White "Mold" on screwdriver handles

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by stg58, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I noticed some white what thought was mold on some of my screwdrivers Craftsman, Snap-On and Stanley.

    I cleaned a few of them up but it returned so I looked it up on the inter-web and found a lot of results for "mold" and "stinky screwdrivers" some are pasted below.

    The good thing is that Snap-On replaced them and so has Sears so far and Craftsman screwdrivers are still made in the USA.

    I have a white substance that seems to be growing on the plastic screwdriver handles. Does not appear on metal tools. Anybody know what this is? More importantly, how to get rid of it?

    It is the plastic in the handles breaking down, and is characteristic of the plastic, cellulose acetate butyrate.

    High temperatures make it worse, but it will show up at room temperature given time.

    Butyric acid. Spoiled butter smell. Puke, especially baby puke. Butyric acid is common in butter, only it is combined with glycerol in triglycerides. When it decomposes, the butric acid is released. Same in the handles.

    Old age , I had a bunch of tools my Dad bought 50 years ago but no screw drivers except the old wooden handle ones , some of mine that are 30 years old are doing that too . In a few more years the handles will dissinegrate . Quality makes no difference , the Snap On screwdrivers do it too .

    My black handled Snap-On screw drivers from the 80's started sweating while resting in the tool box. When dry the handles developed a white residue. Easy fix for me was to have my Snap-On rep replace all of my handles. It could also be from me wiping them down with solvent or parts wash to remove the oily residue accumulation while wrenching. I think it is the plastic breaking down.
  2. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter+++

    Could a product be applied to the handles to "seal" them so as to stop the break down..
  3. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor Site Supporter+

    I have been well aware of that puke smell in the tool box here in hot humid Florida. First time I smelled it I thought someone had done the unimaginable in my tool box. I like others finally traced it to the screwdriver handles. I know of no real solution.
  4. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter+++

    Make some wooden handles for those fine tools..??
  5. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    It appears from the posts on tool boards that there is no cure for it. The first time I noticed was in a tool box that had been in the garage unused for a few years.

    I am returning any Craftsman or Snap-On screwdrivers or Nut drivers as soon as it shows up and looking for some tools that don't have cellulose acetate butyrate handles.
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