Explained: Can you Use Vaseline as Bike Grease (2022)? [Expert Opinion]

Vaseline is a petroleum-based product that can be used as a lubricant for many purposes. You may be wondering if you can use it on your bike to help keep components moving smoothly.

Vaseline (petroleum jelly) can be used as a bike lubricant without causing problems. In contrast, it melts at lower temperatures (40-60 degrees Celsius) than grease. Nevertheless, Vaseline is a great alternative to grease when you don’t have any.

Furthermore, white lithium grease tubs are less expensive than Vaseline. Then, the use of petroleum jelly instead of grease would be economically unwise. With that said, Vaseline can still be used as an emergency lubricant for your bike if you find yourself in a pinch.

What is Vaseline?

Petroleum jelly (also called petrolatum) is a mixture of mineral oils and waxes, which form a semisolid jelly-like substance. This product hasn’t changed much since Robert Augustus Chesebrough discovered it in 1859. Chesebrough noticed that oil workers would use gooey jelly to heal their wounds and burns. He eventually packaged this jelly as Vaseline.

Petroleum jelly’s benefits come from its main ingredient petroleum, which helps seal your skin with a water-protective barrier. This helps your skin heal and retain moisture. Because it is non-conductive, it can also be used as an electrical insulator. You may be wondering can you can use Vaseline as bike grease.

Best Bike Grease

Best Overall
Boeshield T-9 Bicycle Chain Waterproof Lubricant and Rust Protection

  • Bicycle Chain
  • Avoid Rust and Corrosion
  • Penetrates Moving Parts
Best Overll
Park Tool PolyLube 1000 Bicycle Grease

  • Pedals, Headsets, Bottom Bracket, Cranks, and Hubs
  • High Shear Strength
  • For Maintenance and Repair.
Best Overall
WPL Absolute Bicycle Grease

  • Pedals, Forks, Chains, and Wheel Bearings
  • All Purpose Bike Grease
  • Good Price

Every product was carefully curated by an Esquire editor. We may earn a commission from these links.

Can You Use Vaseline as Bike Grease? Is it OK for Bearings?

The base component of grease and Vaseline is the same. Therefore, Vaseline would be ideal for lubricating your bike.

The low melting point of petroleum jelly (40-60 degrees Celsius) makes it unsuitable for heat-generating components. It is perfect for the installation of bike parts that have threads or where cold welding needs to be prevented. 

Petroleum jelly should only be used for emergency repairs when it comes to bearings. In other words, Vaseline should work if the bearing’s metal temperature does not reach petroleum jelly’s melting point. The old Vaseline layer has to be removed and a new one applied regularly because Vaseline dries faster. 

Petroleum jelly is also costly when used as a bearing lubricant. A tube of Vaseline costs several times more than a tube of automobile multipurpose grease or a tube of bike-specific grease.

The Finish Line Premium Grease, a bike grease made with Teflon Fluoropolymer, is an excellent choice for bike grease. Bearings and other bike parts are protected from wear and distortion by this grease, which can withstand high pressure without steering.

Can I Use Vaseline On My Bike Pedals?

Your bike pedals will need to be replaced at some point? It is necessary to unscrew the pedals, regardless of whether they are worn out or you have a different preference.

You will have difficulty undoing the pedals if the threads were not greased during assembly. As a result of corrosion, the pedal thread on the crank arm can be cold welded (seized). Therefore, you need to grease the threads during assembly. Can I use Vaseline on my bike pedals?

Vaseline can be used on bike pedals during assembly as a temporary lubricant, but it’s not ideal, and there is no inconvenience in using it.

It’s not specifically designed for use on bike pedals, and may not provide the same level of lubrication or protection as a dedicated pedal grease. Additionally, the Vaseline may attract dirt and debris which can further clog the pedal mechanism.

It’s recommended to use proper bike grease specifically designed for use on bike pedals during assembly. These greases typically contain a mixture of oils and other lubricating agents that provide better protection and lubrication for the pedals.

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for lubricating your bike pedals, and use a lubricant that is compatible with your bike’s construction and riding conditions.

Bike Pedal Grease Substitute

bike pedal grease substitute

If you don’t have access to bike pedal grease, there are a few alternatives that you can use as a substitute:

  1. Light machine oil – this can be used to lubricate the pedal mechanism and reduce friction.
  2. Synthetic grease – this can be used as a substitute for bike pedal grease and provides good lubrication for metal-on-metal contact.
  3. All-purpose grease – this can be used as a substitute for bike pedal grease, but it may not provide the same level of protection and lubrication as dedicated bike pedal grease.
  4. Lithium grease – A heavy-duty lubricant, it can be used as a substitute for bike pedal grease and is great for high-pressure applications.
  5. Silicone lubricant – a dry lubricant, it can be used as a substitute for bike pedal grease and doesn’t attract dirt or dust, making it ideal for dry or dusty conditions. It’s important to note that these alternatives may not be as effective as proper bike pedal grease, and it’s best to use proper bike grease as soon as possible.
  6. Beeswax – This natural wax can be used to lubricate bike pedals and is also a good protectant against rust and corrosion.
  7. Candelilla wax – Similar to beeswax, it can be used as a lubricant and protectant for bike pedals.
  8. Tallow – Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, and can be used as a natural grease for bike pedals.
  9. Vegetable oil – A light oil such as vegetable oil can be used to lubricate bike pedals.
  10. Biodegradable lubricants – There are a variety of biodegradable lubricants available that are made from natural ingredients such as plant-based oils and are designed for use on bike pedals.

Can I Use Vaseline On My Bike Chain?

When you ride a bike, you are likely to abuse the chain. You can, however, prolong the life of your bike chain by taking good care of it.

With so many links, the chain needs to be lubricated regularly. Can I use Vaseline on my bike chain?

Whenever there is no other lubricant available, Vaseline is the best solution. Chain lubricants such as petroleum jelly are effective, but they have some limitations.

As a first characteristic, it is viscous compared to regular chain lubes and oils. A bike chain’s inner surfaces are therefore difficult to reach. In addition, Vaseline is applied differently than oil or other bike lubes.

 Vaseline will cause significant damage to the chain links by the time it reaches the inner surfaces. You will also have a sticky and gritty mess when Vaseline reaches the inner parts of the chain roller because it accumulates dirt and grime.

Your chain and chainrings would be abraded by the dirt collected and worn out faster.  The bottom line is that anything is better than nothing, instead of running on a dry chain. Using Vaseline is a quick fix if you don’t have anything else. 

Related Guide: Grease Types and Grades? What You Need to Know [2022]

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Vaseline the same as grease?

The base component of Vaseline and grease is the same. However, Vaseline is not usually classified as grease. The purpose of greases is to lubricate mechanisms that are rarely lubricated and for which a lubricating oil could not be applied. In addition to acting as sealants, they also prevent water from entering.

2. Can I use Vaseline on my bicycle chain?

Using Vaseline to lubricate chains would be a terrible idea. Petroleum jelly shares some similarities with chain lubricants, but their design and application are quite different. For cycling, I recommend using lubricants and grease designed for this purpose. The WD-40 product would also be a great option.

3. Does Vaseline lubricate metal?

Vaseline can be used for a variety of purposes. PVC parts and metal parts can both benefit from this lubricant, but it also works great on metal parts like air installations.

4. Can Vaseline be used instead of grease?

Vaseline is useful for a wide range of applications. In addition to air installations, it is a great lubricant for PVC parts as well. Vaseline does not melt at 40 – 60 degrees Celsius, as ball bearer grease does, which causes it to drip.

5. What can you use instead of bike grease?

Other than bike chain lube, the most common options include olive oil, household grease, and cooking oil. It is mainly because they are all easily accessible at home.


Bike grease is typically made of lithium soap or synthetic polymers. It is thicker than Vaseline and designed to withstand the high speeds and friction of bikes. It will also not melt in the heat like Vaseline can. For these reasons, we do recommend using purpose-made grease for your bike.

Vaseline can still be used as an emergency lubricant for your bike if you find yourself in a pinch.

Leave a Comment