Why Graphite Lubricant is Better for Locks than Multi-Purpose Oil

The type of lubricant you should use depends entirely on what you’re applying the lubricant to and the environment the application will take place in. A dry, graphite lubricant has plenty of applications, as do multi-purpose oils. When it comes to lubricating a lock, there is a better choice between the two—graphite lubricant. The necessities of lubricating a lock are obvious, you wouldn’t want your lock seizing up and locking away whatever it’s protecting forever (or until you break the lock). But, if you use multi-purpose oil to lubricate your lock, there’s a higher chance it will eventually seize.

Benefits and Drawbacks of graphite lubricants and multi-purpose oil lubricants for locks

Multi-purpose oil lubricants

Multi-purpose oils like WD-40 seem like a fitting choice to lubricate a lock at first. You can use these lubricants to get rid of corrosion that exists in the lock, and for a while, the lock will continue to turn smoothly. However, after a fair amount of use, the multi-purpose oil will begin to gunk up the lock. This is because it’s a “wet” lubricant and it leaves an oily residue on the lock. In applications where the lock will be subjected to dust or dirt, these contaminants will mix with the existing oil and cause friction that makes the lock harder to turn.

So, multi-purpose oils do have their place in lock maintenance, but they’re not ideal for lubrication. Use your multi-purpose oil to clean out any corrosion from your lock that may be slowing it down, and to prevent further corrosion. After you’ve cleared the corrosion, use a degreasing product to wipe out the oily residue it will leave behind so that it doesn’t gunk up your lock.

Graphite lubricants

Since graphite lubricants are a “dry” lubricant, you won’t have the problem of dust and dirt sticking to it like it would on oil. Graphite has weak covalent bonds, so when two parts of the lock are both coated in graphite, the layers of graphite are able to easily slide over one another without sticking caused by bonding.

The one problem with graphite lubricants is one that can be avoided. Graphite lubricants are often found in powder form. When using a powdered graphite lubricant, it can be easy to use too much. With an application like a lock, it may be tricky to get the graphite into the hard-to-reach areas, prompting a user to dump in more. Or, if the graphite is starting to wear off, a user may put too much in to refresh the lubrication. If you do use too much graphite powder, you’ll cancel out its benefit over multi-purpose oil. It will start to gunk up the lock because the extra amount of graphite present is able to mix with dirt or dust, whereas contaminants would slide off with proper usage.

There are graphite lubricants in spray form, which we recommend so you can avoid this issue.

Plastic Service Center | Wet and dry lubricants, and much more

As one of Michigan’s best thermoplastic resin distributors, you can count on Plastic Service Center to provide you with the highest standard of customer service. We only carry quality products that we’re willing to endorse ourselves, so you can be sure that you will get your value out of any transaction. For locksmiths and others who need to lubricate locks with a long-lasting, effective solution, we carry a graphite-based lubricant for you.

Ask about our selection today or check out our products online. To place an order or learn more about us, give us a call at (586) 788-0746 or fill out our online contact form.