J-Lube is a popular lubricant for fisting. It is a white powder that has to be dissolved in water. It is water based, so safe for condoms and latex. Preparing the right consistency is found difficult by people who use it the first time. Some people wrote recipes, so just check this link:
- www.anus.org/SEX/jlube.html (or scroll down)
J-Jelly is a prepared mixture, ready to use.
Below the text copied from www.anus.org/SEX/jlube.html, to make sure this interesting information will not get lost once the website anus.org discontinues. The author’s name is Bryan and you can contact him directly via bryan [at] anus.org.
Welcome to my J-Lube FAQ!
– A service to the unlubricated masses –
- What is J-Lube?
- Who uses J-Lube?
- Is J-Lube safe?
- How do I get J-Lube?
- Mixing J-lube
- Mixing right before you use it – technique one
- Mixing right before you use it – technique two
- Mixing in advance
- Cleaning up after using J-Lube
- Does J-Lube stain?
- Customizing your J-Lube
- Is J-Lube edible?
- How long does J-Lube last?
- Can I make J-Lube in a blender?
- J-Lube and electro-stimulation toys
- J-Lube and peritoneal cavity safety
- More information about the “General Lube” used in the J-Lube recipe on this page
- A more involved technical discussion of J-Lube
- A more involved discussion of the safety of J-Lube
A bit of a note before I begin…
This page has a history of being pretty well neglected. I apologize for that; the reasons why it is neglected aren’t particularly relevant, so I’ll skip discussing them here. The information in this page is, at least, correct to the best of my knowledge so it’s not like the page is out of date or anything like that. But at the same time, I feel sort of bad seeing as I once felt myself to be a self-appointed gatekeeper of all things lubey.
It’s a rare day that anyone e-mails me with questions, and the comments I receive are often negative, so there has never been much incentive to modify the content. I do, however, make changes from time to time; this page was last modified on August 5th, 2010.
So, with that out of the way, on with the show.
Now, you may have run across other J-Lube FAQs, but let me assure you, those other FAQs only seek to misinform and taint the minds of would-be J-Lube users. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM! For they are the false prophets, and should be ignored!
Why, you may ask, is this J-Lube FAQ so much better than the rest? Simple. Because I have actually spent time and effort researching the behavior of J-Lube, whereas those other web pages merely provide anecdotal information and poorly documented research on the subject. After all, the authors of THOSE pages actually have people to use their J-Lube with. I, on the other hand, have nobody but myself! And as such I have plenty of time to better experiment with it.
Also, because people have been stealing the contents of this page without giving me credit for writing it, I would like to make the following statement:
This page was written by one person (though contributed to by some others on the Internet, to whom I am very grateful for their input), who can be reached here. If you would like to copy it, redistribute it, or whatever I request that you let me know you’re going to do it, or at the very least include a comment on your site that indicates where you took the content from. This page isn’t much, but it is mine, and I’d at least like people to recognize the fact that I took the time to write it. So don’t just blindly take it. You MUST properly credit me for it if you’re going to use it, case closed. You may, however, link to it all you want and in any way you want. Just don’t steal the content and claim (or imply) that it’s yours, ok? That sucks.
One last note: If you are going to e-mail me, you might want to make some mention of J-Lube in the subject line in case the message gets grabbed by my spam filter software. I generally reply to all the messages I receive, so if you do mail me and I don’t answer it’s probably due to my spam filter grabbing it and me not seeing it. Feel free to send it again if I don’t reply, but make sure to have some obvious mention of J-Lube in the subject line.
J-Lube is a concentrated lubricant that comes in powder form. According to the bottle, it is manufactured for Jorgensen Laboratories in Loveland, Colorado and consists of 25% polyethylene polymer (polyethylene oxide) and 75% dispersing agent (sucrose, according to the MSDS which you can find and here in PDF format). When mixed with water, it produces a thick, clear, extremely slippery lubricant whose intended purpose is to aid in gynecological examinations for farm animals and to assist in cases of dystocia, or abnormal/difficult labor during childbirth. However, it is, without a doubt, the best lubricant I have ever encountered. It is inexpensive (around $10 for two to six gallons of lubricant, depending on the recipe), easy to mix (just add water!), and contains no extraneous chemicals or preservatives (unless you put them in when mixing it). And since it’s water based, it’s fully latex condom compatible as well as being safe for use with silicone toys.
If you’d like to read something more technical than what’s listed here, please view the “What is J-Lube, really?” section down below.
Other than farmers and veterinarians? One of the users of this product would have to be special effects artists who use it to produce slime for movies and television shows. I think they tend to use methylcellulose for this purpose more frequently, but I have heard stories of it being used for special effects purposes. Next, it is used by people who enjoy fisting. This is because it adheres to the skin well, is extremely slippery, can be made in copious amounts, and from what I’ve been told really works well. Personally, I’m not into fisting, so I can’t say for sure. Me, I like it because it’s slippery goo, and lots of it. Which, in all honesty, I AM into. Guess I never grew out of the whole childhood fascination with glop and slime.
Assuming you believe the manufacturer, it is safe. The sucrose in the powder isn’t of any concern, and the polyethylene oxide that makes up the rest of it is sometimes used as a thickener and texturizing agent in shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc. and is considered to have a low toxicity and be non-irritating. Other web sites have suggested that J-Lube “breaks down naturally in the body” but I have to wonder about that one a little bit, especially after reading the study about J-Lube and the peritoneal cavity. It’s more likely that the polyethylene passes out of your body faster than it breaks down, but either way it doesn’t get directly absorbed into you during any normal use and can be considered safe for anything you might want to normally use it for.
I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t go into greater detail about the potential health risks associated with all this, so there is a section down below called “Is J-Lube safe, really?” with more details.
J-Lube can be purchased from farm supply houses and (online) sex shops. [edited by Fistrik]
When it comes to J-Lube, most folks will tell you that it’s a pain in the butt to mix and shouldn’t be kept around for very long. And I’m sure that would be true if you were to mix it without taking proper precautions for cleaning and sterilization of your containers, but if you take care when mixing it, it really goes a great deal more smoothly than others would have you believe. For all practical purposes, there’s two ways of mixing J-Lube. Either make it just before using it, or prepare some in advance to have ready to go.
- Mixing it just before using it
This is the simplest way of doing things. Just shake some of the powder into your hands, run your hands under a stream of water, and there you have it… you are lubricated. A few things to keep in mind; for one, if you apply the powder directly to your skin before wetting it, it is significantly harder to wash off.
It does, however, provide a very good lubrication barrier even under extremely wet conditions. It will even stay on skin for quite a while under a constant stream of water, such as a shower or even underwater in a bath.
To get the maximum benefit of J-Lube when doing it this way, I have found that you want to take a little extra effort to make sure the powder is fully hydrated before you proceed. To achieve this, you can knead and rub your hands (or whatever body part has the powder on it) in the presence of a very light stream or spray of water. This alleviates the chunkiness that can happen with poorly dispersed powder, and the resulting lube will stick better, stay hydrated longer, and lubricate better. It doesn’t take much in terms of water; in fact, less tends to be better because too much water will wash it away instead of hydrating it.
An interesting recipe of J-Lube can be quickly prepared by shaking a healthy dose of it into a microwave safe bowl with a small amount (3 to 4 ounces) of water. Stir in enough J-Lube to make the water a bit cloudy due to all the unhydrated J-Lube. It will take a pretty hefty amount to do this, and the water will have a lot of clumps floating around. Now, take that mixture and microwave the bejeezus out of it. It will begin to boil and froth in the microwave, and when you see the amount of liquid has reduced quite a bit stop the microwave, take the bowl out (be careful, it may be hot) and add a little bit of water to it. Stir it well, let it cool enough to touch, and you’re ready to go. If you microwave it long enough, the clumps will all be gone and the resulting lube will be thicker and more slippery than what you’d normally expect from J-Lube.
The thing I find most interesting about this method is that you can create an end product as thick or thin as you want it, and quite rapidly too. The longer you microwave it, the thicker it gets. The more water you add, the thinner it gets. You can microwave it to the point of being like a lump of gelatin, or you can thin it out to the point where it’s little more than plain water. You don’t have to worry about getting it right the first time, as you can simply add water/microwave it to push it in the other direction as often as you like until you achieve the desired finish. Also, despite behaving like “supercharged J-Lube” it seems to still wash away easier than it does when the powder is applied directly to your skin.
If you want to produce a high-quality batch of J-Lube that will last for quite some time, it really isn’t all that difficult. Here’s what you need:
- – One bottle of J-Lube (Nasco #C08175N)
- – One bottle of General Lubricant (Nasco #C31032N)
- – A microwaveable mixing container
- – Clean water (distilled is best to avoid dissolved salts or contaminants, but not required)
- – Measuring spoons
- – Some kind of stirring implement
- – A bottle for storage (I prefer squeeze bottles with flip-up tops,Â most plastics stores carry them)
- – A sanitizing agent
Step 1: SANITIZE!
Presumably you are mixing this lubricant with the intent of it comingÂ in contact with some fairly intimate parts of the human body. Also, since you want to produce a lubricant with a longer shelf life, you want to eliminate anything that could contribute to it eventually going bad. As such, sterilizing everything before you use it is a very good idea. I used to use 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide for this task, but my supply of it has dried up and now I am forced to use more mundane items. Still, if it is available, 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide is a good way to go. It is, literally, ten times the strength of regular drug store variety hydrogen peroxide, plus it does not have any of the stabilizers normally added to it. Hydrogen peroxide is a very unstable chemical and will quickly turn itself into plain old water, which means it is ideal for this sort of application since it will not leave any harmful residue behind. But it is a powerful oxidizer, and if you choose to use it, carefully read and follow the warning instructions on the label.
Failing that, you should do a little research on your part as to what you feel is best for your situation. Certain concentrations of bleach are considered adequate for a task of this sort; the common suggestion is one part household bleach to ten parts clean water (or only five parts water if you’re trying to kill off certain strains of tuberculosis). Items to be sterilized are then left to soak in this solution for at least 20 minutes. Bleach breaks down quickly into salt and water, so it does not leave behind any dangerous residue but you do want to rinse well as you don’t want any excess salt creeping into your mixture.
Another choice is to use a strong, clean alcohol of some kind. Alcohols aren’t the best when it comes to sterilization, but it’s certainly better than nothing. My new favorite sanitizer is a product called Steramine (also available from Nasco) which, when used as directed, even kills the HIV-1 virus. However, keep in mind that I am not a doctor or anyone with any sort of official credential regarding cleanliness, so in the end you need to find what you feel safest doing and go with that.
When it comes to the selection of mixing implements, I highly suggest glass whenever possible. It is easy to clean and sterilize, doesn’t degrade as do plastics, and is microwave safe. Plastic will do, but above all, try to avoid metal since you cannot use it in a microwave (especially with the mixing container, since you will need to microwave it).
Wash, in hot water, the mixing container, the measuring spoons, the stirring implement, and the bottle in which you will eventually store the mixed J-Lube. Rinse them thoroughly afterwards, especially if you used soap. Once they are clean and residue-free, sterilize them all with whatever you have chosen as a sterilizing agent. Rinse them again afterwards with clean water to wash away any remaining sterilizing agent (especially important if you used something that could leave a residue behind). Make certain that the measuring spoons are completely dry before you use them; everything else can be slightly damp. In fact, it is best to avoid drying things with a towel if at all possible. Towels have lint on them, and lint floating in your J-Lube is really unappealing.
Step 2: Measure out your ingredients
The following recipe works for general usage, but from what I have heard it isn’t suitable for anything more extreme (most specifically, fisting). You should definitely experiment with the ratio of ingredients. As time goes by you will develop your own preferences with J-Lube, but for now, this should provide a decent baseline set of measures for mixing up a batch:
– Eight fluid ounces of water
– Two teaspoons of powdered J-Lube
– One fluid ounce of General Lubricant
Put the water into your microwave-safe mixing cup. This is where the size of the container becomes important; it needs to be large enough to comfortably stir the mixture in without spilling it all over the place. Next, add the two teaspoons of J-Lube. Make sure to stir constantly while doing this, and add the powdered J-Lube VERY SLOWLY. J-Lube loves to clump when it comes in contact with water. And while the lumps can be removed, the fewer lumps you start with, the easier it is as you progress. So sprinkle the J-Lube in slowly while stirring, making sure to vary the direction of stirring. As it gets thick, if you keep stirring in the same way, it builds up quite a bit of momentum and can fling out the sides.
Once you have fully stirred in the J-Lube, scrape off any that has accumulated on the sides of the measuring cup and on whatever you are using as a stirring implement. Then, set it aside and let it sit. This step doesn’t seem to be entirely necessary, as the next step tends to compensate for it, but it does help. Let it sit for about an hour or so, longer if you can tolerate the wait. This gives the clumps of J-Lube time to hydrate; and as they hydrate, they will swell and un-clump. This is the trick most people seem to ignore. The clumps WILL go away if you hydrate them and stir them. However, most people aren’t patient enough to wait for all the lumps to go away by themselves, and this is where the next step becomes important.
Step 3: Microwave your J-Lube
Microwaving your J-Lube is very important for two reasons. First, it does an excellent job finally eliminating all remaining clumps and bubbles, and it helps uniformly mix the J-Lube. Second, the heat will aid in sterilizing the final mixture, producing a much cleaner end product (please note that boiling is generally considered a poor way to sterilize something, especially for as short a period of time as we’re boiling in this recipe, but it does still help). Your ultimate goal here is to boil the J-Lube for a little while. When I am making J-Lube, I usually microwave a single batch for a total of around four to five minutes on the highest setting, but you may need to do it for more or less time depending on your microwave. You want the entire batch to become uniformly boiling, as when the water begins to boil it bursts the remaining clumps from the inside out and leaves you with, if done carefully enough, perfectly smooth and lumpless J-Lube.
EXERCISE CAUTION HERE. J-Lube mixed into water thoroughly changes the behavior of the water, especially when it boils. Instead of just bubbling a little, it froths like mad (sort of like boiling milk) and can, with very little warning, bubble up and spray all over the microwave. A good way to avoid this problem is to just get a really large container so that it doesn’t boil over. I find it best to use a microwave safe bowl, preferably glass, that is a minimum of four to five times the volume of the batch you are mixing. Also, it needs to be fairly wide as narrow containers tend to focus the boiling lube up into a column that will spray out the top. If you don’t have a container that large, you may have to boil it in steps. To boil in steps, heat the J-Lube in the microwave until it just begins to boil; stop the microwave and stir it some. Repeat this process until the J-Lube is hot enough that it readily boils when you turn on the microwave, and then continue this microwave-and-stir process for a couple more minutes. You will see the clumps begin to disappear, and you can repeat this process until you are satisfied that all the clumps have been removed. Another word of caution; when you stop the microwave, the J-Lube will most likely stop boiling. But when you plunge a stirring implement into it, this can result in a large wave of boiling hot, bubbling J-Lube to burst up from the top. Be very careful with this! At best, you can spill it all over your microwave. At worst, you can severely burn the skin on your hand. Remember, this is a boiling hot slime, and if it gets on you, it will stick and continue burning until it cools off. And, speaking from experience, J-Lube retains its heat MUCH longer than plain water.
Once all the boiling is done, you will most likely have lost a decent amount of water in the form of steam. If necessary, simply add water back into the mixture to return it to the appropriate level. The water can be stirred in by hand, and it will incorporate into the mixture easily enough.
Step 4: Add the secret ingredient
Now that you have sufficiently boiled and stirred your J-Lube to the point that it is smooth and uniformly mixed, let it cool for a little while (not too long though, you want it to still be hot) and then add the one fluid ounce of General Lubricant. Stir this in thoroughly. The General Lubricant adds body and durability to the J-Lube; it also adds a small amount of preservative and seems to make it easier to clean as well. After this has been added and fully mixed in with the J-Lube, set the entire thing aside and allow it to cool to the point where you can safely handle it.
Step 5: Bottle your J-Lube
Once the J-Lube has cooled enough to safely handle it, pour it into your clean storage bottle and cap it tightly. Be careful when transferring the J-Lube from the mixing container to the storage bottle; it is thick and pours more like thin maple syrup than it does like water. It is very easy to spill by pouring too fast. Go slow, and be patient. You should do the transfer over a sink, though, because if you spill a large amount, it is much easier to just rinse away than it is to mop off the table top.
Step 6: Let it rest (optional)
At this point, your mixed J-Lube can be used but many people find it is helpful to let it sit (in a sealed container) at room temperature for a day or so at the very least. Any remaining clumps will dissolve, and all the bubbles and swirls will settle out of it leaving you with a uniformly smooth mixture. The lumps and bubbles in a bottle of J-Lube don’t negatively impact the lubricating properties of the finished product, but if you are picky about the end product then letting it sit for a while is an absolute must.
Step 7: Have fun!Congratulations! You have made yourself a bottle of pre-mixed J-Lube. Have fun, and be safe!
The instructions on the bottle say to rub some salt into the J-Lube to dissolve it. This works remarkably well, but really isn’t necessary with the above recipe for pre-mixed J-Lube. And again, despite what other people say, J-Lube CAN be washed off with soap and water. It just can take a while, especially if you directly applied J-Lube powder to your skin.
Over my years of playing with the stuff, I have always found salt to be too inconvenient to have around, especially if I’m washing up in the shower. I have played with a few different soaps to see what cleans J-Lube off the fastest, and have I found that the fastest cleaners are also the ones you’d least want to use on your intimate bits. Case and point, the fastest cleaner I have found is a highly abrasive hand cleaner used for washing up after working with greasy machinery. This, of course, would be extremely painful to use on your sensitive parts, but for cleaning just your hands, it’s the best. In the search for the ideal middle ground, I have (comfortably) settled on Doctor Bronner’s Magic Soaps in the liquid form. It never seems to take any more than two good soapy passes to get all theÂ slime off (even if it’s trapped in your hair), and it’s an excellent soap to boot. Just pour the liquid soap into your hands and wash up the affected parts. Don’t use a washcloth or anything like that until after you’ve used your hands to get the lubricant off. The soap doesn’t leave any sort of oily residue, so you’ll know exactly when the lube is gone. Granted, salt does clean up faster, but it’s inconvenient and it will rapidly draw your attention to any small cuts on the surface of your skin.
J-Lube can stain, but I have never had a problem with it. Salt does break up the J-Lube spots well, and if you spill a large amount of it on some fabric, soaking the affected area in a heavy salt water mixture seems to dissolve it pretty rapidly. Rinsing with a strong stream of clean water will wash it away as well. But, as mixed J-Lube is around 95% water, there is very little in it that can leave a stain. At most it will tend to leave a bit of powdery J-Lube behind, but that’s about it. You may want to test an inconspicuous area of a piece of fabric if you fear it may come in contact with a large amount of J-Lube over its lifetime.
The residue left behind by J-Lube can, and will, rehydrate into a slippery goo if you get it wet. For this reason, if you spill some J-Lube on the floor, be sure to clean it up entirely. Otherwise, what seems like a perfectly safe bit of flooring can become an extremely slippery and dangerous spot when a wet foot steps down on it. It is EXTREMELY hard to stand if your feet are covered in J-Lube. It is also damn near impossible to pick someone up off the floor if they are covered in J-Lube. So please, be careful.
You can “customize” your J-Lube in a variety of ways, especially when pre-mixing it. For one thing, experiment with the amounts of J-Lube you add to the water to produce a thicker or thinner J-Lube. Try varying the amounts of General Lubricant, or don’t even use any at all. The thing to remember is that J-Lube is water based and certain things will not mix well with it. For example, oils. J-Lube does not rehydrate in oil, and mixing oil with your J-Lube tends to just make a mess. Some people like mixing in Crisco, which is an oil, but it liquifies at a higher temperature than most other cooking fats which means it won’t remain in a liquid state in your J-Lube. Instead, it will end up as more of a colloidal suspension, with microscopic little bits of Crisco floating around in the mix. Personally, this idea does not appeal to me. I wouldn’t even cook with Crisco, let alone allow it to enter my body through some other orifice. But, you should still feel free to experiment with what you like.
Things such as glycerine can be dissolved into your J-Lube. This may appeal to some. Food coloring can be added to change its appearance (though be warned that too much food coloring means the J-Lube will stain skin as well as clothing). Try mixing it with carbonated water. But above all, just play with the stuff until you find what is best for you.
One suggestion I received from a faithful J-Lube fan (I’d include her name and contact info here to properly credit her with the information, but she didn’t insist on it and I really doubt she needs spambots and random visitors to this page contacting her) was to use just a pinch of unsweetened powdered drink mix to add flavor, color, and scent to your J-Lube. I haven’t tested it myself, but it sounds like it should work really well. The key is to avoid the mixes with the sweetener already added to them, as having additional sugar in your lube is mostly just an invitation to bacterial growth.
It is supposedly non-toxic, but I don’t suggest eating it. It doesn’t taste like anything, but it does make your mouth feel as though you have the thickest saliva ever known. If you find yourself constantly getting the stuff in your mouth, you may want to consider flavoring it through the use of commonly available flavoring agents. Glycerine can also be used to add a bit of flavor, although not everyone can stand the taste of glycerine. Still, I would suggest keeping it out of your mouth as much as possible, and definitely not swallowing it.
To be completely honest, I have no idea. In its dry form it seems to last pretty much forever, and in its mixed form it also seems to last forever if you keep it frozen. However, once mixed, reports vary as to how long it will survive. Some people report it going bad in less than a day; others report it lasting weeks or months in a sealed container. Personally, I have had bottles mixed using the instructions on this page (which means it includes an amount of General Lube added into it to provide some preservative action) that have lasted for over a year in storage. Had I some way of properly testing the longevity of a batch of J-Lube I would, but I have no way of testing for the beginnings of bacterial growth. Additionally, the results would vary depending upon where in the world that batch is located, as the presence of yeasts in the air is different from one place to the next.
I have conducted tests using batches of J-Lube that were mixed in what I would guess to be an environment typical to a standard J-Lube user. In those tests, the finished lube tended to last for at least a week, but the rate at which it would spoil completely depended upon the amount of cleanliness involved. Using straight tap water, mixing components washed in hot soapy water, and avoiding any skin contact when mixing produced a lubricant that was durable enough for use in the relatively near future (i.e. a week or so). Contacting the lubricant with skin, even recently washed skin, brought the life expectancy down to just a few days. Mixing in some standard cosmetics preservatives created a batch that has survived for a couple years with no sign of change.
A general guideline that seems to be reasonable is to assume that once it is mixed it will not last long outside of a freezer if you do not add any sort of preservative to it. Being that the mixture is basically just thickened water with a little sugar in it, it will most certainly inspire bacterial growth, especially if you do not start with clean water and you do not boil it. A batch of J-Lube mixed following all the guidelines for cleanliness and sterilization should be fine in a sealed container for at least a week or so, probably longer. With a preservative added, several months is reasonable to assume. In any case, check it for spoilage before using it and discard it if there is anything wrong with it. My experience with it indicates that these are very conservative measures of its durability, but I feel it is better to present minimums than maximums so as to not get people’s hopes up too terribly.
People have e-mailed me about this one, and I have seen some web pages out there that suggest doing this, but I personally wouldn’t recommend it. I have tried it before, and while it sounds easier to do it that way, I have found what I consider to be a few compelling reasons not to do it.
First off, a blender is generally used for food. It has lots of nooks and crannies around the area of the chopping blades where bits of food can hide, even after a thorough washing. And those little bits of food invite bacterial growth, which while harmless in your digestive tract (which was designed to deal with bacteria entering the mouth) are a bigger question when they enter any of the other openings on the human body which do not encounter such bacteria directly on a normal basis. Cleanliness and safety are important here, so unless you are keeping one blender for just the mixing of lubricants, I would consider it too difficult to safely sterilize the blender for this purpose. That’s my opinion, though. You may feel differently. Just don’t get your dirty blender lube near my butt.
Second, cleaning a blender is a pain. It’s even worse when it’s gunked up with slime. Even if you soak the blades in salt, they’re still a pain to clean. Cleaning a bowl and a stirring implement is far easier and less time consuming.
Last, blender mixed lube never seems to be quite as good as hand mixed and subsequently microwaved lube. I have tested this one, and I have found that blender lube reliably takes more powdered lube to achieve the same levels of lubrication. Interestingly, in doing a few web searches on the subject, I have found that others have come to the same conclusion as well, and that it is a behavior not limited to just J-Lube. Methylcellulose mixtures have the same problem. A blender’s blades will essentially “chop up” the long polymers that make up a hydrated batch of J-Lube, and in the end you need more of them to achieve the same effect. It’s possible that, given time to sit, the lube would properly thicken back up but in my tests the initial product, taken fresh from the blender, seems to be inferior. It also doesn’t seem to save much time or effort, so do it if you want, but it’s hardly necessary and doesn’t carry any real benefits.
Electro-stimulation toys and gadgetsÂ have specific needs associated with their lubricants. The lubricant needs to enhance electrical conductivity as opposed to insulating against it, which means that in general water based lubricants are fine. Silicone oils, mineral oils, and things of that sort are not definitely not usable in that application. J-Lube, being water based, meets the criteria as specified by those manufacturers of a usable lubricant. I did speak with someone at PES once specifically about J-Lube, and they said that it does indeed work fine. However, not being satisfied with much of anything unless I witness it for myself, I decided to conduct some tests. What I have found is that yes, J-Lube does work in that application, but it isn’t among the best choices. The conductivity gels sold by the manufacturers (which I’m loathe to call “lubes” because they don’t seem to lubricate worth a damn) work better, and I would suggest using those instead. Pure water is a poor conductor of electricity, and it generally requires the addition of some ions (an easy source of which is an ionic compound, like salt, which is J-Lube’s enemy) in order to make it conduct well. The polyethylene oxide in J-Lube doesn’t seem to do anything to enhance the conductivity of the mixture at all, and in fact seems to hinder it more than anything else as it forms a thin barrier between the electrode and the skin. Perhaps using a different ionic compound other than table salt that didn’t degrade the lubricant would make for a good conductive lube, but I haven’t experimented in that capacity.
So to summarize, yes it does work. However, other offerings seem to work better, but a thinner mixture of J-Lube that didn’t coat so heavily might work well enough.
I have had a few people e-mail me about the health concerns of J-Lube due to the warning it carries about leakage into the peritoneal cavity causing death. The original article that caused this concern is archived here at ivis.org or here if you would like to read it. What it boils down to is this: If you get J-Lube into your peritoneal cavity there’s a good chance you will die. Granted, if you went into the hospital immediately and told them that you had J-Lube in your peritoneal cavity, they could probably save your life but that’s not so much the point here. The real question is whether or not you will get any into your peritoneal cavity, which it’s highly unlikely that you will. In order for it to get there, you’d have to punch a hole through either your large intestine or your cervix to first gain entry to your peritoneal cavity, and then you’d have to pump about 4 ounces of the stuff in there (that’s assuming you use it in the concentrations listed in the recipe on this page; stronger mixes will reduce the amount needed to achieve the equivalent amounts described in the above linked article). Now, if you experience either of those types of wounds, you’ll be going to the hospital anyhow (or at the very least, you SHOULD go to the hospital and get it checked out since that sort of wound can lead to peritonitis, which can end in a rather painful death), and chances are you’ll stop doing anything and everything the instant it happens, including playing with your J-Lube.
Keep in mind that the article listed above is talking about pumping large amounts of lubricant into a horse to assist during birth. Even if you are pumping relatively large amounts of lubricant in, there has to be some additional mechanism by which a significant wound capable of passing lubricant could occur. If you aren’t risking that sort of damage with what you are doing, then the risk described in the article does not apply. As there is no way to predict what sort of strange activity a person might do when a bucket of J-Lube is present, there is no way to be certain that there is no risk at all, so in the end it is up to the end user to determine the risk of internal damage associated with their activities. If there really is a risk of a major internal rupture, then J-Lube should be avoided, but then so should the risk of internal rupture!
So again, I’m no doctor, but I don’t see much risk of this type of issue under normal circumstances. Fisting might cause it, but even then I doubt you’d get much J-Lube past the point of the wound. You’d have other issues to worry about in a case like that. A ruptured large intestine is dangerous enough.
The “General Lubricant” called for in the recipe on this page is, as it turns out, not particularly easy to locate if you don’t live in the United States. Hopefully soon I will be able to determine a suitable substitute that is available anywhere, but for now the best I can do is describe the General Lubricant in the hopes that others can find something that works for them.
General Lubricant is a product manufactured by First Priority, Inc. of Elgin, IL. It can be purchased through Nasco as well as through a few other supply houses. The ingredients are listed as deionized water, propylene glycol, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, methyl parahydroxybenzoate, and propyl parahydroxybenzoate. My whole reason for including it in the recipe is to provide some degree of preservative action in the mix to improve shelf life, and to make the final product a bit easier to handle. It seems to reduce the stringiness you normally find in a batch of straight J-Lube, and it also seems to make it a bit easier to clean up as well but it does not detract from the lubricative nature of the J-Lube.
I am guessing, although at this point I am not yet certain, that you could achieve a similar effect by mixing in a slightly larger quantity of KY Jelly (or, preferably, a generic replacement for KY that is less costly) than you would use of the General Lube. There is some similarity in textures and ingredients between the two products, and it would be available just about everywhere.
Ultimately, though, if you can’t find a suitable substitute then you can just leave it out. It does make the batch of J-Lube easier to work with, but it isn’t 100% necessary in order to make and enjoy J-Lube. If you can get your hands on some General Lubricant (or similar product) to mix in with it, I do suggest you try it especially if you like to have a small bottle of J-Lube around at all times for “emergencies.”
Note: It’s possible I’m way off base with some of this information, but I’m pretty sure it’s correct enough for the purposes of this page. However, if you know better, please contact me and let me know. But be prepared to have actual evidence handy. I’ve gotten tired of people e-mailing me complete and total crap that has no basis in reality just because they believe the magic lubricated butt fairies make J-Lube work, not science.
J-Lube is basically two things; a polymer (polyethylene oxide) and a dispersing agent (sucrose). The real work is done by the polymer, the dispersal agent is just there to make it easier to measure out and mix. You’d be using a mere 25% of what you normally use if there were no dispersing agent, and given how J-lube likes to clump when it gets wet, if you didn’t have the dispersing agent it would turn into one big clump when it hit the water.
The polymer is sort of like a piece of string. When it’s dry, it’s all bunched up and acts as a generally useless lump. Keep in mind, of course, this is on a microscopic scale so to the human eye those useless clumps just look like white powder. When you get them wet, they spread out and are no longer bunched up. Now they act like long little threads floating around in the water (although technically, from what I have read, polyethylene oxide will bond with the hydrogen in water so it’s not so much “floating” as it is actually stuck to the water molecules, and the long “strings” are actually polyethylene oxide that is hydrogen bound to water, which is then in turn hydrogen bound to even more polyethylene oxide, resulting in a collection of these water/polyethylene strings). They’ll stick to each other, but there’s still water in between them so they can slide apart quite easily, albeit in a somewhat snotty fashion. Think of it like a pot of pasta. When there’s a lot more water than pasta, it flows easily but has some long, stringy bits in it that slow things down. Reduce the amount of water, and eventually you’ve got nothing but pasta in one big clump. This is what goes on in technique two of the “mix it just before you use it” recipes up above, by the way. This is also why using a blender isn’t such a good idea. You want all those long water/polymer threads in there, and whirring them around and chopping them up just makes them into much shorter threads, sort of like if you blended up your pasta. As you will see, you want those threads to be nice and long.
So now that you’ve got a mixture of water with all these microscopic strings floating around in it, how does it lubricate? Well, those strings will get between two objects that are rubbing together and cover it quite effectively. The end result is that now those two objects are no longer rubbing together directly. Instead, they’re rubbing against the polymer threads, which are in turn rubbing against more polymer threads. Those threads slip and slide against each other much more easily than would the two lubricated objects if they were unlubricated and rubbing directly against each other. Skin is designed to use friction to its advantage… that’s how you are able to pick up objects. There’s lots of tiny little cracks and valleys that increase the surface area of your skin, thereby increasing the friction. But, if those areas are clogged up and covered by microscopic threads, they can’t grab a hold of anything. This is how lubricants in general work, by the way. So why, then, is J-Lube so much more slippery than, say, another lubricant such as mineral oil? Because of how these tiny threads work. They can lay across the tiny cracks in your skin, and refuse to move out of the way or get sucked deeper into the cracks. An oil can get wicked up by your skin and won’t have the viscosity necessary to withstand something your skin was designed to do… work its way through slippery things so that you can grab them. Shorter threads will more easily push out of the way as the pressure between two surfaces increases. But when the threads are very long, and there’s enough of them so that you can’t “push through” the barrier made by those threads, you have a recipe for a very slick lubricant that stands up very well to a surface designed to work its way through liquids in order to find some traction.
J-Lube, in a sense, takes its cues on how it functions directly from nature. What’s one lubricant naturally made by the human body? Mucus, also affectionally called “snot.” Which, by the way, is basically a bunch of cells (which aren’t all that unlike the polymer in J-Lube) suspended in water. There’s some salts in there as well, but that’s sort of beside the point for the moment. The main thing is, it’s a mixture very similar to J-Lube in how it functions. Which is one of the reasons why J-Lube does its job so well. It mimics the same lubricants that a human body produces, which are very much designed to make the body slippery.
Of course, the cells in mucus can be broken down more readily by your body should it get lodged somewhere it shouldn’t be, which is where the issues with J-Lube in the peritoneal cavity come into play. Fortunately, as long as J-Lube is in a part of your body made to wash out foreign matter (rectums and vaginas do a good job of this, plus we can help them along if necessary) it’s not such a big deal. But if it’s trapped inside your body, and your body attempts to pass it into the bloodstream and through the kidneys, you would be in for a world of pain (and probably death).
Being that J-Lube is all about hydrated polymers, it’s my belief that the reason salt does such a good job cleaning it up is not, as stated on some other sites, because it “breaks down the molecular structure” of the J-Lube. Rather, I think it’s much simpler than that; the salt pulls the water out of the polymers, effectively dehydrating them (sort of like putting salt on a snail). I finally got around to testing this hypothesis a bit, and my tests seem to have proven it to be true (although I am right now rethinking and retesting that hypothesis, I will post results as soon as I have them). I took a thick batch of J-Lube, mixed in a healthy helping of salt, and let it sit for a couple days. This caused the J-Lube to separate away from the water, leaving an even thicker layer of J-Lube floating on top of some extremely salty water that had no lubricative abilities left to it whatsoever. The top layer of J-Lube was now almost glue-like in its thickness, and it would form long strings that would dry into whispy threads almost instantly. The two layers were so uninterested in each other at that point that the bottom layer of salt water could be poured away, leaving just a clump of J-Lube. So it stands to reason that salt works as well as it does because it dehydrates the J-Lube, but it does seem to also provide an abrasive effect to scrub it off of the skin.
Glycerine soaps seem to break up J-Lube as well, but from what I know of glycerine (which is a humectant) and from what I’ve seen of washing with glycerine based soaps it seems to work in the opposite manner from salt. It appears to actually over-hydrate the J-Lube, diluting it down and washing it away. I’m guessing the reduction in surface tension of the water (since it’s a soap) also helps, but there does seem to be a definite “charging” effect that comes with glycerine soaps. In fact I have seen cases where what seemed like clean body parts suddenly became slippery with J-Lube after the glycerine soap hit them, like there was a small amount of residue left behind by other rinsing methods that wasn’t enough to do much in the presence of plain water, but with the glycerine it actually began to work again. This is totally a hypothesis based on anecdotal information, however, so I wouldn’t give it much credit. Still, glycerine soaps do seem to wash it off better.
Anyhow, the only real point that should be taken away from all this rambling is that the nature of a batch of hydrated J-Lube is that of a bunch of water with a lot of microscopic polymer threads floating around in it. Once you understand that, it’s easier to understand how it does what it does, and how it’s going to behave if you use (or abuse) it. Especially when it comes to mixing up your own custom version, as certain things will work better than others. The J-Lube might work as an emulsifier, which would help keep things like oils (and Crisco) in suspension, but at the end of the day what you’ve got is still a bunch of water made thicker by a lot of little floating threads. Being truly successful in your experiments is a lot easier once you begin to understand the limitations of the substance.
As stated elsewhere on this page, J-Lube consists of a thickener/lubricant and a dispersing agent. As innocent as all this seems, it does present certain potential health hazards that are most likely (in my opinion, anyhow) minimal but it just seems wrong to not mention them if I know about them.
The sucrose in J-Lube is a sugar. It isn’t anything particularly dangerous, but it does carry a few risks in certain instances. First off, it provides food for bacteria, and in the absence of any sort of preservative it is something of an invitation to the mixed product going bad and developing mold or other bacterial growth. This is easy enough to combat and prevent, but you should be aware of it so that you don’t accidentally wind up with a spoiled batch of J-Lube that could lead to other nasty things like yeast infections. Second, as it is a sugar, if you are extremely concerned about coming in contact with sugar (for example, you are diabetic) you should keep that in mind depending on how you plan on using it. True, the amounts of sugar dissolved into the solution are incredibly small. Still, I have read posts online from people who refused to use J-Lube precisely because they were diabetic and afraid of how they might react to it. This is something you need to decide for yourself in terms of risk, but seeing as glycerin is a major part of many lubes out there (and glycerin is considered a carbohydrate by the US Food and Drug Administration) it seems like if you aren’t afraid of glycerin lubes then there’s probably no reason to be afraid of J-Lube. There’s also questions of exactly how you’d manage to absorb an appreciable amount of the sucrose since there’s so little of it in the final mix, but again, if you’re truly health-paranoid then consider yourself warned.
The lubricant/thickener in J-Lube is the one with greater health warnings. Toxicity relating to infiltration of the peritoneum aside, there are a couple of known risks with it. There have been studies showing oral toxicity in rats, but this was for ingesting much larger quantities of polyethylene oxide than anyone is going to reasonably ingest when using it as a lubricant. If you are into sitting down with a huge bowl of dry J-Lube, a spoon, and a healthy appetite you might end up with some health problems. But for most cases, a person would not be eating it and it would be difficult to absorb it in appreciable amounts through any other route.
What is probably of greater concern is contamination by other chemicals. Polyethylene oxide is known by many different names, but the most common one is probably polyethylene glycol, also abbreviated as PEG. PEG is specified along with a number indicating the molecular weight of that particular kind of PEG. In the case of J-Lube, only the manufacturer knows exactly what kind of PEG is being used but based on my tests and comparisons against many forms of it, it is most likely what is called PEG-90M. PEG-90M is often used in shampoos, lotions, and most frequently, shaving gels. It can also be used in various industrial manufacturing and refining processes. According to the database at the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” web pages PEG-90M can contain some nasty impurities such as ethylene oxide (a known carcinogen and suspected neurotoxin) and 1,4-dioxane (an irritant and suspected carcinogen). As such, they list it as a chemical with a moderate to high hazard rating depending on usage. In the case of J-Lube the amounts of PEG-90M would exceed the typical usage by an order of magnitude at least, so if you abide by the warnings at the EWG pages then J-Lube would fall well within the “high hazard rating” category. Absent of an actual chemical analysis, I would expect the contents of J-Lube to not be considered pharmaceutical grade based on the cost and the lack of human safety requirements (it IS intended for farm animals after all, and not humans). So again, consider yourself warned.
Now, with all those statements having been said, is there a realistic health risk? As always, that is for you to decide on your own. The usage of any cosmetic carries with it certain risks, and certainly the information on the EWP page makes it sound incredibly scary. All I can say is you should decide for yourself. I have listed as much detail here as I have about the ingredients in J-Lube, which should provide anyone concerned about the potential health risks with some good starting points for further research. Anything beyond that exceeds the scope or the intention of this document.