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  1. #1
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    What do do with the all the solvent from degreasing components?

    I'm about to finally take apart my cassette, remove the chain, and do a deep degreasing in some sort of solvent. I'm not sure which one to use, so hints & tips are welcome (I'll be doing searches around here....)

    One thing I haven't seen, though, is what to do with all that solvent and how to contain the mess you make by having all that black fluid everywhere. Any tips?
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  2. #2
    Spinning @ 33 RPM Glynis27's Avatar
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    I use Odorless Mineral Spirits for all my cleaning and degreasing. I use 2-3 different glass jars, I put the part in the first jar, shake it a bit then let it soak. Once it is fairly clean I move the part to the next jar. I hang the chain from a hook over the open jar so it can drip back in. The cassette I put on top of a piece of cardboard and use a toothbrush and another piece of cardboard to clean between the cogs. The dirt and grease will settle to the bottom of the jar. After a few weeks worth of cleanings I filter the solvent through a coffee filter.

    This is all assuming you remove the parts to clean them.
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  3. #3
    Mechanic/Tourist
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    If it's no longer usable check with your local recycling organization or city/county as to hazardous waste recycling options.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
    If it's no longer usable check with your local recycling organization or city/county as to hazardous waste recycling options.
    How often would you folks keep reusing solvent, anyway?
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  5. #5
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    I use kerosine as my cleaning solvent but only in very small amounts, a gallon last a couple of years. I use a shallow plastic pan and an old paint brush as my cleaning "tank". After the loose dirt has settled I decant the remaining solvent into the container I also use to recycle my used motor oil.

  6. #6
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    +1 recycle with my drain oil
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  7. #7
    PBR Racing RIC0's Avatar
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    Simple green will do the job and it is friendly to mother earth. No need to use acid, mineral spirits, blow torches, gas, kerosene and a trip to the nuclear plant to clean up your drive train.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIC0 View Post
    Simple green will do the job and it is friendly to mother earth. No need to use acid, mineral spirits, blow torches, gas, kerosene and a trip to the nuclear plant to clean up your drive train.
    But is simple green + drivetrain oil & grease safe to discard into the sewer?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIC0 View Post
    Simple green will do the job and it is friendly to mother earth. No need to use acid, mineral spirits, blow torches, gas, kerosene and a trip to the nuclear plant to clean up your drive train.
    Dirty Simple Green run down the drain isn't a lot more "friendly to mother earth" than recycled kerosene or mineral spirits and you better make sure the parts are completely dry before lubing them again.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
    But is simple green + drivetrain oil & grease safe to discard into the sewer?
    Don't dispose of it in a storm drain or sewer that leads to a body of water untreated.

    I dispose of my dirty Simple Green mixtures into the sanitary sewer (typical household drain). I know dilution is not the solution, but I doubt the quantities will harm the local sewage treatment plant. One of their concerns is killing off the bacteria they used to process sewage. I am sure nastier stuff is poured down the drain, like bleach which will probably kill bacteria in relatively low concentrations.

    I am not sure of disposing into a septic system, and its effect on the bacteria.

  11. #11
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
    but is simple green + drivetrain oil & grease safe to discard into the sewer?
    bingo !

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  12. #12
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    what about citrus cleaner that I bought for my little chain machine?

  13. #13
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    what about citrus cleaner that I bought for my little chain machine?
    I'd consider Simple Green and citrus based cleaners both water soluble detergents & surfactants. Both claim to be "biodegradable", and probably okay to dispose of in a sanitary sewer system.

    One way to decrease the amount of crud in either petroleum or Simple Green solutions is to wipe off as much crud as possible with a rag. For example, cogs tend to get a ring of dirt/dust/oil at the base of the chainline. A good wiping with a rag will remove this before entering into the solution. Or wipe off the grease from a spindle before placing it into a cleaning solution.

  14. #14
    Junior Member Mctheriot's Avatar
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    If you can't find a recycle center, check with your local fire station - usually they know where to take hazardous waste.

    Mark
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  15. #15
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    I've been using sunlight dish soap. Lemon scented to give my bike a fresh clean smell.
    The rinse water, crud and soap go down the drain.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Fissile's Avatar
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    I fling it across the fence into my neighbor's yard. I don't care much for the neighbors.
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  17. #17
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    Since I change my car oil. I collect waste from cleaning, regardless of type, and put it in with the waste oil. Any solvent will mix with the oil. I'm pretty sure it is not an issue for the recyclers. They filter and process the stuff to remove water and contaminants anyway.

    PS. Cleaning parts is a decidedly messy process. Nike said it best.
    - Solo Attack: When you attack, let the sprint group lead you out. You take no points. But when they sit up, you put your head down and hold threshold. Remember: When you see Jesus you are still about 2 minutes from blacking out. Hang on.

  18. #18
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    Take one for the team, lick your chain clean. Mother earth will be happy...

  19. #19
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    I save my used paint thinner and let it separate into clean thinner on top, dirt on the bottom. Biodiesel also makes for awesome cleaning solvent - since it's an ester, it has more detergency.

  20. #20
    Used to be Conspiratemus
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    I'll be the devil's advocate and say that if you need to use any kind of liquid degreaser you are over-lubing your parts. Not meaning to start a(nother) chain-lubing thread, but if you lube your chain with tiny drops of heavy rear-end differential oil (SAE 190) thinned with naphtha, the chain will never get so gunky that you feel tempted to soak it in solvent or even run it through those little chain-cleaning machines. (Yes, it will still leave a tattoo on your calf if you touch it, but no, the chain does not wear out in 100 miles.) Everything else can be wiped clean with a dry rag, a cog-cleaning brush (or heavy twine), and a small screwdriver (to scrape the accumulated oil & chain dust off the derailer pulleys.) When you take apart hubs and other bearings to regrease them, just wipe the old grease out of the races, no need to soak in solvent. For a winter commuting bike, you just pour SAE 30 motor oil on everything that moves or could rust, and replenish when the briny splashes have washed it off.

    I honestly have not used any kind of degreasing solvent (except a spritz of orange cleaner on handlebar tape and brake lever hoods) in over 10 years. And yes, it rains here.
    "I did not know that!" -- J. Carson

  21. #21
    PBR Racing RIC0's Avatar
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    I"m guessing the amount of sediment from cleaning a drive train strained thru a coffee filter over the life of every bike a person owned their entire life would possibly fill up a shot glass about 1/4.

    Lubing a chain properly usually only needs a good cleaning 2 times a year.

  22. #22
    Bicycle Repairman kingsting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIC0 View Post
    I"m guessing the amount of sediment from cleaning a drive train strained thru a coffee filter over the life of every bike a person owned their entire life would possibly fill up a shot glass about 1/4.

    Lubing a chain properly usually only needs a good cleaning 2 times a year.
    You know, you gave me an idea I hadn't thought of before.

    I wonder how well dumping dirty degreasing fluid through a coffee filter would work. Crud stays in the filter and reusable degreaser goes back into the container for later use. Hmmmm...
    There's always room for one more bike!

  23. #23
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    I use paint thinner in a jar to clean parts. When I'm done, I put the lid on and let it sit until the solids have settled out, then pour the "clean" (though possibly dark) liquid into another jar to reuse it another time. WHen I've decided it's no longer reusable, I recycle it.

  24. #24
    Wilma!! Randallissimo's Avatar
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    I use simple green, then I set the container with the dirty solution in a safe place in my garage. After a time I pour off the liquid into another jar to be used again. Then I leave the open container to evaporate leaving the sediment, which I then dispose of in the trash. I do the same with cleaning paint brushes.

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