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

  • 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?

    In my experience, nothing works. You can wash and wipe it all you want with all you have (alcohol, detergent, etc.) - the best you get is removing the liquid oily stuff from the surface... temporarily, because more will ooze out soon enough. And even without the oily stuff, the rubber is sticky. I also tried grinding away the top surface layer, only to find that the layer below is just as sticky and oily.

  • 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.

    I want to chime in with more success stories; I've fixed the nice rubbery surface on ThinkPads and other laptops (seemingly permanently, or at least for a reasonably long term) using simple talcum powder. Even the discoloration is negligible once you've fully distributed the powder and blown away any excess.

  • 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.

  • 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:

    This is indeed the only solution to the sticky rubber problem. The outmost layer of rubber has permanently lost some chemicals, and the only solution would be removing the layer.

    Very hard to rub off, done it many times, and it will happen again as the rubber decomposes.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

    I revived an old mouse - the old one died - and to cover up the sticky parts I cut thin cloth to size and it glued itself. on. I was very happy and the mouse looked interesting. Oddly enough, after a few months the stickiness ceased to stick and the cloth peeled off and the mouse was no longer sticky.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM