How to Clean Sticky Rubber So It's Good as New

As rubber ages, it can get a little sticky. But you have all the tools you need to quickly and easily restore your rubber to its unsticky state.

Updated March 18, 2024
Kitchen bowl and dough scraper on table

Whether it's golf club grips, electronic objects, kitchen stuff, or the soles of your shoes, rubber shows up a lot in our daily life. So when it gets sticky, it gets icky. Feel free to quote us on that.

For rubber items to function at their best (and not be gross), you need to clean them. Fortunately, it's not super hard to clean sticky rubber and return it to its original, less-sticky (and thus less icky) state. The easiest way is to wipe it with some window cleaner or rubbing alcohol.

How to Clean Sticky Rubber With Window Cleaner or Rubbing Alcohol

Young woman cleaning and disinfecting technology at home

You have the solution to sticky rubber in a cabinet right now. One of the easiest ways to get rid of the sticky rubber on your stuff is to use window cleaner or rubbing alcohol. The ammonia in the window cleaner or the alcohol breaks down the rubberized coating, removing the part that's sticky and revealing fresh, unsticky rubber underneath. 

  1. If what you're cleaning is something electronic, power it down and remove the power source.
  2. Add a little window cleaner or rubbing alcohol to a cloth or cotton ball, but don't saturate it.
  3. Wipe away the gumminess on the surface of your item.
  4. Use a toothbrush or small scrub brush to get into those hard-to-reach crevices.
  5. Repeat until the sticky rubber is completely gone.

Remove Sticky Rubber With Magic Eraser

Magic erasers can clean practically anything. So if you don't have any around, run (don't walk) to the store and pick some up. We promise it's worth the effort. For laptops or other electronics, use a magic eraser pad to get the stickiness off your items.

  1. Power down the electronics and remove them from the power source.
  2. Dampen the magic eraser and squeeze out as much water as you can.
  3. Wipe the magic eraser over the stickiness.
  4. Keep moving it over the sticky rubber until it's completely gone.

Scrape Away the Sticky Rubber

If all else fails to remove the gummy rubber from your item, you can use a spoon to scrape it off. It usually comes off surprisingly easily.

  1. Dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub it over the rubber.
  2. Use the side of a spoon to scrape away any remaining rubber.

How to Remove Sticky Spills From Rubber

If your rubber is sticky because you've spilled something on it, all you need to do is get rid of the sticky stuff. Use mild cleansers to clean the rubber to avoid causing discoloration and degradation.

You'll need:


  1. Wet a cloth with warm water and add a drop of dish soap and work it through the cloth.
  2. Work the cloth over the rubber to remove the sticky residue.
  3. Rinse with water and check.
  4. If the stickiness lingers, create a paste of baking soda and water.
  5. Add the paste over the sticky area.
  6. Allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  7. Use the cloth to work the paste around.
  8. Rinse and repeat as needed.
Helpful Hack

A magic eraser and rubbing alcohol can also work to remove stubborn stuck-on sticky spills from rubber.

Why Does Rubber Get Sticky?

There are two reasons your rubber can get sticky. Either you've spilled something on it (been there, done that), or the rubber itself is breaking down. Sticky substances spilled on rubber are easy to clean, but deteriorating rubber is a different beast. 

The rubber on a brand-new product is vulcanized to make it stretchy and help with grip, but it goes back to its non-vulcanized sticky state as it starts to deteriorate. Once the rubber on your item starts to get sticky, there's nothing you can do to salvage it. Instead, you can use chemicals to remove the old deteriorating rubber to reach a fresh layer of vulcanized rubber underneath. Eventually, all the rubber will need to be removed as it continues to break down, and you'll need to replace the rubber part on the object or the entire item. 

Related: 10 Things to Do With Old Tires to Keep Them out of the Landfill

How to Prevent Rubber From Getting Sticky

Since the degradation of rubber happens due to aging and environmental factors, you can try a few things to keep your rubber from getting sticky so quickly.

  • Store rubberized equipment in a controlled environment with a humidifier.
  • Add a coating of polyurethane to new rubberized tools or items without electronics to add an extra layer of protection.
  • Keep rubberized equipment out of direct exposure to UV rays.

Don't Get Stuck on Sticky Rubber

Sure, rubber can get a little sticky from time to time, but you have all the tools you need to fix it. Whether it's something in your kitchen or your favorite remote, remove the stickiness with our simple techniques and get on with your life. 

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How to Clean Sticky Rubber So It's Good as New