Introduction: How to Clean/lubricate a Rubik's Cube

Picture of How to Clean/lubricate a Rubik's Cube

Being able to solve a Rubik's cube is pretty cool. World Class Speedcubers average around 11-12 seconds these days. But speed does not only depend on fast fingers and brain power. You need a good cube. In this instructable, I will show you how to keep your cube turning at high speeds.

Step 1: The Materials

Picture of The Materials

Things you'll need:

1 Rubik's cube

1 screw driver (optional)

2 tissues

1 can of Silicon oil

Step 2: Taking the Rubik's Cube Apart

Picture of Taking the Rubik's Cube Apart


If you are using a store bought cube it is probably really tight. The tighter the cube is, the harder it will be to get it apart. BE CAREFUL.

Turn on side of the cube 45 degrees and pry one if the edge pieces off with the screwdriver. If you have a DIY cube with adjustable spring tension you can probably just use your thumb.

After removing the edge take all of the pieces off and make a nice little pile.

Step 3: Cleaning

Picture of Cleaning

If you haven't noticed yet, the pieces are covered with a thin gray residue. This build up makes the cube feel bad to turn and reduces overall speed.

Using the tissues rub the residue off of each part. Make sure you get the undersides of the center pieces.

Step 4: Reassambly

Picture of Reassambly

Assembling a Rubik's cube is not very hard to do.

Start off by putting in all of the white edge pieces making sure that the second color matches up.

Then place the white corners in next to them. Again making sure that the surrounding colors match

Put in the edges around the equator of the cube.

For the last 3rd put the remaining pieces in except one edge. REMEMBER, edge pieces go in easiest when the layer is turned 45 degrees.

To put the final edge in turn the layer 45 degrees and wedge one side under the center piece. Then press down and inward towards the center of the cube.

congratulations! You have just cleaned your Rubik's cube.

You should have already noticed that the cube has a slightly different feel to turning it. It might be easier to turn at this point but we are not finished yet!

Step 5: Lubrication

Picture of Lubrication
Now that your cube is nice and clean, take one edges out. Using Silicon oil put one quick spray inside. DO NOT USE WD40, IT IS CORROSIVE AND COULD RUIN YOUR CUBE.I find that about 1/4 of a second of spray is perfect after cleaning. Depending on the cube you may need more or less. After spraying put the edge back in and turn (scramble) the cube to get the oil mixed around inside. After turning for a just few seconds the cube will be set to get great times. It may take a few solves to get used to the cube but it's all worth it.

If anyone has any questions on how to improve their times feel free to ask.


stevenc113 (author)2016-03-11

oh yes it works hell yeah. You'll need to do it right. The lube I use is DW-40

CalebM52 (author)stevenc1132017-02-25

I thought you aren't supposed to use WD-40?

Or does it work just as well? If so I will be using that because it`s the only thing i have :)

MatthewP223 (author)CalebM522017-08-12

The problem with WD-40 is that it is a petroleum product, and so is plastic. These two chemicals undergo a chemical reaction slowly over time that corrodes the insides of the cube. Silicon is the only thing you want to use on a cube that means anything to you.

Spencer6189 (author)2016-03-06

Absolutely terrible!! DO NOT DO THIS. I did this on my new cube and it destroyed it!!!

MatthewP223 (author)Spencer61892017-08-12

the silicone takes some time to even out. If you want a lighter lubricant, I suggest you buy some specialized lube at

PatrickW96 (author)Spencer61892016-05-10

Just so you know you have to "break in" your cube so it will work. You just can't put it on as soon as you get it. You have to solve it five or six times before lubricating it.

AvianAsk0 (author)PatrickW962017-07-22

Just asking, but what's ur avg?

PatrickW96 (author)AvianAsk02017-07-22

my avg is 1min 30sec

CN150403 (author)2017-03-08

WD-40 works fine, don't worry! My cube is so much better

DarwinI1 (author)2016-01-09

Can butter, margarine, bacon fat, animal fat, or cooking oil be a good lubricant for Rubiks cubes ???

MiniatureTaco (author)DarwinI12016-12-16

Actually butter works, but you have to clean it a lot. At the time, my friend used butter, it worked very well, but later that same day you must clean the cube and put in new butter. It might get greasy with bacon or animal fat. Cooking oil might work though. Doesn't hurt to try new things though.

tessiew (author)DarwinI12016-05-14

Errm... Let's not go with bacon fat, shall we? :) Bruh, most of those will STINK after a while (not figuratively--It will smell bad). I dunno.

How bout you just get a little jar of some good quality cube lube? :)

dinomane (author)2016-11-22

it works for me:)

ThomasT125 (author)2016-10-08

or you could just do it properly rather than this sh*tty way and do the washers

mickeyaaaa (author)2016-08-10

use treadmill silicone oil lubricant. From a bottle, not a spray can. Spray cans have propellants that can literally melt/dissolve plastics. only the oil is safe for plastics. It is used on PVC PLASTIC treadmill belts, polyurethane, nylon etc with no harm at all

The Swag Pro (author)2016-02-25

cool bro

iGlitcher (author)2015-11-26

Thank you so much! My Rubix Cube still gets stuck here an there it it's a lot better than it was before

ThomasB95 (author)2015-11-10

I don't know

steelers67 (author)2008-01-26

i tried this with silicon lubricant and it made it worse!!

PalaDolphin (author)steelers672008-06-08

I tried the exact brand of silicon lubricant shown in your picture and it melted the plastic on my cube. Now the cube is literally frozen. The whole reason for searching for a site like this was to avoid permanently damaging my Rubik's Cube with lubricant, which is exactly what happened. Originally, I had a new cube one week old and my times where averaging 1:45 from the get-go, much faster than my old cube. Then, after one week, it tightened up. That morning, I'd gotten a solution time of 1:34. Then it all of the sudden got very humid and the cube got somewhat sticky. My times fell to 3 minutes plus. This is frustrating because I was just learning a technique to rotate each face with a single finger, helping speed up my two-handed solution and mandatory for a single handed solution. So, I searched and found this Web site. When I bought the silicon lubricant and applied it, the plastic melted and froze the cube. I spend another $10 on a new cube and am wondering what to do to correct the old frozen cube? I'm also wondering what lubricant I should use on the new cube if and when it gets a little sticky? Has anyone tried graphite?

CaptainCrash (author)PalaDolphin2008-06-08

hmm...what kind of cube were you using? maybe it was made from a weird kind of plastic. I've been using this since I started cubing and it has never given me trouble. the only time it has ever made my cube worse is when there s a lot of dust build up inside. It makes it feel "gummy" after applying the lubricant. But I usually clean that out first.

PalaDolphin (author)CaptainCrash2008-06-08

I'm using the standard Rubik's Cube you can buy from Target for $9.84. I followed your instructions to the letter: I disassembled it and wiped all surfaces with many paper towels, removing some residue built up from one week's worth of daily usage. After reassembling it, it did work smoother. Then I popped out one edge piece and sprayed silicon in the spring area, which leaked throught the cube and melted the plastic. Since posting my first comment, I've heard others have this sticky result after using silicon. They said it disintagrate the plastic, but when the residue is removed it's much faster. They then worked it in and then applied Vaseline. I haven't tried this yet.

JaceB (author)PalaDolphin2015-08-17

do not try that

musicninja17 (author)PalaDolphin2009-04-12

Vaseline is petroleum based. Your rubik's cube is petroleum based. This just does not mix well. Just use silicone doesn't eat at your cube. DO NOT use WD-40 either......NOT good.....

borth1 (author)musicninja172014-03-30

I found out WD-40 doesn't work with a $20 cube. Wd-40 is a TERRIBLE lubricant.

TheCubingGuy (author)borth12015-07-13

wait what? I'm a cubed and in my time now, there is the NEW Rubik's cube and WD-40 lubricant works perfectly for me even though I have Moyus and other speed cubes now, WD-40 works really well for me, strange hey?

erikdravn (author)borth12014-10-24

WD-40 is not a lubricant... it's a solvent. WD-40 is designed to eat rust and other contaminants to help free up rusted nuts and bolts, not lubricate them.

CaptainCrash (author)PalaDolphin2008-06-09

what do you mean by spring area? you shouldn't have to oil the points of rotation on each side. just the moving parts that come in contact with each other. how much did you put in? if I have a cube that is too loose then I will spray for about 1 full second and the large amount of silicone actually makes it harder to turn. only do this if you haven't oiled it yet. if you spray some in and it gets too easy to turn don't spray more to make it harder.

PalaDolphin (author)CaptainCrash2008-06-09

Update: After leaving the cube alone for a couple days, and viewing other YouTube videos on how to lube and not to lube (how Shakespearian) your cube, I went back to my old silicon lubricated cube to see if anything could be done to revive it. The cube was initially completely frozen, but after “breaking” its silicon hold, it had become looser than ever before. By “breaking”, I mean that instead of the cube being very sticky to move, it had frozen completely. But, when I forced it, it had let go of its silicon hold and rotated freely. It was no longer sticky, but glided with little friction. It’s not as fast as some of the cubes I’ve seen on YouTube where the guy is rotating it with one finger, but it’s getting there.

After examining the contact surfaces, by rotating a face 45°, I found a gray residue. It seems to be embedded in the surface, as opposed to loose falling out. I included a picture.

Next, I’m going to do as some videos have suggested: disassemble the cube, lay out all pieces, spray silicon lubricant on all contact surfaces, and let it dry 15 minutes. Someone also suggested filing down these surfaces with a nail file, but I’m thinking of using very fine sand paper. I’m going to try each step and document my findings. I’m in search of the ultimate lubrication technique.

ljrox123 (author)PalaDolphin2009-03-10

i think i know what you did. you didn't work your cube after applying the silicone. if you let it dry it turns into "glue" basically.

JaceB (author)PalaDolphin2015-08-17

use lubix, lubicle or cubix lube they are all very great

Graphite is a Nono trust me lol

DavidS48 (author)PalaDolphin2015-03-20

I think you used to much lubricant oil.

vignesh1230 (author)PalaDolphin2010-06-12

Okay if you used silicone spray you have to at LEAST work it in for around 1-5 mins. If it has gotten tight just use a flat screwdriver and knock one edge with a hammer. Then remove that edge and disassemble the whole cube. Soak the cube in water or grease remover and this time lubricate it with less silicone spray. It should work.

I used petroleum jelly and it worked really good

musicninja17 (author)PalaDolphin2009-04-12

Graphite works very nicely, but it has the tendency to kind of leak out and get your hands all black...

neila2 (author)steelers672014-10-25

you're supposed to clean it out first dummy

aznxsushi (author)steelers672009-09-19

The way i did it was to sand down the middle pieces a bit and used Vaseline lotion to lube it up. now it can lock up as much and is a lot faster and smoother.

CaptainCrash (author)steelers672008-01-26

If you spray to much it does get a bit "gummy". It should go back to normal in a while. you can try taking it apart and putting it back together. I'm not sure why but that seems to get rid of the effect of the spray.

steelers67 (author)CaptainCrash2008-01-26

ya thts wut i did i re cleaned it and everything i jus misread the instructions when it said .25 seconds i did 25 seconds so ya thx but it is still a little slow but ill jus try reapplying more later on and c if tht works =)

lawlufunny (author)2012-02-04

Hey guys i just got a new dayan guhong v2 cube. When i turn the green side i hear this clicking noise. I'm thinking it has something to do with the spring. Any ideas on how to fix this?

TheCubingGuy (author)lawlufunny2015-07-13

don't worry,that is a normal thing on most new cubes, especially speed cubes, using lubricant(like lubix or other proper lubricants on real cubing stores) should help stop the springy feel and sound.

PalaDolphin (author)2015-03-21

I started with a new cube, disassembled it, sanded all surfaces, then used a little silicone lubrication. It moves faster, but it doesn't spin like I'd like. I'm not sure what else I can do to make it faster.

mohitt2 (author)2015-01-11

Well I know its a very idiotic question but can anyone tell me where can I get any silicon spray?

RCuber34 (author)2013-06-11

when i did that it made it really sticky and didnt help at all.
i know i got the right kind what happened???????

borth1 (author)RCuber342014-03-30

Do you have a Store-Bought cube, or one you bought off of the internet? Different types of cubes can affect the outcome. I used it on my ShengShou 3x3 and mine also got sticky.

RCuber34 (author)2013-06-11

i got it to work after i used it alot

Ryanj2000 (author)2013-03-23

Great my cube is so fast now. thanks

seabeepirate (author)2012-02-11

Use CRC Heavy Duty Silicone lubricant very sparingly. If you read the label it says specifically in bold caps "NOT FOR USE ON PLASTICS" and then a little ways down the label "WARNING: Contains Acetone". For those of you who don't know(knowing you guys there's probably not many), Acetone is a solvent that dissolves most plastics. They use a specific plastic that doesn't react to Acetone to bottle it for sale in stores along side the nail polish remover.

Acetone however also evaporates pretty quickly, so if you only spray a VERY small amount into your cube(as the directions above say) and then continue to work it until the Acetone evaporates, you should be OK. If you spray too much CRC Heavy Duty Silicone lubricant into your cube you'll actually destroy it because the Acetone will dissolve vital parts before it can evaporate. That sticky feeling you first get after spraying the lube in is actually the plastic trying to fuse together, keep working it so that it can't seize.

I learned the hard way, I completely ruined a cube by spraying too much into it. I thought if a little got it working OK a lot would make it work great, but instead the Acetone just melted the swivels on the main posts and now it just falls apart if you try to solve it.

I personally like to use graphite powder, but it makes a mess and leaves a grey residue all over your fingers.

juliaKen (author)2011-11-10

Learn Rubik's Cube tips they'll help as well!!

About This Instructable




More by CaptainCrash:How to clean/lubricate a rubik's cubeLego Laser Plotter
Add instructable to: