How to de-gunk rubber handle grips

I have a nice pair of bright red handle grips on my bicycle. I’ve had them for awhile, and they’re still in great shape, except that they are really dark with crud, a combination of chain grease and road grime. I just tried cleaning them with a scrub sponge and some comet, but that didn’t quite do it.

The consistency of the rubber is almost as if it were not quite solidified – like a really gooey art gum eraser. The grime seems like it has bonded with the rubber, i.e., not staining it, but tenaciously attached. If I scrape it with a thumbnail, there is clearly a foreign layer, but it pulls the rubber off with it.

I’m thinking maybe acetone would clean them, but I don’t want to ruin the, uh, grippiness of the rubber. I don’t have any fancy stuff around like rubber cement thinner or carburetor cleaner. Does anybody have a suggestion?

I’ve decided this is the year my bike stops looking like crap!

I’ve had this issue on Polyurethane type rubber. My solution was to use citrus type cleaners…the stuff you use to remove label glue or degunk stuff in general. It worked pretty well.

Oooh, good idea! I had some orange cleaner actually remove roofing tar from my hands and clothes a few months ago, when I was helping a friend with his roof. Didn’t think of that.


Alternatively try glass cleaner and/or silicone spray.