DIY: Cleaning Gummy and Sticky Buttons

Posted by Chris Cagnolatti on

I thought this would be a great opportunity to share a little secret we at German Audio Tech have learned over the years while working with various dash electronics devices. Let's face it, sometimes our hands are not the cleanest (from makeup, food, etc.), and we can transfer that dirt/grime onto climate control, navigation, radio and other dash equipment. A trip to the car dealer sometimes will not fix this because the expensive cleaners they use are not meant for the task of specialty cleansing of these parts. We have found commonly that Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, SAAB, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche equipment is susceptible to this.

Here is a little tip that will help you safely remove the sticky icky icky off your buttons. Might save you a trip to the $tealership to buy new parts.


You will need 2 things:

1) A soft Microfiber towel

2) Electronics Safe Anhydrous Isopropyl Alcohol.

(For the love of God, DO NOT use Acetone or Fingernail Polish Remover!!)



Exhibit A: 2006-2014 BMW E90 3-Series and 1-Series Professional CD Radio

This is just GROSS. We get radios like this all the time for repair and because we do not believe a repair job is fully complete without a full cleaning of the exterior of the device, we compulsively HAVE TO clean that nasty button. I'm sure our customers don't expect it, but genuinely appreciate it. 

Solution: Electronics-Safe, Anhydrous ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL. We prefer to use 99.9% pure by MG Chemicals. You can pick this up at a Radio Shack, or FRYs Electronics. Please REMOVE the button and clean while removed from faceplate of radio.


Offender #2: 

This Bucket of Grime is commonly found on the 1998-2002 SAAB 95 Sedan Information Display (SID) and Climate Control. The buttons are coated with a soft rubber, which is nice to the touch.... When NEW. Because all it takes is a few years of use and it starts looking like this:


and CLEANED. We strongly recommend disassembling device and popping out buttons to be cleaned individually. Try not to rub too much. Be gentle and lather on the alcohol. The stickiness will gently rub off exposing a clean surface underneath.


Lastly, #3: Somebody call a Doctor! Dr. GermanAudioTech to the rescue!

Porsche CR220, CDR220, and BECKER Traffic Pro. Buttons Do Not always need to be replaced, although you are welcome to give us $40 for a Brand New set! Thank you in advance for your business ;)


After Cleaning



So, the moral of the story: Don't Drink and Drive. err... I mean, Don't eat KFC barehanded, then wipe the grease all over your dash. But, if you must, luckily you read this DIY tutorial and cleaning it will be a synch! 


Thanks for reading, and help a brother out by sharing with social media, friends, family, car clubs and forums! Happy motoring,

- German Audio Tech

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