Tag Archives: How to clean sticky radios

Purple Power: Another solution for sticky radios

Many thanks to Mike Nikolich (N9OVQ), who writes with another solution for sticky radios:


After the display on my Eton E-1 receiver died, the good folks at Universal Radio swapped my broken but lightly used radio for a factory reconditioned unit. Fred Osterman warned me that the plastic case was sticky and somewhat gross and he wasn’t kidding, but I was still grateful that he had a replacement radio.

After searching around the Internet (including your blog) and trying various cleaners and solutions that didn’t remove the dirt and grime from the radio (such as rubbing alcohol, Gunk and dishwasher detergent), I went to my local O’Reilly Auto Parts store and asked if they had a recommendation. Their solution was a product called Purple Power ($4.49) and a microfiber shammy mitt ($4.50). In less time than it took me to watch an episode of “Dr. Phil,” my Eton cleaned up beautifully, with no damage to the unit — it looks and feels brand new. The plastic retained that nice tacky feel without all of the stickiness that attracts gunk like dust, hair and other crud.

Purple Power is made by Aiken Chemical. You’ll want to have a clean bucket of water to remove the gunk that Purple Power removes from the plastic — it really was disgusting but I won’t hesitate to give the radio a Purple Power bath the next time it starts getting gross. And, no, I’m not affiliated with Purple Power, Eton or anyone else, including the microfiber shammy!

Click this link to find Purple Power retailers.

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Mike’s solution for sticky radios

Many shortwave radios, such as those manufactured by Grundig/Eton, have been produced with a rubberized coating that makes the radio easier to hold in the hand. I like this coating because it gives me a sure grip on the radio.

However, over time (say, two to three years) the coating can break down and begin to produce a sticky residue. All of a sudden your “grippy” coating feels more like tacky paint–even leaving a bit of residue on anything it touches.

Many models have this coating: The Grudig G5 and G3, The Eton E1, E1-XM, FR350, FR400, FR500 and FR600, to name a few.

Michael Kitchen (KD5PXH) recently wrote with his solution for sticky radios:

After experementing with cotton balls/pads, and using window cleaner and other liquid agents, I managed to decently remove the gummy coating from an Eton FR-400.

Best to use 91% Isopropyl Alcohol, and a clean but disposable (dry) wash cloth or something similar.

The stronger percentage alcohol makes for easier breaking down of the sticky, and the wash cloth to remove, without damaging the surface or removing lettering. The trick is to always use clean spot on wash cloth, keep from just smearing the stickyness around. The wash cloth will lift and absorb sticky, so keep using a clean spot on cloth. The cloth needs only be damp with alcohol, not dripping wet. Use dry spot on cloth to wipe clean the surface.

There may be a hazy white patina, but much of this can be wiped away.

It takes a little bit of effort, but the results are worth while.

Thank, Mike!

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