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Best way to thoroughly clean a chain?
#1
Hi everyone! I hope you're enjoying a great start to 2023.

I'm curious to hear your go-to method for getting a chain truly clean. I don't mean, just looks shiny or is good enough for a quick clean after a ride. I want to know what you do when you want to get every last morsel of ground-up, link-destroying, roller-eating, tooth-gnashing crud out of your chain.

The Best Chain-Cleaning Recipe Ever?
I reckon Oz Cycle on YouTube has the most comprehensive technique for cleaning a chain (in advance of waxing) but man, is that a major process and frankly, I don't really have a good place to hang up a chain while it dries/releases all those fumes (I live in an apartment).

Ultrasonic
I stupidly burned out my ultrasonic cleaner on a big restoration last year. Is it worth replacing that for cleaning my chain? I used the Wippermann Connex on all my chains, so it's easy to whip off the chains.

Chain Cleaners
I have two different makes of chain-cleaning tool (the kind that snap together over the chain) but I'm generally underwhelmed by messiness and performance of those.

30 Minutes of 'Fun'
Other than that, chain cleaning for me is basically a case of do a total bike clean and while doing that, use cleaning solution, brushes, sponge and chain cleaners until no more crud shows up in the cleaning solution.

What am I missing?
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#2
There's a method that involves using gasoline.

Not exactly recommended for just anyone. This can obviously be incredibly dangerous.
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#3
Thanks. I've used gasoline/petrol for many cleaning jobs without problem.

Obviously, you have to be aware of the dangers and not be stupid.

I generally prefer diesel to petrol as it achieves the same aim with less volatility/fire risk. Either way, you still have to follow that step with alcohol to remove residue left behind by the petrol/diesel.
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#4
I personally dislike the gasoline method, although it's effective.

It's too much trouble with the noxious fumes and mess.

I am looking to get an ultrasonic cleaner in the future.
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#5
I t all depends on you and such. for me being somewhat of a tight ass and can peel thru all the hype and bullshit. I can go to any car parts store, walmart. etc and buy a spray can of engine degreaser, spray it on, scrub it good, rinse off in hot water, blow it dry with my air compressor , lube it and install it all in about 10 min. or so. I can clean 50 chains for about $10
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#6
(01-04-2023, 06:18 PM)Painkiller Wrote:  I t all depends on you and such. for me being somewhat of a tight ass and can peel thru all the hype and bullshit. I can go to any car parts store, walmart. etc and buy a spray can of engine degreaser, spray it on, scrub it good, rinse off in hot water, blow it dry with my air compressor , lube it and install it all in about 10 min. or so. I can clean 50 chains for about $10

Thanks. I like the fast'n'cheap philosophy.

Does "scrub it good" get into all the areas blocked by chain parts, though?

I'm all for saving money but given the cost of a good chain, not to mention the rest of the driveline, I'm happy to invest a bit more time, effort and money to ensure my chain, gears, etc., are truly clean, especially if I'm planning to apply wax.
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#7
(01-06-2023, 09:04 AM)enkei Wrote:  
(01-04-2023, 06:18 PM)Painkiller Wrote:  I t all depends on you and such. for me being somewhat of a tight ass and can peel thru all the hype and bullshit. I can go to any car parts store, walmart. etc and buy a spray can of engine degreaser, spray it on, scrub it good, rinse off in hot water, blow it dry with my air compressor , lube it and install it all in about 10 min. or so. I can clean 50 chains for about $10

Thanks. I like the fast'n'cheap philosophy.

Does "scrub it good" get into all the areas blocked by chain parts, though?

I'm all for saving money but given the cost of a good chain, not to mention the rest of the driveline, I'm happy to invest a bit more time, effort and money to ensure my chain, gears, etc., are truly clean, especially if I'm planning to apply wax.
Between the hot water rinse and the 120psi blow dry, It does a fantastic job. I was primarily a mountain biker riding in the worst mud, sand water and dusty trails. been using this method for years on chains that can be removed easily. I do have a park chain washer for on the bike applications that I do not like to use. Shimano chains back in the day would link with pins, these pins are a one time only link and if you had to break it you must never break in the same spot again. My experience from over the years is that most people over lube chains. Do note that I do not clean chains inside my house, I keep the stink and mess outside or in my garage. This is the same method I use for cleaning cassettes, derailluers, caged bearings etc. I DO NOT CLEAN FREEWHEELS THIS WAY! My go to lube for chains is Triflow , there are many lubes on the market and all have pros and cons. take your pic for the application. Bottom line is they all work. My go to lube for bearings is waterproof bearing grease like used for marine applications. For the money hard to beat, very effective. No need to spend 10 times the money just because it says Phil Wood on the tube.
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#8
Snow has melted time to put the skis away and to get the bikes ready. Thank you for this great info.

Snow has melted time to put the skis away and to get the bikes ready. Thank you for this great info.
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#9
All I use to do was clean my chain with Dawn for Dishes, non-citrus version.

However, I started using Dumonde Tech Lite lube about a year ago, and I no longer have to clean my chain with Dawn, just wipe it down after every ride, when the chain starts making noise I reapply the lube and wipe it down till no more black gets on the rag.
Wag more, bark less
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