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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?

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    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. – Headcrab Sep 25 '18 at 2:23
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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.

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    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. – KlaymenDK Sep 26 '18 at 12:01
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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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO8AcON4p08

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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.

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I've had this happen a couple of times. One of them was important enough for me to want to fix it. I used White Spirit or Turpentine to clean it off with LOTS of kitchen towel. It took the surface back to the bare metal. It still remains slightly sticky to this day, but I'm sure that another few sessions of cleaning will remove the last residues.

I also think that you can probably try some sort of dry powdery material that will stick to the gunk and form a new coating. Something akin to poppy-seeds maybe - but preferably non-organic. I've not tried this myself but it seems like it might work.

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