How to unclog valve cores?

I know this sounds ridiculously ‘thrifty’, but I don’t like unnecessary waste.

I have a bunch of valve cores that are perfectly good, but have sealant clogged up deep inside which make them unusable. There’s no tool small enough to be able to clear this out (or maybe there is @david.rome?) .

Is there a way to dissolve or remove the latex stuck inside the valve core to make them usable again?


Try immersing them in boiling/very hot water for a few minutes, then rinsing.

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I thought you were talking about your heart when I first saw this! I therefore recommend oatmeal.


genuine lol

Remove them from the stems, throw them in an ultrasonic cleaner with the valve stems, turn on ultrasonic cleaner, have a cup of coffee, remove cores and stems from cleaner and let dry, you now have clean valve cores.

The Wolftooth 8 bit pliers comes with a small round file specifically for cleaning out clogged cores. Thankfully I’ve never had to use the one I have.

Perhaps someone on the forum has experience of using this item?

I understand Dave Rome has the tool (no surprise there). Perhaps you could ask him?

Instead of cool tool Tuesday we could have clogged core Thursday?


In relation to this, something I haven’t really seen mentioned online (“Best/Worst Things About Tubeless”-type articles):

I have to get the pliers out, just to get the valve open - literally every time I ride a bike with tubeless wheels (they always need the tyres inflating). This is because the valves have always become too gummed up since my last ride.
Now we have a few bikes in the stable, so any individual bike won’t be in heavy rotation, but I can’t be the only person that has to *always * do this? Or am I doing something really stupid? :laughing:

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@James_Jackson You’re probably just doing them up too tight…
Speaking from experience!
I was having the same issue, but have recently been careful to only tighten them finger-tight, and even then to the absolute minimum.
No discernible air loss, but have been able to undo by hand.

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I don’t know if this helps but so far it’s worked for me – I never store the bike with the valves at the 6 position (straight down) so it keeps the sealant from coagulating/ sitting in the core.


Two techniques. Boiling water as mentioned above - may need two or three rounds if it is really clogged. It can help to use a couple of pairs of pliers to move the pin back and forth while it’s in the boiling water.

Second method is to use pliers to unscrew the end cap past its limit and right off the pin and you can then fully disassemble the core and clean it with a small nail etc. Reverse the procedure to reassemble it. I prefer the boiling water method because I don’t know how many times screwing it off past the limit can be done before the limit is destroyed.

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Boiling water (as already mentioned) is a good trick.

I also like to put a drop of oil-based chain lube on the threaded section and work it into the valve. This will help ward off the sealant from gumming up the thread and make opening the valve far easier.

That said, I typically replace valve cores that start to leak or that continually require opening with a pair of pliers. A 10 pack of Presta valve cores can be purchased rather cheaply and they’ll last you years.


FYSA, to prevent it from ever sticking, Josh at Silca in a recent podcast recommended soaking new valve cores in Synergetic oil based lubricant to keep anything from adhering to the inside of the core… I’d wager many other oil based lubricants might have the same effect if you don’t happen to have Silca products on hand. He said he’s been doing it for years and his product probably hasn’t been around THAT long… :smiley:

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I use a spoke - the threaded side works well and you can cut and bend it to your personal likings :nerd_face:

I have just started replacing them when they are starting to accumulate dry sealant on the working parts. There is nothing worse than being out in the woods and being unable to A: open the thing or B: unable to close the thing. I know this is not ecological but after a while they just don’t work properly.