Homemade Treadmill Lube

Treadmills in gym
Not all treadmills use the same type of lube. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

If you’re using your treadmill just once or twice a week, or you are a serious daily runner, a quick check in the owner’s manual tells you to make sure your treadmill is lubricated properly so you can enjoy your exercise time without any bumps or skips. Proper lubrication also increases your treadmill belt’s lifespan. Before you start looking around the house for available products to make homemade treadmill lubricant with, make sure that you know if your treadmill requires a silicone-based or wax-based belt lube. If you don’t have the owner’s manual any longer, you can call the manufacturer and get the information that way.

Why Lubricate

The running belt of your treadmill moves around a base, called a deck. The deck does not move. Heat and friction are produced when the belt runs around the deck, which can damage your running belt. Using a lubricant between the running belt and the deck will significantly reduce the friction and the heat, prolonging your treadmill’s life cycle. Replacing a running belt or another moving part that needs lubrication can cost you almost as much as a new treadmill, so lubricate your machine as often as required to keep your hard-earned money in your pocket.

How Often

The rule of thumb says that if you use the treadmill once a week, you should lubricate it once a year; if you use it twice a week, lubricate twice a year, and so on. You need to check the owner’s manual for more exact timing like months, miles ran, hours in use, etc. Some manufacturers advise against unnecessary lubrication as it might damage your treadmill.

Types of Lubricant

Even though there are many types of treadmill lubricants -- paraffin wax bar, synthetic powder paraffin, liquid wax, silicone grease, liquid silicone -- they all fall under two main categories: wax-based or silicone-based. Read your owner’s manual to find the proper one, as wax and silicone lubricants are not interchangeable. If you use the wrong one, it can damage your treadmill by deforming or softening the belt.

Ingredients

Homemade treadmill lubricants for the silicone-based lubes usually include Teflon and other silicone-based products. Sometimes, a good spray with silicone furniture polish will do. If you need a wax-based lubricant, you’re looking for paraffin powder or bars. You can’t choose your ingredients until you check with the treadmill manufacturer or read the instructions in the owner’s manual.

Keep it Clean

You need to dust off your treadmill more often than you need to lubricate it, so the debris, dust, lint and dirt particles don’t increase the drag and put a bigger load on the motor. Always clean the deck first with a lint-free piece of fabric before applying any lubricant.

Tips

A treadmill maintenance kit that comes with the treadmill, when purchased from the manufacturer, should include a container of lubricant. Some treadmill models have pretreated belts and moving parts, so they don’t need lubrication. Check the owner’s manual. If you need to lubricate your machine, always unplug your treadmill before you clean it or apply lubricant.

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