Using Mr Black - restoring sun faded, black plastic trim
What is Mr Black?
Where we live in South East Queensland, we see a hell of a lot of cars on the road with faded, greying plastic trims, and it upsets us.
This happens as the majority of plastic trim on cars is a polymer based ABS plastic, that's not capable of withstanding long term UV and environmental exposure, which is a bit of a bugger as we live in one of the worst places for this! You can spot this type of unsealed plastic on many modern cars, usually black in colour and moulded for bumpers, side skirts, windscreen cowls, side mirrors etc. This type of material slowly degrades over time thanks to "photo-degradation" by the suns' UV rays slowly breaking down the bonds of the plastics polymers. Plastic manufacturers have tried to prevent this by placing UV stabilisers and absorbers in their plastics, however if the plastics are not regularly maintained they will still slowly degrade, fading and greying, then at the end of its life it's very brittle and will crack, meaning they will need to be replaced.
We began the process of developing a trim restorer after testing a few leading retail silicone based products on some faded bumpers. While they looked OK intially, we found them to be a band aid fix, in that they didn't last longer than a couple of weeks, or till the first downpour of rain where they got annoying water run marks from them. For the amount of work needed to apply them, we were not enthused with that result. We then tested a few highly reputed international "professional brands", and although they lasted longer than a month, they did not last anywhere near the 6 to even 12 months promised. We guessed they were simply never intended or built to handle Australian conditions. We then initiated what was to become 3 years of development with our chemists, as we thought we could surely make something better than what was already out there!
Our goal was to make a long lasting, silicone free product, that would restore the plastic to a natural looking finish, that's not affected by the Aussie climate, won't wash off and that is compatible to be used with our washes and protective sealants as well.
We went through 30+ formula revisions that included extensive outdoor, real world weather testing. One of our test bumpers that has the final formula has now been outside in the direct sun and weather for over 2 years, and I'm happy to say the test area we did still looks great, as you can see below.
Evaluating our final formula's of Mr Black on the 1st of March 2018, the image on the right is the same bumper, two years later to the date. Lower right formula is what we went with as it was the nicest to use with epic longevity.
Mr Black is the name we gave this final formula and it's a 100% silicone free trim restorer, that's ideal for rejuvenating your sun damaged and faded unpainted exterior plastics. It's designed to work on unpainted, black textured plastics such as: bumpers, mirrors, windscreen cowls, door handles, running boards, side and window trims, wiper arms & more.
Some of the key features of our Mr Black:
- Rejuvenates sun damaged, unpainted exterior black plastics to a rich, darker finish.
- Restores a natural mid sheen finish, that's not greasy or oily.
- Silicone free, so it won't wash off or attract dust once cured.
- Uses concentrated, specialist plastic dyes that penetrate into the plastic.
- Very concentrated, so a little product goes a long way!
- Excess wipes off easily from paint, headlights, chrome, alloy, mirrors & glass.
- It lasts for up to a year on most hard ABS plastic, textured trims, and longer with further applications over older coats.
- Real world tested and developed in Australia's harsh UV environment, so it bloody well works.
How to use it
Work in the shade on trims that are cool to the touch, clean and dry.
Use in dry conditions with the temperature between 15 and 30 degrees. Use Nitrile Gloves, as it can stain your skin. Don’t get it on clothing, other fabrics or unsealed surfaces like concrete, as it can stain. If the plastics are more weathered and have an uneven finish, gently use the Magic Rub Bar melamine sponge with Sublime Clean on it first, to create a more even surface.
If the plastic has “Tiger Stripes” or other prominent marks in it, Mr Black may not completely eliminate these.
Step 1 - Preparation
Before we apply Mr Black, we use our Flash Prep spray to remove any dirt, oils or silicones from previously applied products from the surface. These oils can negatively affect the way Mr Black bonds to the plastic surface. Spray Flash Prep into one side of a folded Dark Deeds suede cloth, then liberally spray Flash Prep on the affected plastic trim and wipe it down well, flipping the cloth to a clean side often.
Flash Prep was blended with different types of alcohols and surfactants that were chosen for their safe but effective cleaning abilities, as well as to give a good working time, so it doesn't evaporate away too fast like a pure alcohol will. Wait a few minutes after the wipe down for the Flash Prep to evaporate cleanly away with no residue.
Step 2 - Applying Mr Black
Shake the Mr Black bottle well. Work in small sections, like 1⁄4 of a front bumper or a section of trim (like one door etc) at a time.
Apply a few drops of Mr Black (less is more) evenly over a foam applicator (these come in our Black Box, or can be purchased separately). Then rub into one section of the trim, back and forth, to prime the applicator pad. Once it starts spreading well, give it an even, thin coat, over the plastic surface, using an overlapping motion.
If the plastic is very porous, it will absorb a bit more product. Don't over saturate or apply too much Mr Black to your applicator to compenstate for this, add just one or two extra drops and continue with the overlapping thin coats, to give you the best result.
Leave to cure for a couple of minutes (this time can be less if it's overly warm or humid).
Now, go back over the area with a second dry and clean foam applicator, using gentle pressure and a side to side motion. This will level out any high spots and create a nice, even finish.
Step 3 - Intricate areas
For doing intricate areas between panel gaps, underneath lights or wipers etc, apply a small amount of Mr Black to a small handled foam brush (like the ones supplied in our Black Box kit). Apply Mr Black evenly, wait a couple of minutes, then go over the area with a separate dry and clean foam applicator to obtain an even finish.
Step 4 - Cleaning off other areas
Wipe Mr Black from accidentally applied areas, like adjoining panels, headlights or glass, with a clean and dry, low pile microfibre cloth (or the Dark Deeds cloth in our Black Box kit). You can use a spray of Flash Prep in it for a little bit more cleaning power if you wish. Wipe in one fluid motion, then fold it to a dry, clean side for a final wipe.
If marks are stubborn, or you don't notice them till much later, you can remove them with our Paint Cleanse & Restore.
We found in our testing that Mr Black will easily wipe off from most areas when freshly applied, which is why we don't make a big thing of masking off adjoining areas when using it. However, if your vehicle has single stage, unsealead paint, and you know you can be a bit messy, it can pay to mask that area off with a low adhesive painters tape before use.
Note that any cloth you use with Mr Black will become permanently stained.
Step 5 - Continuing till completed
Apply a couple more drops of Mr Black to the application foam and continue to the next section of trim. Always have an overlapping wet edge on larger trims, to ensure an even finish. Do not let it dry and come back later to it, as it can be difficult to match up the two areas.
Repeat the above steps till the job is all complete.
If the plastic is in poor condition it can be good to give it a second coat. Allow a 1 hour cure time before applying the next coat. As the surface is already sealed from the first coat, you will notice it uses a lot less product and is quicker to apply the second time around.
Do not get it wet for 12 hours while it cures.
Wash any Mr Black from your skin with soap and water after use.
Other important information
On extremely weathered trim, it may need two coats of Mr Black. Apply the second coat one hour after the first coat. DO NOT USE FLASH PREP OR ANY OTHER SURFACE PREP SPRAY BEFORE THE SECOND COAT. Less is more here, so only apply a small amount for each subsequent section on the second coat. Don’t get the finished trims wet for 12 hours while Mr Black cures. Wash any Mr Black from your skin with soap and water straight after application.
- Plastics must be cool to touch and free from dirt, oil and silicones. THOROUGHLY CLEAN WITH FLASH PREP FIRST FOR BEST RESULTS.
- In hot or humid weather, wipe Mr Black off sooner (1-2 mins max) to achieve a more even finish.
- Do not saturate the lead applicator sponge. Less is always more - continue to spread the product until it won't spread any more.
- If you get an uneven finish, use less product and spread it further with your lead applicator.
- If you've bought our Black Box kit, be gentle with the small foam applicator sticks so you don't damage them in tight trim areas.
- If Flash Prep doesn't remove accidentally applied Mr Black from badly oxidised painted areas, or headlights, use the Paint Cleanse & Restore to remove it.
- Do I have to use Flash Prep on the plastics before applying Mr Black? - It's imperative that the plastics are cleaned thoroughly before applying Mr Black so that it has the best chance to adhere to the surface and to penetrate the plastic effectively. Many other companies make different surface prep products, and some people even recommend to use an IPA solution. We made Flash Prep specifically to be an extremely effective cleaner, while leaving absolutely no residue behind. We found it to be the most effective for this job by far during product development.
- Can I use Happy Ending, Wet Dreams and other sealants on Mr Black? - Yes. Mr Black penetrates the plastic and restores it. Once it's dried and cured, it's fine to wash, seal and protect with your normal routine like the rest of the car.
- Can I use Mr Black on my interior? Mr Black was designed to be used on exterior unpainted plastics. It's not recommended to use on interior plastics. If you're not sure, email or call us for more information.
- Does it come in a kit? Yes. Mr Black comes in a kit called The Black Box. This kit includes; Mr Black (250ml), 125ml Flash Prep, 2 foam applicators, small foam brushes for tight areas, 1 Dark Deeds microfibre cloth and 2 Nitrile gloves (size M & XL), plus a handy instructional guide.
- Can I buy the foam applicators from the Black Box separately? Yes. They are available to purchase separately - email or call us for more information.
- Can I wash the applicators out and re-use them? You can't wash them out - they will stay black after use. But, they can be used a couple more times for the application of Mr Black with no issues.
- What if I spill it on my concrete/tiles? If you spill Mr Black, it's important to wipe it up immediately. Use some of the Flash Prep or some car wash soap and a brush and rinse away well with water - the quicker you clean it up, the better.
- Can I use Mr Black on grey or other coloured plastic? No. Mr Black uses specialised black dyes for restoring black trims. It's not designed to work with other coloured plastics.
Mr Black, Flash Prep as well as our kit called the The Black Box are now available through your local autObarn, Repco and Supercheap Auto and many of our other supporting stores. If its not on the shelf, it can be special ordered with the following part codes:
Mr Black can be ordered with part code: BOMRBLACK and Flash Prep is part code: BOFPREP.
The Black Box can be ordered with part code: BOBBOX.
To find your local Bowden's Own stockist, click this link HERE
If you would like more information about Mr Black, Flash Prep, The Black Box or any of our other products, shoot our team an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or FREECALL our office on 1800 351 308.