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  #1  
Old 09-27-2016, 08:14 PM
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White wax residue on rubber trunk spoiler

Any suggestions to get white wax residue off of the rubber trunk lid spoiler on an R107? My dad got overzealous with the wax (pretty sure it was the liquid Turtle Wax) back in the late 90s and it's been there ever since. I've tried gently scrubbing it with soapy water, but haven't gotten anymore aggressive with it for fear of ruining an already relatively fragile piece. I've been detailing the car and that white residue is driving me crazy!
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:51 PM
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Try some "GoJo" hand cleaner. The plain creamy stuff. Not the citrus crap. I've had good luck with using paint thinner (not lacquer thinner) also.

Whichever you use, let it soak for a few minutes and then use a "scrubbie" type of plastic pad (3M makes 'em) not steel wool. I have had to use steel wool but you have to be very careful with it. Keep it wet and wipe with a clean rag often.

Use a clay bar to remove the residue from the cleaning.
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:38 AM
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Simple Green does a great job also.
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:16 AM
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There's a few products designed for restoring black plastic & rubber trim. I've had good luck with those, though never on something that's been there since the 90's
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Old 09-28-2016, 03:50 PM
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toothbrush and amonia for white wax,I use peanut butter for plastic door handles.Better than silicone stuff.
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Old 09-28-2016, 06:14 PM
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Be careful using full strength ammonia around freshly cleaned paint. It WILL spot the paint if you allow it to sit very long. Keep the painted surfaces wet with water and you'll be okay.
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:09 AM
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yeah really eats clear coat
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Old 09-30-2016, 10:44 AM
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Thumbs up

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions! I've tried many of them and here's how they went:

GoJo: Cleaned up the rubber, but didn't take the white wax off
Simple Green: Reduced the appearance, but didn't take the white wax all the way off
Mothers "Back to Black": Don't bother. Did nothing. Does work on plastic trim though.
Ammonia: Did not try full strength, tried diluted. Reduced white residue, but did not fully remove.

Then I got an idea: What about plain old lighter fluid. Seems to work on a lot of other things and shouldn't harm the rubber. Worked like a champ. Took it right off, no real work required, cleaned up the oily residue with soap and water, and other than being a little rough from 33 years of existing, the spoiler looks brand new!

The takeaway: If you have wax residue (especially 20 year old wax residue) on rubber trim, lighter fluid works better than any of the commercial products tried above.
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'86 300SDL - "The Diseasel" 189K (Totaled 1/31/19)
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Old 09-30-2016, 11:27 AM
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And they still sell that stuff? I need to get out some of my old lighters.
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  #10  
Old 09-30-2016, 07:25 PM
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Did you try the paint thinner or just jump straight to the naphtha (Lighter fluid) because it was handy? I use it for tar removal but I won't recommend its use around anything plastic or rubber. It can do some funny things to them. I also don't recommend it because it is so volatile. It doesn't evaporate as quickly as gasoline or alcohol and the fumes tend to linger.
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:35 PM
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Lighter fluid for a BBQ, not for a pocket lighter, sorry I'm not a smoker so I forgot about the Zippos using a different lighter fluid. Basically BBQ lighter fluid is just mineral spirits and some extra stuff (alcohol) to make it vaporize easier. No paint thinner handy, and since the BBQ lighter fluid is basically just mineral spirits anyway, not really any harm done.
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'83 500SL Euro - "The Money Pit" 116K
'91 350SD - "The Diseasel Jr." 168K
'86 300SDL - "The Diseasel" 189K (Totaled 1/31/19)
The Diseasel Thread - Everything You Didn't Know You Wanted To Know
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  #12  
Old 09-30-2016, 10:36 PM
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Yup, you are correct regarding the BBQ starter fluid. Glad you got it cleaned off. Now slop some wax on there, let it dry for a couple of months....
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:30 PM
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Celebrations may have been slightly premature. After 3 days, the white haze is starting to show back up. Nowhere NEAR as bright as it was before, but still visible.

Back to the drawing board... That stuff is TOUGH to get off...
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'11 Honda Accord EX - "The Daily" 64K
'83 500SL Euro - "The Money Pit" 116K
'91 350SD - "The Diseasel Jr." 168K
'86 300SDL - "The Diseasel" 189K (Totaled 1/31/19)
The Diseasel Thread - Everything You Didn't Know You Wanted To Know
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  #14  
Old 10-02-2016, 07:05 PM
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It usually takes 3 or 4 applications to bring all the wax from within the pores of the spoiler "rubber". It is some form of urethane I believe, some cross linked polymer. Using a soft bristled scrub brush will help. Lather, rinse and repeat is about all you can do.
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