Could long term PTFE lube exposure be a health risk?

This might sound silly to some of you, they might be completely safe to eat, I just have no idea and I was wondering if anyone here had some good information about PTFE lubes and toxicity or health risks.

I was lubing the other day and I realised it is very difficult not to get small quantities of lube in your hands, and some of that to end up everywhere really :smiley: these lubes are very hard to really get rid of, almost like they were designed for that! :thinking:

I’m sure very small, occasional exposure is fine, but as keyboard enthusiasts, if we are lubing all the time, I was wondering if the exposure could build up and end up being bad for our health.

I think one of the reasons I was thinking about this is because I did a photography degree and I met people with health problems caused by the chemicals that were used to develop traditional film photography, but I guess those were quite strong stuff (especially de color photography ones).

Any thoughts or info anyone?


I’m pretty sure ptfe lubes are fine to touch forever lol I’m trying to gather safety data sheets for commonly used keyboard chemicals if those help you out! AZsKBs — Keyboard Chemistry


hahaha, yeah not worried about touching the lube, I meant the small quantities that most likely we end up ingesting since it’s so difficult to get rid of them properly.
I know it would be really small, but I was curious how serious I should be about washing my hands before eating and stuff…

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I’d be interested in any info you find. For the past year I’ve been trying my best to clean up all areas where switch lube has been (often the kitchen counter and dining table) with isopropyl to remove every last spec of lube. Too bad that food prep and eating areas usually turn out to be some of the best spaces for working on switches in my house. Ha.

1 Like here is the Krytox 205 Product page. They say the food contact approval is NSF H-1 which from what I understand means incidental food contact is okay Quick Reference Guide to Categories


I have one of these and try to keep all of my lubing contained to that and wash my hands immediately after before touching anything. some of the lubes make my hands itchy so I’ve been thinking about getting some rubber gloves


That’s really good information, thanks so much!
It would be great to find similar info for tribosys 3203 and 3204.
I found some information in here PFPE Oils & Greases Catalog - Miller-Stephenson Chemicals
But it doesn’t say anything about “food contact approval”

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I was wondering just yesterday if the alligator skin I have on my right index and middle fingertips has anything to do with how much time they’ve spent with a fine coat of GPL…

It could also be that I sub-consciously treat those fingertips like worry-stones because I can barely feel them. It’s probably that. I’d say most of the stuff we use for keyboards is relatively innocuous.

Solvents, on the other hand… or any hand… don’t get solvents on your hand. Standing under the sink for fifteen actual minutes is not fun, and is the absolute best-case scenario.


Np! 3203 looks about the same safety-wise as 205g0 from this SDS

Looking more into the “NSF H-1” certification of the 205 and the 105, it looks great, as you say it’s good for incidental food contact and they are classified as “food grade” lubricants (for machines in contact with food): Food Grade Lubricants

But the tribosys ones look worse to me after reading that pdf, it says things like:

“Do not store or consume food, drink or tobacco in areas where they may become contaminated with this material … Keep away from food and drink. Keep away from tobacco products. Wash hands and face before breaks and immediately after handling the product.”

“When using do not eat, drink or smoke.”

They don’t have the “NSF H-1” and they are not referred as “food grade”.
Same with the XHT-BDZ that some people use for the stabs now. However there is another grease called XHT-ACX that seems similar and is in the list of “food grade” greases.

I might be giving all this too much weight, but I think I’m going to use 105/205 most of the time from now on. I might try 105 for tactiles instead of the tribosis 3203 I was using until now…

Thanks a lot for the links, it was really useful


As another example, this silicone grease has the same “NSF H-1” certification and is again referred as “food grade” and recommended for coffee makers, kitchen scales, blenders and food processors…

I think we are pretty safe with the 105 and 205 :tada:


Call me crazy, but I am always serious about washing my hands before eating. :man_shrugging:

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Do be careful with heat, and don’t go for a smoke after using PTFE based lubricant. PTFE releases some harmful fluor-compounds when subjected to high heat, above 260° C or so.

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hahaha, I think it is an English issue, I guess “serious” is not the word :sweat_smile:

I think I got what you meant, more like thoroughly. But that was my point, even if I’m whole time at home - specifically before meals I do wash my hands thoroughly. There is a lot of really dirty stuff around the house, simply because I don’t clean them as often as I could so they pile up lot of bacteria and germs potentially in the long run - think of all the remotes in the house, our loving keyboard parts, console joypads, anything in the house outside of the kitchen… :grin: I might casually just wet my hands and put some soap on it during the day when doing other stuff, but not before meal. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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oh, for sure, but if this stuff was toxic at all I would be going a lot more crazy than that after lubing and before eating… with being really serious I meant proper lab procedures :smile: I was already using gloves the last timeas and washing my hands, tools and surfaces a bit obsessively after. I’ll keep being careful from now on but I’m a lot less worried about 205 after what I learned here.

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I’m not panicking much as I am exposed occasionally to small amounts of either, but yeah, it was good to learn new stuff and be able to pick accordingly ones with less risk.

I’ve been looking into related lubricant safety concerns and just found this thread. I wanted to note that PTFE (a common ingredient in various lubricants) is a part of a family of chemicals known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS were broadly assumed to inert and safe, when they were first introduced, but more recent research has found health risks:


This is actually what I use for my stabs, as the use case, metal on plastic, and the expectation of a long lifespan with limited reapplication seems to fit pretty well. On my garbage builds, I’m trying to get away from stabs altogether, though, because no key needs to be wider than 1.75u. :rofl:

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Note that the risks are associated with PFAS other than PTFE (aka Teflon). PTFE does have issues with high heat (as mentioned by @Zlatzman), but that’s above 400F. Below that, AFAIK, it doesn’t react with much of anything. Pure stuff is used all the time in chemistry labs for this property.

As I understand it, the main PFAS problems are with the precursors to PTFE, as they are lighter weight chemicals and thus can get into way more stuff. I probably need to catch up with the latest research in this area, tho.

WRT the 205g0 we all know any love, I thought the PTFE in it was essentially a “filler” solid, as fairly small, solid particles. The actual lubricant part of is an petroleum-based lubricant. (The link @chalcocabana provided says 205 is “PTFE thickened,” which supports my point.)

Kyrtox 105 you DO want to be super-careful with because it IS a polyfluorinated oil and thus is super difficult to clean up

If you are concerned and don’t need to lube switches, just stabs, you can use silicone grease (Permatex, Molykote). Just don’t use it on the stabs that have silicone molding inside – silicone greases degrade solid silicone.