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I was cleaning my cruiser today, and as part of that I removed the tires from the rims to give them a good scrubbing. As sometimes happens, the tubes were stuck to the insides of the tires. (This also happens with some of my other bikes sometimes.)

While I was able to slowly peel the deflated tubes away from the tires, this can't be good for them! Is there a way that this can be avoided when reinstalling the tubes and tires onto the rims? This bike has had slow leaks in the past, and I'd like to take precautions against that happening again.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Baby powder works great and is very inexpensive.

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Exactly what I was thinking. –  Amos Feb 10 '11 at 7:05
It did the job very well, and I now keep baby powder in my basement workshop. –  Neil Fein Oct 3 '11 at 2:55

Nowadays 'baby powder' is made from corn starch rather than talcum powder, due to concerns that talcum powder gives cancer etc.

The traditional substance for punctures is 'French Chalk', a.k.a. talcum powder. To quote wikipedia:

French chalk has also historically been used in the repair of punctured inner tubes of pneumatic tires, such as are found on bicycles. A block of French chalk is typically included in proprietary puncture repair kits, which may include some means of generating a fine powder from the block, for example a small file or a roughened area on the metal case in which the repair kit may have been supplied. The French chalk prevents the repair from sticking to other parts of the tire.

The other benefit of using talc (or cornstarch) is that it also helps to install the tire. It's also easier to remove the tube from the tire down the road.


Yeah, talcum powder is what you want -- it has a natural slipperiness like graphite. Though cornstarch or any other powder would work fairly well. (Graphite would be OK but it's rather messy.) It's especially good to use after making a patch, since the patch has a strong tendency to stick to the inside of the tire.

You used to be able to buy it packaged specifically for use in bike tires, though I haven't seen it in a bike shop in years.

(You clean your tires???)

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Only when they're covered in road salt. "Clean" dirt builds character. (If memory serves, I was installing studs at the time.) –  Neil Fein Oct 3 '11 at 2:43

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