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

Clean rags and towels

Notices
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!

Clean rags and towels

Old 01-29-21, 07:32 AM
  #1  
Seb1987
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Clean rags and towels

I've been removing old grease from my bike with a bunch of rags/towels but now they are very filthy with old grease. I've been putting them in the washing machine, 3 times so far, and that does the trick.
But now I'm asking myself if I am destroying my washing machine. So how do you clean your old greased rags and towels? I would rather reuse than buy new ones consistently.

PS: I would ask this in a washing machine forum but that doesn't exist I think
Seb1987 is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 07:33 AM
  #2  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 23,139
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 2,712 Times in 1,886 Posts
I don't really get my rags too dirty, but I put them in the washing machine.
unterhausen is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 07:40 AM
  #3  
55murray
Full Member
 
55murray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 458
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 206 Post(s)
Liked 103 Times in 53 Posts
I hand wash mine in the sink with dishwashing detergent, I do that 4 or 5 times and then discard.
55murray is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 07:42 AM
  #4  
Peruano
Biker
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 195

Bikes: Boone McReynolds, Centurion Pro Tour

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked 40 Times in 24 Posts
First you put the dirty rags in the garbage and then get the old even T-shirts from your closet and use them as rags. For wiping chains I use the blue (industrial strength) paper towels for the dirtiest part.
Peruano is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 07:50 AM
  #5  
locolobo13 
Senior Member
 
locolobo13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Phx, AZ
Posts: 2,049

Bikes: Trek Mtn Bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 253 Post(s)
Liked 1,996 Times in 671 Posts
Bucket and air dry for me too.
locolobo13 is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 08:18 AM
  #6  
John_V 
Senior Member
 
John_V's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 5,585

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

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 408 Post(s)
Liked 122 Times in 85 Posts
Been using Scott Shop Rags from Sam's Club for years. $14.00 for 350 industrial paper rags that are just as good as any rag I've used. They don't scratch the paint on the bike and they hold up really well when wet. I keep several of them in the van in case I need to work on the bike when away from home but have access to the van.
__________________
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe ... Ride Hard ... Ride Daily

2017 Colnago C-RS
2012 Colnago Ace
2010 Giant Cypress
John_V is offline  
Likes For John_V:
Old 01-29-21, 08:20 AM
  #7  
msu2001la
Senior Member
 
msu2001la's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,314
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1111 Post(s)
Liked 1,112 Times in 657 Posts
Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I'd guess cleaning vs chucking them is probably a wash environmentally.
I see what you did there.
msu2001la is offline  
Likes For msu2001la:
Old 01-29-21, 08:26 AM
  #8  
Phil_gretz
Zip tie Karen
 
Phil_gretz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Fair Oaks Ranch, TX
Posts: 7,005

Bikes: '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT, '16 Motobecane Turino Pro Disc, '16 Motobecane Gran Premio Elite, '18 Velobuild VB-R-022, '21 Tsunami SNM-100

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1464 Post(s)
Liked 1,537 Times in 804 Posts
I'm really surprised how many have responded that they wash their shop rags. Mine get filthy with grease and gunk. I throw out two or three per week. I also don't wear anything with holes in it (except one wool cycling jersey), so have quite the renewable supply of old socks, undershirts, old towels and such, all stored in a bin. I tear the old towels into strips and squares. I use the folded/sewn edges as chainring and cassette floss. I can't imagine ever running out. But washing? That thought never crossed my mind.
Phil_gretz is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 08:35 AM
  #9  
FBOATSB 
Senior Member
 
FBOATSB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Central Indiana
Posts: 2,098

Bikes: Old Stuff

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 846 Post(s)
Liked 383 Times in 266 Posts
Originally Posted by Seb1987 View Post
I've been removing old grease from my bike with a bunch of rags/towels but now they are very filthy with old grease. I've been putting them in the washing machine, 3 times so far, and that does the trick.
But now I'm asking myself if I am destroying my washing machine. So how do you clean your old greased rags and towels? I would rather reuse than buy new ones consistently.

PS: I would ask this in a washing machine forum but that doesn't exist I think
If I got black gunky grease in the drum of my wife's washing machine, I would be hung out to dry.
I buy white cotton wiping cloths and we both use them.
FBOATSB is offline  
Likes For FBOATSB:
Old 01-29-21, 08:52 AM
  #10  
mdarnton
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Chicago
Posts: 271

Bikes: nothing to brag about

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 113 Post(s)
Liked 190 Times in 110 Posts
Get a reasonable size dry bag, put your rags in it with some soap and water, and strap it on you bike's rear rack when you ride. Make your bike do its own laundry!
mdarnton is offline  
Likes For mdarnton:
Old 01-29-21, 09:23 AM
  #11  
chaadster
Thread Killer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 11,763

Bikes: '15 Kinesis Racelight 4S, '76 Motebecane Gran Jubilée, '17 Dedacciai Gladiatore2, '12 Breezer Venturi, '09 Dahon Mariner, '12 Mercier Nano, '95 DeKerf Team SL, '19 Tern Rally, ‘21 Breezer Doppler Cafe+, ‘19 T-Lab X3

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2216 Post(s)
Liked 1,291 Times in 791 Posts
I divvy up the workload between disposable rags and washable towels.

Shop rags, cheap cotton terry rags, or just old household rags clean up the gunky, greasy stuff like chains and cassettes. Those get thrown to rubbish.

Synthetic microfiber towels handle the rest of the cleaning duties, specifically, washing the rest of the bike and polishing/waxing/detailing. Those get machine washed (with Chemical Bros. towel refresher sometimes) and reused for same.
chaadster is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 09:25 AM
  #12  
freeranger
Senior Member
 
freeranger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 2,402

Bikes: 06 Lemond Reno, 98 GT Timberline mtn.bike

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 369 Post(s)
Liked 574 Times in 358 Posts
I keep a "rag bag" that old worn out, or non-fitting clothes, towels, wash cloths, etc. go into. I'll just cut a piece off to the size I need, and when done, throw it away. Before someone says it's not "environmentally friendly", the grease is going to end up somewhere, regardless if thru the washer or on a tossed rag, and the cloth I'm using will degrade.
freeranger is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 09:44 AM
  #13  
Hiro11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,595

Bikes: 2022 Specialized Allez Sprint custom build, 2019 Giant Defy Advanced Pro 0, 2018 Seven Mudhoney Pro custom build, 2017 Raleigh Stuntman, various others

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 441 Times in 227 Posts
I buy bulk cotton shop towels from Costco, use them until they're black with gunk and then chuck them. I try to prolong their life by handwashing them in my shop sink with Dawn periodically. Using a little GoJo without grit also dissolves the grease. It generally takes a month or two for a towel to get so dirty that it's unsuable.

I keep a clean microfiber towel I use for periodically cleaning brake rotors with alcohol, that one I do throw in the wash after using.
Hiro11 is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 09:48 AM
  #14  
rydabent
Senior Member
 
rydabent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 9,727

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3122 Post(s)
Liked 966 Times in 580 Posts
Originally Posted by Seb1987 View Post
I've been removing old grease from my bike with a bunch of rags/towels but now they are very filthy with old grease. I've been putting them in the washing machine, 3 times so far, and that does the trick.
But now I'm asking myself if I am destroying my washing machine. So how do you clean your old greased rags and towels? I would rather reuse than buy new ones consistently.

PS: I would ask this in a washing machine forum but that doesn't exist I think
Almost any auto store has throw away paper towels that wont mess up your wifes washing machine.
rydabent is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 09:51 AM
  #15  
Snotrub
Senior Member
 
Snotrub's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Texas
Posts: 147

Bikes: 2012 Cannondale Carbon Flash 2; 2017 Cannondale CAADX 105; 2021 Trek Domane SL6; 2021 Trek Top Fuel 9.7

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked 72 Times in 42 Posts
I throw mine away when they get too dirty to use effectively. Either that or my wife finds my rags and uses them. In that case, I use my old underwear and she leaves them alone.
Snotrub is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 10:17 AM
  #16  
topflightpro
Senior Member
 
topflightpro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,519
Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1831 Post(s)
Liked 651 Times in 411 Posts
Like others, I cut up old clothing. T-shirts, socks, boxers... Once they are no longer wearable, they go in the rag pile. I use them on the bikes until caked with grease, toss, and grab another.

Cotton Ts work best.
topflightpro is offline  
Likes For topflightpro:
Old 01-29-21, 10:30 AM
  #17  
KJ43
Dead but dreaming
 
KJ43's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Bay Area, CA (Peninsula)
Posts: 354

Bikes: 2020 Santa Cruz Stigmata, 2022 Cannondale Synapse

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 133 Post(s)
Liked 264 Times in 152 Posts
I buy a large order of cheap rags.

The clean ones I use to dry my bike, clean my rotors, stuff like that.

Once they are used I start using them to wipe my chain, a drop cloth or protective cloth when lubing, etc. They can be used as a drop for a while and I end up with a lot of rags that are greasy.

Once they get really bad I toss them.
KJ43 is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 10:30 AM
  #18  
GlennR
On Your Left
 
GlennR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 8,373

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3004 Post(s)
Liked 2,429 Times in 1,184 Posts
I use paper towels and disposable rags for cleaning the bike. Putting them in YOUR washing machine will leave a greasy film on the inside. Then when you wash your cloths they will get dirtier than when they went in. You might not see it but it's there.

I restored cars as a hobby and have "mechanic" cloths that repel oil and grease. When I do wash them I first wipe the the tub and then do another wash with the machine empty, at a higher level, hot water and add bleach to clean the inside.

Washing greasy rags in the washing machine is like cleaning car parts in the dish washer and using the stove to cure paint.

Your wife will not be happy.
GlennR is offline  
Likes For GlennR:
Old 01-29-21, 11:31 AM
  #19  
woodcraft
Senior Member
 
woodcraft's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Nor Cal
Posts: 6,016
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1814 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 919 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
I use paper towels and disposable rags for cleaning the bike. Putting them in YOUR washing machine will leave a greasy film on the inside. Then when you wash your cloths they will get dirtier than when they went in. You might not see it but it's there.

I restored cars as a hobby and have "mechanic" cloths that repel oil and grease. When I do wash them I first wipe the the tub and then do another wash with the machine empty, at a higher level, hot water and add bleach to clean the inside.

Washing greasy rags in the washing machine is like cleaning car parts in the dish washer and using the stove to cure paint.

Your wife will not be happy.

Agree. Wouldn't you want cloths that absorb oil & grease?
woodcraft is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 11:37 AM
  #20  
Rage
Space Ghost
 
Rage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,762

Bikes: Bridgestone, Fuji, Iro, Jamis, Gary Fisher, GT, Scott, Specialized and more

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 292 Post(s)
Liked 410 Times in 316 Posts
I chuck ‘em after they get nasty enough.
Rage is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 11:44 AM
  #21  
crowbike
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Corn Field County, Illinois
Posts: 56

Bikes: 2007 Specialized Tricross 2002 Fuji Marseilles 2017 Colnago CRS 2001 Schwinn Homegrown

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 21 Posts
An oily rag makes a great fire starter in the outdoor fire pit.
crowbike is offline  
Likes For crowbike:
Old 01-29-21, 11:44 AM
  #22  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 40,823

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Canyon Exceed, Specialized Transition, Ellsworth Roots, Ridley Excalibur

Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2937 Post(s)
Liked 3,036 Times in 1,389 Posts
Add me to list of folks who use old t-shirts till they get completely gunked up, then throw away.
caloso is online now  
Likes For caloso:
Old 01-29-21, 11:56 AM
  #23  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 36,009
Mentioned: 204 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16566 Post(s)
Liked 11,499 Times in 5,549 Posts
Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Add me to list of folks who use old t-shirts till they get completely gunked up, then throw away.
First to get used are the ones I have stained with wine.
indyfabz is offline  
Likes For indyfabz:
Old 01-29-21, 01:22 PM
  #24  
GlennR
On Your Left
 
GlennR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 8,373

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3004 Post(s)
Liked 2,429 Times in 1,184 Posts
Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
Agree. Wouldn't you want cloths that absorb oil & grease?
No so you can wipe it off. if it absorbed it it would seep to your skin.
GlennR is offline  
Old 01-29-21, 01:27 PM
  #25  
trailangel
Senior Member
 
trailangel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 4,803

Bikes: Schwinn Varsity

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1895 Post(s)
Liked 677 Times in 397 Posts
My mom always washes my dirty rags.
trailangel is offline  
Likes For trailangel:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.