Flats are annoying and tiring but thankfully sealants work a charm and they have saved us a lot of time and energy over time.
But should you put tubeless sealant in tubes is something everyone would like to try on their tubed tire or their spare tubes and get rid of tire patches altogether but it’s not as simple as it seems and there can be complications in this case that can ruin tire tubes.
Here are all the questions you might have about putting sealant in tubes and what can be the possible drawbacks of putting sealant in certain types of tubes
Should you put sealant in latex tubes :
Latex tubes are different from the normally used butyl tubes a clear difference would be the color usually almost all the butyl tubes are made black while latex tubes come in various colors and latex tubes are made from the rubber sap from rubber trees and so is the sealant used in almost all of the tubeless and tubular tires so the simple answer to should you put sealant in latex tube would be like.
You can use sealant in latex tubes but you shouldn’t do it because latex tubes and sealants have the exact same material latex in them and sealants are fairly adhesive and you may get away with punctures but not pinch flats if the bike stands still for a little while the tube may stick together.
The problem with tubes sticking together would result in 2 situations.
one of the tubes will rip off if the sealant has completely dried and 2 one of the side walls may lose a big chunk of the wall due to sealant and in both cases, the tube will become useless.
Another thing would be that the tube may even start dissolving with the sealant itself if the temperature is high because propylene glycol can dissolve latex ( trustysources.com don’t own this claim neither says it true or false)
Disclaimer : source claims that proplyne glycol can dissolve plastic, experiements on this subjects have not been conducted by trustysources.com yet to prove this information right and wrong.
So yeah, in the end, it’s a possibility if the claims are right and the sealant manufacturer does say that they have propylene glycol and natural latex in their sealants but in the end, it is a possibility and nothing can be said for sure unless any experiment conducted says otherwise.
Using a sealant in the latex tubes is okay if you are careful about it if not then patches would be a much better choice, if you find yourself throwing your bike away with a pinch flat then don’t use sealants because of the reasons that i explained above.
Should you put sealant in butyl tubes :
butyl tubes in bikes are made from synthetic rubber these are much more durable and better performing in general than latex tubes, unlike latex tubes these are petroleum-derived products.
the sealant would react the same way or slightly lighter than it does with latex rubber to be exact.
Sealants would react slower with butyl rubber tubes than they would with latex tubes but non the less putting sealant in these tubes will not be ideal as well since sealants can dissolve the rubber if they have propylene glycol in them and they are fairly adhesive and they will not work well when the tube suffers a pinch flat.
But overall it will perform better with a sealant than any latex tube. but still, there are downsides like the pinch flats tubes are a lot less thick than the tubeless tires and if they are left in pinch flat state their walls can get stuck with the sealant.
But then again you have to be proactive if you are using a sealant in your tubes unlike tubeless tires the tubes are made of very thin plastic material and if the sealant starts drying up it could clog the valve or slog inside the tubes which could create some problems.
What kind of sealant would work best with tubes :
There are a lot of choices available in the market for tubeless tires and tubed tires but it would be best if you go with the sealants that are best described for usage in tubes.
There are plenty of reasons for not using sealants that are tubeless specific.
- Sealants made for tubeless tires are usually thicker
- They can have propylene glycol in large quantities that wouldn’t sit well with the tubes as I mentioned above.
- they have more amounts of add-ons than sealants that are tube compatibles as well.
- They can be more adhesive which might not work well with tubes.
All of these points or things are positive for tubeless. Still, they might not work well with tube tires for example if a sealant is thicker it won’t get into a snake bite and work as well as it would in the tubeless tire reason for that is in sealant adhesives are not the only thing present in them there are fibers. There are additional rubber particles present in them as well which support the sealant in clogging and sealing the punctures.
Examples of the sealants that won’t work well in tubes for the reasons I described above.
Stan’s no tube sealant.
and other sealants that specifically say tubeless sealants these sealants are a little denser if you compare them with the sealants for tubes because they have more add-ons in them than the sealants made for tubes.
Examples of sealants that will work best With tubes :
Muc-Off inner tube sealant
Vittoria Pit Stop
OKO Magic Milk
fix a flat
Some of these sealants are for tubes and some are covering both the tubeless sealants and are good for tubes as well these sealants tend to be less thick than the ones for tubeless tires, the reason that tube sealants are less thicker is that they can easily get in the smaller holes, unlike the tubeless tires which have a quite thick casing.
Tubes on the other hand are quite thin and average tubeless sealants won’t work on them because they rely on the adhesives too much so a good sealant for tubes would be the one that has physical objects in it like fiber and small rubber particles.
So in my opinion Slime sealant,tofu standard and tofu extreme would work the best for tubes because it meets all the criteria very well.
How long do Sealants last in tubes :
How Long sealants Last Inside the Tubes :
Sealants have a different life span inside the tubes because they are exposed to different conditions and are constantly sealing the punctures as well but on avergae.
A sealant would Last around 2-3 months in a tube depending on if the tube hadn’t been severely damaged or how high the temperatures you ride in.
If you ride in warmer areas or generally in summer the sealant would last alot less and in winter it would last longer.
but tubes may need a refill every 2 months if you are not letting the sealant dry at least do a refill after two months in summer for winter you will need to refill alot less and sometimes you may not even need a refill in winter.
I also did an article on Signs that your tubeless sealant needs replacement & how often you should replace it
If you want to read more about the sealants.
What types of tubes are used in Mtb :
Spare tubes that are used in mtb are butyle tubes unlike normal tube tyre tubes these are much more thicker and heavier than those tubes because they are made for gravel tires and normal tubes will not sustain the damage from the pointy rocks they will puncture alot and possible damage to the rim as well.
What if you put sealant in a tire and inset tube in it as well would it work :
no it wouldn’t work because the air from the punctured point will always be pushing the sealant away from the punctured point so even though the sealant will keep moving with the tire it would take a lot of time before it actually seals the punture.
Or all of the air would leak out before the sleant can work or there would be not much left at all.
I also did an article on Are bikes Tubeless Sealants toxic for humans or environment (explained)
Is it better to patch tubes than to use sealants :
For latex tubes yes it would be better to patch them or use a sealant that is really compatible with the latex tubes like victoria no stop but for the most part you want a sealant that doesn’t have propylene glycol for the reasons i mentioned above.
Hopefully this article will broaden your knowledge around selants used for the tubes if you have further questions you around this topic or any other you can always contact use through our contact form.
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