How To Clean Sticky Plastic

The majority of electronics are housed in some kind of plastic which for the most part is very long lasting and easy to clean with a damp cloth. There is one type of rubberized plastic coating that doesn’t fall into this easy to clean category. The coating is used to make the plastic feel more upmarket but once it starts to degrade it becomes tacky and eventually straight up sticky.

I have tried all sorts of cleaners including Goo Gone which is usually great for removing sticky marks from plastic. Nothing worked and most just made the coating more sticky. I didn’t want to start trying more harsh solvents as I’ve damaged plasticsĀ in the past using things like alcohol rub.

An old Linksys E4200 router had become so bad that the entire top was sticky with a layer of dust attached. I was trying to clean the dust off in the laundry room when I noticed the box of baking soda and thought it was worth a try. Using a small cup I made a thick paste of baking soda and water, I then used my finger to rub the paste on the router. In a few seconds the sticky coating started to come off. It took about 10 minutes and a quick wipe with a damp cloth but the stickinessĀ had finally gone. The plastic underneath is by no means pristine but at least it isn’t sticky and I can now clean it with just a damp cloth.

It won’t be quite as easy to use this method on things like TV remotes but it might be easy to remove the cover and clean it before reassembling.