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Cleaning

Old 12-30-19, 03:58 PM
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roadsnakes
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Cleaning

I guess this is a good folder to ask this question.

You have a bike, maybe a garage find, it`s 40 years old with lots of dirt and dried oil on the rims.

What cleaning solution and type of brush would you use to clean the bike up, without leaving a soap residue on the rims?

The brake pads will be replaced, but first I just want to get the bike good and clean before working on it. And, I don`t want a soap film left on the rims where the brake pads meet. Also what cleaning solution do you use to clean the rims where the brake pads contact?
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Old 12-30-19, 04:05 PM
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I use wd40 first, then use 600-1000 grit wet sanding on the brake surface.
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Old 12-30-19, 04:10 PM
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How about a lot of Simple Green and Windex for everywhere else?
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Old 12-30-19, 04:14 PM
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Dawn dishwashing liquid soap first. It doesn't leave any residue after a reasonable rinse. Wildlife rescuers use it to clean animals after oil spills and similar events.

Then whatever stronger solvents you prefer or can obtain locally. Goo Gone works better than WD-40 for many bike cleanup chores, and washes clean more easily. With WD-40 you'd need to follow up with a solvent to clean off the slick residue -- rubbing alcohol, fingernail polish remover, acetone, etc.

Start with the least abrasive materials. Those white sponges used to erase dry-mark whiteboards work on some stains, with minimal surface damage -- pretty much zero damage to rims, but might damage some fine paint finishes. I've used Scotch-Brite pads to clean rims and brake pads. No problems.
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Old 12-30-19, 04:19 PM
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My usual approach:

1. wash gently with whatever general detergent is available to remove all the loose dirt
2. remove whatever's left with whatever it takes: WD40 for caked grease, an old credit card for paint spots, etc.
3. wash again to remove WD40 and other oily residue
4. give it a once over with a clean damp cloth
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Old 12-30-19, 04:19 PM
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Don't forget the before and after pics.
We're gonna need to see those
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Old 12-30-19, 04:23 PM
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I live in an apt with limited access to an outside place to wash and rinse, I use Armor all wipes to get the first pass of dirt and grime.
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Old 12-30-19, 04:29 PM
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WD-40 or a similar product does a great job on grease and grime. I keep a spray bottle full. I then use a good APC (all purpose cleaner) on it to remove the left behind oils. Dawn leaves a residue, I use Meguires. Depending on the condition of the paint, I treat as I would my Ferrari, good products and at least Costco quality microfiber towel. I avoid cotton on painted surfaces. I have found brass wool to be great on alloy rims.

I don't have a Ferrari, bit if I did, that's what I would do. I've learned a lot over the past few years from the car guys. Cars get really dirty, and can clean up pretty nice, if you know what you are doing.

Good luck with the project.
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Old 12-30-19, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by roadsnakes View Post
How about a lot of Simple Green and Windex for everywhere else?
Only if it's the PURPLE Simple Green ("Simple Green HD")

The GREEN Simple Green is *not* safe for all metals. It will compromise alloys if left on the surface for too long, and it tells you this on the labels. The green stuff it will ruin the finish on cranksets, alloy rims, etc. The purple stuff is safe for everything.

In this case, for heavy grease, I use a toothbrush and the purple-colored Simple Green HD. It won't leave a residue, just rinse with water after. I usually wet the surface, apply Simple Green HD, spray some of the SGHD into my toothbrush, then scrub away. Spray with water after, then I keep a small bucket of soapy water (with car wash liquid) nearby to go to it after, then towel dry. Works great.

PB Blaster is also exceptionally effective at removing thick, crusty grease on anything you can imagine, and it's clearcoat safe. On pre-1960s single-stage paints, aggressive rubbing of it or almost any other solvent or penetrant will remove paint, though, so be forewarned...
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Old 12-30-19, 05:09 PM
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WD-40 or mineral spirits (paint thinner) for the greasy stuff. Use an old toothbrush as a scrubber. Both WD-40 and mineral spirits evaporate pretty well after you wipe off any excess or "buff to dry." Both are pretty stinky, though.
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Old 12-30-19, 05:53 PM
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My universal Bicycle/Motorcycle cleaning kit. Rags are maintained by soaking in a bucket with TSP to get rid of the oil, then rinsed and ran through the washer with tide. I don't use water to clean anything with machined parts.



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Old 12-30-19, 06:30 PM
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Wd40?

Even after rinsing, won't WD40 leave a film on rims, causing brake pads problems?
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Old 12-30-19, 06:39 PM
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WD 40 is a water displacement agent, hence the "WD"

So, even with rinsing, it won't go away. Wiping will help remove a good deal if it.
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Old 12-30-19, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by roadsnakes View Post
Even after rinsing, won't WD40 leave a film on rims, causing brake pads problems?
Which is why you follow with APC, not Dawn.
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Old 12-31-19, 08:14 AM
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I have and will again use most of the good advise above, although I don't share the high opinions of WD-40 for cleaning as I find the residue an unnecessary extra step to cleaning and am annoyed that you pay a tiny bit more over OMS for that residue. I would add that once you do all of this work, keep it that way for as long as you can with a protectant for the paint as mentioned but also the metal(s) with a long term protectant like Wolfgang MetallWerk.
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Old 12-31-19, 11:14 AM
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How many alloy rims have I cleaned, over the years..? Lots and lots and lots. What do I use.."

WD40 with a cloth or tooth brush to remove caked on grime. Then, once most of the debris has been brushed and washed away, I switch to Mother's Cleaning wax, applying again and again to small sections of the rim. I do what I can to keep the wax and WD40 away from braking surfaces, (they can be easily cleaned later).

I also use a soft brass brush around nipples, unless the rim is not mounted. Then I use tin foil, crushed up and rotated into each spoke hole. Try it and be amazed at this back yard fix.

With the cleaning out of the way, I take a broken piece of smooth file to chase the braking surfaces, finishing off with a good soap wash and then a rinse with clear water.

That about it and Bob's your uncle...
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Old 12-31-19, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Dawn dishwashing liquid soap first. It doesn't leave any residue after a reasonable rinse. Wildlife rescuers use it to clean animals after oil spills and similar events.

Then whatever stronger solvents you prefer or can obtain locally. Goo Gone works better than WD-40 for many bike cleanup chores, and washes clean more easily. With WD-40 you'd need to follow up with a solvent to clean off the slick residue -- rubbing alcohol, fingernail polish remover, acetone, etc.

Start with the least abrasive materials. Those white sponges used to erase dry-mark whiteboards work on some stains, with minimal surface damage -- pretty much zero damage to rims, but might damage some fine paint finishes. I've used Scotch-Brite pads to clean rims and brake pads. No problems.
'
I`ll have to pick up some fingernail polish remover for where the brake pads contact the rims. Windex works "just OK".
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Old 12-31-19, 02:00 PM
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Happy New Year!

Firstly, what type of rim do you have?

You should NOT use the same cleaning treatment for all rims.

Aluminum or steel? Painted, anodized (even clear), un-finished ally, etc.? And dare I mention carbon rims in the C&V section.
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Old 12-31-19, 02:13 PM
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First a gentle wash with a good car shampoo and a rinse, using a wash mit and a toothbrush. Then I clean unthreated aluminium parts with Mothers Mag & aluminium polish. Works great om rims, stems and seat post.
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Old 12-31-19, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by roadsnakes View Post
'
I`ll have to pick up some fingernail polish remover for where the brake pads contact the rims. Windex works "just OK".
Followup with plain isopropyl alcohol. Some fingernail polish remover and rubbing alcohol contain oil. Plain isoproply alcohol is usually in white translucent containers. Rubbing alcohol with additives (wintergreen oil, epsom salts, even hot pepper) will usually be dyed green or red.
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Old 12-31-19, 06:44 PM
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409 for the greasy parts, laundry detergent and water for dirt. Numerous brushes; plastic, brass, and iron for the really hard stuff.
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Old 12-31-19, 06:58 PM
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If you live in an apartment I highly recommend snagging a lawn and garden chem sprayer. You can load it with soapy water, but I just use plain water. You can adjust the nozzle for rinsing spray or crud busting stream, but it's far more gentle than a pressure washer, and it's awesome for de-salting your winter bike.
Also it's cheap, quiet, and portable.
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Old 12-31-19, 07:30 PM
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I use Challenger degreaser. Spray on and immediately rinse off. Its the first thing I do with really dirty bikes. Cuts thru everything fast and leaves the bike shining. I only had one instance where Challenger left some etching marks. That was on a very compromised crankset that was used on a commuter in the winter, lots of salt. So some reaction with the salt residue. It will eat thru paint on bikes that are really weathered. I've used it on tires, brake shoes, brake hoods, all with great success.
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Old 12-31-19, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ryansu View Post
I live in an apt with limited access to an outside place to wash and rinse
That's why they invented bathtubs...
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Old 01-01-20, 07:30 AM
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Chlorox/lysol wipes

I use the citrus wipes from Clorox or Lysol. They are surprisingly effective, low-cost and may provide some protection when I inevitably nick my hands and fingers. I don't like the smell on my hands so I use nitrile gloves. These wipes will also remove some tarnish from oxidized spokes and steel parts. There are no drips to worry about and no rinsing required so handy to use indoors.
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