Lubricating Locks?

Lubricating Locks… what to use?

Ask 20 locksmiths and you’ll get about 20 answers.

Everyone has their favourite lubricant, and their favourite may depend on what they service the most and the environment the locks are working in.

What you want to avoid is using a dry lubricant and a spray lubricant at the same time, otherwise you risk the dry lubricant turning into “mud”.

Dry lubricants, namely graphite powder has been a favourite for many years.

  • dry lubricants operate better than wet/oil based lubricants at higher temperatures, this won’t be a consideration for most lock users
  • dry lubricants won’t “dry-out”
  • you can use too much as it is a solid and can build up in a lock
  • probably not best used in moisture exposed environments

Spray lubricants, namely Inox or WD-40 or 3-in-1 Lock Lubricant

  • all of the above perform the same function;
  • clean, lubricate, protect, disperse moisture
  • they are not oil/grease based so will “dry” quickly after use
  • they are a light lubricant so may not last as long as graphite, but have other excellent lock maintenance qualities
  • not as messy as graphite
  • probably the most commonly used products over graphite in the modern world of locksmithing

Above all, over-use is not recommended for either lubricant, and the environment of the lock’s fitted position will determine how often it will need maintenance. 2 locks installed outside facing different directions (eg south facing vs west facing) will require different attention due to the trade wind directions of the area and which wind may be a moist wind vs a dry wind.