Rubber Softening Experiment : Wintergreen Oil, Brake Fluid, ATF & More

Rubber parts may harden as they age from oxidation, oils dissolving in chemicals that parts are in contact with or evaportaion, and other reasons. That makes them tough to use or unable to function properly. I used a couple of old rubber scooter intake tubes to test some rubber softening techniques and see what worked and what didn’t.

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  1. Jer M on June 3, 2021 at 3:53 am

    Did you ever figure out the chemical inside the Wintergreen that is responsible for the softening of the parts?

  2. Christian Mayhew on June 3, 2021 at 3:57 am

    "Water so hot it melts your parts" Really? water boils at 212 degrees, I have NEVER seen a rubber part melt in boiling water…………ever.

  3. Wounds and Science on June 3, 2021 at 3:57 am

    one of the best videos i found on youtube so words to thank!

  4. Anomie on June 3, 2021 at 3:58 am

    I like the fact you didn’t quit , well been two days I wonder what a week will do, still not the result you were looking for so lets add some heat. Very well done. I have expensive rubber boots, the rubber is starting to crack , looking for a way to soften the rubber back up. I don’t think this will help but it was fun to watch. I think I will try the heat and the wintergreen oil, with controlled heat.

  5. Fyxxterzc on June 3, 2021 at 4:01 am

    What about wd40?

  6. Nick's DIY on June 3, 2021 at 4:03 am

    Have you tried AT-205? You can find it on amazon. If you soak a part in it for 12 hours it gets soft again.

  7. Jorge Espinosa on June 3, 2021 at 4:05 am

    Such a great video!!! You hadn’t heard about using glycerine?

  8. kokodin on June 3, 2021 at 4:06 am

    boiling the rubber improve the hardness by removing stress from crystalised work hardened rubber surface and is really similar process to steal anealing
    from what i know temps for water anealing rubber should be 80-90 C for more than 5 minutes and leave them to cool off slowly in the water to "normalise"

    most rubbers that are thermo set should respond well to this treatment but the hardening will return because in most cases reason for hardening is evaporation of plastecizing agents that are not restored by boiing, but can by soaking in them

  9. Al Cepeda on June 3, 2021 at 4:07 am

    great job sir!

  10. chubeviewer on June 3, 2021 at 4:08 am

    could you say, coat the rubber with a brush, in a strong mixture like 1:1. Then wrap that part in plastic film so it doesnt evaporate away?

  11. TechiePocket1 on June 3, 2021 at 4:11 am

    Thank you for taking all the time to make this informative video!

  12. S.Harris [Secure Group] on June 3, 2021 at 4:13 am

    Excellent video.

  13. Joseph K on June 3, 2021 at 4:16 am

    You did such a wonderfully thorough job on this vid! Thank you so much!

  14. Zombie CyborgMama on June 3, 2021 at 4:17 am

    This is so cool!
    In my research, I found that wintergreen, petroleum jelly and other spirits are rubber solvents, and the rubber goes hard when it loses its plastics. Replasticising is why silicone spray is ideal on window seals and such.
    The brake fluid thats usually used is part petroleum and part silicone so its both solvent and replasticiser.
    The recommendations Ive seen around are: For maintenance of rubber – silicone spray wipedown. Heat only used if its hardened due to low temps. Petroleum jelly wipedown for a slightly aged piece that needs a refresh/refurbish. In cases of undamaged but very hard, Ive seen recommendation of hot water soak first to then dry and then soak in your brake fluid or silicone spray for a varied time, checking as you go to see based on the rubbers needs. Once satisfactory, sake out and wash with soapy water, rinse and let dry for a day.
    I was looking in the way of old typewriter platens and thats all the stuff that I came up with. Apparently sewing machine oil and an old bottle of what was called Typewriter Oil are both petroleum oils and were used for the maintenance of the machines.
    I thought Id share in case its adds to the research experiments. 🙂

  15. Jari Kinnunen on June 3, 2021 at 4:17 am

    Heat gun was my own finding years ago to get hardened rubbers to get installed. That oil is "hard to get" category, but good to know.

  16. Tomasnok on June 3, 2021 at 4:17 am

    Epoxy curing agent dissolved in hot oil was the best I’ve seen. It makes rubber really pliable in a few days. Fuel system cleaner with polyetheramine (same substance in epoxy curing agent) comes in second and Brake fluid comes in thrird. Never tried wintergreen. But you need to feel after it completely dries.

  17. Jer M on June 3, 2021 at 4:18 am

    Methyl Salicylate is the chemical in Wintergreen oil that softens rubber.

    Methyl Salicylate Synthesis

  18. david vickers on June 3, 2021 at 4:18 am

    What about heat? Sometimes when tape loses its stickyness you can put it in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds and the glue softens up again. Maybe heat tests?

  19. Jeremy Hammond on June 3, 2021 at 4:18 am

    get some kart tire prep it will soften no problem

  20. stress free life by Rizwan on June 3, 2021 at 4:20 am

    Can v use kerosine?

  21. benz merc on June 3, 2021 at 4:21 am

    My 90’s diesel benz have old flex discs, and i wonder if i soften them a bit, i could save some money…

  22. Jonathan Bersano on June 3, 2021 at 4:21 am

    great. thanks

  23. FrustratedBaboon on June 3, 2021 at 4:22 am

    Damned man you stuck with most boring tasks and completed your experiments.

  24. Robert Ryerson on June 3, 2021 at 4:22 am

    Whilst I have noticed improvement I have also noticed that parts increase in size.

  25. Thomas Calderon on June 3, 2021 at 4:24 am

    Question, will it work on shoes as well? Since rubber outsole hardens on shoes as well.

  26. Bacon Mow on June 3, 2021 at 4:24 am

    Have you ever tried using Silicone spray in an airtight bag or container?

  27. Perry Luvr on June 3, 2021 at 4:25 am

    Ammonia solution is mixed with glycerine or something else and it will soften hardened rubber very well. But I forgot what the mixture was. Maybe you can find out. Thanks for all the work you did for the video.

  28. Dwayne Jones on June 3, 2021 at 4:26 am

    Did ever heat the fluids?

  29. signature50 on June 3, 2021 at 4:28 am

    Nice video, well put together and informative. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who’s tried any of these methods on drive belts, wheels etc from vintage record players and tape recorders, where rejuvenating old rubber is a similar issue

  30. Kurt Barcelona on June 3, 2021 at 4:29 am

    will AT-205 reseal soften rubber?

  31. T on June 3, 2021 at 4:33 am

    I wonder what would happen if you did this same test but put them in a vacuum chamber.

  32. T Mack on June 3, 2021 at 4:34 am

    To control temp of the water & Winter Green tests, try using a double boiling method. That is a pot inside a pot. They use this method in cooking/heating candy. Outer pot is water only, inner pot is the solution. The water in outer pot more evenly distributes the heat.

  33. William Ambrogio on June 3, 2021 at 4:35 am

    Always wanted to know what to soften rubber with, VERY Interesting, Thanks

  34. GrowLLLTigeRRR on June 3, 2021 at 4:35 am

    Thanks for the video. My 2:1 (70% isopropyl alcohol : wintergreen oil) became cloudy then separated when I mixed them. What am I missing here? Thanks again.

  35. gurcsik on June 3, 2021 at 4:35 am

    This is awesome. Probably saving thousands of dollars for people combined!

  36. Micah on June 3, 2021 at 4:37 am

    I’m gonna try the 3/1 wintergreen on my old land rover mudflaps that are frozen in shape!

  37. Ducatisatva on June 3, 2021 at 4:37 am

    Wintergreen to alcohol should be 1:1. Then after they have dried out use a good rubber protectant product. Something better then armorall which works but does not last too long.

  38. Julio Perez-Delgado Jr on June 3, 2021 at 4:39 am

    This experiment was amazing I have been able to restore and modify a lot of plastic or rubbery materials and its truly great information to have. Thank you so much.

  39. X-Man on June 3, 2021 at 4:40 am

    Would have loved to see you compare shore hardness tests to your calibrated thumb and finger. Seems like an automatic since measuring elastic/rubber materials hardness is what it does. You went so far out of your way to be scientific too.

  40. micdal22 on June 3, 2021 at 4:42 am

    Thanks for a very informative experiment.
    I need to revive two washing machine shaft seals, so your video clip is just what I needed.
    I read somewhere that almond oil is supposed to rejuvenate rubber, which might be a cheaper option (if it works as well as wintergreen oil)

  41. roum22 on June 3, 2021 at 4:42 am

    Used the 3-1 mix on carburettor intake stubs. They swelled up slightly at first, but softened up nicely, about 10 days later they were back to their original size, and were ready for use.
    The softening effect lasted about nine months, then the returned to being rock hard.

  42. Leo T on June 3, 2021 at 4:42 am

    Hello. Excellent video. I was wondering if this Can this be done for hardened rubber shoe soles?

  43. Weili Lim on June 3, 2021 at 4:43 am

    Is it possible to use the method for shoes?

  44. FlyFarther on June 3, 2021 at 4:44 am

    Once you all done your experiment with all those useless cutup parts , soak them in Ethanol gas and watch them magical disappear 😉

  45. Matthew Talbot on June 3, 2021 at 4:45 am

    Try different kinds of rubbers like rubber bands and rubber tubings for electrical wires

  46. Quickstrike209 R on June 3, 2021 at 4:46 am

    Try a double boiler with the Wintergreen mixture

  47. david ervin on June 3, 2021 at 4:49 am

    I use wintergreen oil a lot. Get the gallon size. I tried it on an old motorcycle seat cover. Bad, so bad. The vinyl separated from the backing. Some old carb intakes swelled so much as to be unusable, at least for now. But, in general it helps, even thick rubber parts. I keep a pot covered and toss in parts as I take stuff apart so the mixture lasts pretty long. I soaked an ignition coil where the wires were too stiff to bend and they came out better than new. They felt like silicone rubber wires. And, the shop smells great.

  48. Fon Zo on June 3, 2021 at 4:50 am

    Thanks! Saw your video and took a heat gun and that ended up being all i needed!

  49. parçala behçet on June 3, 2021 at 4:51 am

    thank you

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