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Recently I wanted to clean up some lubricant on some keyboard switches. On some forums, an Isopropyl alcohol bath was recommended so I decided to give that a try and went to purchase some 91% Isopropyl from Target(purest I could find near me and I admit, I am a little impatient).

Good news - it worked in getting the lubricant off the switch! Bad news, on some of the switches, it left this white haze.

I'm not sure what it is, though from what I've been reading, it sounds like this is a common issue when using Isopropyl, my best guess is that it's some mix of the lubricant mixing with the alcohol and reacting poorly with the switch housing plastic given that I'm only seeing this haze on the bottom half of the switches which were the only parts of the housing that were lubed, the other parts are clean. Another reason for my guess is that this haze isn't appearing in the same amounts on all the switches if at all, some switch bottoms are basically clear.

It does appear to scrape off but looks like it will require a fairly strong brush which I don't have at the moment and I'm not sure if there's one available for purchase that could be used in this situation.

Is there any plastic-friendly household cleaner available that might be able to help speed up the process?

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  • $\begingroup$ Try 1/2 and 1/2 vinegar with water and soak for 20 min. Then rub (soft cloth) rinse and dry. Should work. $\endgroup$ – Tandra McGhie Mar 27 at 18:48
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Even the common alcohol ( ethanol, ethylalcohol) is known to corrupt surface of some plastics, and rubbing alcohol ( isopropanol, isopropylalcohol) is even better in that, as it contains bigger organic chain and is less polar.

These alcohols do not dissolve the plastics in large extent, like acetone often does, but they may corrupt surfaces, especially if they are shiny or polished.

The typical case is compact polystyren or polymethylmethacrylate, that are often clear and shiny, where the white milky haze is very well visible. The opposite case is filled black shiny plastic where the haze and lack of shining is notable.

For similar reason, lukewarm water with detergents is preferred for plastics cleaning.

The only way I see to get rid of the haze is polishing, or applying a selfpolishing coating, if applicable and worthy. Perhaps polishing of wax coating.

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