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Dish Soap/Water to Clean a Crankset

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Dish Soap/Water to Clean a Crankset

Old 08-02-19, 11:19 AM
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beach_cycle
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Dish Soap/Water to Clean a Crankset

My fall commuting begins August 28. In June, I assembled a new trike for the upcoming commute season. My older trike is a single speed, and the newer is a seven speed - 1 x 7; 38t chainwheel and 28t - 14t cassette. Last spring I upgraded my older trike with a 60t crankset, but going to use it on my seven speed trike. Some say not to use a single speed crankset with a seven speed cassette, and others say no problem. A seven speed chain fits the teeth, so I'll try it. The highest gear will increase gear inches from 71 to 111.

I've already pulled the crankset off my old trike, and replaced it with a 42t crankset. I sized a chain for it, installed and tension'. However, the 60t crankset has about 883 miles, and will benefit from a cleaning. My bike tooth brushes, after scrubbing grime with degreaser, I clean with water and dish soap. I wonder if it'd be alright to soak the 60t alloy-aluminum crankset in dish soap/water before I scrub it. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

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Old 08-02-19, 12:06 PM
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I would think that soaking in dish detergent and water wont hurt it much, but honestly, why? Typically, I go about cleaning cranks and derailleurs by leading off with a deluge of WD40, then a toothbrush-scrubbing, then a blast of air to free it all up and clean it all out. Usually that does it, and its lubricated and corrosion-treated all at the same time. I've been doing this for decades, and never had a problem.
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Old 08-02-19, 06:07 PM
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If you're not using solvents laundry soap would probably work better than dish soap
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Old 08-02-19, 07:38 PM
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Actually, Dawn dish soap does a good job if cutting grease. I use it to clean some parts (cranksets and other one-piece items that get greasy), but on derailleurs, cassettes, etc., I use a solvent. Just rinse and dry the parts thoroughly, then apply a light coat of oil.
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Old 08-03-19, 06:46 PM
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^^^^^
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Old 08-03-19, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ddeand View Post
Actually, Dawn dish soap does a good job if cutting grease. .
This was the method recommended to be at UBI bike school for cleaning chains.Dawn and water and chain in 2 liter bottle, shake.

Rinse, let dry, lube.

should work on cranks but I agree that there are other products that would work just as well.
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Old 08-03-19, 08:09 PM
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My wife is strongly recommending baking soda and vinegar....
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Old 08-04-19, 07:41 AM
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Dawn dish soap will do, but it will be slow. OMS is good.
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Old 08-04-19, 03:13 PM
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Just to throw another option in the mix...I have found that most of the "multi-surface" spray bottle kitchen cleaners work quite well on the cassette.
I usually don't spray the cassette while on the bike, or the on wheel for that matter. I completely remove and disassemble the cassette for "spring cleaning".
OMS is still better if you don't mind a solvent based product.

Last edited by AndrewJB; 08-04-19 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 08-04-19, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
I would think that soaking in dish detergent and water wont hurt it much, but honestly, why? Typically, I go about cleaning cranks and derailleurs by leading off with a deluge of WD40, then a toothbrush-scrubbing, then a blast of air to free it all up and clean it all out. Usually that does it, and its lubricated and corrosion-treated all at the same time. I've been doing this for decades, and never had a problem.
Thanks for the suggestion.



I’ve used WD-40 Bike Degreaser for gears and drivetrains (sprays on as a white foam, then liquefy in a couple minutes running off grease and grime). Works good, but even after scrubbing, black stains on the metal remain. Although they are hidden by the chain, it bothers me.

Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
If you're not using solvents laundry soap would probably work better than dish soap
Thanks for the recommendation. What is the best solvent for bike drivetrains?

Originally Posted by ddeand View Post
Actually, Dawn dish soap does a good job if cutting grease. I use it to clean some parts (cranksets and other one-piece items that get greasy), but on derailleurs, cassettes, etc., I use a solvent. Just rinse and dry the parts thoroughly, then apply a light coat of oil.
Thanks for the description. Which solvent should I use?

Originally Posted by DOS View Post
This was the method recommended to be at UBI bike school for cleaning chains.Dawn and water and chain in 2 liter bottle, shake.

Rinse, let dry, lube.

should work on cranks but I agree that there are other products that would work just as well.
Thanks for sharing; great to hear about a method using Dawn comes from Bike School.

Originally Posted by Digger Goreman View Post
My wife is strongly recommending baking soda and vinegar....
Thanks for the suggestion.

Originally Posted by 02Giant View Post
Dawn dish soap will do, but it will be slow. OMS is good.


Thanks… what is OMS?

Originally Posted by AndrewJB View Post
Just to throw another option in the mix...I have found that most of the "multi-surface" spray bottle kitchen cleaners work quite well on the cassette.
I don't spray the cassette while on the bike, or the on wheel for that matter. I completely remove and disassemble the cassette for "spring cleaning".
OMS is still better if you don't mind a solvent based product.
Thanks for the tip.



​​​​​​​

Last edited by beach_cycle; 08-04-19 at 06:58 PM. Reason: forgot a quote
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Old 08-04-19, 07:13 PM
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OMS = Odorless Mineral Spirits
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Old 08-04-19, 08:13 PM
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Odorless mineral spirits (not truly odorless), paint thinner. Not to be confused with laquer thinner.
BBQ lighter fluid is very similar if you have that.
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Old 08-05-19, 12:12 AM
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When I go to the trouble of taking it off, I clean it in the sink with dish soap and a lot of hot water. I wear gloves. I scrub out the sink with baking soda afterwards. The problem with solvents is breathing them, getting them on the skin. I use them outside when I clean stuff still on the bicycle. FBinNY says that if you clean a chain with water you have to dry it out in a low oven afterwards.
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Old 08-05-19, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Arthur P*****y View Post
FBinNY says that if you clean a chain with water you have to dry it out in a low oven afterwards.
You certainly do not want any water left behind if you want your chain lube to be effective. You can quickly wash out any water with a soak and swish of denatured alcohol. It dries quickly as well.

I know that I'll get some flak for this, but after trying every method of cleaning a chain, there is nothing better or faster-working than a jar of gasoline/petrol. Use gloves and common sense in a well ventilated area. Rinse in a jar of denatured alcohol, and wipe off with a rag. Repeat as necessary until the rag does not become blackened.

I've resorted to this method because of all the fuss and bother I've encountered cleaning chains in the past. I even have an industrial ultrasonic cleaner, and that is not as quick as the jar o' petrol ploy. Oh indeed the ultrasonic will work a treat, but takes quite a while, 30-40 minutes, to get the chain as clean as a five-minute swish in the petrol.

I once gave some thought to building a rotating drum with paddles inside of it. The chains could tumble inside as it rotates, and come clean in whatever solution I used - especially if I included some sort of tumbling media. It would make a fine experiment for a cold winter's day I suppose.
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Old 08-05-19, 06:58 AM
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Please don't use gasoline

I agree that gasoline is an effective solvent for bike grud (greasy crud), but in my experience mineral spirits are as effective or nearly so, and are MUCH less toxic/carcinogenic/teratogenic etc. Gasoline is not something you want to use gratuitously - there's just too many ingredients that aren't good for you.

For cleaning, I use nitrile gloves, OMS, and an old toothbrush. After the part was clean, you can sling the solvent caught in the cracks (away from structures, people, pets, or gardens!) pretty effectively, or blow the stuff out with compressed air (carefully, pointing away from you and aforementioned structures, people, pets, or gardens). The remainder dries off fairly effectively. In fact, even if it doesn't, it will mix with any oil you apply and will still evaporate.

If their remained something (e.g. black stains) I'd try brake cleaner or acetone using a brass brush. Outdoors, when there's enough of a breeze to move the fumes away from me.

The days of painters cleaning up after work by washing their hands in gasoline should be over and relegated to the past.

I'm a chemical engineer. I like chemicals. I have no irrational fear of chemistry or chemicals. But one should have respect for them.
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Old 08-05-19, 07:11 AM
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Don't use gasoline, dish soap works fine (but slowly).Better to scrub first with OMS and lightly clean after with dish soap to get any stray streaks. Reinstall.
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Old 08-05-19, 10:34 AM
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I’ve done all mine by soaking in WD40, then soft brush, followed by simple green.
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