Non-slip coating on hand-held plastic controls gone sticky - how to remove?

29 Jan 2011
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United Kingdom
I've had a couple of electronic items - a small air-band radio receiver (Maycom AR-108), and now a mini-keyboard/trackpad/mouse device (XEBEC HTPC) - which have a matt non slip coating of some sort on the plastic shell to make it easier to grip. Whatever it is is thin - like a paint.

Looks great and does its job to start with but over the years, I assume the sweat from your hands gets into the coating and it gradually turns into a sticky mess - a bit like the sort of residue you get from certain types of permanent sticky labels if you try and remove them. It gets so bad your fingers actually stick to it and leave finger prints. Dust sticks to it too. Its awful.

Any idea what it is and what it might take to remove it without damaging the plastic underneath? These two items would set me back over £100 if I replaced them.

I've tried a selection of foam and electronic cleaning solvents which I know will be OK with plastic - and the nearest I get is the surface looking cleaner, but when the solvent then evaporates, the stickiness is still there.

I've certainly found owners of the Maycom AR-108 reporting the same problem so it's not just me.

Any ideas appreciated!
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Try WD40.


Thanks Andy. Just tried WD40 and it did shift it but it was hard work. Tried white spirit and that was roughly the same, or maybe slightly better. Tried a petroleum distillate based "sticky stuff" remover and that didn't do much.

Then had a flash of inspiration and tried Swarfega - and that was better than all of them and has the added bonus that it can be applied without removing the case on the XEBEC. It still put up a fight and needed around three goes and frequent changes of kitchen towel but it has finally shifted the wretched stuff as you can see on the right hand side. I reckon if I leave the Swarfega to soak into it, it might come off even better.

Maycom is gonna have to be taken to bits as the whole thing is coated in the stuff.


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That's interesting, I didn't know it was possible to remove. I've had it too. Might have been a DAB radio, can't remember.
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Well, it has to be said that this little job was like your worst sticky label removal nightmare. I'm sure there are some diseases that are easier to get rid of than this stuff!

I managed to strip down the Maycom and sort that out too - but what's interesting is the battery box section removes and the surface of the box facing inside the scanner where no sweaty fingers have ever been, was even more sticky than the outside. That rather suggests it could simply be warmth rather than sweat that causes the coating to eventually degrade, and when I think about the XEBEC device, it hasn't been used that much, but I tended to leave it sitting on top of the PC.

One things for sure, I won't be buying any other product with this sort of coating.


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