In The Shop: Soap or Grease?
Nov 10, 2010
When installing rubber o-rings, gaskets or seals and the situation calls for pre-lubricating the o-ring , gasket or seal, think twice before use engine oil, penetrating oil or standard gun-grease. Petroleum products can attack or degrade some rubber products.
There are special non-petroleum lubricants on the market, but I've had good luck with plain old Go-Jo-type waterless hand soap. I keep a small tub of that jelly-like hand washing product in my toolbox. It works great for lubing o-rings and gaskets on self-propelled sprayer fittings, and is invaluable when installing rubber sprayer hoses or rubber radiator hoses over fittings or pipe nipples. It's also great for sliding reinforced rubber hoses (seed delivery tubing on air planters, or suction/vacuum hoses on sprayers) into place.
I obviously avoid waterless hand soap with pumice or grit in it, since lubrication is my goal. I've tried liquid dish soap, thinking the squeeze bottle might make it easier to dispense, but found that the jellied hand soap stays in place after application better than liquid dish soap. And...the tub of waterless hand cleaner is a little more "manly" than a bottle of liquid dish soap borrowed from under the kitchen sink.