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tips on cleanliness?

Old 04-21-05, 10:22 AM
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tips on cleanliness?

As I began working with my Whisperlite stove, I found my fingers getting dirtier by the moment. Any good suggestions for keeping hands clean on tour when working with bike repair(especiallychanging flats), chain cleaning, and stove lighting? I was thinking of packing some shop-grade paper towels and strong hand soap?
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Old 04-21-05, 10:37 AM
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How about a bandana. I keep mine in an outside pannier pocket, so it's instantly accessible after a hand-dirtying experience (chain drop, ice cream melt)

dr. bronners soap - good for everything - bathing, laundry, dishes.

some people carry rubber gloves.

you can wash your hands on the side of the road by taking a big mouthful of water and squirting it onto your hands. some people think this is gross.

Your stove shouldn't be so dirty that lighting it causes you to get all messy, are you following the priming instructions?


anna
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Old 04-21-05, 10:44 AM
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I fill a 35mm film canister with a workshop hand cleanser (swarfega). This makes all the oil and crud water soluble so you just wash it off with soap.
For convenience you can take a pack of their wipes:
https://www.halfords.com/opd_product_...type=0&cat=294

There must be some US equivelent.
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Old 04-21-05, 10:52 AM
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I keep one bandana as a grease rag - plus a couple of others for general purposes - then there's my pants leg which is close and handy. I tend to look like Pigpen in "Peanuts" when I'm touring - but I don't mind it at all - in fact I kinda enjoy it - keeps the bugs away - and lines at grocery stores seem to part like the Red Sea right before me.
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Old 04-21-05, 11:01 AM
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I think the US equiv. to Swarfega is "Gunk". I know others who fill 35mm cans with Gunk and it works quite well.

valygrl: I tried Dr. Bronner's but it just seems so darned weak. Bottle says to dilute, but for bathing I've ended up squirting it full-strength onto washcloth just to make it work. Guess I miss the sudsing of the polluting-types of cleansers. Any tips on making Dr. Bronner's work well as your one-and-only cleanser en route?

[Edit:] I do what jamawani does. En route, I have a grease rag to wipe off all the stuff that might transfer to other surfaces, and wait until I hit a restroom to wash up. In camp, I just use my bar soap and water.
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Old 04-21-05, 02:15 PM
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Lew, I find the Dr. Bronner's leaves me feeling clean, without the bubbles. I don't dilute it either, but I don't find I need very much.

I'll admit I'm with Jamawani on the pigpen factor... I have a pretty high tolerance for dirt.

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Old 04-21-05, 02:31 PM
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Anyone else hardcore enough to use dr bronner's for brushing teeth? It puts hair on your chest!


For hand cleaner after handling a sooty whisperlite or dirty bike parts a little of the gunk/fast orange/etc hand cleaner works great. For peace-of-mind cleanup between using the loo & having dinner a little hand disenfectant works well. The size meant for mommys to carry in the purse are great.
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Old 04-21-05, 03:28 PM
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#1: Before you start scratch a bar of dry soap with your fingernails. This helps prevent those dirty nails.

#2: clean your hands with cooking oil, chain oil or any other oil you might have. I have observed that it is water that keeps your hands dirty. After your hands are clean you can wash them if you wish to remove the oil, or just wipe them with a paper towel..
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Old 04-21-05, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by halfbiked
Anyone else hardcore enough to use dr bronner's for brushing teeth?
I kind of like it. Of course, I like to follow it with Listerine.
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Old 04-21-05, 04:53 PM
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I use lemon smelling wet wipes. They really work well with cleaning the oil and gunk off your hands.

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Old 04-21-05, 05:06 PM
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[QUOTE=halfbiked]Anyone else hardcore enough to use dr bronner's for brushing teeth? It puts hair on your chest!

Yup, I use Dr. Bonner's on my teeth. No chest hair yet.
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Old 04-21-05, 05:37 PM
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I just carry a pair of disposable rubber gloves, pull them off with the grease inside and you can put them on over and over without getting dirty.

How sooty does your stove get and what are you burning in it? I have a few stoves and none of them get sooty.

As for shop towels, have you tried a backpacker towel or similar offerd by several companies? They are similar to a chamois, very absorbent and very fast drying. I use a small one very succesfully for rubbing chain ring marks off my leg when a shower is a day or so away. I hit it with some pine-sol when I get home and wash/dry it, comes out clean everytime. It's amazing how pine-sol can get the nastiest grease stains out of fabrics.
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Old 04-21-05, 05:39 PM
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Baby wipes work great when there's no shower available. If they're good enough for the Army, they're good enough for me.
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Old 04-21-05, 05:56 PM
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Yep. Both of my primary hygiene tools for touring have already been mentioned. Dr. Bronner's is the only soap I carry, and I use it for kitchen and bathroom...and teeth.

And wetnaps/baby wipes are also amazingly useful. After I pull into camp, it's amazing how much better a couple of wetnaps can make me feel when there's no shower in my near future. Just getting the day's sunscreen off with them makes me feel 100% better. BTW, I find that the no-scent/no-aloe ones work best. The aloe ones may be fine for a baby's bottom, but they leave me feeling slimy.

I also carry a small bottle of the alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
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Old 04-21-05, 05:57 PM
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I'm using white gas in it, albeit old white gas. With the Whisperlite, the fuel has to burn in the cup underneath and then heat up the coil on top. Thus, you have to have an open flame for a few moments, and I think that causes the soot. Any thoughts on that?
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Old 04-21-05, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Tug
I'm using white gas in it, albeit old white gas. With the Whisperlite, the fuel has to burn in the cup underneath and then heat up the coil on top. Thus, you have to have an open flame for a few moments, and I think that causes the soot. Any thoughts on that?
You are correct. Burning white gas like that is inefficient and creates a lot of soot. You shouldn't need to get a lot of it on your hands though. Don't put the pot above the burner until you have the stove going full bore or you will get a lot of soot on the bottom. If you turn the flame down to simmer, you will also get a lot of soot on the pot, so be sure to wipe it off after it cools and before you touch it. Better still is to avoid simmering.
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Old 04-21-05, 06:50 PM
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Two of mine burn white gas, one needs no priming, the other primes, might be the design, you open the valve enough to put a little gas in a cup under the burner, light it and wait for the hiss, voila.... but no soot, only time I have soot is on the bottom of pans used on open fire. I usually only use it in the cold though because of the weight so that may have something to do with it. I wonder if that's why some folks have said they use a priming paste???
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Old 04-21-05, 08:16 PM
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I'm increasingly being drawn to sugar soap, as used in diluted form to wash down walls before painting. I've used it before as a carpet cleaner. It's designed to remove grease and stuff like that. I find it a little less harsh than using some other stuff. A small bottle in undiluted form should last a long time on the road.

Does anyone know why it's called sugar soap?

My primary defence against grease on the bike, as well as brake dust when fixing punctures has been latex gloves, but I have found them a little less durable around the finger tips than I'd like. I'm thinking now of using gloves worn by people who prepare food -- a different and thicker material, but not as thick as washing up gloves, and easier to pull on and off.

Baby wipes are effective in removing grease and a variety of other soil. Like abbub, I find the "enhanced" ones leave me slimy and I really dislike the smell that's used on so many hygiene products, including some brands of wipes.
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Old 04-21-05, 11:33 PM
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I agree with the baby wipe/wet wipes crowd and I definitely agree with no aloe. I think it's the aloe that gives them that smell you are talking about Rowan that I can't stand either (I think it reminds me of changing my kids smelly diapers). I carry the wipes to freshen up like abbub said and they work well to clean up after changing a flat or working on the bike. I also tend to wipe my dirty hands on my black bike shorts a lot. You can't see black on black so I don't even notice it's there.
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Old 04-21-05, 11:43 PM
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Touring/backpacking/camping I bring alcohol wipes and/or alcohol hand sanitizer (ex: Purell brand). Handy to clean hands before eating (and after "business"), as well as to clean grease off of hands. You only need about a dime sized drop to clean both hands. I also usually have a pair or two of nitrile exam gloves. I'll clean my greasy hands w/my bandana as a last resort.
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Old 04-21-05, 11:49 PM
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On the whisperlite theme, I've used it on extensive backplacking tours and plan on using it in Ireland soon. I cary about 30cc of alcohol in a plastic vial and drip a little in the pan at the base of the stove to heat up the coil/carburetor. It avoids the sooty/smokey problem and the weight is next to nothing. I've also tried a paste type primer but was very dis-satisfied with it.
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Old 04-22-05, 12:45 AM
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Baby wipes. They'll take the dirt and grease off anything!

They're also great if you need to take a quick dash into the bushes.
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Old 04-22-05, 05:14 PM
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Yea, Dr. *****s is good for everything. And if your really board reading the bottle can be great fun... ALL-ONE!

Good prices on Dr Bonners at https://www.borntolove.com/catlog12d.html
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Old 04-22-05, 10:13 PM
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As for myself, I don't carry anything extravagant... it seems everywhere there is a road, there are also tons of garages... and most of them have some kind of grease cleaner in the washroom or near a sink somewhere... even the 'normal' soap in public washroom does a decent job... otherwise, I collect napkins and wetones in restaurants... you can also buy a box of those in pharmacies... it's not too bad when there are no other alternative.

As for the stove issue, I use gaz whenever I can and camping fuel as a last alternative (my stove takes the two)... as other mentioned, it is priming that cause the most dirt so using a alcool might be a good way to start your stove... I never tried though.
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Old 04-23-05, 09:38 PM
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Guess I'm not all that savvy.
Lemon dish soap diluted 3 parts water 1 part soap or thinner. Works like those expensive "waterless" soaps, dissinfects & the whole lot. Then I wipe my hands on the grass. Works for showering and as shampoo. Can't say I'd try it as tooth paste though.
As for that greasy chain, I keep a old sock in with the tools, wear it like a mitten, keeps those tools from rattlin' around too.
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