastic).
Almost all the telephone and computer
manufacturers are now selling black, charcoal or dark gray stuff. They don't
look dirty as quickly and don't discolor from UV light, but they don't look very
good when they lose their shine and get dirty / oily.
If you're selling phone systems or
computers where you take stuff in trade there's usually a lot of money to be
made by reselling the stuff as refurbished.
If you have a bunch of dirty phones
and computers on your employees desks you can make your whole office look better
for almost nothing by cleaning the computers and phones, and replacing the
You can't do anything about UV
discoloring except to send the phone out to be refurbished by the manufacturer
(who replaces the plastics), refurbished by a refurbisher with new plastics, or
one of the companies who knows how to paint telephone plastics properly (if done
wrong they look and hold up pretty bad!).
When cleaning phones or computers
it's important to use cleaning chemicals, a brush, and towels that won't damage or scratch
the plastic. Shiny black is the most easily damaged!
I've spent a lot of nights cleaning
used phones I took in trade to sell as refurbished. I test everything on a
working system before I sell it. Through the years we've developed the chemicals
that are needed to clean the phones without damaging them.
Can you do as good a job with stuff
from the hardware store or supermarket? Absolutely, if you figure out which
chemicals won't damage the plastics. We've worked with chemists to come up with
the products that clean the best, the fastest, and without damaging the plastic.
Almost everything I've ever taken in
trade had a sticker on it of some kind. Our Tape & Label Remover makes
fast work of removing them without damaging the plastic. It's a citrus based
product with a lemon scent that works as well for cleaning as it does for
removing stickers. That one product with our Magic Brush (to get in the
grooves) works well for cleaning computers. That's all many of our computer
reseller customers use to refurbish the computers.
Our Telephone Polish does a
great job on black and dark colored plastics to make it look like new.
Our General Telephone Cleaner
does a great job cleaning all plastics, without damaging them.
Our foaming Magic Glass & Utility
Cleaner was originally formulated to clean phone booths. It's such a great
cleaner, that doesn't damage plastics, that some of our customers just use that
to refurbish everything. It also works great on plexiglass and even canvas. It's
about as close to magic as anything I've seen.
Make sure you use a very soft paper
towel. Not a scratchy cheap one that will scratch the plastic.
Be very careful not to rub textured
plastics to get a sticker off. Let the right chemicals soak the dirt or sticker,
then brush or wipe it off. Trying to hurry the process with your fingernail or
scrubbing with a towel will damage the plastic.
If you're selling phones replacing
the mounting, handset cords and paper designation strips and plastic desi
covers makes more satisfied customers, for not much money on your part.
Here's an example of Before:
After about 4 minutes:
I sprayed our General Telephone Cleaner
on the Butt-Set, let it sit for about 2 minutes,
brushed all over and in the grooves and recesses with our Magic Brush (which
is soft enough to not scratch plastic),
wiped it off
with a few paper towels (soft ones so I didn't scratch the plastic) and it
looks like new.
What really makes it hard to sell something is if a
technician wrote BAD on it with a Sharpie. Depending on the surface and
where they wrote it our Vandal Mark Remover might save the device's
plastic? That's pretty mean stuff that has to be tested
before use on any particular item!
Whether you're selling complete systems with service, or
individual items on ebay or craigslist, selling an item that looks like new will
result in happier customers without a lot of expense on your part.
See our Phone & Computer Cleaning
Chemicals and Instructions at: