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How do you clean your chain ( not what solution- solvent do you use)

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How do you clean your chain ( not what solution- solvent do you use)

Old 07-28-16, 05:50 PM
  #1  
Rstyle
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How do you clean your chain ( not what solution- solvent do you use)

Long recent thread on what people use to clean their chains
My question is....if you use the plastic devices that you fill a container with fluid, has a few brushes and you run the chain through it....how do you dispose of your orange degreaser, Simple Green or mineral spirits.
If you do not owe the plastic cleaning devices.
If you use mineral spirits: do you apply with a brush and then a rag to clean off.
If you spray WD40, do you just wipe with a rag and let dry
How about the dirty cogs........brush with mineral spirits and then rag and let dry.
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Old 07-28-16, 06:13 PM
  #2  
ltxi
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Park Tool chain cleaner
Periodic remove chain and soak
Periodic remove cassette and soak
Let crud settle out of solution, drain off, and reuse.
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Old 07-28-16, 06:34 PM
  #3  
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I use a Park Tool chain scrubber (plastic device that is filled with fluid) and Simple Green. The Park Tool chain degreaser and Simple Green are both biodegradable but Simple Green is way less expensive. I dispose of it by pouring it into a bucket of sand that I have specifically for this reason. I've never used mineral spirits because of the disposal problems.

After running the chain through the scrubber, I wipe down the chain with a clean rag until most of the degreaser is removed. I use an old water bottle filled with plain water and run the chain backwards while dripping a small amount of water on the chain to get rid of any remaining degreaser. I bounce the bike on the rear tire a few times to shake out any residual water then dry the chain again with a clean rag. I use heavy duty paper rags because they re recyclable.

If the cassette is really dirty or greasy, I remove it from the wheel and clean each cog with a brush. Otherwise, I just use an old paint brush dipped in the degreaser that's in the chain scrubber and clean it out. Then I use the water that's in the water bottle to get rid of any left over degreaser and bounce the wheel to get rid of any residual water. In Florida heat, it dries pretty darn quickly.

My cleaning schedule for the drive train is scrubbing the chain and clean the cassette on the first and third Monday of the month and using a small amount Simple Green on a rag to remove excess grease and clean the cassette on the second and last Monday of the month. I do it on Monday's because it's the only day that I don't ride.

Sounds like a lot of work, but actually it isn't and it doesn't take very long to do. The result is that I always have a clean, smooth running drive train.
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Old 07-28-16, 06:53 PM
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I use Finish Line One Step to clean and lube the chain running the chain through a rag. I use a paint brush on the cassette with the same stuff. If I remember I put some hi moly 0w 20 synthetic motor oil on the chain.
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Old 07-28-16, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Rstyle View Post
Long recent thread on what people use to clean their chains
My question is....if you use the plastic devices that you fill a container with fluid, has a few brushes and you run the chain through it....how do you dispose of your orange degreaser, Simple Green or mineral spirits.
If you do not owe the plastic cleaning devices.
If you use mineral spirits: do you apply with a brush and then a rag to clean off.
If you spray WD40, do you just wipe with a rag and let dry
How about the dirty cogs........brush with mineral spirits and then rag and let dry.

"how do you dispose of your orange degreaser, Simple Green or mineral spirits." I've been feeding a section of plants with my Dawn degreaser (Yes I use Dawn in my chain cleaner device, it's a degreaser and only a dollar in the dollar tree!). The stinken plants I dump this onto will not DIE!!!!! So I guess I'm feeding them.

I also use a small bucket with dawn water to clean the cogs and derailleur. Hey, it works.
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Old 07-28-16, 06:56 PM
  #6  
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Shallow pan with mineral spirits and an old toothbrush. Hang chain to dry. Mineral spirits usually become 'accelerant' for the next fire pit event.
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Old 07-28-16, 07:06 PM
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Park Tool chain scrubber and cleaner. Perfect.
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Old 07-28-16, 07:21 PM
  #8  
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I have a Park chain cleaner that is filled with Park degreaser. This is great at applying the degreaser but not so much at removing everything. So what I do next is remove the chain after and wipe it down with a shop rag to get everything off. After that I use the same shop rag that is wet with degreaser to clean the derailleur pulleys, rear cogs and chain rings. Stubborn spots get hit with the Park cog brush.

When I put it all together I drip on new Rock n Roll lube. When the chain is coated I wipe off the excess with a clean towel.
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Old 07-28-16, 07:51 PM
  #9  
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Several stages in DT cleaning
After most rides, just spray WD-40, and wipe off. Wipe between gears and chainring.
Afters several rides, spray WD-40, wipe off, then re-lube with your lube of choice. Wipe more thoroughly on chain ring and cassette. My lube of choice is White Lightning.
A couple of times a year, remove chain. Soak in solvent cleaner. Wash in HOT water and dishwashing detergent. Dry and blow dry with compressed air. Relub with lube of choice. Use solvent to clean chain rings. Remove if necessary. Remove cassette, soak in solvent and thoroughly clean.
Reassemble and RIDE.
I use rags that I buy at Costco and then discard.
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Old 07-28-16, 07:52 PM
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I remove the chain, place the chain in a 1 liter Coke bottle with about a cup of degreaser and shake like he11 then let it sit for a while. Check on progress then remove the chain, thoroughly rinse in water, blow it dry, stick it in the oven on 150 for about 10 mins and lube. The chain will look and work like new.

On really nasty parts, I put the chain, ball bearing races or other parts in a tinfoil pie pan with the degreaser and set it on the clothes drier and let the drier run for about 15 minutes, every bit of grit will vibrate out of the parts. Try it :-))

I was a dyed-in-the-wool solvent user up until a few months ago when I gave the new water-based degreasers a real try. I am a complete convert now. I've used the Zep citrus degreaser and the Zep purple degreaser. Not sure which one is better but maybe I give the edge to the purple stuff. Get the gallon size at Home Depot and save a ton of money over the small quart bottles at the bike shop. I won't ever go back to solvent degreasers as the water based works just as effectively, even on the wax-based lubes, and is much easier to deal with.

As a side note, I've tried the Park, Pedro's, Nashbar and other bike-specific water-based degreasers and believe me, the Zep products at Home Depot work better and are cheaper.

Last edited by drlogik; 07-28-16 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 07-28-16, 08:12 PM
  #11  
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I am lazy these days. Oil, wipe, ride........then when I get around to it, oil, wipe, ride some more.
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Old 07-28-16, 08:25 PM
  #12  
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two toothbrushes taped together with orange solvent to de-gunk, wipe dry, then apply oil to every link, then wipe excess off.
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Old 07-28-16, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
I am lazy these days. Oil, wipe, ride........then when I get around to it, oil, wipe, ride some more.
I like this method.
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Old 07-28-16, 08:59 PM
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Dampen (not soak) paper towel with paint thinner since I'm interested in cleaning surface dirt, not degreasing inside the rollers. Clean gunk off the derailleur cogs. Hold paper towel against chain while turning crank backwards. If its really dirty I'll shift into the big ring an turn the cranks some more while holding paper towel against chain near the chain ring. Wipe with dry paper towel.

Lube derailleur wheels using the lube straw to get lube in the tiny gap between the silver plate and black cog material (a lot of drive train noise seems to come from those cogs). Lube chain, wipe excess.

Unless I've been in the mud I don't bother cleaning the gaps between the cassette cogs, or chainrings. Nor do I worry about gunk stuck between the links unless its caked mud. I don't ride in the wet much, but when I do I try to give the drive train a once over to prevent rust which can show up by the next morning. Wet winter rides I usually just slop on lots of Triflow and don't even both wiping the excess. I almost never remove the chain to soak in solvent, I don't think its worth the effort since I ride a lot and replace chains as frequently as every 3 - 4 months. My road bike might get a little extra attention since it stays on the asphalt and usually ridden when dry.
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Old 07-28-16, 09:01 PM
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  • White Lightning chain tool cleaner. The long stiff bristles clean much faster and better than any of the makeshift brushes and tricks I'd tried. If it breaks or wears out I'll get one with side bristles to get the outside of the links better.
  • Homebrewed degreaser: Stanley degreaser, 91% isopropyl alcohol, Oxyclean spray and water.
  • WD-40 after the degreaser.
  • Park CL-1 chain lube, although I'll try something thicker after this stuff is gone.
  • Wipe off excess and ride to finish distributing the lube evenly.

Once in awhile I'll remove the rear wheel to make it easier to clean the sprockets.

How often depends on conditions -- usually a couple of times a month. I ride more gravel and gritty paved roads than I used to, and between heavy rains this spring and mud from people's lawn sprinkler runoff, I'm cleaning the chain more often than I used to years ago when I rode mostly paved roads in a dry climate.
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Old 07-28-16, 09:41 PM
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  1. Remove the chain, put it in an old bike bottle of mineral spirits and shake, let soak.
  2. Transfer to second, cleaner bottle of mineral spirits, repeat shake/soak.
  3. Hang to dry
  4. Soak it in a ziplock bag of lube for an few minutes/days/weeks/months.
  5. Wipe and put it back on the bike when needed.
I usually have one chain in a ziplock bag soaking while the other is on the bike.

I often work on cars and so occasionally go to the county waste transfer facility to dump chemicals.

Last edited by TimothyH; 07-29-16 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 07-28-16, 10:41 PM
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STEP ONE

Use chain checker to be certain you aren't wasting your time cleaning a worn out chain. I've done it more than once.
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Old 07-28-16, 10:41 PM
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Too much effort in this thread.

Wipe off loose crud with rag.

Apply oil (Chain-L).

Wipe off excess.

Ride.
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Old 07-28-16, 10:48 PM
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I've just been using WD 40 sprayed on, wiped off with a paper towel, I dispose of the towel in the garbage can .
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Old 07-29-16, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
Too much effort in this thread.

Wipe off loose crud with rag.

Apply oil (Chain-L).

Wipe off excess.

Ride.
^ this
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Old 07-29-16, 05:36 AM
  #21  
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I don't go by the amount of miles, I go by how it looks and how it is shifting. Sometimes it picks up so much debris it needs cleaning after one ride, other times can go a while before needing cleaning. I don't over clean, or clean on a mileage schedule.

Routine cleanings: These are the in between cleanings, just to keep things operating smoothly and cut down on build up.
Like mentioned above, FIRST thing is brush then wipe with rag. flip rag, wipe again, repeat.
Usually this is enough, then lube liberally, and wipe away excess. Ready to ride.


Thorough cleanings: This is when bike and everything is getting a full bath and everything is filthy.Like a routine cleaning, FIRST thing is brush then wipe with rag. flip rag, wipe again, repeat.

Next, using the white lightening plastic chain cleaner thingie, from Walmart, $9.
*if you shift while using the plastic cleaner tool, you will distribute your cleaning solution over cogs and rings too.

I find that bike chains need two types of degreaser to remove everything.

First, I use Dawn green dish soap for the first go round. Rinse plastic thingie and repeat twice with Dawn solution. Then rinse all of the Dawn off of everything, brush cogs and rings while the Dawn is on them too. Rinse then wipe with rag.
Then I use ZEP Citrus degreaser -or- Totally Awesome (Dollar store) in the plastic thingie again, spin spin spin. Brush cogs, rinse, wipe with rag.

Then wash entire bike, rinse. Blow off everything with compressed air.
Then on the bike stand, lube the chain and give everything a check up, adjust if needed.

note: Aerosols are not cheap these days.
A can of WD40 is downright expensive and is not that great for bike chains, as a cleaner or a lube.
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Old 07-29-16, 06:06 AM
  #22  
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I use the Park Cyclone cleaning machine, I find it works better than a rag and it works better than the cheap ones not to mention it holds up a lot longer. The Park Cyclone comes with a magnet attached to the bottom of the reservoir to attract metal particles that a cheaper machine or a rag cannot get off.

I simply collect the used solvents until I have enough to take to my county environmental dropoff location, or I soak it up in a bunch of paper towels and return it the self addressed stamp return envelopes that junk mail people send...just kidding. Although I do send them a crushed aluminum can which seems to stop them for awhile, apparently they don't like AL cans going through their automated mail processor machines, so after doing that for a couple of years I get very little junk mail.

I know of one person who takes his solvent camping with him and uses it to start wood fires, not recommended in California though.
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Old 07-29-16, 06:59 AM
  #23  
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Drench it and wipe it.
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Old 07-29-16, 07:12 AM
  #24  
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fyi - if you use Walmart's spray chain cleaner it will kill your grass
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Old 07-29-16, 07:47 AM
  #25  
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i used to be a fanatic cleaning chains. Then I noticed the chain is dirty again after a few rides. Now I use citrus cleaner on a rag, wipe, apply new lube. The chain wear is the same as before.
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