Have you ever come across any old electronics or tools with a rubberized finish that has degraded over time, leaving a sticky residue? I recently purchased a NOS (new old stock) URC* programmable universal remote on eBay. The remote had been sealed in a plastic bag in it’s original packaging for over 10 years and was in excellent condition – except for the goo on the surface. I did some reading online about restoring degraded soft touch plastics and came across lots of recommendations including cleaning with denatured alcohol and using Armor All (silicone based) or vegetable oil to bring back the shine or applying talcum powder to just get rid of the stickiness. I didn’t want to use anything so harsh it would destroy the screen printing on the remote and I didn’t want to apply anything that would leave a heavy build up so I decided on a combined approach.
In the end I came up with the following gentle, easy restoration process and it gave me great results:
First I used 70% isopropyl alcohol prep pads to clean the surface of the remote. This left the surface dry and dull. Since plastic meant to be handled on a frequent basis should be able to hold up to the oils on one’s skin, I decided to try hand lotion to replenish the oils in the plastic. I applied one pump of Cetaphil (unscented, dye free) lotion to my hands and rubbed it in. Then I rubbed the entire surface of the remote with my hands, in effect transferring a light coating of lubricants from the lotion on my hands to the surface of the remote. I left the remote to dry overnight. Finally, the next morning, I lightly dampened a microfiber cloth with Meguiar’s Quik Interior Detailer and polished the surface one last time. This left the remote with a uniform, smooth satin finish – not sticky and not greasy – and with no damage to the screen printing. Mission accomplished.
*In case you are not familiar with this brand, URC makes remotes with excellent keypads that are built to last – and to me, that’s the most important part of a remote.