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Best method of cleaning thin layer of degraded plastic?
03-10-2021, 10:34 PM
Post: #1
Best method of cleaning thin layer of degraded plastic?
I have a number of old electronic devices whose enclosures are made of plastic and said plastic has degraded over time leaving a discolored sticky residue in the upper < 1mm of the plastic. I've used "CRC Electrical Grade 2-26 Plastic Safe Cleaner / Lubricant" ( see here ). I've also used "Goop" multipurpose cleaner, but I don't really like it as it has lanolin in it ( ie. sheep sebum :| -- disgusting :| ) which tends to leave a residue on the plastic. Does anyone have a recommendation for a better method of cleaning off the top layer of degraded plastic on an enclosure for an electronic device ( especially old vintage and calculator devices )?

Regards,

Jonathan

Aeternitas modo est. Longa non est, paene nil.
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03-11-2021, 07:08 AM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2021 07:09 AM by toml_12953.)
Post: #2
RE: Best method of cleaning thin layer of degraded plastic?
(03-10-2021 10:34 PM)Jonathan Busby Wrote:  I have a number of old electronic devices whose enclosures are made of plastic and said plastic has degraded over time leaving a discolored sticky residue in the upper < 1mm of the plastic. I've used "CRC Electrical Grade 2-26 Plastic Safe Cleaner / Lubricant" ( see here ). I've also used "Goop" multipurpose cleaner, but I don't really like it as it has lanolin in it ( ie. sheep sebum :| -- disgusting :| ) which tends to leave a residue on the plastic. Does anyone have a recommendation for a better method of cleaning off the top layer of degraded plastic on an enclosure for an electronic device ( especially old vintage and calculator devices )?

Regards,

Jonathan

I use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for all old plastic. It cleans off marker, sticker residue and removes yellowing from light colored plastics much faster than retrobrite. Some people have said it destroys textured finishes but I have never had that problem. I don't rub hard, just enough to clean the plastic.

Tom L
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03-11-2021, 07:52 PM
Post: #3
RE: Best method of cleaning thin layer of degraded plastic?
(03-10-2021 10:34 PM)Jonathan Busby Wrote:  I have a number of old electronic devices whose enclosures are made of plastic and said plastic has degraded over time leaving a discolored sticky residue in the upper < 1mm of the plastic. I've used "CRC Electrical Grade 2-26 Plastic Safe Cleaner / Lubricant" ( see here ). I've also used "Goop" multipurpose cleaner, but I don't really like it as it has lanolin in it ( ie. sheep sebum :| -- disgusting :| ) which tends to leave a residue on the plastic. Does anyone have a recommendation for a better method of cleaning off the top layer of degraded plastic on an enclosure for an electronic device ( especially old vintage and calculator devices )?

I've had a number of devices (usually remotes, mini keyboards, mice, etc.) with plastic enclosures with a rubberized coating that has degraded, if that's the same thing. I usually manage to get most of it off with some combination of IPA, WD-40, scotch-brite type scouring pads, and elbow grease, but it doesn't leave them in the best cosmetic condition afterwards!

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03-11-2021, 08:31 PM
Post: #4
RE: Best method of cleaning thin layer of degraded plastic?
(03-10-2021 10:34 PM)Jonathan Busby Wrote:  I have a number of old electronic devices whose enclosures are made of plastic and said plastic has degraded over time leaving a discolored sticky residue in the upper < 1mm of the plastic.
Jonathan

Jonathan,

I'm wondering if what you are seeing is what was on a lot of radios, especially some of the Grundig models. There's been a lot of discussion on the SWLing.com site on how to go about cleaning it:

Cleaning Grundig Radio

Maybe one of their suggestions will work for you.

73
Bill WD9EQD
Smithville, NJ
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03-12-2021, 08:32 PM
Post: #5
RE: Best method of cleaning thin layer of degraded plastic?
(03-11-2021 08:31 PM)Bill (Smithville NJ) Wrote:  
(03-10-2021 10:34 PM)Jonathan Busby Wrote:  I have a number of old electronic devices whose enclosures are made of plastic and said plastic has degraded over time leaving a discolored sticky residue in the upper < 1mm of the plastic.
Jonathan

Jonathan,

I'm wondering if what you are seeing is what was on a lot of radios, especially some of the Grundig models. There's been a lot of discussion on the SWLing.com site on how to go about cleaning it:

Cleaning Grundig Radio

Maybe one of their suggestions will work for you.

73
Bill WD9EQD
Smithville, NJ

Thanks for the info Smile I have an old Grundig pocket AM/FM/shortwave radio, but I don't think its suffering from the problems described in the post to which you linked. The plastic degradation that I see is mostly associated with old gaming joysticks, especially Panther XLs Big Grin, although I have had a few vintage calculator / pocket-computer / organizer devices with similar plastic degradation, but, none of them had a rubber coating on them.

Regards,

Jonathan

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