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  1. #1
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    An easy way to remove bar tape residue

    After trying a number of the things mentioned on these boards to remove bar tape residue on some bars I bought used that had very baked on tape gum I found something that really worked well. I was at the 99 cent only store in my area and saw a bottle of fuel injector cleaner. It said something about about dissolving gum and varnish. I decided to give it a try and it worked like magic. A couple paper towels with a splash on them wiped the nearly impossible to remove dried gum right off. I am sure it is not the most environmental product, but it did not smell like diesel or really any kind of petroleum distillate. Not sure what it was, but it worked and I will just give the still full bottle to one of my neighbors to use in their car.
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  2. #2
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's prolly not real nice stuff but since it'd otherwise be burnt, you're prolly not doing much harm

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    my name is Jim BlueDevil63's Avatar
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    Carb cleaner (fuel injector cleaner) and brake cleaner will both remove bar tape residue pretty well. Both are fairly nasty solvents but they evaporate quickly.

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    The best "safe" solvent I've found for removing glue/tape/sticker residue is De-Solv-it. You can get it at any hardware store (or Meijer's in my neck of the woods). It claims to be 100% Organic and Biodegradable. I also use it as my "go-to" parts cleaner. You do need to follow-up and wash off the parts with some detergent or 409 or such. No fumes, not hard on your skin, not toxic, it's really handy stuff if you tend to do your cleaning indoors (as I do). It came in real handy just yesterday in removing some stickers from some presents. It won't harm plastic.
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  5. #5
    Roadkill byte_speed's Avatar
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    I would read the instructions carefully and /or wear gloves handling the stuff.

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    I use GooGone. It gets the job done pretty well. Maybe not as fast as injector cleaner but its probably a lot safer.

  7. #7
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    If the residue is particularly chunky, try wrapping the bars with paper towel held with a twist tie. Then saturate with WD40 and put in a plastic bag or two and leave to sit for a day. This has always worked for me on the nastiest bar messes by turning the adhesive into soft gel. I also recommend this for removing decal residues from painted frame tubes, the paint isn't bothered and the residues wipe right off.
    Next time I'm in a hurry to clean up some bars, I'll try the FI cleaner for sure.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    My solvent of choice for gooey adhesive residue is white gas, aka Colman fuel, aka hexane. Yes, don't drink it, huff it, ignite it, blow yourself up, etc.. WD40 also works, as does any kind of oil, including extra virgin olive oil, but then you need to clean off the oil after you get the goo off.

  9. #9
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciufalon View Post
    After trying a number of the things mentioned on these boards to remove bar tape residue on some bars I bought used that had very baked on tape gum I found something that really worked well. I was at the 99 cent only store in my area and saw a bottle of fuel injector cleaner. It said something about about dissolving gum and varnish. I decided to give it a try and it worked like magic. A couple paper towels with a splash on them wiped the nearly impossible to remove dried gum right off. I am sure it is not the most environmental product, but it did not smell like diesel or really any kind of petroleum distillate. Not sure what it was, but it worked and I will just give the still full bottle to one of my neighbors to use in their car.
    Funny that it didn't smell like any kind of petroleum distillate because most fuel injector cleaners are largely (90 to 99%) petroleum distillate. Just about any time you see the term 'petrolemum distillate' you can assume that the stuff is mineral spirits or, more likely, naphtha.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueDevil63 View Post
    Carb cleaner (fuel injector cleaner) and brake cleaner will both remove bar tape residue pretty well. Both are fairly nasty solvents but they evaporate quickly.
    Carburetor cleaner and brake cleaner are two very different animals and should be handled and treated differently. Carburetor cleaner, being a petroleum distillate, is relatively safe to handle and use. Use gloves and use it with ventilation but over all it's not that toxic.

    Brake cleaner can come in two varieties and should be handled with care and caution. If you are using the chlorinated solvent...well, you just shouldn't use it. But if you insist, make sure you use the proper protection equipment. Check glove compatibility before you start and you might want to consider a respirator with organic/chlorinated organic cartridge. If you are using the nonchlorinated solvent (make sure you check the labels first), you should still use caution because the mixture is more toxic than mineral spirits.

    Quote Originally Posted by dperreno View Post
    The best "safe" solvent I've found for removing glue/tape/sticker residue is De-Solv-it. You can get it at any hardware store (or Meijer's in my neck of the woods). It claims to be 100% Organic and Biodegradable. I also use it as my "go-to" parts cleaner. You do need to follow-up and wash off the parts with some detergent or 409 or such. No fumes, not hard on your skin, not toxic, it's really handy stuff if you tend to do your cleaning indoors (as I do). It came in real handy just yesterday in removing some stickers from some presents. It won't harm plastic.
    Just because something says "100% Organic and Biodegradable" doesn't mean the stuff is completely safe. I'd question the "100% Organic and Biodegradable" claim anyway. True the stuff is made of organic chemicals. But it contains a high percentage of naphtha (~50%) which isn't 'organic' in the current lexicon. It is certainly 'organic' from a chemical standpoint in that it is derived from carbon which, by the definition that chemist use, makes it an organic solvent. It contains some surfactants which are also chemically organic but not necessarily popularly 'organic'. But neither of those materials is what I would consider 'biodegradable'. Surfactants will degrade a little but sufficient amounts of them make it through water treatment plants to cause foaming around the discharge pipes. Mineral spirits (or naphtha) will evaporated but that just puts the molecules in the air where they don't 'biodegrade' but are, instead, converted to something else through some rather complicated photochemistry with nitrogen oxides.

    It also contains a high percentage of limonene which could be considered to be 'organic' in the popular sense in that the material is extracted from orange peels. But the limonene is still a hydrocarbon. It also has a flash point of 50C which is about the same as mineral spirits.

    I'd still wear gloves while using it because if it can clean grease, it can strip oil from your skin.


    Quote Originally Posted by Forknroad View Post
    I use GooGone. It gets the job done pretty well. Maybe not as fast as injector cleaner but its probably a lot safer.
    GooGone is similar to De-solv-it. I'd still use gloves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    My solvent of choice for gooey adhesive residue is white gas, aka Colman fuel, aka hexane. Yes, don't drink it, huff it, ignite it, blow yourself up, etc.. WD40 also works, as does any kind of oil, including extra virgin olive oil, but then you need to clean off the oil after you get the goo off.
    White gas is also known as Coleman fuel but it's not the same as hexane. It contains some hexane but it also contains other hydrocarbons which raise its flashpoint. White gas does contain some benzene so, again, gloves are a good idea when using it.

    Mineral spirits aren't quite white gas either. Mineral spirits have a higher flashpoint (40C vs -18C) and odorless mineral spirits have an even higher flashpoint because odorless mineral spirits have a lower aromatic content. That makes odorless mineral spirits safer to use. Of course, use gloves.
    Stuart Black
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  10. #10
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    Do you use these various 'cleaners' on carbon bars?

  11. #11
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    Straight rubbing alcohol is my solvent of choice. 99 cents for a quart size bottle, not too harsh, evaporates quickly. Needs a little more elbow grease than a brake cleaner, but probably much safer.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The residue sticky ness will help the next tape job stay put ..

  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkane77g View Post
    Do you use these various 'cleaners' on carbon bars?
    Mineral spirits shouldn't cause any problems. The epoxy that is used is probably inert to that. Acetone and alcohols would be more problematic. They might soften the epoxy or at least haze it. This is according to the Cole-Parmer compatibility chart
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by dill View Post
    Straight rubbing alcohol is my solvent of choice. 99 cents for a quart size bottle, not too harsh, evaporates quickly. Needs a little more elbow grease than a brake cleaner, but probably much safer.
    I've never found alcohols to be that effective on adhesives. Adhesives are non-polar while alcohols are polar. Mineral spirits does a better job.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
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    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    I use Goo-Gone. Good stuff.
    Regards,

    Jed

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