Why Do the Rubber of Binoculars Get Sticky?

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Have you ever noticed that the body of your binoculars is getting sticky? Have you wondered what is causing that irritating stickiness? This is a common problem in almost all the binos no matter how premium or expensive they are. 

If your binoculars are also suffering from this issue, worry not. This guide is going to give you all the information about why binos get sticky, and what measures you can take to stop that issue. So, let’s get started!

Related Article: Does Age Affect Image Brightness in Binoculars?

Why Do the Rubber-On Binoculars Get Sticky?

There are multiple reasons that could contribute to the stickiness of your binoculars. However, there are a few very prominent reasons that I am going to discuss in the upcoming section. 

1- Chemical breakdown

The first, and most important reason is the breakdown of the chemical. Keep in mind that the rubber is made of different synthetics which consist of additives. The bad thing is that these additives undergo chemical changes or reactions. As a result, the rubber starts to break down.

Due to the breakdown of rubber material, a stickiness remains on the body of the binos that could affect the physical appearance of the binoculars. The good thing is that this chemical change happens over the years. If you have new binoculars, the rubber won’t break down to make your binos sticky. However, if you have old binos, you certainly need to be aware of it.

2- Heat, humidity, UV radiation

If your binoculars remain exposed to different external elements such as heat and radiation, the chances are high that their rubber will be affected over a period of time. Keep in mind that rubber is strong, but it is not very strong to bear the impact of heat. Due to heat, and other elements, the rubber can break down and leave stickiness on the body of the binoculars.

3- Impact of direct sunlight and extreme temperatures

As I said earlier when you leave your binos outdoors without any cover, direct sunlight starts showing its impact and weakens the rubber material present on the binoculars. Once the rubber is weakened, it will start to degrade, and eventually leave some stickiness on the binoculars. The same thing happens when you leave binoculars unchecked under the extreme temperature.

4- Dirt and dust go into the sealings

Dirt and dust can also play a role in deteriorating the rubber of your binoculars. When the rubber gets weakened, it starts leaving residue and stickiness on the body of the binoculars. Dust can also go into the sealing of the binos and affect the overall performance of the binoculars as well.

5- Extensive use of binoculars with low-quality rubber materials 

The more you use the binoculars, the more it gets exposed to external factors and the rubber has to face heat, dust, and other contaminants. Due to facing such external conditions, the rubber starts to break down and ends up leaving stickiness on the body of binoculars.

Keep in mind that some optics brands use cheap rubber material in the body which is also a prominent reason. The cheap rubber does not resist heat, and temperature and ends up breaking down due to less durability. So, you will notice some stickiness on the binoculars.

6- Deterioration of coating

Sometimes when you use the binoculars harshly, the coating of the binoculars starts to peel off which is also the reason for the stickiness of the binoculars. Therefore, you should always make sure that you don’t use the binoculars harshly so that the binos remain safe.

Also Read: The objective lens of a binocular is convex

Negative Consequences of Sticky Rubber on Binoculars

I hope that you have now got a better understanding of why binoculars get sticky. However, I am not stopping my fingers and going to give you some more insight about how the stickiness of the binos has a bad impact on your binoculars.

1- Durability

When the coating present on the body of binoculars starts to peel off and make the body sticky, then the binocular itself gets weaker. Keep in mind that the coating present on the grip offers some durability as the body of binoculars remains protected by the coating. When the coating present on the body goes off, external factors affect directly the body of the binoculars and make them affected.

2- Gripping, and handling

Rubberized coating is one of the most important things in giving you excellent gripping, and handling. Those binos that don’t have coating don’t offer ideal gripping. But when this coating is affected, your gripping gets hard. Chances are high that your binos will slip off your hands when you use wet hands.

3- Bad overlook

Due to the peeled-off coating and stickiness of the body, the overall binoculars won’t look attractive. It will look like old damaged binoculars. You will have to clean the stickiness more often than not to ensure that they remain in good shape with you.

4- Dust and debris magnet

When the body of your binoculars gets sticky, then the dust, and debris will go and stick to that stickiness. In other words, the dirt attached to your binoculars affects the durability of your overall binoculars. Therefore it is important to protect the binoculars from stickiness.

Can Stickiness on Binoculars Be Removed?

Yes, the stickiness of the body can be fixed and removed in simple ways. However, you will have to keep removing the stickiness as it won’t be removed completely. The deteriorated rubber will keep putting stickiness on the binoculars.

If the stickiness is not too much, then it can be wiped away by just a wet cloth such as microfiber and you will be all OK to use the binoculars. However, if the stickiness is too much, then you will have to clean it properly to ensure that your binos are usable and in good shape. In the section below, I am going to mention some ways that can help you fix sticky binos.

1- Cleaning with mild hot water

First of all, you should clean the stickiness of binoculars with mild hot water and wipe it away with a sponge or microfiber cloth. In this way, all the stickiness will go away if it is present in mid-range. Once the stickiness is removed, make sure to dry the binoculars so that no moisture goes inside the binos. However, if the stickiness is very hard, then it won’t go by just wiping with hot water. You will have to take the next step.

2- Use alcohol

If the stickiness is very hard, and not going away by wiping with the hot water, then I suggest you use the alcohol or isopropyl alcohol to ensure that all the stickiness is removed. Alcohol does a pretty good job of removing those stains or stickiness.

3- Apply detergents

If the stickiness of the binoculars is not going away by using the alcohol then you should try using other detergents to ensure that no stickiness remains on the body of the binoculars. However, make sure that you don’t go by a harsh approach that could affect the quality of the coatings.

4- Cornstarch or Talcum Powder

If the stickiness of the rubber is very hard on the binoculars and is not coming by anyway, then I highly recommend you spray cornstarch or talcum Powder make it sit on the stickiness, and leave the binoculars for 20 minutes. In that time, this powder will do its magic.

The stickiness will automatically come out and get loose in its place. After 20 minutes, you can take the microfiber cloth and clean all the loose residue to ensure that your binoculars are 100% stickiness-free.

5- White vinegar

You can also remove the stickiness by mixing equal amounts of vinegar and water and putting it on the stickiness. After a few minutes, you can wipe this water from the stickiness. All the residue will be removed from the body. However, make sure that you apply the mixed water to the specific coating place.

6- Silicone lubricant

Silicone lubricant is also a good way to remove the stubborn stickiness present on the binoculars. You can apply this lubricant on the stickiness, and ensure that it has taken enough time to remove the stickiness. After some time, you can remove all the residue of stickiness and silicone lubricant.

Things to Know:

All these methods must be applied with proper care. You should not be harsh while following my mentioned method. The moisture or lubricant that you apply should not touch the lenses and other sealings so that the lenses don’t get foggy. 

If you are confused and afraid to follow the procedure, I highly suggest you visit a professional mechanic who will fix your binoculars easily in just an hour depending on the conditions of the stickiness.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Sticky Rubber on Binoculars

As you have already heard prevention is always better than the cure. It would be ideal if you use preventive measures to ensure that you don’t get that stickiness on your binoculars. There are a few easy ways, and by following them, you can easily avoid the stickiness of your binos.

  1. First of all, you should ensure that your binos do not remain in extremely high temperatures or under the sunlight for long. Don’t keep them out when they are not in use. Keep in mind that when binos are in use, the heat or temperature is not going to impact them. However, when you leave binos out for hours without checking, it would get issues.
  2. You should store the binoculars in a carrying case and don’t leave them unchecked. Sometimes, moisture can cause the external coating to peel off. You should ensure that you keep the binoculars in a safe place.
  3. If your hands are contaminated, make sure to use the binoculars after cleaning the hands. Those contaminants such as grease or oil can really affect the coating of the binoculars and make them peel off. 
  4. It is ideal to carry the binoculars in a carrying case or neck strap. Don’t ever hold them in your hands as they can slip and fall on hard surfaces. The shocks can make their coating damaged. 
  5. One of the most important things which is usually overlooked is to keep the binos cleaned. Don’t let the dirt, and debris reach the ceilings of the binoculars and cause issues. It is recommended to clean them once a month so that they remain in good shape for years to come.


In the end, I would say that binoculars are not cheap tools, and you will need a handsome budget to buy top-notch and well-performing binoculars. Therefore, you should take care of them as well so that they don’t get any issues. 

In case your binos have already got a sticky body, don’t panic as there are some good ways to remove the stickiness. In this article, I have explained everything that you know about the stickiness of binos. Hopefully, this guide will prove to be super helpful.

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