Bicycle Mechanics - Getting grease/tire marks out of hardwood floors?
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07-17-11, 04:37 PM
So I've been doing the little repair work I do in my apartment (hardwood floors). Usually I've been pretty good about doing it on newspaper but this last repair (derailleur adjustment that didn't go so well - any clue on why a derailleur would act like a gear isn't there?) I forgot. Got some grease and tire marks on the floor (shifted while turning the pedals while lifting the bike the seatpost - no stand - and sometimes forgot and set the bike down while the tire was still moving). Any idea how to get the marks out of my floor without screwing up the flooring? Thanks.
07-17-11, 07:21 PM
yeah, I'd thought about the magic eraser, but my wife was concerned it'll strip the finish off the floor. Any experience?
07-17-11, 08:12 PM
get a new wife/bike/flooring. total overhaul.
07-17-11, 08:44 PM
Go to a hardwood flooring dealer (not a big box store, a real flooring dealer/installer) and ask them what you can do. Depending on the age of the floor, there could be any one of several finishes on it. If you are in luck it is one of the modern polyurethanes which clean fairly easily and don't absorb oils as long as the surface is intact.
If your floor finish is polyurethane and in good shape, I'd try a solution of simple green and warm water with a microfiber cloth. Just dampen the cloth and scrub gently. If the finish is worn thin, exposing the actual wood fibers, this could actually thin the stain and drive it further into the wood, but if the polyurethane surface is smooth and not badly worn, it should wipe up without too much trouble.
Besides a proper work stand, another good investment is a rubber backed 3' x 5' or 4'x 6' rug like you see in the entries of office buildings, etc. No stains, no dings from dropped tools, life is good.
if the floor was kept well waxed, or as many are today has a poly-urethane finish, the stains won't be in the wood, but on or in the finish. the grease is easy and will come up with a basic floor cleaner on a rag, followed by some spot waxing. For small spots I use Pledge, otherwise I prefer paste waxes.
The tire buff may be more of a problem because it might be abraded in deeper. You might have to buff it out before waxing.
07-18-11, 03:51 AM
Wipe up as much of it as you can with a dry rag first. Then use cleaners on the rest. I find 409 does wonders for dissolving and removing grease.
Try spreading some talc or cornstarch on the spots first to absorb anything on the surface.
07-18-11, 09:45 PM
If the usual floor cleaners don't do the trick try some mineral spirits on a rag to wipe away the stains. It's amazing what that stuff cleans up on floors such as this.
If you do this fairly regularly you'd be wise to invest in a patch of tough hallway runner carpet. The stuff with the non skin rubber backing. It's fairly cheap so after some years of use when it's totally stained and grotty you can toss it out with a clear conscience and get another one. Frankly newspapers protect so little and transfer so much ink onto everything they touch that it's a waste of time using them.
07-18-11, 09:51 PM
Iono about the grease, or on hardwood.... lol.... but I've had to deal will tire marks on the walls in my apt from where I accidentally bump it, and so far I've just used those Mr Clean Magic Erasers, and they have worked perfectly for me. You might wanna give them a try. You can get the generic for a couple of bucks.
07-19-11, 07:44 AM
thanks for the ideas all. I think I'll have to swing by after work and pick up a magic eraser to give that a try. I've gotten most of the grease out with just a paper towel (there wasn't much), so it's really the rubber tire marks. So stupid of me to put the bike down while the tire was still spinning. I store my bike in a corner of our apartment complex's underground garage where they have bike racks (I don't have a parking space as I have no car). I think, after this fiasco, I'm going to just take my tools/supplies with me and do all my work down there. I had been doing it in the apartment so I could be around my wife/baby while working, but I think my wife will agree that me leaving her alone with the baby rather than giving her some time to do her thing while I fix the bike is worth the lack of mess (not that I really could have helped with the baby before while my hands were all greasy - or in greasy nitrile gloves - but she like that I was there). The lack of a sink down there is a pain, but I can work around that when I have to clean my chain.
07-19-11, 01:50 PM
The only thing to note about the Magic Erasers is that they are very mildly abrasive, and if the finish is super shiny you might see slight dulling. Personally, for rubber marks, I'd try Simple Green first, and failing that, straight mineral spirits on a clean rag. These should be fine for any modern finish; if you have old floors with an oil finish, you may need to go another route.
Fire should melt the rubber off the wood.
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