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How to cure "stickiness" on walkie-talkie rubber components

Lifehacks Asked by Cpt Reynolds on November 13, 2021

I have just retrieved my walkie-talkies from the big storage box where they lived for the last couple of years. The rubber/rubberized components (grip coating, dials, etc.) have gone very sticky to the point of the devices being unusable except with gloves.

In another answer, alcohol is proposed for removing the rubber coating of a PC mouse; however, I‘d like to keep the rubber (especially since almost the whole volume dial is a single rubber component, so dissolving it seems inadvisable) and just remove the "stickiness" or maybe the top surface layer, if that’s feasible at all.

Can anyone help with an idea?

18 Answers

Clear nail Polish. Just paint a thin layer and let it dry. Problem solved

Answered by Elaine on November 13, 2021

I have a really good car, but apparently it was manufactured when low-quality plastic was in vogue. As an artist, I have a bunch of products, so I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained. I painted over the sticky bits in my car - and also on a portable DVD device with Matte Medium. It completely covered up the stickiness. I don't know how long it will last, but it is working great now. It looks cloudy, but it dries clear. There is a gloss medium, but I don't recommend it.

Answered by Linda Dumas on November 13, 2021

Paint it. Mask it up with tape and newspaper, use the cheapest can of spraypaint you have, and just paint it. Pic below; items I have salvaged successfully this way include:

  • Heat gun with rubber surface
  • Generic computer mouse with rubber surface enter image description here This works so well that I suspect that the acrylation "drying" of the paint binder progagates to also polymerize the oily chains that make up the goo (can anyone support/refute this?). The goo is a perfect paint primer!

Another solution: sunshine (UV light) to oxidize and "dry" the goo. I have done this to those cloth work gloves that have the blue rubber on the palm side that got super gooey. I left them out in the sun a couple days and the goo darkened and hardened in place. You see the same thing happen with some rubber bands: first they decompose to goo that ruins your item, then the goo hardens to a crust as oxidation takes place (yes/no chemically anyone?).

Answered by Nissim Nanach on November 13, 2021

I tried all of the above. Turns out the best thing to use was fruit and vegetable wash. I used Fit organic. Cleaned up like a boss.

Answered by Jason W on November 13, 2021

Dry paper towels until they breakup and stick to the rubber then keep going until chunks of paper and stickiness are gone.

Answered by Microcaus on November 13, 2021

Xylene, a rag and a fair amount of elbow grease seems to work well for removing the rubberised layer.

Answered by Edward on November 13, 2021

I found an old microscope with extremely expensive lenses that seem better than any ones I've ever used. The rubber base of the scope is sticky and it has sat in a closet for decades. It was like black taffy. If you can't beat them, join them. Ethanol made the surface even more sticky. Then I took a black plastic garbage bag, cut it to fit over the sticky area and pressed it into the gooey mess. Problem solved. If I was patient I could rub the wrinkles out.

Answered by Jimmie Mckinney on November 13, 2021

to make rubber soft, mineral oil is milled into the rubber material before it is molded into shape. With time, that oil segregates itself out of the rubber matrix and bleeds out onto the surface of the part. This is the source of the stickiness: too much oil mixed with rubber on the surface.

To wash off the sticky stuff you need a solvent like cigarette lighter fluid, but note that it's just a matter of time before more oil arrives at the surface, and the part gets gooey again. This plasticizer desegregation process is unstoppable.

Answered by niels nielsen on November 13, 2021

I used Baking soda with a little water to make a paste worked for me. I applied it with my hands and cleaned with a moist cloth towel, all black sticky rubber came off. Some areas required more work, but this solved the problem.

Answered by Hugo on November 13, 2021

I tried vegetable oil, paint thinner, acetone, and isopropyl alcohol, and none of those worked on my sticky ASUS laptop. That is what did NOT work for me. It seems that many post remedies that they have not actually tried out.

Then I tried Cabella's food grade silicone lubricating spray (that I use in my meat grinder and dehydrator to prevent sticking). Significant improvement; sticky is 75% gone. And since the silicone is food grade, I can finally lick my computer and all of the problems it gives me! Surface is still a bit sticky, but way less than before. Of course, with the silicone, the shelf liner option is gone because it won't stick.

Further progress: I decided that evil chemicals sold by capitalist corporations were not the answer, not even dihydrogen monoxide, so I got something that is organic, gluten free, non-GMO, antioxidant, detoxifying, alkaline, and natural. ArmorAll Tire Shine, also a silicone formulation. Spray it on, rub it in, let it dry, and then wipe the surface with a cloth. Sticky is 99% gone. Applied a second coat, smeared it around by fingers, and let it dry overnight. Sticky is no longer a problem! That is what worked for me.

Now I wonder if it is a good idea to use this stuff before the rubber starts to decay...

Answered by richard1941 on November 13, 2021

Well I just tried a couple of combinations from above. I have a retro phone I plugged into my iPhone and it got hot so the rubber started to deteriorate. The magic was three squirts of Goo Gone on a terry cloth towel and working that in. Followed immediately with baking soda, water, and toothbrush. Then wiping that off with clean towel and warm water. I repeated that process 3 times. Then at the end, I wiped the phone down with isopropyl alcohol to remove any last tid bits of whatever and sterile it. It looks brand new. When using the baking soda, put some effort behind that toothbrush. The Goo Gone loosens that sticky residue but it was the baking soda scrub that removed it. Once may not do it so keep the process going. I saw it coming off like a label or sticker glue. And by no means let Goo Gone sit on the device. It will probably destroy the coating entirely. Into to rubber goo literally. Only use it to begin loosening the residue. Thanks everyone for the pointers and I hope this helps.

Answered by Michelle Hansen on November 13, 2021

I've just saved a interactive pen for a world globe that was rubber coated it was so sticky I couldn't handle touching it and kids wouldn't use it All I did was make a paste of baking soda and a little water I carefully rubbed it on left for a couple min and wiped off no more sticky at all

Answered by Leanne Benson on November 13, 2021

In addition to the other valuable answers, you can consider covering the sticky parts with tape, depending on how much you care about the aesthetic. I did this once with an extension cord that got a few patches of utterly unremovable driveway tar on it.

Answered by Luke Sawczak on November 13, 2021

I used GOO GONE with a nylon brush then wiped it down with alcohol. It worked great for me.

Answered by user30435 on November 13, 2021

this sticky rubber is in fact a pulverised material on the surface of your walkie-talkie. With time it tends to melt.

You can use alcohol to remove it completly from the surface.

Here is an quick youtube search on how to do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO8AcON4p08

Answered by foobar on November 13, 2021

I've had this happen a couple of times. One of them was important enough for me to want to fix it. I used White Spirit or Turpentine to clean it off with LOTS of kitchen towel. It took the surface back to the bare metal. It still remains slightly sticky to this day, but I'm sure that another few sessions of cleaning will remove the last residues.

I also think that you can probably try some sort of dry powdery material that will stick to the gunk and form a new coating. Something akin to poppy-seeds maybe - but preferably non-organic. I've not tried this myself but it seems like it might work.

Answered by Lefty on November 13, 2021

I have had good results when using talcum powder on sticky rubber and plastic surfaces. This is not a solution that takes away the problem but it may work just enough to make your walky talky usable.

Apply a light dusting and rub it out till you have covered the whole of the sticky area.
Instead of talcum (which often comes with strong perfume or as baby powder with a reasonably strong smell) you can use a very fine ground grain product like rice flour (very fine grounded rice) or corn starch or maize starch.

Be careful to keep the powder out of the casing as it is fine enough to mess up the inside.

Answered by Willeke on November 13, 2021

The components you describe have deteriorated and are in the process of decomposing into organic residue. The process is a natural part of the usable life span of an organic compound. It is not reversible and probably not profitable to even try to arrest the process.

Your options are to discard the device or try to replace the affected components. If the parts are bonded to the more stable plastic chassis, you effectively have a museum display until the device has the appearance of a melting gel.

This is the downside to using VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). You might also consider this a related aspect to an engineered life span. Often, electronic devices are up-graded so often and by such a degree that replacements work better and are cheaper than the equipment it replaces. Sometimes this is not the case, however.

Answered by Stan on November 13, 2021

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