Cleaning up my chains?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by insane, May 27, 2011.

  1. insane

    insane New Member

    Feb 25, 2010
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    Ok so I've been wanting to clean my bike for awhile now, but I am little short on cash so I really haven't gone out to get specific bike-cleaning tools, soaps or cloths. I know I can use standard detergent around the house to wash down most of my bike but what I'm really stuck on is the chain and the gearset. It seems i have to get a degreaser and lube to clean it up. But I don't have the cash to do so, and i've heard that people use kerosene or thinner as a degreaser and Singer oil to lube it up, sounds like a bad idea?

    And also a few nuts and bolts have rusted slightly because i forgot to wipe them down after being caught in the rain, any idea how to fix that? I'm not really handy with this kind of stuff but i love cycling do help?


  2. Steve_A

    Steve_A Member

    Sep 7, 2010
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    Well, IMO if you are really short on cash for this, thinner is fine to clean the drivetrain with; I just did that on the used parts that I built up my bike with. Careful with anything that is flammable like kerosene; definitely do not use gasoline. For lube, again anything that lubes will be better than nothing, and I would venture to say that sewing machine oil will not hurt your drivetrain. It's a little light and may not last long. A homemade lube that was popular a few years back on another forum was oderless mineral spirits mixed at a low ratio with synthetic motor oil (OMS:Oil = 10:1 or something like that). Apply liberally and often. Of course if you have to buy both of things, you could go to a bike shop and buy lube (albeit a much smaller quantity). My point being that you don't need to be too fussy; but when you get a few bucks, try to get a chain cleaning tool (Park, etc), some environmentally-safe degreaser, and some chain lube. (And don't do anything extreme like put sewing machine oil in a bearing that needs grease--that will damage it.) Hope this helps and let the comments begin. Steve
  3. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2006
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    If you can spare $10.00, you can get a bottle of ProLink Chain Lube.

    The great thing about ProLink is that it cleans and lubes at the same time. This saves you from having to spend another $20 - $30 on a chain cleaning tool plus whatever solvent they specify in addition to a chain lube. And it saves you time since you only have to apply the ProLink and then wipe off the excess. It is best applied a day or two before riding so that it has a chance to soak into the chain and dry a little. It will work OK even it applied right before a ride but it picks up a little extra dust.
  4. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

    Oct 11, 2010
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    Paint thinner is also quite flammable. Flammable materials are fine to use--IF THEY ARE USED IN AN OPEN AREA, LIKE OUTSIDE! You just have to take appropriate precautions to not have sparks around. But I agree on not using gasoline--it has too many additives and impurities that can leave a varnish behind.

    Simple Green works well for cleaning most of the bike (don't spray it into the bottom bracket or headset area--spray on a rag and wipe), then wipe down the chain and gears with paper towels or rags and re-lube with a good synthetic lube. Putting a degreaser on the chain isn't necessary and can actually be detrimental to the chain (it gets into the rivets/bushings, then causes the new lube to sling off prematurely).

    davereo likes this.