I want to install a deck plate in the top of the fresh water tank of my camp trailer (RV) to allow for cleaning the inside at the start of the season. The product I am looking at recommends "Lubricate with Vaseline or Teflon grease".

Looking around to see if Teflon is toxic I found this Non-toxic when used in quantities and applications as intended; contains no carcinogenic or hazardous air polluting (HAP) ingredients, and emits no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) but here it is being sold as bicycle lubricant.

When choosing between Vaseline or Teflon to lubricate and seal a potable fresh water tank, which is the better choice?

P.S. Thanks to "RV Geezer" who suggested this in a review I found while looking for a deck plate to use for my boat.

  • 3
    I've used vaseline on chapped lips, I wouldn't use bike lube...so I'd just use Vaseline to be safe, if it was me
    – user2766
    Oct 25, 2016 at 10:36

1 Answer 1


Teflon is a brand name. The scientific name is Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

Searching more I find there are food grade PTFE lubricants available. (Super Lube)

Points making PTFE appropriate for this application

  • Great for installing some faucet stems and cartridges
  • Food grade. U.S.D.A. rated H-1
  • Non-toxic, biodegradable
  • Odorless, clean, non-staining

I found several references to using Vaseline in plumbing applications.

Vaseline is brand name for Petroleum jelly it has been used and is FDA approved for health and skin use.

Currently I think;

In a high volume water system like home plumbing, either is fine. With Vaseline being less expensive it maybe preferred. Probably comes down to personal choice.

In a low volume water system like a self contained RV water storage system. Either should be safe, but the Teflon seems to have a slight edge, making the higher cost worth while.

  • Of course PTFE is commonly used in contact with food (non stick pans) but it's not meant to come off and be consumed.
    – Chris H
    Oct 25, 2016 at 12:53
  • @ChrisH the points above are specific to the application as used in the lubricant Oct 25, 2016 at 13:03
  • Do you use a high volume of Vaseline for your home plumbing? In 20 years I have not used up 2 oz of plumbers grease.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 25, 2016 at 13:07
  • 1
    Thanks for this excellent self-answered question. It's a great way to teach us something using your own research, and is always encouraged around the SE network. Oct 26, 2016 at 21:42
  • @Sue thanks, I did not know the answer, when I posted the question. I could not let it go, until I tracked down the answer over the next hour or so. Oct 27, 2016 at 16:04

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