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07-10-2008, 09:08 PM #1
OT What can I use to clean & restore old rubber with?
I'm going to ask the "experts" out in PM land.
I have a couple of old "toy" parts made of rubber that is old. They are dirty and slightly hard from setting in a metal box in a hot attic for 60 years. I want to clean them up the best I can and maybe restore some of the oils in the rubber that has been lost over the years. I suspect the rubber is Buna N, started out as a 40 -50 Durometer in hardness, now about 80-90 Duro. How bad would I mess them up using a "Armo-All" tire cleaner on them?
07-10-2008, 09:18 PM #2
Silicon based lubricant has worked for me on rubber seals on ammunition cans.
07-10-2008, 11:33 PM #3
A product called "rubber rejuvenator".
Kinda pricey 15yrs ago, now its probably 4 times as much.
07-10-2008, 11:45 PM #4
07-11-2008, 12:00 AM #5
When most rubbers harden, they also become subject to cracking, due to a chemical change in the crosslinking of the molecules.
I don't think that can really be un-done, so don't expect too much.
We used to use a rubber cleaner on tape recorder pinch rollers etc that smelled powerfully of phenol. It may be around still. But it cleaned off "perished" rubber, leaving the good that was underneath. I don't think anything really puts back the original springiness
The good news is the metal box probably kept the ozone off them.......
07-11-2008, 07:32 AM #6
There are tyre treatments used to soften rubber for motor racing; 'Grip' is one trade name that I remember.
If you only want a small quantity, the model car racers use a similar product. Most model shops will have this in small containers. Ask for 'tyre additive'.
The active ingredient is a chemical; DEHP? that is actually a plasticiser used in the rubber manufacturing process. Some of the products out there use Salicylic Acid (Oil of wintergreen); stinks and is mostly banned at race meets because of toxicity. I would avoid this.
07-11-2008, 08:09 AM #7
Clean with whatever works to clean, but silicone spray, silicon dielectric, whatever silicone is a wonder for rubber. I soaked some rubber bungs from my 1970 car in silicone spray over 20 years ago. They were hard as a rock. They softened right up and are still that way. My process is to soak them in a pan for a few weeks in the spray then rub the grease on them before they go into service. Obviously yo don't want toys greasy, but you get the picture.
07-11-2008, 09:48 AM #8
Years ago we used a product called Fedron to recondition typewriter rollers. I Googled it and it is still available. We never found anything that would work better.
07-11-2008, 10:03 AM #9
Laquer thinner works miracles on old rubber. Liberally soak a rag with automotive grade Laquer thinner and scrub the surface of the rubber. The thinner will dissolve the surface of the rubber while you scrub leaving a new looking finnish. When you are finnished scrubbing with thee thinner, wash the rubber with a mild soap and warm water to remove any remaining thinner.
07-11-2008, 10:19 AM #10
Brake fluid, It has a rubber preservative in it. Works great and is cheep.
07-11-2008, 12:27 PM #11
Throw ´em in the washing machine, 60° and a phosphate based washing detergent. I often do this to restore hardened and dirty bellows from motorcycles. It works quite well most of the time. A friend of mine used it to resoften a window frame for his oldtimer, it too werked very good.
07-11-2008, 07:57 PM #12
Yaw gave me some ideas to try,
07-12-2008, 12:32 AM #13
M/Cycle rebuild, the carb rubbers were no longer available new, so I had
to make do with what I had. I too put them in the dishwasher which
softened them up a treat, and then just used good old Cherry Blossom
black boot polish, to restore the blackness and get a nice shine to them.
I've no before pic unfortunatley, but these came off of a 28 year old bike
that had stood out in the cold for ten years....So you can imagine what
they looked like before.