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Best options to clean gunk, grease etc from all parts and bike frame?

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Best options to clean gunk, grease etc from all parts and bike frame?

Old 01-05-20, 05:05 PM
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BridgestoneTBMB
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Best options to clean gunk, grease etc from all parts and bike frame?

Seeking advice on which cleaning liquids to use. Is there all in one or combination needed?

See Vendor specific and mineral spirits.
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Old 01-05-20, 05:46 PM
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Pine-Sol and elbow grease.
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Old 01-05-20, 05:49 PM
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I spray WD-40 on a rag. Great degreaser.
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Old 01-05-20, 05:54 PM
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I use monkey wipes for handlebar and frame cleaning.

Parts I use a little Dawn dish soap and old toothbrush. (Put back toothbrush in bathroom)
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Old 01-05-20, 06:25 PM
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Just used a Dawn solution in the ultrasonic cleaner on some parts. think much stronger than the qty used for washing pots and pans.
Was cleaning and repacking pedals, lots of them.
Dawn does best I think when the part is soaking.
A nylon bristle brush helps get thread like areas clean.

for the frame...You sometimes have to try different products.
Unfortunately, "mineral spirits" "paint thinner", etc. is not what one expects locally in Southern California anymore at least.
I expect that this year will bring more restrictions.
Watch for any of these products now having a major amount of acetone.
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Old 01-05-20, 06:33 PM
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Simple Green for general cleaning. Go to a local Dollar Store and look for a yellow cleaner in their cleaning supplies section. Stuff works great, wear gloves if your skin is sensitive.
WD40 is a great de greaser and a fair adhesive remover. Goo Gone works well for stubborn adhesive, but DO NOT use it near product lettering/printing on components. IT WILL remove it in short order.
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Old 01-05-20, 06:54 PM
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Challenger. Does it all. Quick degreaser, makes your bike shine. I have taken bikes out of dumpsters, sprayed with Challenger, rinsed with water and they look fantastic. Cuts thru everything. Why this isnt the preferred degreaser by every bike mechanic is beyond me. I even called Reliable, the manufacturer, and told them I use it on bicycles with amazing results.
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Old 01-05-20, 07:12 PM
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I like Superlube dry or wet spray to clean off. TriFlow to relube, or Finish Line Wet for lube in wet weather.

If you only want one TriFlow can be used to degrease and then lube again.

Spray and​ wipe spray and wipe. For difficult stuff, spray and sit for sometime 1hr to 1 day. Cleaning thoroughly between spray. Final spray and lube, lightly wipe off.
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Old 01-05-20, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Challenger. Does it all. Quick degreaser, makes your bike shine. I have taken bikes out of dumpsters, sprayed with Challenger, rinsed with water and they look fantastic. Cuts thru everything. Why this isnt the preferred degreaser by every bike mechanic is beyond me. I even called Reliable, the manufacturer, and told them I use it on bicycles with amazing results.
The MSDS sheet tells me NO!
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Old 01-05-20, 07:15 PM
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Oh and Simple Green for basic cleaning and any car products to add luster back to the paint on a frame.
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Old 01-05-20, 08:57 PM
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Pedro’s Orange Peelz.
Not cheap, so used selectively.
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Old 01-05-20, 09:06 PM
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Light oil or grease on the frame: lemon Pledge or similar furniture polish. (Don't get it on rim or disk braking surfaces.)
Heavier, dirtier grease: Simple Green followed by soap & water.
Chain: remove, degunk with a light application of kerosene and scrubbing, reinstall, apply fresh lube.
Caked-on gunk: disassemble, scrape off accumulation, rinse in solvent., re-lube while reassembling.
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Old 01-05-20, 10:08 PM
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The one thing I always stress on these threads: The green-colored Simple Green clearly states on the bottle it's not OK to use on alloy (anodized) surfaces, it will ruin them. You cannot let it sit on cranksets and other alloy parts for long, it will ruin the finish. If you need to use Simple Green and it will contact alloy parts, use the purple-colored Simple Green, labeled "Simple Green HD"

The tools you use can be just as important. Old tooth brushes and detail brushes are great. Likewise, as mentioned, ultrasonic cleaners filled properly with water - I normally insert a Simple Green HD concentrated solution into a cup and immerse that into the ultrasonic bath for cleaning so my ultrasonic cleaner bath doesn't get nasty.

General purpose cleaning: Simple Green HD for degreasing, Turtle Wax car wash.
Hard grease: PB Blaster dissolves the hardest rocks of old grease in a flash and won't ruin metals, awesome for cranksets and stubborn stains in clearcoat, but use with care around single-stage (non-clearcoated) paints.
Deep-seated grime in paint: Standard green-color Simple Green. Here's an example of what it's able to do, it's like damn magic.
Sticker/Adhesive removal: Remove base sticker plastic with heat, and follow-up with Turtle Wax Renew RX Sticker & Adhesive Remover. Sometimes takes 2 passes on the latter. Mother's foaming sticker remover also not too shabby.
Alloy cleaning: NEVR-DULL
Alloy polish: Mothers Mag & Wheel Polish, and for ultra-polishing Simichrome
Buff/Polish/Wax: No 7 rubbing compound for hard cutting, Griot's or Meguiar's (their retail products) for polish, Turtle Cleaning Carnauba paste wax (I've been tinkering with the Car Guys hybrid spray-on stuff lately though). For plastics/acrylics, I use Novus, good for light lenses etc. and if you're an audio guy, it works magic on acrylic turntable lids.
Rust removal (non-abrasive): For soaking small parts, nothing beats Evap-o-rust, hands-down. It can also be wrapped in paper towels and wrapped around tubes, then covered in plastic wrap to keep it moist overnight (see sample here of how damn effective it is), however, it's not decal-safe.
Rust removal (ultra-light abrasive): 0000 bronze wool with light direct pressure on unpainted, chrome, or anodized metals. It's also exceptionally effective when used directly on rusted paint with soap as a lubricant. but you need to follow-up with a light polish, then wax. You'd be amazed at what it can do. Again, use caution if single-stage/non-clearcoated paint.
Rust removal (harder abrasive): 000 bronze wool, and if that don't cut it with moderate pressure, I move to straight up steel wool with light pressure.
Glass cleaning: Doesn't really apply to bikes per se, but 0000 bronze wool with a good foaming glass cleaner works magic to remove water spots and film, then polish, light years better than claybar.
Leather: For really nasty cleaning, Bee Natural #1 with fungicides. For rejuvenating, Fiebing's neatsfoot oil. For routine maintenance on known stock, Brooks Proofide saddle dressing.

Like everyone else, we all have our comfort levels and our sure-fire winners we love. I know gearheads who swear by mixing Dextron ATF and Marvel Mystery oil (not sure what ratio) for hardcore degreasing, but PB Blaster has always done the trick for me. Above is just my current arsenal. My uncle in TX has been trying to get me hooked on Challenger for a while now, but I'd seen elsewhere it can be hard on alloys similar to Simple Green so I haven't touched it yet.

PS: For ultra-nasty-nasty-nasty stuff like super-oily old chains and freewheels etc you'd be shocked at how effective a small slow cooker is, I have a cheapie off Amazon I keep on my shop bench. For steel products, 50/50 green-coloured Simple Green, drop in the chain, set to low heat, run for 8-10 hours. If doing something sealed like a freewheel, I'll rinse thoroughly and drop into a 200deg oven for an hour after to bake out residuals, then re-lube.
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Old 01-05-20, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by UKFan4Sure View Post
WD-40.
Reminds me of that great, but lessor known folk song, "the times are not a changin.'"

​​​​​​
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Old 01-06-20, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mechanicmatt View Post
I like Superlube dry or wet spray to clean off. TriFlow to relube, or Finish Line Wet for lube in wet weather.

If you only want one TriFlow can be used to degrease and then lube again.

Spray and​ wipe spray and wipe. For difficult stuff, spray and sit for sometime 1hr to 1 day. Cleaning thoroughly between spray. Final spray and lube, lightly wipe off.
I'm not sure where you buy your TriFlow, but around these parts, it's $2 an ounce. That ain't gonna be my degreaser! :O)


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Old 01-06-20, 09:38 AM
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diesel fuel
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Old 01-06-20, 09:49 AM
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I use K-1, or the purple simple green stuff. Or diesel fuel. The K-1 is handier, as I heat the garage with a kerosene heater in the winter months.
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Old 01-06-20, 11:17 AM
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I have seen chains show radiating cracks from the pins after overexposure to Simple Green.

no aircraft mechanic will let it near an airplane.
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Old 01-06-20, 11:36 AM
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WD40 was the typical cleaner for frames in every bike shop I worked in during ye olden days. This isn't often mentioned, but any sort of water was once considered verboten, because it would or could get into your bearings. You certainly couldn't hose off bikes like you can now. If you're cleaning a vintage bike with non sealed bearings, this still applies. These days with my modern-ish sealed bearing bikes, I usually just clean with a spray bottle of water and a soft rag. My frames all get a couple of coats of paste wax.


I don't like Simple Green because the smell makes me nauseous. I don't think it's nearly as green as it sounds. For small parts, WD40 and a rag. For chains and cogs etc, detergent and water with a splash of orange cleaner.

Last edited by Salamandrine; 01-06-20 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 01-06-20, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by UKFan4Sure View Post
I'm not sure where you buy your TriFlow, but around these parts, it's $2 an ounce. That ain't gonna be my degreaser! :O)


Ha! that's why I use Superlube usually for the degrease. However, I did purchase 3 spray bottles sized (like 409) bottles at one of those bulk discount stores that buy damaged freight and resell for like $3 a bottle for the TriFlow.
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Old 01-06-20, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
I have seen chains show radiating cracks from the pins after overexposure to Simple Green.

no aircraft mechanic will let it near an airplane.

I wouldn't over-expose a chain to soap and water, either.

I've taken NOS chains out of the wrapper which had many such cracks surrounding the pins, for whatever weird reason!

Parts of aircraft have electrical/electronic wiring stuffed into spaces where any ionic aqueous spray would not be welcome, for obvious reasons, and riveted construction might also not be the best place to soak with an ionic solution.

Fwiw, 409 and Fantastic seem to be harsher than the S.G., especially when trying to remove certain chain lube residues.

For aggressive grease-cutting, Finish-Line Citrus Degreaser is my go-to for worst-case stubborn grease/deposits, but even this stuff doesn't seem to dissolve waterproof grease. It is the fastest solvent I've ever tried for freeing severely-gummed Shimano STI levers, but I try not to have to put such an aggressive solvent in there with plastic bushings/spacers and other pieces inside.

Will anything dissolve waterproof grease out of a bearing retainer???.

I found a paint-thin layer of brown sludge in my Toyota's oil filter housing, and even Gumout carb cleaner spray just sort of pushed it around! The engine uses Mobil1 and Toyota synthetic oil.

Last edited by dddd; 01-06-20 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 01-06-20, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I found a paint-thin layer of brown sludge in my Toyota's oil filter housing, and even Gumout carb cleaner spray just sort of pushed it around! The engine uses Mobil1 and Toyota synthetic oil.
Toyota varnish. Tenacious. MEK. ( read all precautions! )
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Old 01-06-20, 04:31 PM
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Although it's kind of nasty, brake-parts cleaner works well. I usually just pick up whatever's on sale at the car parts store.
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Old 01-06-20, 04:46 PM
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Back in the day, I might have just brought a little jar of methylene chloride home from the lab, but old age has me wise enough to stay far away from that stuff!

I bought my low-mileage car used, with comprehensive service records, and the longest (by far) that it ever went on the oil change interval was the 7k miles that I mostly put on it (but that was over a full 18 months).
I have resolved to do oil changes every fall season from now on, likely at only each 4k miles (using 0-20 synthetic).
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Old 01-06-20, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
diesel fuel
Good as a hand lotion, too!
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