Nature friendly degreaser

Bartek

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#1
I remember reading on this forum or some place else about a nature friendly (orange I think) degreaser available at Costco. Has anyone ever used it on greasy bike part? Or is there anything like that you can recommend? The only thing I see at bike shops is a small bottle of "bicycle parts" degreaser which costs about Y1500 or Y2000 - rediculous. Any alternatives?

What do you use to clean the chain and other other greasy parts?
 

GSAstuto

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#5
Depends on how eco-friendly you want to be?? Here is a good one --
1) Ultrasonic clean your chain in de-ionized water and citric acid (you can get both at Donki, by the way)
2) Then boil it in common paraffin wax.

Now you have cleaned and lubed your chain using ZERO petro based solvents or soaps! The paraffin chain will last longer than ANY chainlube you try and is likely to have lower resistance, too . Somewhere there is a maniac report on this, but you can find on the web.

Currently I just boil my chains in plain water w/citric acid and it works ok. I'm saving for a nice Ultrasonic tank as that is the best way - and you can clean all the small bits together (pulleys, deraillers, etc)

The problem with all the other cleaners is they don't really get the muck out in the pins. And that is where the friction points lie. So - you have clean, shiny chain with basically the same high resistance.

Chains from the factory are cleaned, etched and saturation lubed with special lubes. They work great until you hit them with solvent. Then you've basically junked the chain , in my opinion, until you clean in such a way to get ALL the existing lube and grit out of the internal bits.

This goes without saying - those brush scrubbers and endless spray cans of degreasers are completely, utterly worthless. You're better off to simply soak a rag in acetone or alcohol and wipe off the chain if the accumulated grime is bothering you. FWI, I use the reinforced alcohol wipes from Soyo forr this purpose. And they serve dual purpose as they aint too bad in wiping the muck off your legs, hands and face, too!
 

GSAstuto

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#7
White Vinegar is great stuff! http://www.vinegarworkswonders.com/ I will use it AFTER I clean something with soap to neutralize the soap (base) . Namely when I want kissy clean kit -

Step 1) Clean with Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castile
Step 2) Rinse in vinegar / water.

<just did it about 10min ago!>

Vinegar and Citric Acid together make a pretty powerful punch. You can add some Borax (not Soda) to increase saponification at a reduction of the cutting efficacy of the acids - but together - it will be a pretty good overall cutter and emulsifier.

Household Baking Soda and Vinegar will make a good overall cleanser, too! Or you can just buy some of the pre-packaged stuff at most automotive stores - it's the most common ingredient for whitewall and alloy rim cleaner. (though they use industrial acetic acid and borax mainly).

Above all, try to steer away from the petro-solvents like Diesel, Gas, etc... they contain benzenes and that is not so good for your body (and other living creatures). Not to mention - dumping it down the drain will eventually get (quickly) to the ocean.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#9
I remember reading on this forum or some place else about a nature friendly (orange I think) degreaser available at Costco. Has anyone ever used it on greasy bike part? Or is there anything like that you can recommend? The only thing I see at bike shops is a small bottle of "bicycle parts" degreaser which costs about Y1500 or Y2000 - rediculous. Any alternatives?

What do you use to clean the chain and other other greasy parts?
Yes that was also me - but it's for washing your hands after you have cleaned the bike :D

Also I hate to say it, but also sod all the "Bike specific" products, get yourself down to Yellohat, Autobacs and other major car shops and buy EXACTLY the same products there for 150% cheaper (well maybe) but a can of non bio degreaser will cost you 100 JPY!
 

AlanW

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Jan 30, 2007
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#12
Depends on how eco-friendly you want to be?? Here is a good one --
1) Ultrasonic clean your chain in de-ionized water and citric acid (you can get both at Donki, by the way)
2) Then boil it in common paraffin wax.

Now you have cleaned and lubed your chain using ZERO petro based solvents or soaps! The paraffin chain will last longer than ANY chainlube you try and is likely to have lower resistance, too. Somewhere there is a maniac report on this, but you can find on the web.

...You're better off to simply soak a rag in acetone or alcohol and wipe off the chain if the accumulated grime is bothering you.
Ahem. Paraffin wax is very much a petrochemical product, and can be found gumming up the pipework of many a refinery. I recall the study too. Paraffin wax resulted in the lowest drag from the chains.
Acetone is fairly aggressive too and you should wear gloves and eye protection if you're working with it. It can give you contact dermatitis over time and that is not nice.

Above all, try to steer away from the petro-solvents like Diesel, Gas, etc... they contain benzenes and that is not so good for your body
I would second this. Benzene is a known carcinogen in fairly small quantities.
 
Last edited:

Bartek

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#14
Above all, try to steer away from the petro-solvents like Diesel, Gas, etc... they contain benzenes and that is not so good for your body (and other living creatures). Not to mention - dumping it down the drain will eventually get (quickly) to the ocean.
Yeah, I remember when I used kerosene in the past. It always gave me headaches. And yes, not to mention dumping it down the drain.

Step 1) Clean with Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castile
Step 2) Rinse in vinegar / water.
Do you use the soap on all the parts? Does it really do a good job? And where can I get it here in Japan?
 

Forsbrook

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#15
Bartek,
I got the Simple Green at Olympic Hardware store.
If you haven't got one near you I suggest that you just visit a DIY store near where you live.
They are all over the Kanto area.
They have the concentrate and the foam.
I usually get the foam because it stays on until you rinse it off instead of just dripping off.
I think it costs about ¥500 if memory serves correct!
I also got some Orange Clean from Costco.
It's pretty good,too.
Basically any citrus cleaner will do the job for you.
 

GSAstuto

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#16
@Bartek - about 4:1 ratio of vinegar to borax. For clothes washing, the vinegar should be more diluted - maybe 10x or 50x to water. For tougher projects I use Simple Green, too. But when I was 'on the road' in Europe I used only Dr. Bronners and then a package of the SOYO 'Frame Wipes' which are soaked in alcohol mainly. Cleaned all the accumulated sweat, drink spills, road grime, etc just fine. My chain is paraffin treated, so I just wipe it off as well. @ Alan - yes, sorry about that - I was more or less referring to the use of distilled liquid petro products rather than the more or less benign wax derivative. I've used Bio Oils as well and sometimes as a 'touch up' if I feel especially OCD about my chain. But honestly, I haven't noticed any performance differences. I feel most performance difference when the chain becomes stretched and then the misalignment causes more issues.
 
Likes: Bartek

GSAstuto

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#18
Haha! And with enough, it won't even matter - you'll start blaming the bike for stealing all the booze! Incidentally, I use that Spiritus stuff to extract capsicum for my embrrocation. Just soak a bunch of the hottest chilis / chilli powder you can find for about a week. The alcohol will absorb the essential oils - then pour it off and evaporate - you are left with a very potent capsicum tincture. Add that to your favorite leg slime and you have instant 'Belgium Leg Warmers'. You can drink it , too - but the exit strategy of this stuff is pretty harsh!

Oh and don't forget the Soviet Tanker solution - Vodka! It really is a great degreaser and you can always have a few shots while cleaning the bike up.
 

Bartek

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#20
Bartek,
I got the Simple Green at Olympic Hardware store.
If you haven't got one near you I suggest that you just visit a DIY store near where you live.
They are all over the Kanto area.
They have the concentrate and the foam.
I usually get the foam because it stays on until you rinse it off instead of just dripping off.
I think it costs about ¥500 if memory serves correct!
I also got some Orange Clean from Costco.
It's pretty good,too.
Basically any citrus cleaner will do the job for you.
There is an "inaka" version of Olympic in my town. I'll see if they have it.
Thanks.

@Bartek - about 4:1 ratio of vinegar to borax. For clothes washing, the vinegar should be more diluted - maybe 10x or 50x to water. For tougher projects I use Simple Green, too. But when I was 'on the road' in Europe I used only Dr. Bronners and then a package of the SOYO 'Frame Wipes' which are soaked in alcohol mainly. Cleaned all the accumulated sweat, drink spills, road grime, etc just fine. My chain is paraffin treated, so I just wipe it off as well. @ Alan - yes, sorry about that - I was more or less referring to the use of distilled liquid petro products rather than the more or less benign wax derivative. I've used Bio Oils as well and sometimes as a 'touch up' if I feel especially OCD about my chain. But honestly, I haven't noticed any performance differences. I feel most performance difference when the chain becomes stretched and then the misalignment causes more issues.
Thanks. I'll try to locate the ingredients in my town's inaka stores, but I remember asking about the citric acid once and they had no idea what it was, so chances are very slim unless there is a good Japanese degreaser that was used back in Edo period. Oyaji farmers in a town like mine prefer "old school" methods :)

Oh and don't forget the Soviet Tanker solution - Vodka! It really is a great degreaser and you can always have a few shots while cleaning the bike up.
If vodka was the only solution, my bike would never be clean and I would never be sober :)