Sleeves on Old Letter Jacket Are Sticky?

March 11, 2008

A letterman's jacket's sleeve.I still have my son's high school letter jacket from 20 years ago. Guess I am waiting for a grandson! Lol! Anyway, the sleeves are made of a type of vinyl, I am sure you know what I mean. Keeping it in the closet for so long, I think the heat or age has gotten to it. The sleeves are sticky or tacky.


Is there any way to clean this or to salvage the jacket. I hate to throw it out, I would rather give it to a needy teenager if possible. Otherwise it is in perfect condition. Thanks so much for your help.

Nolasandy from Kenner, LA


March 5, 20210 found this helpful
Best Answer

Get yourself a bottle of Purell (or ethyl alcohol), a dry wash cloth and elbow grease. Purell worked the best for me as it stayed in place longer and doesn't evaporate as fast.

Plastics and synthetics materials are sometimes manufactured with a coating on the surface of the material. It could be a release agent or something else from the manufactering process. As this coating ages, it started to become tacky and sticky. The ethyly alcohol acts as a solvent and removes the sticky material and pulls it into the wash cloth.


Preseto, sticky stuff gone.
I personally wouldn't use WD40 as it has a lot of nasty solvents that could damage the material long term (read the WD40 MSDS sheet). No good if you want to preserve your "Days of Glory" wrestling jacket. Ethyl alcohol has minimal impact on the material and evaporates quickly leaving no trace.

I had a similar problem with the plastic surface of my GoPro Hero2 Cameras becoming sticky years later and applied the same method with Q-Tips. Problem solved.

Hope this helps.

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March 12, 20081 found this helpful

Bring the jacket to a professional cleaner -- if it can be saved, they will be able to do it!

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By Sharon (Guest Post)
March 16, 20080 found this helpful

You might try "Goop" on the vinyl. "Goop" is a "waterless" hand cleaner, that is great for removing stains/spots from clothing. You can buy it in the automotive section at Wal Mart.

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May 4, 20090 found this helpful

I also have my son's 20 year old school jacket and the sleeves are sticky too. I was wondering did the goop work, or did you take it to a dry cleaners or what?

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June 6, 20161 found this helpful

Armor All leather cleaning wipes! Took 5 minutes.

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June 16, 20162 found this helpful

Magic Eraser does the trick. Cover in a cloth garment bag or pillow case.

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August 10, 20160 found this helpful

I tried the magic erasure and. It does not work for me. Mabey I am doing something wrong.?

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May 28, 20171 found this helpful

Thank you so much for the suggestion!

I had my letter jacket out ready to throw in the dumpster. I'm gad I checked on-line for suggestions and found yours because the magic eraser worked like a charm (and I used the knock-off variety from the Dollar Store).


Thank you for taking time to share your knowledge! Best wishes!

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May 25, 20181 found this helpful

Yes, it has to be damp.

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July 19, 20180 found this helpful

I just used some GOO GONE that I had around the house and it worked okay for me. The most consuming time was having to go around the patches and, mind you, my bottle of GOO GONE is old like at least 13 or 15 years old. I bought it when my kids were home. My youngest is 36.

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January 6, 20190 found this helpful

To clean my jacket, I used non-streaking glass cleaner and it got rid of all the stickiness and even softened it up a bit.

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March 10, 20190 found this helpful

WD-40 worked great on our son's jackets.

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March 10, 20190 found this helpful

WD-40 worked great on our sons jackets

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January 6, 20201 found this helpful

I just thrifted a vintage wool letterman jacket from the bins, with naugalite sleeves -- same thing. Discolored and sticky/gummy. I used "Awesome" cleaner (from Dollar General -- super cheap, like $3 for a half gallon) on the sleeves and they look brand new.


Wiped them down as a follow-up with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and vinegar, just to clean off any residue. Looks brand new!

Reply Was this helpful? 1
June 3, 20210 found this helpful

Delong letterman jackets from the 1980's through 1990's vinyl sleeves begin to secrete the sticky, gooey grime on the sleeves when stored away for a while Various cleaners do work, but after a few months or less, the sticky, gooey grime comes back again.

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