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Old 01-26-12, 03:14 PM   #1
septacycles 
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Best way to clean/ polish bike components

I'm getting ready to sell a bunch of parts... some are nice and clean and sparkly like they were new. Other are tarnished, grimy, but have potential.

I"m curious to know some of the recommended methods for cleaning and polishing parts... in a time efficient manner. Also is it worth it to polish parts or just let the buyer decide if they want to take it to that level.

I'm considering getting a bench top parts washer.

Before now I've been using simple green and various solvents I had in the garage like acetone, white gas, etc. in a bucket or bowl.
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Old 01-26-12, 03:32 PM   #2
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Dirty grime, minor tarnish, rust, etc. USE: Nevr-Dull, Mineral Spirits

For non-anondized, non-chrome, and unpainted parts: Polish with Mother's Mag and Aluminum polish. Works great.

For heavy corrosion. Use a chelate bath such as Evapo-Rust.

Also helps to have shop-towerls, rags, brass brush, sanding pen, sandpaper. etc.
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Old 01-26-12, 03:37 PM   #3
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I highly recommend this for polishing aluminum.
I think cleaning is another topic entirely.
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Old 01-26-12, 03:39 PM   #4
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+1 , not necessarily time efficient but a great jumping off point.
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Old 01-26-12, 04:07 PM   #5
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Insofar as cleaning grease from components goes, I generally use a solution of Dawn or Simple Green for light cleaning, followed by Windex to remove any residue prior to polishing.
For heavy cleaning, I start Simple Green and WD-40 straight up.
For extreme, stubborn, hardened tar, I'll resort to using Goof-off in very small amounts.
I generally use Goo-gone to remove residue from stickers.

PS- I am paranoid about using gasoline for anything because I knew someone who died that way years ago.
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Old 01-26-12, 04:59 PM   #6
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Part of my vintage bicycle work plan is to work as green as I can. With that in mind, I use very few solvents, oils, greases or any other chemicals on my builds. Wax, however, is a part of every build.

Generally, I knock off heavy greasy/oily grime with rags and/or a soft brass wire brush. I try to flick, not scrub. The, when Mrs. Me is anywhere else, I put some really hot water in the sink, soak the parts for a short while, then use dish soap, and/or the soft brass brush, and/or small plastic brush and/or a plastic scrub pad.

The tends to protect the original patina, which is often times, still pretty darn good...
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Old 01-26-12, 05:03 PM   #7
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Most efficient?

Talk real nice to Khatfull & possibly send them to Khatfull with a Benjamin and work on something else : )

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...khatful+polish
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Old 01-26-12, 05:27 PM   #8
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I use dishwashing detergent mixed with ammonia to remove grime grease. I have heard of people using vibratory cleaners and intend to build one one day.
Small vibratory cleaners are mostly used by cartridge reloders and work very well on brass. Ed
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Old 01-26-12, 05:53 PM   #9
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Check your CL for (ultrasonic) jewelry cleaners, or buy one for ~$70 at Harbor Freight. Dishwashers are certainly efficient, too--use a low heat cycle and give the parts a good dry when you pull them out (but not while your significant other is around ). For best results, I highly recommend Khatfull's methods referenced above, but that can be time-consuming for parts with lots of crannies and pieces such as derailleurs or brakes.
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Old 01-26-12, 06:06 PM   #10
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Personally I detest the polishing of parts. most parts, especially Campi, were never mirror shinny leaving the factory but had a bright satiny finish, IMHO polishing destroys the look and the anodizing meant to protect the part.


for cleaning, since I don't have a garage or access to a hose I use copious amounts of Simple Green and an old tooth or bottle brush and water
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Old 01-26-12, 06:24 PM   #11
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i have used khatfulls polishing advice to repair damaged areas on parts and also to completely polish others. with practice you can really fine tune the finish you leave behind. parts like stems, handlebars, and seatposts are pretty easy but brakes and derailleurs can be pretty labor intensive.

i would only strip anodizing if it were damaged or if the proper silver color was not offered.


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Personally I detest the polishing of parts. most parts, especially Campi
i know i have said it before, but it is not "campi" it is campy. campy is trademarked by campagnolo, campi means nothing.

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Old 01-26-12, 06:26 PM   #12
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great suggestions... I"m going to look for a jewelry cleaner and check that out. I also like the green approach of trying to use as few solvents as possible. I'm on thin Ice as it is with over 20 bikes in the garage... my wife would not be please with cleaning parts in the dishwasher or kitchen sink... ha.

Thanks... now it off to the garage.
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Old 01-26-12, 06:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by septacycles View Post
my wife would not be please with cleaning parts in the dishwasher or kitchen sink... ha.
i cleaned the heat shield for my cars header by soaking it in the sink (with dawn) and then running it through the dishwasher. in process my wife wasnt impressed but after seeing the end result she complemented my efforts. it was shocking how clean it came. i am sure the same method would do wonders for bike parts.

Last edited by thirdgenbird; 01-26-12 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 01-26-12, 06:39 PM   #14
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A pale of warm water with some Dawn in it. If it's really nasty I use a small metal bucket with some kerosene in it. Outside.
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Old 01-26-12, 06:51 PM   #15
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I picked up some orange citrus degreaser at Home Depot. It works great. Before that I had a gel spray from Performance that just turned grease to a gooey mess but didn't remove it. I haven't tried simple green. I used to use mineral spirits or gas, but decided the planet has enough problems without me adding to it by cleaning my bike.
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Old 01-26-12, 07:04 PM   #16
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Can't resist...Campi wouldn't that be two or more Campy Parts??

As far as cleaning...a gentelman that does aircraft restoration did a test on simple green (lemon) vs easy off oven cleaner. Simple green was more corrosive (they use it to remove exhaust stains). For polishing, if you get any dark left in(polishing residue) use purple sparkle glass cleaner it's not a very good glass cleaner but a great aluminum cleaner and if it gets on plastic...no ammonium to screw up plastic. Then seal it with Glass wax. Never dull and some of the others can leave a shadow. There are so many ways to clean/polish but if someone with more money than they know what to do with shows me that on a totally polish aircraft..I'll roll with it.

Btw that's once you get past the anodizing. That's the PITA for me. That my 2cents worth.
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Old 01-26-12, 07:08 PM   #17
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There's always the dishwasher!

My thin ice has already melted and I'm floating on a small slab, when the number went past 40.
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Old 01-26-12, 07:10 PM   #18
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Can't resist...Campi wouldn't that be two or more Campy Parts??
haha, while that may be correct, the use would be limited. how often do you say "shimanos"?
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Old 01-26-12, 08:35 PM   #19
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Shimani is the plural.
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Old 01-26-12, 08:56 PM   #20
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I use WD-40, a tooth brush and Q-Tips to clean parts and charcoal lighter fluid to remove old sticker residues.
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