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  1. #1
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    Cleaning the rims; alcohol or benzine solvent?

    I read somewhere that alcohol is very good for removing rubber brake pad residue from the rims. My rims definately need a good cleaning but I'm wondering if benzine solvent can also be used. Anyone know?

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    Senior Member GreenFix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sp@eder
    I read somewhere that alcohol is very good for removing rubber brake pad residue from the rims. My rims definately need a good cleaning but I'm wondering if benzine solvent can also be used. Anyone know?
    I do not know the answer to your question, but I do know that benzene is Much more toxic than alcohol. For health reasons alone, I would try the alcohol first. I too need to clean my rims, so I am curious about how you make out with the alcohol.


    Just located these for you

    Benzene:
    http://ptcl.chem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/BE/benzene.html

    Rubbing alcohol
    http://www.deltrex.com.au/products/s295.htm

    naptha (benzine?):
    http://physchem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/NA/naphtha.html
    Last edited by GreenFix; 02-05-04 at 05:01 PM.

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    just get some rubbing alcohol. cheap and so much less toxic than benzene. yikes.

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    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    I use an orange ( citric acid ) based cleaner and a scotchbrite pad, works a treat. Then finish with some alcohol or soapy water and a rag. Don't need to do it very often, but there's no need for fancy or toxic products.
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    Senior Member Jim311's Avatar
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    Just use an abrasive sponge and maybe some dish soap or alcohol.
    My money pits:

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    use benzene if you want to risk cancer... i'd just stick to "orange clean" which worked well for me in the past plus i think it's biodegradable (not sure).
    i won't deny it i'm a straight ridah

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    Part of the furniture math2p14's Avatar
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    DONT use benzene, this is a purified product based on petrol, apart from health issues the main problem is that the braking surface will be almost ruined in the same manner that a brake pad is ruined if you oil it. I did that when i was younger...i cleaned my rims with petrol and then my braking went down the drain.,...
    Where the skid marks stop...the tree begins....:D:D:D:D:D

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sp@eder
    I read somewhere that alcohol is very good for removing rubber brake pad residue from the rims. My rims definately need a good cleaning but I'm wondering if benzine solvent can also be used. Anyone know?
    Why waste good alcohol. I am in the Motor trade, and there is a product for cleaning disc brakes, BUT DONT USE IT. It does clean the brake parts but also leaves a very thin film of oil to protect in the future. Any oil residue left on the discs burns off very quickly on a car, but doesn't on a bike.
    With all the chemical restrictions about now adays, it has come down to a detergent/water based product, and this does work, even if elbow grease has to be used. If you really want to be lazy, There is an anti freeze for air brake systems on trucks, and this is/was methanol based. It's good but you clean the blocks and rims so well that they squeel for miles.

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    Thanks for the tips guys. I'm going for the alcohol. Greenfix, I'll post my findings here when I get to it (this weekend or next week).

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    PLEASE! dont use dish soap...thats how i ruined my disc brake pads.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    I use an orange ( citric acid ) based cleaner and a scotchbrite pad, works a treat. Then finish with some alcohol or soapy water and a rag. Don't need to do it very often, but there's no need for fancy or toxic products.
    ditto you can use it to clean everything on your bike also.
    Matthew 6

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    Sorry it took so long. Yesterday, I cleaned the rims using alcohol and it works great! You should use something like a citric acid based cleaner first, like Thylacine said, to get rid of the thicker dirt and then use the alcohol to remove any remaining gunk. A sponge, towell or rag will work but you should take a spare with you as they get all dirty. You won't believe how much gunk will come off, especially if you don't use a cleaner first.
    Too bad it doesn't remove corrosion from the spokes.

    Whoo-hoo, I've got clean rims again! Now off to get some Koolstops.

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    Senior Member GreenFix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sp@eder
    Sorry it took so long. Yesterday, I cleaned the rims using alcohol and it works great! You should use something like a citric acid based cleaner first, like Thylacine said, to get rid of the thicker dirt and then use the alcohol to remove any remaining gunk. A sponge, towell or rag will work but you should take a spare with you as they get all dirty. You won't believe how much gunk will come off, especially if you don't use a cleaner first.
    Too bad it doesn't remove corrosion from the spokes.

    Whoo-hoo, I've got clean rims again! Now off to get some Koolstops.
    Thanks for the update. I cleaned mine the other night with a dry paper towel, it was basically laziness, and I did not want to track anything through the house to get the alcohol from the bathroom. It worked pretty well. I might give them a wipe with alcohol to get some of the finer residue off. Cleaning the rims with a dry clth did smell pretty bad, like burning rubber.

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    Benzene! Yikes! If you do, I'm gonna report you to OSHA!


    I use rubbing alcohol for the worst black stuff, and then use soap, water (aqua e sapone) scotchbrite pad and elbow grease!

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    I wouldn't use it to clean off something like brake pad residue, but for the record benzene and benzine are different things. Benzene is a dangerous carcinogenic hydrocarbon while benzine is a mixture of hydrocarbons. While most benzine mixtures contain benzene, it is in such infinitesimal amounts (.015% from fishersci) that benzine is no more dangerous than gasoline (http://fscimage.fishersci.com/msds/16105.htm). As a matter of fact, you can look at chevron's regular unleaded gasoline content and see that it actually contains more benzene! (http://www.albina.com/fuel/chevronrugasmsds.htm)

    I still wouldn't use benzine to clean brake residue though; benzine is a polar solvent - used to clean grease and other polar scum. For brake pad residue, alcohol should work well, but even better is acetone, or as you may know it, fingernail polish remover. Acetone evaporates almost instantaneously, leaving behind no residue, and is an excellent non-polar solvent. Hope this helps.

    Maxwell

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    bike lust is AWESOME for cleaning rims.

    just kidding, it actually ruins stuff.

    simple green bike cleaner will clean your whole bike rather nicely.

  17. #17
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxwelll View Post
    Hope this helps.

    Maxwell
    Finally! I've been waiting for nearly seven years for a good answer to this question.

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    Frozen in carbonite Grimlock's Avatar
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    But it was a good and thorough answer.

    By the time the fat bike craze cools down in a year, kids are going to be looking for the next big thing. V-brake mountain bikes are probably going to be that thing. We might as well be a great resource for information once the newbs start crawling in.
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    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    I use denatured alcohol for rims, chains, etc. because it leaves no residue after it dries. The rubbing alcohol works well, but has water in it.

    As previously mentioned, be careful about using brake and electrical cleaners on disc brakes. Especially, ovr the counter products.
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    Scotch brite pad and 409 cleaner...
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    How about using goof off. If you are worried about solvents then use a respirator and thick gloves. Nothing works better at tubular glue than goof off. I am sure it could do wonders to brake pad residue as well.

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    Alcohol and thumb grease works... no residue, safe for tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxwelll View Post
    ...

    I still wouldn't use benzine to clean brake residue though; benzine is a polar solvent - used to clean grease and other polar scum. For brake pad residue, alcohol should work well, but even better is acetone, or as you may know it, fingernail polish remover. Acetone evaporates almost instantaneously, leaving behind no residue, and is an excellent non-polar solvent.
    Actually the other way around. Hydrocarbons, incl. benzene and the benzine and gasoline mixtures, are non-polar solvents while alcohol, acetone, and especially water are polar (the oxygen end is negatively charged).
    But yes, I'd avoid the hydrocarbons for rim cleaning for a variety of reasons - highly flammable/explosive, toxic, and leave a lubricating film.

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    Newbie maxwelll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    Actually the other way around. Hydrocarbons, incl. benzene and the benzine and gasoline mixtures, are non-polar solvents while alcohol, acetone, and especially water are polar (the oxygen end is negatively charged).
    But yes, I'd avoid the hydrocarbons for rim cleaning for a variety of reasons - highly flammable/explosive, toxic, and leave a lubricating film.
    My fault, you are correct sir. Switch those words around and the idea is the same (polar dissolves polar, non-polar dissolves non-polar).

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