Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Steve Z, who writes with another option to clean radios (like the Eton E1, Eton Satellite and others) with a rubberized coating that has become sticky with time:
I ran across this blog when I recently took out an Eton portable radio and found it to be a sticky, gunky mess. The radio is probably around 8-10 years old and it’s been a few years since I used it. I didn’t have any of the products mentioned here, but tried a few similar products I already had in my home with varied success:
Simple Green: Did nothing. Don’t bother.
Goo Gone liquid: Very limited results. Had to scrub a lot for minimal results. Not worth it.
Simple Green Grill Cleaner: Worked well. Sprayed a portion of the radio, waited a minute and then cleaned with microfiber cloth. Had to use a little elbow grease, but results were good.
Goo Gone Kitchen Cleaner(foaming degreaser): WINNER by far! Easily and quickly cleaned sticky gunk off radio. Sprayed portion and then easily wiped clean with microfiber cloth. No damage to writing or graphics on radio. Whole radio took about 30 minutes. It would have been faster, except there are a lot of dials and nooks and crannies to work around.
One thread that’s had a surprisingly long run here on the SWLing Post deals with sticky radios.
A number of portable radios manufactured in the past decade were coated in a rubberized, tactile material that was quite functional when the products were new. With time, however, the coating breaks down and becomes incredibly sticky to the touch. We’ve published a number of articles about how to clean sticky radios–click here to read our archived posts.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Lee Reynolds, who writes with his suggestion:
Gunk on radios – I was the lucky winner of an E1 at one of the ‘fests.
Of course, the coating went bad and it would up looking like the flypaper/Wino of radios.
I made a desultory attempt at cleaning it (using that Purple Power stuff) but it was a nasty, dirty job that I didn’t complete. A disheartening mess.
Fast forward three or four years after that. I had some time on my hands, I took another look at the radio.
I found that the gunk continues to mutate – it had actually lost most of its ability to adhere to the radio’s casing. Now it would rub off with a paper towel and nothing else.
A couple of rolls of paper towels and some Pledge left it something you no longer needed to put gloves on in order to feel comfortable touching.
So – another fix for the gunk – time and patience. No cleaners needed.
Thanks for sharing, Lee. Worth noting: if you gave up on your sticky radio some time ago, perhaps you should pull it back out of storage and see if the coating has deteriorated to the point it might simply rub off? Time might have made the job much easier.
Here in the Houston area we are getting in to the heart of hurricane season. I have a little Eton FR-300 radio that has am, fm, tv and weather bands, a flashing red light, a white light, and a siren. I hadn’t picked it up in some time, and, while doing a “emergency inventory” today, I picked it up and it was so STICKY!!!
The first thing tried was rubbing alcohol, but the type suitable for first aid which is only 50% which just spread the stickiness around.
I did a “sticky radio” search and up came your blog, which I am already familiar with (no stickiness issues on my trusty Sony ICF-SW/7600GR) .
When I browsed the suggested solutions, “citrus-based” came up. Turns out I had the solution under my sink: “Veggie Wash” is a citrus-based product used to clean fruits and vegetables, and now, radios!
Squirted some on a paper towel and it does the job nicely.
Thanks for the suggestion! Like you, I imagine many others will have Veggie Wash on hand.
Sean at Universal Radio in Reynoldsburg, OH put me on to another terrific product that does the job fabulously and quite easily. It’s called MaxPro Ink/Adhesive Remover and is a citrus-based cleaner/solvent that won’t harm the radio’s plastic casing. You can get it on eBay for around $11 with free shipping:
It took me a total of less than 3 hours to clean both my E1s. I used a lot of paper towels, working a section of the radio at a time, spraying the solvent onto the towels and then rubbing the surface free of the degraded and sticky rubberized coating. After removing the coating, I simply wiped down the radio with a wet paper towel to remove any residual solvent. They are now clean and smooth and look like new with all the white print intact. And my hands didn’t suffer any from contact with the solvent.
A reminder if you do this: It’s important to seek out citrus-based solvents and avoid petroleum based solvents. It was so easy with this product that I wished I had done this a long time ago and wasn’t so nervous about taking it on.
Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Danny Garris (KJ4FH), for the following guest post which originally appeared on his blog, Up In This Brain:
How I cleaned the sticky coating off of my Grundig G6 radio with guidance from KJ4FH
A few weeks ago, I reached out to Danny Garris, KJ4FH, for help on getting the sticky coating off of my Eton E5 radio. I noticed on eBay that he was selling Eton radios with the gunk cleaned off and I was wondering how he did it.
Where does the sticky gunk come from? Well, for some reason the “geniuses” up at Eton/Grundig put a rubberized, chemical coating on a series of radios they released. They looked great new but over time, them coating seems to get adhesive-like properties, almost like it is melting off. It apparently has something to do with humidity and over time it makes everything stick to the radios – dust, dirt, you name it. It’s terribly annoying and just plain nasty. Shame on Eton/Grundig for doing this because a whole generation of good radios are impacted.
This leads me back to Danny and the instructions I have posted below in my Dropbox with his permission.
I used rubbing alcohol at first on my Eton E5 based on some back and forth emails I had with Danny and it did remove a ton of the gunk but I also ended up with places in the finish where the paint was removed, as he warned. Still, my concern was getting rid of the gunk more than appearances since my Eton E5 is a radio I use almost daily that I have no intention of selling. In fact, I am keeping an eye on eBay for a spare unit to purchase just in case because the E5(also Grundig G5) is an amazing radio.
Not long after getting his full instructions with oven cleaner as a new ingredient to try, I noticed a Grundig G6 for sale on eBay for just $19.99 as a buy it now price. I briefly had a G6 years ago and I have always missed it but good units are typically somewhat expensive and rare. This G6 was advertised as working perfectly but completely sticky. The seller posted pictures showing it was one of the stickiest and nastiest radios I had ever seen. But, armed with Danny’s method for cleaning the radios, I grabbed it, knowing I probably would not get another chance at a G6 for such a cheap price.
Below are before and after pictures. The before pictures are from the eBay auction and the radio did in fact arrive that nasty but it does work perfectly! In fact, it is a fantastic performer for the size. I love the tuning knob and the tuning method alone makes it much easier and more fun to use than my Tecsun radios and my recently purchased Eton Traveller III. The G6 is a worthy companion for my Eton E5 and I am very pleased with this purchase.
The after pictures are from the hour of work I did cleaning the radio last night. So far I have cleaned the radio with oven cleaner only. I took about 45 minutes using the Q-tip method and then about 15 minutes “polishing” with a clean white cloth dipped in oven cleaner as I went. I still have some additional detail cleaning to do but the results so far are like night and day.
I owe Danny a big thank you as you can see in the images below and, keep in mind, I still have a bit more work to do so this radio is going to look even better shortly!
Here is the front as shown in the auction. Gross! According to the description, the seller bought it at an estate sale.
What a difference some over cleaner makes! I need to blow out the speaker with compressed air to get the Q-tip remnants out and do some minor detail work but the front is almost in new condition now.
As shown in the auction listing, yuk!
I may do a little work with rubbing alcohol or WD-40 to get the shine back on this side but wow – what a difference!
I wonder if this radio was laying in the grass or something. It was nasty to even pick up and touch!
After oven cleaner, it’s like new again. I need to do a little more detail work but that’s it!
This picture in the auction made me wonder if I was biting off a bit more than I could chew!
I still have a bit of work to do on the back but WOW! What a difference!
What a difference, indeed! Thanks for sharing your experience and results, Danny!
I love my little Grundig G6 and, for some reason, the coating has yet to become properly sticky. I know it’s only a matter of time, though, so I’ll keep this procedure in mind.