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  1. #1
    Senior Member Velo Fellow's Avatar
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    Home-made chain degreaser ??

    Having returned to cycling after a long hiatus a while ago, I'm not so inclined these days to soak my chain in solvent, melt wax on the stove, etc. Buying official chain degreaser from Pedro's or somesuch is a possibility but that might be overdoing it. Does anyone have a home recipe to put in my little plastic chain cleaner.....like Simple Green mixed with hot water...or something?

  2. #2
    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    You've answered your question; simple green, but full strength without the water.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    - Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  3. #3
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    or dish detergent like dawn or palmolive.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  4. #4
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    Kerosene. (BBQ lighter) Gasoline if you don't mind being environmentally-incorrect.

  5. #5
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
    Gasoline if you don't mind being engulfed in flames.
    fixed it for you.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  6. #6
    tsl
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    I don't know what the differences are between the various types of Simple Green.

    I go to the auto parts store and get a gallon of Simple Green MAX Automotive Cleaner & Degreaser. That stuff needs to be diluted. I use a half-cup with two cups of warm water. $10 a gallon and it lasts me a little over a year degreasing two bike drivetrains regularly.

    Oh, be sure to let your chain dry thoroughly. In winter I hang it over the radiator. In summer I lay it in the sun on fire escape.

    In a pinch, liquid Dawn will do. Traditionally, the original blue stuff is used for bikes.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Traditionally, the original blue stuff is used for bikes.
    I like the grapefruit scent. It even makes the dog smell good.



    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    mineral spirits.
    Don't use gasoline, that's just stupid.

  9. #9
    Harry helps. vtc12ip's Avatar
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    +1 Simple Green. Use it full strength. Spray it on and run the chain backwards against an old paintbrush.

  10. #10
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I like the grapefruit scent. It even makes the dog smell good.
    Somehow, I find just the thought of a grapefruit-scented dog a little frightening.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  11. #11
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    I get big jugs of citrus cleaner at Lowes or Home Depot. Works on all kinds of stuff. One of the few things that works on pine tar.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  12. #12
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    This caution from Shimano Tech Documentation:

    Use neutral detergent to clean the chain. Do not use alkali-based or acid
    based detergent such as rust cleaners as it may result in damage and/or
    failure of the chain.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Velo Fellow's Avatar
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    Thanks all. Regarding madmaxx's Shimano caution above....any acid in citrus degreaser?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Fellow View Post
    Thanks all. Regarding madmaxx's Shimano caution above....any acid in citrus degreaser?
    Citric acid, I wouldn't worry about it eating your chain. I think Shimano is talking about using something like naval jelly, which would be very bad for your chain.

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
    Citric acid, I wouldn't worry about it eating your chain. I think Shimano is talking about using something like naval jelly, which would be very bad for your chain.
    The citrus based cleaners probably won't hurt your chain. However, if you clean your chain on the bike, you may be putting rubber at risk (such as some of the rubber parts found on Dura Ace dérailleurs).
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  16. #16
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    Put a little pomice and sand in the siimple green and it will lap all the moving parts into a find dust and make the moving part look real shiny. Or maybe just the simple green without out all the quick wear components.

  17. #17
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    I still think that chain degreaser moves dirt from the outside of the chain to the inside. A wipe with a rag or a brushing with a stiff brush removes dirt from the outside of the chain. An occasional lube with fresh lube every now and then..........no need to change the oil and filter.

  18. #18
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    I still think that chain degreaser moves dirt from the outside of the chain to the inside. A wipe with a rag or a brushing with a stiff brush removes dirt from the outside of the chain. An occasional lube with fresh lube every now and then..........no need to change the oil and filter.
    I like this theory. In the summer I use a "dry" lube and it stays clean. In the winter it gets real grungy, but if I clean it, the dirt's back by the time I ride to the end of the driveway. So what's the point?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  19. #19
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    If it is all metal, (such as a chain off the bike), I use 50/50 citrus-cleaner/water, the hotter the better.

    If there are any plastic or rubber parts, use I use 50/50 Simple-Green/hot-water.

  20. #20
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    do not use simple green

    Read up on Simple green. I have read in more than one place that it is corrosive. Kerosene is a good cleaner and it's no where near as flammable as gasoline, or Diesel. Diesel is an excellent penetrator also, the equal or better of Liquid Wrench. If you are going to clean something, then immediately apply some type of oil, it's a lot less important what you use though. I mean even WD 40 would clean really well. People say don't use WD 40 because (they say) it dissolves the oils but it does displace water and if you replace it with oil immediately, it wouldn't matter. Note it you have a chain covered in oil and you spray WD 40 on it, yes the WD 40 will thin out the oil and you will have less protection, but it you just re-oil it immediately, it's fine. Again, read up before using simple Green. There may be a newer less corrosive formulas of it out there now but everything I have read (recently) points to it being fairly corrosive. If it was me (using a chain cleaner), I would probably use kerosene or diesel, which ever was easier to obtain, then apply oil soon after.
    Currently I am removing my chain, washing it with paint thinner, then soaking it over night in 80/90 wt gear oil that has been heated to around boiling point (yes, i heat it up outside as it stinks when you heat it up). That makes the oil real thin and I swish it around to get the oil in the pins. The following morning, I hang the chain to drip dry followed by a wipe down with a rag lightly damped with thinner to remove any surface oil. At this point any oil on the surface is only going to attract dirt. You want the outside surface of the chain as clean and dry as possible. Basically it takes me over night and to the following evening to clean a chain. A bit longer that you will spend doing it with a chain cleaner.
    You are using a chain cleaner and using diesel or Kerosene cleans it and actually has a lot of lubricating qualities in it, just like oil. I would consider using thinner before using simple Green but I don't know if the plastic casing of the chain cleaner would react to the thinner. same thing goes for the diesel or kerosene.
    Martin

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  21. #21
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Main thing to do with a chain- is to keep it clean. On the road bike- this is about every 100 miles and the degreaser I use is an environmentally friendly one that we have over here. Clean it on the bike with a Cleaning tool and keep changing the liquid till it comes cleaner. Then wash it out with the hose and then WD40 it. Let it drain and take the wheel out and clean the bike around the chain stays. And clean the wheel with Methylated spirits or the Brake cleaner we use on trucks at work.
    Then once the wheel is back in- the chain would be dry so Oil it up. I may be extravagant but I have just got rid of all the oil and grease in the chain so I make certain there is plenty of oil on it. Then before the next ride- I get rid of the surplus by wiping it on a rag.

    How can oiling a chain get so complicated.

    And for the cheapskates- If you do not have any special de-greaser- just as good is Washing fluid soap for an automatic washing machine. No Foam and only it can be watered down by 75%. And it is cheaper as the wife buys it- and I just borrow it. Wonder if the Bio version would work better.
    Last edited by stapfam; 12-02-08 at 02:05 PM.
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  22. #22
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Clean it on the bike with a Cleaning tool
    Are you referring to one of those things that clips over the chain and has all the little wheels and cogs inside? If so, how on earth do you get the stupid thing to work reliably? I have a Park Tools chain cleaner and it's occasionally a breeze but is usually just another reason not to clean the bike.

    No, I'm not going to clean the bike more often just to practice using the stupid cleaner

    Richard
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  23. #23
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by europa View Post
    Are you referring to one of those things that clips over the chain and has all the little wheels and cogs inside? If so, how on earth do you get the stupid thing to work reliably? I have a Park Tools chain cleaner and it's occasionally a breeze but is usually just another reason not to clean the bike.

    No, I'm not going to clean the bike more often just to practice using the stupid cleaner

    Richard
    Have an old one- must have bought it about 15 years ago- and it works perfectly. Only cost me about £5. The retaining clip to hold it to the derailler is broken so I have to hold it in place- and The generous supply of spare wheels and brushes is coming to an end- so I might be joining you shortly in swearing at the "New" Chain tool that I buy to replace it.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  24. #24
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    I still think that chain degreaser moves dirt from the outside of the chain to the inside. A wipe with a rag or a brushing with a stiff brush removes dirt from the outside of the chain. An occasional lube with fresh lube every now and then..........no need to change the oil and filter.
    This is the method recommended by the LBS where I bought my bike.

    Another shop recommended WD-40 followed by applying fresh lube.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  25. #25
    Senior Member Spiduhman's Avatar
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    IMO, fine grit gets inbetween the sideplates and rollers while riding, and all the black stuff is fine particles of... metal!

    So, remove chain, shake in Simple Green, in a tupperware thingy, like an old cottage cheese container, rinse, brush with a tootbrush, dipping in more Green, rinse. You can see the blackened goo oozing out while brushing. Rinse good.

    Shake it in another container with rubbing alcohol in it; now the chain will dry quickly.

    When applying the lube (small drop on the roller), note that any excess isn't black.

    Tomorrow, or the next day, when you wipe, and wipe again before remounting, there is a lot less black. Total time, maybe 10 minutes, and that includes ragging off the cogs, rings, and idlers.

    Cleaning on the bike with a brush box is great, but the water rinse is not good for the surrounding parts. Have fun trying to service a crank and bottom bracket that has been wet a few times a week for a few years!

    O.K. that's my opinion! Mainly, keep it clean and lubed.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] "It beats the alternative." "Every day is a good day." - PoppaDaddy

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