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Old 03-20-14, 10:08 AM   #1
Gramercy
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Does everyone here use a degreaser? Also, question about rags

For the past 1000 miles I have only wiped down my chain and cogs with a dry rag to get the gunk off, and then occasionally add chain lube (some generic brand of white lightning). The rag gets filthy after a use, I try to just clean it in a sink/shower as I don't want to throw it in a washing machine. How do you guys clean the rags you use to clean bikes?

Also, how important is it to add degreaser before wiping down the chain and gears? Will I notice a big improvement in shifting or will the chain stay cleaner? I'm not talking about buying one of those park tool chain cleaners, just getting some type of degreaser.
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Old 03-20-14, 10:23 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Gramercy View Post
...Also, how important is it to add degreaser before wiping down the chain and gears? Will I notice a big improvement in shifting or will the chain stay cleaner? I'm not talking about buying one of those park tool chain cleaners, just getting some type of degreaser.
Perhaps not a recommended practice, but I only degrease the chain, along with the cassette and chain rings, when I'm servicing the whole bike and it's removed. I'll use aerosol auto brake cleaner and Simple Green for degreaseing agents.

Brad

PS I forgot to add the RD's pulleys.

Last edited by bradtx; 03-20-14 at 10:24 AM. Reason: PS
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Old 03-20-14, 10:24 AM   #3
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there is the Blue paper towel for shop use , or you get old stuff that will be landfilled as rags after 1 use ..

or there is the Red rags you find occasionally , auto Service shops have a subscription to a rag service company

that take them back and have their own laundry service and leave a clean bundle in exchange.
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Old 03-20-14, 10:29 AM   #4
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I use a citrus degreaser about once a month during riding season when I'm doing a whole bike wash. Then I'll wash the whole bike along with everything I degreased with a neutral ph wash product. Then re-lube.

In between washes, maybe once a week I'll wipe down the chain with some WD-40 on a rag, then lube.

For rags I use disposables. There are always plenty of worn out t-shirts and socks to cut up.

But, a lot of guys on the forum say the best thing you can do for your bike is not wash it.
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Old 03-20-14, 01:15 PM   #5
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I use a rag till it's too dirty to use, then toss it out. I'll use old cotton t-shirts, underwear(isn't funny how your definition of not good any more is vastly different than your wifes), socks, towels, etc. as well as those red shop rags that I buy a Harbor Freight when they have a sale. I'll use a clean one to wipe\dry parts after degreaser, and as they get dirtier, use them to wipe the chain after lubing, then before lubing, then out they go.
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Old 03-20-14, 01:45 PM   #6
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I dip my chain and cassette in gasoline. The fastest way to dissolve all the gunk and other crap.
Some of the old clothing end up in my shop. I also reuse paper towel pieces for my dirtiest bike needs. Other than that I just steal my wifes microfiber rags, and then try to hide the dirty ones very well.
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Old 03-20-14, 03:18 PM   #7
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Blue shop towels and then I'll just walk down the street with a bag of old rags to a coin-op laundry. Keeps the wife happy.
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Old 03-20-14, 03:28 PM   #8
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I long ago decided that paper towels made life easier. I'll still use rags for some stuff, but they don't get washed. They simply move down the tree to dirtier and dirtier jobs until they're trashed.

For solvents, I use either a kerosene based product or naphtha. The naphtha is nice because it has a high solvent index, and dries 100% dry. OTOH the kerosene based stuff is much cheaper, and is better for some things because it doesn't dry too fast.

Whether cloth or paper, towels are always left outside to dry before storing or discarding, to avoid a fire hazard.
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Old 03-20-14, 06:42 PM   #9
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Chain care, wear and skipping by Jobst Brandt I clean mine in an ultrasonic cleaner with dilute SimpleGreen. The tourer chain now has over 19200 miles on it.
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Old 03-20-14, 07:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Gramercy View Post
..... How do you guys clean the rags you use to clean bikes?

Also, how important is it to add degreaser before wiping down the chain and gears? Will I notice a big improvement in shifting or will the chain stay cleaner? I'm not talking about buying one of those park tool chain cleaners, just getting some type of degreaser.
My son once had a girlfriend that had to throw away her pots and pans.... because they just got so dirty. Filth... can be overwhelming.

Instead of trying to clean the overwhelming layers of gunk and filth..... try cleaning your bicycle more regularly. A dish scrubbing brush from a dollar store, a little simple green in a spray bottle, and whatever dish soap you use (I like Dawn). I mix the dish soap in a buck or hot (or seriously warm) water. Spray the chain, cogs, and sprockets with a little simple green.... and let soak for a minute or two. Use the brush and hot soapy water to scrub the parts squeaky clean.

This is a great time to inspect the entire bicycle for cracks, dents, loose or broken spokes.... and so forth. I like to take a sponge of soapy water and wash every little part as I do my safety inspection. Then I rinse the soap off the entire bicycle and let dry completely. Once clean and dry... I oil the moving parts that need oil.... of course that includes the chain.

The whole process takes about ten minutes and should only be repeated as needed. So the process should never be more than a fractional part of your cycling time.

Rags (and towels) are great for drying your (washed and clean) hands or bicycle. They can then air dry where you hang them and be laundered as any other towel. To wipe off the excess oil off the chain I use a paper towel.... and dispose of it in the trash.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 03-20-14 at 07:15 PM.
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