Instructables

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.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

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
DSC03536.JPG
DSC03539.JPG
I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOU DO TO YOUR CUBE.

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
DSC03542.JPG
DSC03543.JPG
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.
1-40 of 75Next »
steelers676 years ago
i tried this with silicon lubricant and it made it worse!!
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)  PalaDolphin6 years ago
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.
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.
Vaseline is petroleum based. Your rubik's cube is petroleum based. This just does not mix well. Just use silicone spray.....it doesn't eat at your cube. DO NOT use WD-40 either......NOT good.....

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

Spray the silicon into a glass, cover with plain paper and then let the acetone evaporate out over a day or two - cold weather 2 or 3 days, warm weather 1 day;

Then apply the lubricant to the pieces with a cotton bud, as you assemble them.

Simple.
CaptainCrash (author)  PalaDolphin6 years ago
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.
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.
SiliconCube_001_600x283.jpg
Spray the silicon into a glass, cover with plain paper and then let the acetone evaporate out over a day or two - cold weather 2 or 3 days, warm weather 1 day;

Then apply the lubricant to the pieces with a cotton bud, as you assemble them.

Simple.
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.
Spray the silicon into a glass, cover with plain paper and then let the acetone evaporate out over a day or two - cold weather 2 or 3 days, warm weather 1 day;

Then apply the lubricant to the pieces with a cotton bud, as you assemble them.

Simple.
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
Graphite works very nicely, but it has the tendency to kind of leak out and get your hands all black...
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)  steelers676 years ago
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.
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 =)
RCuber341 year ago
when i did that it made it really sticky and didnt help at all.
i know i got the right kind what happened???????
borth1 RCuber344 months ago

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.

RCuber341 year ago
i got it to work after i used it alot
Ryanj20001 year ago
Great my cube is so fast now. thanks
Spray the silicon into a glass, cover with plain paper and then let the acetone evaporate out over a day or two - cold weather 2 or 3 days, warm weather 1 day;

Then apply the lubricant to the pieces with a cotton bud, as you assemble them.

Simple.
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.
Spray maybe a thimbleful of the silicon into a glass, cover with plain paper and then let the acetone evaporate out over a day or two - cold weather 2 or 3 days, warm weather 1 day;

Then apply the lubricant to the pieces with a cotton bud, as you assemble them.

Simple.
lawlufunny2 years ago
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?
juliaKen2 years ago
Learn Rubik's Cube tips they'll help as well!!
hey dude, you speed cube and if so wat type of cube is that
I'm pretty sure it's a lanlan.
I was wondering the same thing: Its not a rubiks or an edison as far as I can tell based on several pics
.Unknown.3 years ago
I have this '3 in 1' silicone spray, with WD-40 on the side of the can. Claims to be safe for metal, wood, rubber and plastics....but in the small print, it says that it contain petroleum distillates, hydrocarbons, (that's just because of the spray can, right?) and "prolonged exposure to plastic and rubber not recommended". Unfortunately, I read this AFTER I lubricated my cube.....What's gonna happen to it? Right now, I don't really notice much difference before the lube.
actually WD 40 WARNS you that it can melt some plastics. It tells you to check on a scrap. You can also use gear grease meant for VCR's as well as graphite.
With wd40, youll notice a difference almost immediatly after you spray it. It turns terrribblly really quickly. patroleum is okay for a cube, but after a long time its not to great.
spock1555 years ago
NEVER and I repeat NEVER buy a Rubik's Cube from Zumiez...
yeah cuz they cost aboout 15 kagillion bucks!
Never... I repeat never buy a rubiks cube... period. THey really arent that great, they lock up to much etc. I have a competition coming up, and they require you to use rubiks brand.. which is not normal whatsoever
Require? Must be non WCA....weird....
Yah, It wasnt. It was a You Can Do the Rubiks Cube event. 8 people, 25 cubes, 1:47.77 seconds :D
om_shiv1516 years ago
petroleum jelly works nice
yea, but over a while the pretroleum can melt the plastic.
1-40 of 75Next »