why do some rubbers, such as linings on some handles, become really sticky and rub off over time? And is there something that can be done to prevent or reverse this?

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why do some rubbers, such as linings on some handles, become really sticky and rub off over time? And is there something that can be done to prevent or reverse this?

In:

They’re actually plastics, and they’re leaching “plasticizers” — the chemicals that make certain types of plastic soft and pliable. I sometimes see this on the insulation of certain phone cords, but it happens with lots of soft, flexible plastics. The plasticizers are mixed in with, but not chemically bound to, the plastic, and they seep out over time.

*(I’m a Phone Company, not a Chemical Company, so take this with a grain of salt.)*

The bad news is there’s nothing much you can do about it once it’s happening. It’s inherent to certain types of soft plastic. You can sometimes remove it with alcohol, but more will leach out. Eventually, the plastic will become “dried out” and brittle or crumbly.

The other bad news is that the plasticizers are often phthalates or other chemicals you generally don’t want to have on you or in you. Wash your hands after handling and definitely don’t let babies or children touch plastics that are getting tacky like that.

Other than replacing with new (and hopefully different composition) parts, there’s not much you can do. It’s mostly a function of age, not use, so even new old-stock plastic parts will exhibit this leaching.