CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Questions/Support/Help

Elbow Grease for bike cleaning?

(29 posts)
  • Started 9 months ago by bill
  • Latest reply from I were right about that saddle
  • This topic is resolved

  1. bill
    Member

    I listened to a bike podcast (first time ever) and they recommended using Elbow Grease for cleaning a bike, including chain and all that.

    I purchased myself a bottle and I am really pleased with the result both on the bike and around the kitchen -- hello shiny cassette and hob extractor hood. Feels like magic really.

    Ingredients
    Less Than 5% Cationic Surfactants, Non-ionic Surfactants, Phosphates, Also Contains: Perfume, Limonene

    I want to appeal to the collective mind of CCE to advise whether it is safe to use and not going to dissolve my bike?

    And if it's completely fine to use on a bike why it's not common knowledge and people spend a lot of money on bike-specific degreasers?

    Posted 9 months ago #
  2. neddie
    Member

    My 2p.

    Based on the list of ingredients, it looks like bog-standard general purpose cleaner, that you use on your kitchen cupboards, etc.

    I can't see it causing any harm to the bike, as long as you don't let it into the bearings.

    Personally, for washing the frame and all other non-drivetrain parts, I always use some kind of car wash liquid - that contains liquid wax which helps protect the paintwork. Cleaners that are too aggressive can strip the waxy coating off, which you don't want.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  3. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    It will not dissolve your bike. It is just detergent to lift grease and phosphates to prevent redeposition of filth.

    Much the same product is sold at five times the price for cars, motorbikes, bicycles etc.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  4. Arellcat
    Moderator

    I don't think it will affect metals particularly, but the MSDS notes that you shouldn't chuck it down the drain.

    https://www.gts-shop.co.uk/amfile/file/download/file/25/product/1063/

    Compare with, say, Flash All Purpose Cleaner, which is rather less hazardous or irritating.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  5. chdot
    Admin

    “and people spend a lot of money on bike-specific degreasers?“

    Marketing innit!

    I like Brillo pads (wouldn’t use on chain). Nice slimy ‘soap’ inside flexible steel wool - just don’t rub too hard...

    Posted 9 months ago #
  6. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    The not chucking it down the drain thing is for the phosphates, which cause eutrophication. Laundry products had tonnes last time I looked, expect they still do.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  7. gembo
    Member

    All in the nozzle.

    Close the lid on your washing up liquid and drill tiny hole. Will last a year with your dishes.

    Use a fine spray on your bike with tiny amount of degreaser. Then dilute a lot.

    Admittedly my bikes are not shiny. Just not covered in glaur all the time. Infact three of them are semi-clean just now,

    Posted 9 months ago #
  8. neddie
    Member

    BTW, you can buy 1 litre of super-concentrated car wash with liquid wax for about £5 and it'll last about a decade. YCRMV (your cleaning regime may vary)

    Posted 9 months ago #
  9. gembo
    Member

    I do go through a lot of chain oil I. Comparison to degreaser.

    From the bike service quite runny. Occasionally also due to user error the whole top falls off and that ain’t too cool. Is good oil but does get washed off easily.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  10. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    Admittedly my bikes are not shiny.

    That's true.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  11. bill
    Member

    Thanks All for your replies and your own solutions (pun intended)!

    I rinsed the bike parts with water afterwards. Is it required?

    Posted 9 months ago #
  12. amir
    Member

    For the chain, I tend frequently rub down (after every ride in wet winter weather) to keep on top. I use old undies, kitchen roll or baby wipes if necessary. I no longer use degreasers due to faff plus potential for removing grease within chain. I use a ceramic wet lube on the chain!) to avoid attracting too much dirt.

    For the rest of the bike, I still use rags and wet wipes. When clean, a polish helps make the frame look nice (steel, not needed for titanium). It is rare that I resort to a cleaner or even water (except for MTB)

    Posted 9 months ago #
  13. bill
    Member

    @amir I am a big fan of baby wipes as well. In wet and/or wintry conditions I tend to wipe the chain every night.
    I shall look into that ceramic wet lube.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  14. neddie
    Member

    Baby wipes are single-use plastic. Made from fossilised oil. The same plastic manufacturing that creates the vast flares and discharges at the (often faulty) Mossmorran ethylene plant.

    Even if disposed of properly, they'll end up breaking down over centuries and finding their way into the oceans as microplastics.

    Please can we all stop using them?

    Posted 9 months ago #
  15. bill
    Member

    @neddie I wasn't aware of that. I would be happy to use and reuse fabrics for it but I am not sure how to effectively wash them and remove all/most of the gunk?

    Posted 9 months ago #
  16. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    I use old pants and tee shirts too, such a hippy I am. Intrigued by the idea of lubricating a steel chain with anything ceramic.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  17. ARobComp
    Member

    I recycle all my old clothes into rags for use on the bikes, although similar to Bill am now at the point where they're all rank. Can I put them through a very hot and soapy wash in the washing machine? Will this damage the machine?

    Re: Baby wipes, while I'd never let them near my children (after I saw what they did to my chain) I did buy them for the bike for a while, however hadn't realised the S-U-P nature of them until recently and so have changed behaviour there.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  18. ARobComp
    Member

    PS. Top Tip - I keep old socks for cleaning disk brakes. Means I have a clear differentiator between rags for different purposes and never use an oily t-shirt rag when cleaning pads or discs.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  19. fimm
    Member

    We use rags made from old t-shirts and such things on our bikes and put them through the washing machine... we haven't done the machine any harm... yet...

    Posted 9 months ago #
  20. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    It never crossed my mind to put a claggy bike clout anywhere near the washing machine.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  21. gembo
    Member

    Yes I have so many pairs of old undercrackers old Radical Tea Towels and old bedsheets that get used then binned. Landfill

    Posted 9 months ago #
  22. fimm
    Member

    Note that the rags do not come up completely clean of oil, just "cleaner than they were". Eventually they become too full of holes to reuse and get binned.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  23. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    @fimm

    I would fear for such domestic harmony as we have were I to launder rags on a regular basis.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  24. Sheeptoucher
    Member

    "I rinsed the bike parts with water afterwards. Is it required?"

    Was it fizzy water?

    Posted 9 months ago #
  25. ARobComp
    Member

    Our washing machine bearings are on their way out. I may wait and see if it gets a terminal diagnosis and just before it is removed I shall wash all my rags in one final act of celebration of it's cleaning life.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  26. acsimpson
    Member

    I washed my rags in our machine once. The machine was left with an oily film inside which needed more than one hot cycle to clear.
    I now steer clear of putting anything which has been near a chain into the machine. I keep one rag for wiping the chain and it goes in the bin when it gets too manky.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  27. gembo
    Member

    @arobcomp, give us a shout and I will bring some manky trainers that need a wash

    Posted 9 months ago #
  28. MediumDave
    Member

    I tend to leave my mucky rags in a bucket with a strong washing soda solution for a day or two before wringing them out and putting them through the washing machine. The pre-soak removes most of the grime and means they are clean enough to wash with workwear at least.

    Though I did replace my washing machine earlier this year (broken water level sensor and no part available), I reckon I hadn't shortened its life by much as it was 28 years old!

    Its brain was clockwork.

    Clockwork.

    Somehow the shiny new Bosch thing I have is not quite so charming...

    Posted 9 months ago #
  29. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    @mediumDave

    We have a Bosch. Beware the child lock. Cost us £100 for an engineer to unlock it. That is all.

    Posted 9 months ago #

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