How to Remove a Sticky Surface from Rubber


Juan asked: How do I  clean degraded and sticky rubber from a Nikon camera cover?

Over time, rubber surfaces start to deteriorate and can become sticky and/or rough. This surface can often be cleaned away or simply scraped off. Follow the guidelines below for easy removal techniques.

You Will Need:

  • Spoon or dull knife
  • Ammonia
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Sticky Surface:

  1. Moisten a soft cloth with ammonia or Windex. Rub it over the sticky area to remove some of the damaged surface.
  2. Rubbing alcohol can be used as well, but should be used with caution as it can cause damage to some plastic surfaces.
  3. If the sticky, damaged surface remains, it can be scraped away with a spoon or dull knife.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Please note that these fixes are only temporary. Once the plastic starts to degrade, it will continue and the problem will be recurring. It is best to replace these parts whenever possible.



  1. I got good results making sticky plastic not be sticky any more by rubbing with a Kleenex sprayed with WD-40. It may not have cleaned it. It may have just coated it, but it worked better than Windex.

  2. The Windex worked well for me. But, I put it on fine grade steel wool, which doubled as a spoon, I guess. Of course, that leaves some fine metal flake residue which you can easily wipe off, but I would be *really* careful with something like the camera in the picture. I was doing it on the end covering of a music keyboard. Another possibility would be a scratch pad like what you might use to wash dishes, I suppose, but remember you are going to throw it away afterwards.

  3. Thanks; I used Windex and a Dobie pad and it worked perfect on my universal remote.

  4. This worked great; way better than the typical internet remedy.

  5. Use powder to take the stickiness away.

  6. Michael says:

    I have a Bushnell range finder that became very sticky. I had really good results with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Took some rubbing, but cleaned the surface completely.

  7. WD40 For the win! says:

    WD40 worked wonderfully for me. Just a small spray onto an old kitchen rag and a scrub on the affected surface, and the sticky residue is gone!
    Now I’m left with a strong smell of WD40 … which incidentally smells like fly spray. Ugh!

  8. WD-40 works well and actually, it is fish oil, hence the smell…

  9. I use green wool with a little detergent on my Philips shaver. The sticky rubber surface is now smooth.

  10. Common vinegar did the job for me. Use a rough cotton cloth.

  11. I used a Chux Magic Eraser (the white blocks of foam you can buy from a supermarket). It easily removed stickiness from my SLR camera.

  12. My Remington beard trimmer rubber case trim got sticky and covered with hair cuttings, which wouldn’t wash off. I rubbed the rubber parts with a cloth soaked in IPA (iso-propyl alcohol). This removed the hairs and dried up the deteriorated rubber.

  13. I used Melaleuca So-U-Mel stain remover on an old lint-free rag, and it completely removed the stickyness from old speakers. It restaured some shine to the rubber/plastic surface too.

  14. Microsoft Bluetooth mouse side grips became sticky after a couple of years left in a drawer. I was tidying out when I rediscovered it!
    Tried the WD40 method, but they remained sticky. Then, used nail varnish remover on old cotton rag – bingo! Completely removed stickiness and polished up to bright shine.

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