I bought a set of CAP dumbbells from Costco. The black rubber leaves residue on my hands, my clothing, and my carpet. Soap and water removed it from my hands. 'Resolve' carpet powder removed most (not all) of the residue from my carpet. I haven't washed my clothing yet.

I called the Cap company. They claim to have never heard of a residue problem and so had no advice.

Is the residue problem I'm experiencing a true anomaly or has anyone else experienced the same (with Cap or any other brand)? Did you find a workaround, or did you give up and just lived with it?

Note: If this is a no-win situation, then I'll waste no time in returning the set to Costco.

P.S. The weights also have that stinky rubber smell mentioned in another post. I'm trying the vinegar soak right now. Washing and air-drying were futile.

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about the rubber coating on a particular dumbbell model, not directly related to the use of any equipment for physical fitness.
    – Eric
    Jan 24, 2015 at 4:47
  • 1
    Please leave the question open because: (a) In addition to being filthy, the residue is slippery and presents a safety risk. (b) A similar question has been left open; i.e., the question about the rubber smell. fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/10016/… Mentioning the brand is incidental to the question. I.e., the residue is of rubber origin and can reasonably be expected to show up on any brand or type of equipment that has rubber.
    – RJo
    Jan 24, 2015 at 22:03
  • While it may be a safety risk, unfortunately it is still off topic. And pointing at another off topic question that missed closure when it was posted years ago doesn't make it on topic either.
    – JohnP
    Feb 1, 2015 at 2:52
  • I bought dumbbells with that rubber coating and am gonna have to return then cos the smell is overwhelming, I can't even train with that smell
    – user20541
    Jun 3, 2016 at 5:45

1 Answer 1


First, I've decided to return the weights. There's a point at which it's just not worth the mental and time effort to solve a problem. I've reached that point.

Second, before getting to this point, I tried ideas found on Stackexchange and on the web at large, and (D'oh!) spoke to people in other fields who would feasibly have solutions.

Here's the rundown.

From a personal trainer who has had his own gym for over 10 years. Pine Sol. Use it to wash the weights several times over a week period. This is what's recommended for similar rubber flooring. Wash quite a few times! And wait. The Pine Sol + time combination should take care of it.

This is the most promising solution because it comes from someone who has "been there, done that." But I won't try it because I've already decided to return the weights.

If someone else tries this with success, then it would be great for others to know.

From both an HVAC expert and a disaster-recovery expert. Coat the caps with a flexible rubber coating that you can buy in a can or bucket from the hardware store. This is the same stuff that you would use to repair the handles on pliers and other tools.

I did not try this, but I did find examples on the web of people who refurbished weight plates with do-it-yourself plastic coating. It comes in many colors, so you could even color-code the weights of your weights.

I called a manufacturer to ask if the coating would be effective at masking smell. They did not know and did not try to fake an answer. (Good for them.)

If someone else tries this with success, then it would be great for others to know.

From a retired scientist who worked at a well-known French medical company. Yeah, the sulfur from vulcanization is pretty bad. Try soaking in hydrogen peroxide. Test an area first because it might change color. And do NOT under any circumstances mix it with anything else.

I tried it. The color remained black. There was noticeably only a little less filthy residue. The nasty smell did not budge.

From posts on Stackexchange and other web sites.

  1. washing with dish soap, laundry detergent
  2. soaking in vinegar
  3. soaking in vinegar and baking soda
  4. scrubbing with a spray plastic cleaner
  5. leaving outside in the heat and cold for several days and nights

I tried combinations of all of the above without success.

I also walked around several sporting good stores. All had detectable rubber off-gassing (some vastly more than others). I did not have a rag with me, so I did not test residue.

Closing. Thank you for leaving the question open. I hope my research helps other people who have residue or stink problems with their equipment. Because those kinds of problems seriously suck the joy from working out.

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