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Petrol instead of degreaser

Old 03-03-21, 11:40 AM
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Seb1987
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Petrol instead of degreaser

So I'm a volunteer at a community bike workshop. Today we ran out of degreaser so the lead mechanic there told me to use petrol instead. I was comepletely stunned. Petrol?! You can use petrol to degrease your bicycle? This is the first time I'm hearing this and I'm skeptic. So can you use petrol to degrease your bike?
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Old 03-03-21, 11:47 AM
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https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/q...sive-degreaser
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Old 03-03-21, 11:57 AM
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Yes you can and it's is an effective degreaser. It also an EXTREMELY flammable, explosive and toxic solvent and should NEVER be used for that purpose. Kerosene, or better yet Odorless Mineral Spirits (OMS). are far safer and more practical.
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Old 03-03-21, 12:04 PM
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Is petrol always the same as gasoline? It's great for a lot of stuff, including accidentally catching yourself and other things on fire. In my stupider days, I used it to clean gunked up parts of bikes and motor vehicles. It also kills wasps and fire ants on contact.

I quit using it one day after cleaning engine parts in the front of my garage with an open door and then watched as flames started at my water heater at the other end of the garage 20 some feet away and traveled to my pan of gasoline. Impressive! Just like on TV when the pirates, revolutionaries or otherwise bad guys would poor a trail of black powder on the ground and light it. Only much faster. Thankfully no real damage. But that was one of my CTJM events. Gasoline fumes in the right conditions can creep invisibly along the ground and easily find something to ignite them.

If petrol also includes normal automobile diesel fuel, then probably not an issue. Though you might have to wonder if any additives are an issue for you getting it on you.
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Old 03-03-21, 12:06 PM
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gasoline will "wash" oil from cylinders of an engine if it's running too rich. Same concept applies to your use for removing the grime. If it's a manmade grease, gasoline usually works to remove it. If it's food grease, you may need to change to a citrus & baking soda alternative.
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Old 03-03-21, 12:06 PM
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Paging cyccommute

Others can tell you in detail why petrol can be used as a degreaser and why doing so is very dangerous and a bad idea. Counter-arguments boil down to "I've used petrol/gasoline for years and I haven't died or burned down a building yet." (Compare to "I've smoked four packs of cigarettes a day for decades and I don't have lung cancer.")
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Old 03-03-21, 01:01 PM
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Please do not use gasoline/petrol for anything but a motor fuel. Besides flammability and explosive vapors, gasoline can cause skin irritation, is toxic by skin absorption and inhalation of vapors and may be carcinogenic.
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Old 03-03-21, 01:19 PM
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I cup of gasoline vapor is equal to at least a stick of dynamite.
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Old 03-03-21, 02:22 PM
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Your shop manager should know better. You may want to review other safety procedures at the shop--first aid kit clearly marked, fire extinguishers at each exit and clearly mounted and marked, safe oily rag storage, safe egress routes, use of PPE, etc.

And why is petrol available there anyway? Is it stored safely?
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Old 03-03-21, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
...If it's food grease, you may need to change to a citrus & baking soda alternative.
I guess that means no more eating pizza and tacos while Iím riding.

John
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Old 03-03-21, 03:09 PM
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As others have said; yes you can but no you shouldn't.
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Old 03-03-21, 04:18 PM
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Lots of Mechanic shops used to use it and there's probably some that still do. In really old timey Watchmaker books they call for using gasoline though it was much more pure back then. And the reason why it is mentioned in those books is that gasoline contains Benzene. In fact Watchmakers used to use pure benzene because it's colorless, smells sweet, and evaporates cleanly off parts. But Benzene is a huge source for causing cancer! It's even in cigarette smoke!

But benzene finds it self in many things that you have probably used without realizing like Liquid Wrench, Elmers Glue, Roundup, WD-40. etc. But just because your cleaner is "Organic" doesn't mean it's safe. Always use PPE and a well ventilated area.
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Old 03-03-21, 04:31 PM
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its the cheapest way to clean your parts , but i would do it off the bike , i have never had a bike dirty enough to need to pour gas directly on it , and you might want to dispose of it correctly to be safe maybe at your local auto shop , but its really good for just a chain clean , at least in my area its like 2.70 usd pergallon , im still using my gallon from last year lol !!
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Old 03-03-21, 04:36 PM
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Castile soap and warm water will clean, degrease, leave your bike shiny and smelling like a plant.
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Old 03-03-21, 05:02 PM
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Yes gasoline is dangerous and should never be used in an enclose area. But lest we be too paranoid. Every few weeks many of us pour it into our lawnmowers, some with less spillage than others. In the days of non sealed gas tanks with carburetors, that occasionally would leak a little onto the intake manifolds, especially if flooded, and park those same cars in our garages. Some of them not far from gas water heaters.

Not that any of that is recommended or should be pointed to as a validation, I use a bit of gasoline for cleaning ball bearings before assembling a hub. In a cup, outside on my driveway not far from where I put gas in my mower. When I was younger I used a lot more, especially working on old cars and cleaning greasy bike parts. But now that I am older and only a shadow of my former self I am much more cautious.

John
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Old 03-03-21, 05:41 PM
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I've gotten gasoline on my hands when working on lawn mowers. It gets absorbed through the skin and makes my gums swell and my teeth feel like they are covered in grit. It can take a day or two to clear up. Just from spilling a bit on my hands. I bought a suction device for draining tanks to lessen exposure.

When filling a car tank, I walk up wind 10 feet and wait. Don't want to breath the fumes. Most states/countries don't have california type vaccums on the pump hoses.

If you leave gas in the tank and carb too long, it evaporates and leaves behind a sticky varnish that weirdly enough, gasoline won't dissolve. Hence "Carb Cleaner" , another nasty chemical to avoid for everything except cold carbs.

I spilled a couple ounces on my asphalt driveway 20 years ago. Within weeks, there was a hole in the driveway that is still there as a reminder to not spill.

Like everyone points out, gas is nasty. Yet we have so many people defending the use of gas.
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Old 03-03-21, 05:54 PM
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How did we ever make it through the times of our mothers Aqua Net and cigarette usage?
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Old 03-03-21, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I guess that means no more eating pizza and tacos while Iím riding.

John
NEVER give up the folded warm & crispy tortilla!
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Old 03-03-21, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66 View Post
How did we ever make it through the times of our mothers Aqua Net and cigarette usage?
And cars with no seat belts and ungrounded electric appliances, and table saws without blade guards and carbon tet as a spot remover and.... you get the idea. The answer is that quite a few people didn't "make it through" that would have today.
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Old 03-03-21, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Seb1987 View Post
So I'm a volunteer at a community bike workshop. Today we ran out of degreaser so the lead mechanic there told me to use petrol instead. I was comepletely stunned. Petrol?! You can use petrol to degrease your bicycle? This is the first time I'm hearing this and I'm skeptic. So can you use petrol to degrease your bike?
If he is suggesting using gasoline inside, opt to avoid spending any time with him in the shop. (Iím assuming a ďguyĒ because women are seldom that stupid). Gasoline is the most hazardous chemical or chemical mixture humans handle in bulk with regularity. There are more hazardous chemicals but you arenít going to run across one in regular use nor in relatively large volume. Gasoline...or petrol in other parts of the world...is formulated to ignite at some of the coldest temperatures on the planet (-40įC which is the same temperature in Fahrenheit). In winter it is slightly more flammable because of the cold.

Energy wise, rather than compare it to explosives...which it can be compared to...letís look at it in terms of energy. A gallon (3.75L) has 114,000 BTUs in it. That 28,500 Kcal. Thatís the equivalent of 98 jelly donuts. Itís also the equivalent of 33 kWh.

Think on that for an instant. The average US home uses 29 kWh of electrical energy each day on average. Thatís all the lights in your house sitting in a bottle waiting to be released in a second if it ignites in one place. In fact I will compare it to TNT. A gallon of gas is equal in energy to 0.03 tons of TNT. That 60 lbs of TNT. That 27kg of TNT. A cup (~250 ml) of gasoline is not equal to a stick of dynamite. It equal to almost 4 pounds of dynamite!

No, it doesnít explode like TNT. Itís worse. It burns. Explosives make fast moving pressure waves. Explosive smash things. Gasoline burns things, providing enough heat to make material it catches on fire burn on their own. That can be buildings, garages, sheds, or, worst of all, humans.

Just donít use it outside of a gasoline tank on a car and be aware of how much energy you are sitting on when you sit in your car.
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Old 03-03-21, 07:34 PM
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... I always use the electric car to go buy gas for the IC lawn mower.
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Old 03-03-21, 07:46 PM
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maybe try scrubbing the bits with a 12V non AGM marine battery? Hear it can have shocking results.
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Old 03-03-21, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
If he is suggesting using gasoline inside, opt to avoid spending any time with him in the shop. (Iím assuming a ďguyĒ because women are seldom that stupid). Gasoline is the most hazardous chemical or chemical mixture humans handle in bulk with regularity. There are more hazardous chemicals but you arenít going to run across one in regular use nor in relatively large volume. Gasoline...or petrol in other parts of the world...is formulated to ignite at some of the coldest temperatures on the planet (-40įC which is the same temperature in Fahrenheit). In winter it is slightly more flammable because of the cold.

Energy wise, rather than compare it to explosives...which it can be compared to...letís look at it in terms of energy. A gallon (3.75L) has 114,000 BTUs in it. That 28,500 Kcal. Thatís the equivalent of 98 jelly donuts. Itís also the equivalent of 33 kWh.

Think on that for an instant. The average US home uses 29 kWh of electrical energy each day on average. Thatís all the lights in your house sitting in a bottle waiting to be released in a second if it ignites in one place. In fact I will compare it to TNT. A gallon of gas is equal in energy to 0.03 tons of TNT. That 60 lbs of TNT. That 27kg of TNT. A cup (~250 ml) of gasoline is not equal to a stick of dynamite. It equal to almost 4 pounds of dynamite!

No, it doesnít explode like TNT. Itís worse. It burns. Explosives make fast moving pressure waves. Explosive smash things. Gasoline burns things, providing enough heat to make material it catches on fire burn on their own. That can be buildings, garages, sheds, or, worst of all, humans.

Just donít use it outside of a gasoline tank on a car and be aware of how much energy you are sitting on when you sit in your car.
Had to bring jelly doughnuts into this, huh?
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Old 03-03-21, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
Had to bring jelly doughnuts into this, huh?
totally don't need to call those out. I mean, what did the jelly't do to anybody?
some homes use more watts for growing herbs. self sustainable herb life.
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Old 03-03-21, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66 View Post
How did we ever make it through the times of our mothers Aqua Net and cigarette usage?
Yeah, right. My wife's mother smoked and drank all through her pregnancy back in the '70s. 'Course, my wife weighed about 3 lbs when she was born very premature.
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