Sticky rubber coated metal racks/shelves

I've recently purchased a house that has wire racks in various closets that are covered by some plastic or rubber coating, this kind of thing:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/ClosetMaid-ShelfTrack-5-Pair-Ventilated-Wire-Shoe-Shelf-Kit-2846/100656012
Over time they've become sticky and I've been told that they all do that but my hand recoils when I touch them because they feel slimey. Cleaning them would be a bit of a bear since there are so many and each little wire needs to be cleaned. What causes the stickyness and does it come off on things that sit on those shelves?
The whole garage is lined with them, which makes for good storage but I tend not to like sticky. If I have them cleaned, will they stay clean for a few years?
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DGK-
I would expect the sticky stuff to come off on things that contact it.
I have never heard of similar racks doing that, but it is not unusual for rubberized materials to "revert" to the chemicals from which they were made.
For one of my hand held radios, I was able to clean off the sticky surface with 100 percent isopropyl alcohol. But that was a coating on a hard plastic surface.
Yours is on a metal surface, so you might be left with bare, rusting metal if you could clean the coating off. You would need to try cleaning yours to see if any remaining coating is sticky.
I think you are stuck! If you can contact the previous owners and determine who made your racks, you may be able to get some satisfaction from the manufacturer. Just replacing all of your racks would be easier than removing, cleaning and re-installing the ones you have.
Fred
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wrote:

Thanks, alcohol comes up pretty often when I use google or bing and apparently this is a fairly well known issue. I read somewhere that it's the chemical that makes the PVC soft that becomes sticky, but PVC pipe doesn't become sticky so I don't know about that. Anyway, it will be a few months before I get back to that house and I'll try out various things on the racks in the garage and when I have something working well I'll try it on the racks in the interior closets.
I'll be retired once I get back there so I'll hopefully have time to clean each individual wire.
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DGK-
Someone in another thread suggested lacquer thinner. I just tried some on a sticky camera lens. It worked OK, but I accidentally wiped away some lettering on the lens!
One advantage that Alcohol might have, is it is not as bad on your lungs as lacquer thinner. I did my lens cleaning outdoors.
Fred
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