Rubber rub-down
April 9, 2008 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Car window & sun-roof seals - how do you remove lichen and treat the rubber?

What's the best way to remove lichen from the rubber seals around the windows and sun-roof on my (12 year old) car? And is there a good treatment - preferably 'natural', easily available and low cost - to put on those very same seals to help keep the rubber supple? I'm not in the market for stuff like this (£28 for 200ml - on yer bike, son)

I recently read about the benefits of using peanut/groundnut oil to clean and restore fading black plastic trim around the bumpers - is the same stuff beneficial for the window seals? (I should probably throw in an additional question - is using peanut oil on the trim actually a good idea?)

And any other general cleaning/detailing hints at all - especially any ideas on not spending silly money on questionable chemicals - would be very welcome. I've got a whole Saturday afternoon free plus the use of a friend's garage/workshop and I'd like to do as good a job on the car as possible, inside and out, since it's pretty rare that this car gets any TLC.
posted by boosh to Travel & Transportation (2 answers total)
It's possible that the best way to treat them would be to replace them. In any case, I dug around a little the newsgroup and for the few folks who ask, that seems to be the prevailing attitude.
posted by jquinby at 8:02 AM on April 9, 2008

Repairing the damage I can't help with. Is the rubber actually physically damaged, like crumbly or hard? Replace it. If not, maybe a good scrubbing will bring it back to life?

As for maintaining your new/cleaned rubber, I don't recommend natural oils, or any kind of solvent oil (like wd40 or motor oil). They gum up and/or dissolve the rubber. For these things, I have a can of spray silicone lubricant. I spray it into a rag and rub it onto the rubber, and then buff it off with another towel. Seems to work for me.
posted by gjc at 8:24 AM on April 9, 2008

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