Car brake cleaner spray - great for bike chains!

rodgers73
rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
edited April 2014 in Road general
Just used an old spray can of brake cleaner I found in the garage on my chain. Amazing results - chain clean and free of grease after one application. Just left it on a bit of card until the fluid had evaporated and gave it a quick wipe down.

Usually use WD40 for this but this was on another level. Costs about a fiver a can as well.

Anyone else tried this??

Comments

  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    Acetone, toluene, methanol - all very nasty stuff - a lot of brake cleaners have all three...
  • rodgers73
    rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Yep, definitely for external use only!!
  • lesfirth
    lesfirth Posts: 1,382
    Carburettor cleaner is even better. Plenty of ventilation and don't clean your hands with it.

    Some pound shops have it.
  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    One Shot drain unblocker, works a treat. Careful not to getvit near anything else though! And don't breathe or anything.
  • animal72
    animal72 Posts: 251
    Nobody else just use paraffin then?
    Condor Super Acciaio, Record, Deda, Pacentis.
    Curtis 853 Handbuilt MTB, XTR, DT Swiss and lots of Hope.
    Genesis Datum Gravel Bike, Pacentis (again).
    Genesis Equilibrium Disc, 105 & H-Plus-Son.

    Mostly Steel.
  • chrisaonabike
    chrisaonabike Posts: 1,914
    Imposter wrote:
    Acetone, toluene, methanol - all very nasty stuff
    They aren't really. Flammable, obviously, and you don't want to drink methanol instead of beer.

    Toluene isn't anywhere near as carcinogenic as benzene, even though they're chemically similar.

    But unless you're planning to inhale the mixture, you'll be fine.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028

    But unless you're planning to inhale the mixture, you'll be fine.

    There's a clue in the thread title - (it's 'spray') - hence the word 'nasty'...
  • JayKosta
    JayKosta Posts: 635
    I think the brake and carb cleaners are strong solvents and degreasers that are intended to REMOVE lubricants.
    Yes, I'm sure they can get the chain 'sparkly bright and minty fresh', but they probably also will cause increased friction and wear.
    I suggest using products that are actually designed for use on chains ....

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA
  • rodgers73
    rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    So why are all the bike shops selling degreasers?
  • ednino
    ednino Posts: 684
    I work in the motor trade & have always used brake cleaner. Its good for cleaning chains but its not good for chain cleaners. It destroys the plastic & makes them fall to bits lol

    I only use WD40 in the chain cleaner or remove the chain to use brake cleaner. I bet it doesn't do plastic jockey wheels any good either
  • rickeverett
    rickeverett Posts: 988
    edited April 2014
    Dont use these "specialy for bikes" stuff. Total ripoff and a conn.

    Cannot beat White Spirit or Turp Substitute for cleaning a chain and cassette. Cheap too.

    Cleans a chain really well, dries off quickly and has no water so doesn't rust. Dry, Re-lube and put the chain back on- hay presto. Had the longest life out of chains this way as it gets into the grime and grit right down in the links.

    Car Wheel and brake cleaners are acidic and pretty nasty and the bike stuff is just fairy liquid.
  • mrdsgs
    mrdsgs Posts: 337
    another vote for white spirit
    Colnago Addict!
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    the bike stuff is just fairy liquid.

    If you like.....
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • rodgers73
    rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Car Wheel and brake cleaners are acidic and pretty nasty and the bike stuff is just fairy liquid.


    I'm fairly confident that the metal chain can tolerate the acidity though.
  • crankycrank
    crankycrank Posts: 1,830
    ednino wrote:
    I work in the motor trade & have always used brake cleaner. Its good for cleaning chains but its not good for chain cleaners. It destroys the plastic & makes them fall to bits lol

    This. Also destroys paint, if not immediately it will over many times of use. I like White Spirit or Paraffin. Drop the chain in a jar full of either. Save the used liquid as the dirt will settle at the bottom of the jar and can be siphoned off. Cheap, effective and won't harm paint or plastics.
  • barnowl
    barnowl Posts: 4
    I use brake cleaner every day in my work and it is very good at de-greasing but be very very careful with it.
    I had the mis-fortune of having some rebound off what I was cleaning and got me in the eyes, it was probably the worst pain I have felt and dropped me to my knees instantly.
    By the time I got to the eye wash it had disolved the layer on my eyes giving me fuzzy vision for a few days.

    You have been warned !!
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    Imposter wrote:
    Acetone, toluene, methanol - all very nasty stuff
    They aren't really. Flammable, obviously, and you don't want to drink methanol instead of beer.

    Toluene isn't anywhere near as carcinogenic as benzene, even though they're chemically similar.

    But unless you're planning to inhale the mixture, you'll be fine.
    Don't know why everyone seems to think acetone is really nasty, it isn't at all except perhaps in really large quantities. It's the main ingredient in nail varnish remover after all... The other two need to be treated with more caution, but there are worse chemicals we are sometimes exposed to.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    P.S., yes, well, obviously you don't want to get it in your eyes.. :wink:
  • A mug of petrol is perfect too.
  • barnowl
    barnowl Posts: 4
    neeb wrote:
    P.S., yes, well, obviously you don't want to get it in your eyes.. :wink:


    :D If we where to get robbed at work, of all the things I could grab brake cleaner would be my weapon of choice :lol:
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,467
    A mug of petrol is perfect too.
    Now that's something you don't want to inhale or get on your skin on a regular basis because of the benzine content...
  • navrig2
    navrig2 Posts: 1,844
    neeb wrote:
    A mug of petrol is perfect too.
    Now that's something you don't want to inhale or get on your skin on a regular basis because of the benzine content...

    That's assuming that the spark generated by the static build up on your fleece doesn't get to the petrol first ;-)
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Dirty chain here and proud ...
  • upperoilcan
    upperoilcan Posts: 1,180
    Mikey23 wrote:
    Dirty chain here and proud ...

    Congratulations.
    Cervelo S5 Ultegra Di2.
  • Garry H
    Garry H Posts: 6,639
    rodgers73 wrote:
    Just used an old spray can of brake cleaner I found in the garage on my chain. Amazing results - chain clean and free of grease after one application. Just left it on a bit of card until the fluid had evaporated and gave it a quick wipe down.

    Usually use WD40 for this but this was on another level. Costs about a fiver a can as well.

    Anyone else tried this??
    Isn't it the same stuff that also gets packaged as bicycle disc brake cleaner as well? For considerably more obviously.
  • crescent
    crescent Posts: 1,201
    +1 for white spirit - cheap, safe if used sensibly and does a cracking job. I just gave my winter bike a bit of tlc and soaked the chain, cassette and derailleurs in it overnight - absolutely sparkling and smooth as silk once refitted and lubricated.
    Bianchi ImpulsoBMC Teammachine SLR02 01Trek Domane AL3“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
  • tootsie323
    tootsie323 Posts: 199
    A mug of petrol is perfect too.
    I'll stick with tea...

    ... and white spirit for the chain.