Rubberized plastic has a tendency to degrade and get slimy as it ages. So what was once a nice input device becomes too gross to use right about the time it gets retro enough to be cool again. Fortunately you can fix it. Here’s how to fix slimy plastic.
Join the Get Rid Of Slimy plaStic club
To fix slimy plastic like you find on some game controllers and the scroll wheel on a mouse when alcohol won’t make it budge, there’s another thing to try before you chuck the controller. All you need is a bottle of Murphy’s Oil Soap. A 32-ounce bottle costs less than $4 and will clean every vintage controller in your house, and you’ll probably have enough left over for your vintage desk too. And it’s much safer for you and your controllers than using lacquer thinner. Please don’t use lacquer thinner.
Wipe a generous amount of Murphy’s Oil Soap on the slimy plastic and let it soak for about an hour. Then clean it up with warm water and more soap. If it’s especially stubborn, scrub it with a rough sponge or an old toothbrush.
The Murphy’s Oil Soap will remove the embedded dirt and grime along with the slime, refreshing the rubberized surface. It probably can’t make it quite like new, but it makes it tolerable again.
For that matter, Murphy’s Oil Soap is surprisingly good for all types of modern plastics, both for cleaning and reviving. And unlike harsher chemicals, it won’t harm them. And it’s much less harmful to you as well. Don’t put it on your pancakes, but it won’t attack your internal organs like the harsh solvents in lacquer thinner will.