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What do you use to degrease?

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What do you use to degrease?

Old 05-10-19, 11:02 AM
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lamadonnabikes
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What do you use to degrease?

The thing is that i usually overhaul my friends, neighbours and my own bikes. For cleaning greasy surfaces such as hub and direction cubes I've always used a thing that in Chile is called "bencina blanca" i guess the english for that is white benzine, also while i'm cleaning i leave the cones, bearing cages and all the grasy stuff soaking and it is great for removing old and dirty grease, i've noticed that it even helps to ease rust.
Now the big but is that in the last months i was working in the deck of a cargo ship and we worked a lot with grease in big machines, there i learned that you shouldn't remove grease with benzine but with petroleum because benzyne leaves a film that makes the new grease harden and it won't fulfill it's greasing purpose.

I guess that if white benzine is called like that is because it is made of benzine, therefore my question is if any of you have worked with this stuff and if you recommend it or not.
I like it because it is really cheap, i'd like to upgrade to something that won't have this kind of secondary effects (if it has) but due to geographic and echonomic issues i don't have acces to Pablo's degreaser and stuff like that. Do you have any recomendations that can be found in a regular hardware store or something like that?

Thanks!
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Old 05-10-19, 04:17 PM
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The names of these things varies a lot from country to country. They use the word benzine in Iraq for the normal fuel for a car, which we call gasoline in the US and they call petrol in the UK. We have something called benzine here but I don't know if it's the same as your benzine, and I don't know where you are (Italy?). Certainly don't use gasoline for cleaning your bike, because while it works well, it's unnecessarily hazardous.
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Old 05-10-19, 04:34 PM
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I used to use Varsol made by Exxon. It is essentially "white spirit". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_spirit

Usually though on something small scale such as bicycle parts, I just wipe old grease out with a dry rag then follow that with maybe WD-40 and wipe that out. I have used acetone to remove grease that has turned into a "shellac".
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Old 05-10-19, 05:02 PM
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I like to use paint thinner, but it gives me a headache and dries out my fingers, so I have been using kerosene (camping fuel) with good results.
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Old 05-10-19, 05:18 PM
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Bencina Blanca is "White Gas" which typically is naptha or a mix of solvents heavy in the use of naptha. But like white gas here in the states, sometimes other things are called that depending on product, locale and other things.

I degrease with whatever light oil or mineral spirit type solvent is nearest to me at the time I need it. For small jobs I'll just shoot a burst of WD40 in a shop rag. For larger jobs mineral spirits, though I tend to break out like I had poison ivy if I don't use gloves and wash soon after. I think that's just me though. I used to help a house painter when a teen and we all but bathed in the stuff during and after a job. After a few years of that I started getting sensitive to it.
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Old 05-10-19, 07:18 PM
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I'm using White Spirit for this, and also some substance similar in color and consistency to it, which name when translated to English would literally mean "De-greaser" - no idea what the later is made of, but it works up to its name
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Old 05-10-19, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I don't know where you are (Italy?).
"I've always used a thing that in Chile is called "bencina blanca" i guess the english for that is white benzine,"

Seems pretty clear to me.
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Old 05-10-19, 09:54 PM
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Thank you all! I think that Chilean "bencina blanca" is the same as white spirit. And about the hands thing, i'm a paramedic so my hands must be always clean, that's why i work my bikes using gloves. I used to use latex gloves but many products do some kind of chemical damage to the material and they tend to break easily, my solution was to use nitrile exam gloves. They are resistant to chemical and mechanical damage and you get a really good feel, they are not unconfortable as vinyl gloves are.

Thank you!
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Old 05-10-19, 10:57 PM
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Bencina Blanca as previously stated is what we used to call "White gas" in the USA. Now known as Naptha which is what Coleman fuel is made of just with additives. Dangerous stuff to use as a degreaser. Very dangerous.
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Old 05-10-19, 11:59 PM
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White gas, also known as 'Coleman Fuel' or 'camp fuel' is an outstanding degreaser. A little goes a long way in the most challenging jobs. But it is highly flammable and dries out my skin.

Varsol or mineral spirits is a lesser degreaser, but is more benign, and is good enough for most jobs, including yucky chains.

Any bike product labelled as 'green' is invariably expensive and useless.

Water-based degreasers are particularly bad, in that the strong acids eat at alu and steel parts, and you have to use large volumes due to the basic ineffectiveness of the product. And then what do you do with the greasy liquid residue? Dump it down the drain?
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Old 05-11-19, 12:48 AM
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Yeah, the naming conventions are out the window. The same or similar names are used for many different fuels and solvents. Benzine is not the same thing in every country. That said, the name suggest its white gas you are using and that should be fine. Personally, I really dont like working with volatile solvents like gas, petrol or paint thinner, unless I have to. I much prefer oms or similar less aggressive products. Where I live I can BBQ starter fluid for cheap. Thats what I use. Much less stink and not as volatile.

Here is a chart trying to sort the international names.

https://bushwalkingnsw.org.au/clubsi..._FuelNames.htm

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Old 05-11-19, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by lamadonnabikes View Post
I like it because it is really cheap, i'd like to upgrade to something that won't have this kind of secondary effects (if it has) but due to geographic and echonomic issues i don't have acces to Pablo's degreaser and stuff like that. Do you have any recomendations that can be found in a regular hardware store or something like that?

Thanks!
Regular diesel fuel from the gas station is what I use. Won't dry out your hands. Flammable, yes, slightly more flammable than cooking oil. You do have to wipe stuff down a bit afterwards, but it's fun stuff to work with, and metal bike parts seem to react well to it.
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Old 05-11-19, 09:00 AM
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Mineral spirits or paint thinner is supposed to be less dangerous. I don't know what it's called in Chile. And sorry for not noticing you mentioning your country.

Sometimes I just use furniture polish in a spray can. It is not for heavy jobs, though. I understand it's a solution of wax and water.
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Old 05-11-19, 11:11 AM
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If your bike has bare (non-anodized, non-painted) aluminum, be careful degreasing. Many water based degreasers can make a mess of the finish. Most petroloum based degreasers don't cause issues.
Testing a small area first is a good idea. It is quite apparent when there is a reaction as polished aluminum becomes dull and blotchy.
Good luck.
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Old 05-11-19, 02:11 PM
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Mineral spirits for way too many years, including in an ultrasonic cleaner for my chains. No issues.
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Old 05-11-19, 02:15 PM
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White spirit.

WD-40 if I don't have any white spirit around. Works too, because it's thin and evaporates quickly.
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Old 05-12-19, 11:20 AM
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I degrease with a rag.

Even if you simply must use refined petroleum products to be happy and fulfilled please do the heavy work simplest way possible. Start with the rag. And be safe. Petroleum products are almost all flammable and some very much so. A few petroleum products (mineral oil, paraffin) are reasonably innocuous, the majority are highly toxic. The majority are problematic to store and problematic to dispose of.

How much grease is on a bike anyway? How many square millimeters to clean? Which parts need to be spotless before re-lubricating? How long do they stay spotless? Can you even complete re-assembly without a little contamination here and there?
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Old 05-12-19, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post

For larger jobs mineral spirits, though I tend to break out like I had poison ivy if I don't use gloves and wash soon after. I think that's just me though. I used to help a house painter when a teen and we all but bathed in the stuff during and after a job. After a few years of that I started getting sensitive to it.
That sensitization is common and well known. Used to be a major occupational hazard for painters. There is simply no way to know who will become sensitive before it occurs. No way to know how much exposure it will take before symptoms begin. And the symptoms can be much worse than dermatitis. More than enough reason to stay away from all these products and to use absolute minimum quantities when there are not obvious options. Once sensitization has begun you should really entirely stay away from this stuff. You are not risking worse skin irritation, the big problems are neurological and amplify in all directions.
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Old 05-12-19, 03:32 PM
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I've reached the stage in my life where I don't de-grease everything any more. It's usually easy to wipe old grease from bearing surfaces with a rag, mainly so I can make sure the surfaces are not worn out. If it's in a crevice and doing no harm, I leave it alone.
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Old 05-12-19, 07:40 PM
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Diesel fuel.
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Old 05-13-19, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I've reached the stage in my life where I don't de-grease everything any more. It's usually easy to wipe old grease from bearing surfaces with a rag, mainly so I can make sure the surfaces are not worn out. If it's in a crevice and doing no harm, I leave it alone.
This.

When I overhaul loose-bearing hubs, I just wipe out the cups and cones with a clean rag. (An old t-shirt works well.) It's easy enough to get everything out that way, without using nasty chemicals. Bearings get replaced since they are inexpensive.

For more intricate parts, with nooks and crannies, I use whatever is handy - usually just soapy water and a little brush. (An old toothbrush works well for small parts.) Sometimes I use White Lightning spray degreaser or WD-40, but it's pretty rare that I need that stuff.
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Old 05-13-19, 07:34 AM
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Low sulfur kerosene for me. Works like a charm.
Some tough spots on the bike take a bit of acetone to remove though.
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Old 05-13-19, 07:37 AM
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+!

Unless the bike has been neglected for many years, the grease on bearing surfaces can be removed with a rag. I have seen grease that has hardened over the years and that might require some solvent to loosen, but this is a rare situation.
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Old 05-13-19, 08:17 AM
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depends on the ventilation , the stronger degreasers need better ventilation of the work area.
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Old 05-14-19, 10:56 AM
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Orange degreaser from 99 cent store. Simple Green works too, but costs more.
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