Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

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

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

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

Old 07-28-16, 05:50 PM
  #1  
Rstyle
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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.
Rstyle is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 06:13 PM
  #2  
ltxi
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,725
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 258 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Park Tool chain cleaner
Periodic remove chain and soak
Periodic remove cassette and soak
Let crud settle out of solution, drain off, and reuse.
ltxi is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 06:34 PM
  #3  
John_V 
Senior Member
 
John_V's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 5,289

Bikes: 2017 Colnago C-RS, 2012 Colnago Ace, 2010 Giant Cypress hybrid

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 308 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
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.
__________________
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe ... Ride Hard ... Ride Daily

2017 Colnago C-RS
2012 Colnago Ace
2010 Giant Cypress
John_V is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 06:53 PM
  #4  
Mulberry20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 144
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 94 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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.
Mulberry20 is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 06:54 PM
  #5  
travbikeman
Senior Member
 
travbikeman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Inwood WV, but maybe moving closer to the C&O areas
Posts: 1,234

Bikes: 2015 Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc, Prior bikes owned: 1995 Trek 830, 1988 Schwinn Prelude

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 267 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
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.
travbikeman is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 06:56 PM
  #6  
BlazingPedals
Senior Member
 
BlazingPedals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 10,853

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, homebuilt recumbent

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 865 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Shallow pan with mineral spirits and an old toothbrush. Hang chain to dry. Mineral spirits usually become 'accelerant' for the next fire pit event.
BlazingPedals is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 07:06 PM
  #7  
hogger453
Senior Member
 
hogger453's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 140
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Park Tool chain scrubber and cleaner. Perfect.
hogger453 is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 07:21 PM
  #8  
ahanulec
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 120

Bikes: Felt F85, Proflex 757, Proflex 252

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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.
ahanulec is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 07:51 PM
  #9  
10speedBill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: West Linn, Oregon
Posts: 100

Bikes: Cannondale R1000, Redline Disc R, 1982 Colnage Superissimo, Specialized M2 Stumpjumper, Trek Elance, 1984 Trek 610

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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.
10speedBill is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 07:52 PM
  #10  
drlogik 
Senior Member
 
drlogik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,034

Bikes: '87-ish Pinarello Montello; '89 Nishiki Ariel; '85 Raleigh Wyoming, '16 Wabi Special, '16 Wabi Classic, '14 Kona Cinder Cone

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 380 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 3 Posts
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.
drlogik is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 08:12 PM
  #11  
Homebrew01
Super Moderator
 
Homebrew01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ffld Cnty Connecticut
Posts: 20,986

Bikes: Old Steelies I made, Old Cannondales

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 772 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
I am lazy these days. Oil, wipe, ride........then when I get around to it, oil, wipe, ride some more.
__________________
Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike.

FYI: http://www.bikeforums.net/forum-sugg...ad-please.html
Homebrew01 is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 08:25 PM
  #12  
Wileyrat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Tucson Az
Posts: 1,269

Bikes: 2015 Ridley Fenix, 1983 Team Fuji, 1985 Novara Strada, 2013 BD Motobecane 650ht, 90 Trek 850

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 230 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
two toothbrushes taped together with orange solvent to de-gunk, wipe dry, then apply oil to every link, then wipe excess off.
Wileyrat is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 08:44 PM
  #13  
big chainring 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wilmette, IL
Posts: 6,423
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 373 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
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.
big chainring is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 08:59 PM
  #14  
gecho
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,249

Bikes: 2009 Trek 520

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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.
gecho is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 09:01 PM
  #15  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 8,657

Bikes: Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel, Centurion Ironman Expert

Mentioned: 147 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2619 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 28 Posts
  • 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.
canklecat is online now  
Old 07-28-16, 09:41 PM
  #16  
TimothyH
- Soli Deo Gloria -
 
TimothyH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Northwest Georgia
Posts: 13,521

Bikes: 2018 Rodriguez Custom Fixed Gear, 2017 Niner RLT 9 RDO, 2015 Bianchi Pista, 2002 Fuji Robaix

Mentioned: 206 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6083 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 79 Posts
  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.
TimothyH is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 10:41 PM
  #17  
gecho
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,249

Bikes: 2009 Trek 520

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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.
gecho is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 10:41 PM
  #18  
f4rrest 
Farmer tan
 
f4rrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 7,883

Bikes: Allez, SuperSix Evo

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2817 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
Too much effort in this thread.

Wipe off loose crud with rag.

Apply oil (Chain-L).

Wipe off excess.

Ride.
f4rrest is offline  
Old 07-28-16, 10:48 PM
  #19  
Northwestrider
Senior Member
 
Northwestrider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Posts: 2,470

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo, Dahon Mu P 24 , Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Rodriguez Tandem, Wheeler MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've just been using WD 40 sprayed on, wiped off with a paper towel, I dispose of the towel in the garbage can .
Northwestrider is offline  
Old 07-29-16, 02:13 AM
  #20  
Hardrock23
 
Hardrock23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: NoVA - DC Metro
Posts: 1,228

Bikes: 1987 Schwinn Prelude -- 1995 Specialized Hardrock Sport GX

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 296 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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
Hardrock23 is offline  
Old 07-29-16, 05:36 AM
  #21  
SkunkWerX
Senior Member
 
SkunkWerX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Maryland (DC area)
Posts: 276

Bikes: Trek DS 8.5 Scott Hybrid Thunderbolt folder '75 Schwinn Varsity '95 Schwinn cruiser '58 Wstrn Flyr...

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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.
SkunkWerX is offline  
Old 07-29-16, 06:06 AM
  #22  
rekmeyata
Senior Member
 
rekmeyata's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 8,348
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 555 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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.
rekmeyata is offline  
Old 07-29-16, 06:59 AM
  #23  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 14,389

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2430 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 11 Posts
Drench it and wipe it.
wphamilton is offline  
Old 07-29-16, 07:12 AM
  #24  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 22,509

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 82 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2911 Post(s)
Liked 21 Times in 19 Posts
fyi - if you use Walmart's spray chain cleaner it will kill your grass
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 07-29-16, 07:47 AM
  #25  
StanSeven
Administrator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Delaware shore
Posts: 12,994

Bikes: Cervelo C3, Guru Photon, Waterford, Specialized CX

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 552 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 14 Posts
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.
StanSeven is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.