Softening rubber rollers

I’m having trouble with my (probably) 20-year-old rubber rollers (from Frontier, if anyone remembers them) which have served me well until the past few days, when they seem to have hardened enough to not give when they are rolling over type or cuts that are slightly over .918 above the bed. I need something that will soften them a bit, and that is available here in Costa Rica, where not much specialized is. Any suggestions? Maybe the oily residue from kerosene would have prevented this — I have been washing up for a couple of years with mineral spirits. Help?


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I have heard of people using paint stripper as a blanket fix for offset work—it might work here (or wreck you rollers entirely). I suspect the stripper was the older non-citrus/bio-degradeable variety.

OK, this will either seem strange as hell, or on the money- but I’ve used Armor All on brayers that got old/hard. It Rejuvenated a rubber brayer. I cannot speak to whether I would want to be held liable for what it could to to your rollers, but an overnight soak in that stuff- wrapped up in plastic wrap and hanging- did the trick for an old worn out rubber roller (of an unknown origin, but looked like nitrile rubber)

Massage with *Vaseline* = Petroleum Jelly.???

NA Graphics sells a spray roller rejuvenator that works well for me.

The rubber rejuvenator is an aerosol product and can not be shipped across international boundaries since most of the small parcel business is carried by air—by mail, UPS, or FedEx.

Back in the 60s/70s there used to be roller paste which was basically caustic soda in paste form which was spread on the rollers and left for a couple of hours then scraped off and the roller surface washed. This got rid of dried ink and took the shine off old rollers.

Historical note. Caustic soda is also known as lye and is what our ancestors used to clean type.

A Local Company to me, which products I have now used for Decades makes a Past which is a deep Roller clean, you can go from Black straight to yellow, they also have a deglazer etc.