How To Clean Sticky Rubber Handles – Hi Liz, I’ve had my Real Techniques brush set for a while, maybe three years. The bristles are in perfect shape, but the underside of the handle (the black part) is sticky and dirty. I tried washing it with soap but it wouldn’t come off. Is there a way to clean it or should it be? Thank you in advance! – Liana
Hello Liano! Rubber boxes and handles are not actually made of rubber; they are simply plastic coated with a thin rubber-like polymer with a matte finish. Brands do this because it’s more expensive and lasts longer than plain shiny plastic. Over time, this coating degrades due to exposure to heat, moisture, light, and constant use. So it will be sticky and impossible to clean!
How To Clean Sticky Rubber Handles
Of course, soap and water are not enough to get rid of them. You’ll need something stronger. Fortunately, what you need is readily available in your pantry.
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If the rubber sleeve or handle is still not sticky, you can use ordinary makeup wipes to clean the stains. I like using Nivea exfoliating wipes because they are cheap; I really don’t regret using them to clean my stuff! However, if the handle gets hot and turns into a leathery mess, I use a brush cleaning solution like Ellana Makeup Brush Cleaner.
First, I dip the brush soap into the solution. This will help further weaken the adhesive coating before starting work. Then with a makeup wipe (I like exfoliating wipes because of the raised dot texture) I gently remove the rubber liner. It helps to pierce the seam with your finger. I use a towel to gently pull the sticky part off.
I spray more brush cleaner on the handle if needed to loosen it. This will take a few minutes depending on how stubborn the polymer is.
It’s all there is, really! This method is very effective, but it destroys the gum texture of the handle (or whatever you’re cleaning). I guess that’s a small price to pay for some non-stupid brushes, but yeah, ya know. Otherwise, the handle is like new.
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PS I found my old Real Techniques brushes and man again which is really nice. Bargain, they stay in great shape for a long time! I think even these brushes are at least three years old. When you organize, you find the best things, but not all of them are good. There are many good things to follow, but plastic gadgets don’t top the list. If you have the odd sticky thing, here’s how to clean sticky plastic like remote controls and hard plastic toys.
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I have a Bose stereo and it sounds great, but lately I haven’t wanted to go near it because the controller is sticky on the back. How disgusting.
I’ve seen this happen before with consumer items, especially old toys, dolls, and game console controllers. After a little research, some plastic items may have a coating that breaks down over time and becomes sticky. This is to clean the coating. I tried cleaning it with rubbing alcohol and it didn’t help at all.
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Orange essential oil is great for removing price tags and has worked a bit here too, but it’s a pretty expensive fix.
Mix a pinch of each to form a paste, then rub off the sticky plastic with your bare hands. It worked like a charm. Avoid the urge to reach for the green sponge as it will scratch the plastic.
I probably used less than a teaspoon of baking soda to clean the back of this hard plastic remote. It took about 10 minutes to explain everything. You can see it in action on the right (below).
If you are tinkering with electronics, be sure to clean the battery compartment and dry it or you will be dealing with other issues like corrosion before long.
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I was very happy with how easy this fix was. Some of the stuff that develops cling film is really old fashioned, and maybe that cling film is nature’s way of telling you to sweep (click here to learn how to declutter with SORT and Succeed), but that wasn’t the case with the remote. controlling my favorite stereo.
Do you keep things for a long time? Have you ever had the problem of hard plastic developing a weird sticky coating? Did this solution work for you too?
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Many products, such as electronics, have rubber added to help with grip. Sometimes, due to environmental conditions such as temperature and UV rays, the rubber may crack and become sticky. You’ve probably experienced this yourself, as it’s common for rubber to behave this way.
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This guide covers several ways to remove sticky stains from your products.
Why does rubber do this? Natural or synthetic rubber starts out as a very sticky substance. This is because raw material molecules are long chains of very weak bonds with each other. To turn this raw material into the rubber we all know and love, it must be put through a process called vulcanization. This involves heating the rubber with other chemicals, which molecularly transforms the rubber from sticky to stretchy.
However, vulcanized rubber can return to its original state under certain conditions. This occurs when the strongest polymer crosslinks are broken and the molecules return to their original small chains. Once that happens, you’re stuck with rubber that’s become sticky and tacky.
In the next Guide, I’ll go over a few ways to get rid of this mess and hopefully give you some pointers on how to do it yourself.
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2. I also used methylated spirits that you can buy at the hardware store or even your local supermarket. Methyl alcohol seems to go by several different names. In the US there is something similar called denatured alcohol (be careful with denatured alcohol as it contains methanol which can be very dangerous). I’ve also heard that it can damage the plastic, so be careful removing it from the rubber and test it first. Also available in the US is methyl hydrate or fondue fuel. I would test them first to see how well they work before using them. In Europe it can be called spirits. Check this link to know more
4. It is also good practice to wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Isopropyl can be absorbed through the skin, which can lead to poisoning in large quantities. However, small amounts are not considered dangerous
The first method I will show you is to use isopropyl. Isopropyl is known as synthetic alcohol and can be found in shaving creams, antiseptics and industrial applications.
Although it is flammable, isopropyl is fine. However, you should try to wear gloves when using it, as it easily absorbs into the skin when used in large quantities.
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I decided to use isopropyl on my recently purchased Hi 8 camera. The little gum on the top was very sticky and chewy, I wonder why it was sold for $5!
3. Be careful not to get too much isopropyl on electronic areas such as switches or small openings. If you do this, don’t stress yourself out too much, the isopropyl should evaporate quickly and not affect the electronics (fingers crossed!)
4. Start wiping the eraser with a clean cloth. How difficult it is to clean depends on how stubborn the eraser is. The rubber was easily removed on this camera.
1. When the isopropyl starts to dry and you notice the fabric sticking to the rubber, it’s time to add another layer of isopropyl.
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2. Reapply to rubber and continue wiping with cloth. Use a clean piece of cloth each time.
3. After removing all of the rubber, you should be left with bare plastic to which the rubber is attached.
4. Finish one last pass with a clean cloth! Then plug the part in and make sure it still works properly.
My usual go-to for gum removal is Methylated Sprite
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