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8 Cheap Bike Chain Degreaser Alternatives

Top Cheap Bike Chain Degreaser Alternatives: Maintaining a clean and well-lubricated bike chain is essential for smooth and efficient cycling. While commercial bike chain degreasers are readily available, there are several effective alternatives that you might find in your household or at your local store.

Key Takeaways:

  • Simple Green Cleaner: Affordable and versatile. Dilute from a gallon jug for bike chain use. Dry thoroughly before re-lubing.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: Cheap and quick. Apply with a rag to avoid excess. Standard grocery store variety works well.
  • Zep Citrus Degreaser: Professional-grade for metal surfaces. Cost-effective in an ultrasonic cleaner. Apply, rinse, and dry before re-lubing.
  • White Spirit (Mineral Spirits): Effective but eco-unfriendly. Reuse by filtering in multiple jars. Dispose responsibly.
  • Kerosene: Sparingly use, filter, and reuse. Caution: corrosive to aluminum. Wear safety gear.
  • Park Tool Chain Cleaner: Pair with Simple Green for an effective process. Lubricate and wipe off excess.
  • Dish Soap: Mix Dawn in hot water, scrub, rinse, and dry for a simple solution.
  • Citra Solv Cleaner: Use undiluted, rinse well to avoid rusting. Dry before re-lubing.
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8 Bike Chain Degreaser Alternatives

Bike Chain Degreaser Alternatives

Let’s explore some popular Bike Chain Degreaser Alternatives options:

1. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner

Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner
Simple Green Bike Cleaner & Degreaser
  • Best Used For: Cleaning counters, carpet, floors, fabric, equipment, and vehicles.
  • Composition: A blend of synthetic and naturally-derived ingredients.
  • Application: Dilute Simple Green concentrate in a spray bottle as per the instructions on the jug. It is versatile and can be used on wheels, frames, chains, derailleurs, shop benches, and more. There’s also an industrial formula, but the standard green version is often sufficient.
  • Tip: Ensure thorough drying before re-applying lubricant on the chain.

Simple Green, known for its versatility, finds a home in many cyclists’ maintenance routines. While it’s not a natural bike chain degreaser alternative, its effectiveness on various surfaces extends to bike components. The concentrate in a gallon jug offers a cost-effective solution when properly diluted. We recommend marking a spray bottle with dilution ratios and volume markings based on instructions printed on the jug for easy and precise application.

Cyclists use Simple Green on wheels, frames, chains, derailleurs, shop benches, and floors. Some even opt for the industrial formula, though the general consensus is that the standard green formula is sufficient for most needs. When using Simple Green as a chain degreaser, thorough drying before reapplying lubricant is crucial.

2. Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl Alcohol
Isopropyl Alcohol on bike chain
  • Advantages: Good at removing grease, evaporates quickly, and leaves no residue.
  • Application: Use a rag to apply isopropyl alcohol directly to the chain. It may not be suitable for chain cleaning devices due to its fast evaporation.
  • Cost: Affordable and readily available at grocery stores.
  • Note: The lower concentration (not necessarily 99%) is sufficient for degreasing purposes.

Isopropyl alcohol emerges as a easy and economical alternative for degreasing bike chains. Its ability to remove grease effectively and evaporate quickly without leaving residue makes it a favorite among cyclists. While some cyclists use isopropyl alcohol in chain cleaner devices, others prefer applying it with a rag to control the amount used.

With affordability and accessibility at local grocery stores, isopropyl alcohol provides an efficient solution for routine chain maintenance. It’s important to note that using a lower percentage (e.g., 70%) is sufficient, and there’s no need to opt for the more expensive 99% version.

3. Zep Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser

Zep Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser
Zep Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser
  • Best Used For: Cleaning, dissolving, and deodorizing dirt, grime, and grease from various surfaces.
  • Source: Available at Home Depot.
  • Application: Use as is or in a Park chain cleaner. Rinse with water and dry before re-lubing.
  • Cost: Approximately $12 per gallon.

Zep Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser, designed for industrial use, has found its way into cyclists’ toolkits. Its applications span various surfaces, from metal to plastics, concrete, and upholstery. Available at home improvement stores like Home Depot, this degreaser comes at a reasonable price, with users reporting satisfactory results.

While some cyclists use the degreaser as is, others dilute it for use in chain cleaners or spray bottles. Thorough rinsing with water and drying with a box fan before reapplying lubricant is recommended.

4. White Spirit (Mineral Spirits)

White Spirit (Mineral Spirits)
White Spirit (Mineral Spirits)
  • Advantages: Grease and dirt settle at the bottom, allowing for multiple uses by filtering.
  • Application: Use progressively cleaner jars and filter for reuse. Replenish with fresh mineral spirits or denatured alcohol in the last jar.
  • Environmental Consideration: Dispose of responsibly, as it is environmentally unfriendly.

White spirit, also known as mineral spirits, offers an economical solution for chain degreasing, with the added benefit of reusability. Users employ multiple jars in a progressive cleaning sequence, with the last jar containing fresh mineral spirits or denatured alcohol. Filtering and reusing the spirits help maximize their lifespan.

While white spirit is effective, users should handle it with care as it is environmentally unfriendly. Disposing of it responsibly is crucial to prevent harm to plants and wildlife.

5. Kerosene

Kerosene
Kerosene on bike chain
  • Usage: Use sparingly in a small container for soaking the chain. Filter and reuse.
  • Versatility: Useful for cleaning chains, bearings, engine parts, etc.
  • Caution: Wear rubber gloves and eye protection.

Kerosene is a versatile bike chain degreaser, utilized sparingly in the smallest possible container for soaking the chain. Many cyclists emphasize using it cautiously due to its corrosiveness, particularly to aluminum parts. Filtering and reusing kerosene is common practice among enthusiasts. The process involves having multiple jars for sequential cleaning, each progressively cleaner, with the last one using fresh mineral spirits or denatured alcohol. Proper disposal is essential, as kerosene can have adverse effects on the environment.

For challenging tasks like removing wax buildup on cassettes, cyclists often recommend using Brakleen, a specialized cleaning product. Always wear rubber gloves and eye protection when handling kerosene to ensure safety during the cleaning process.

6. Park Tool Cyclone Chain Cleaner

Park Cyclone Chain Scrubber
Park Cyclone Chain Scrubber

Usage: Use with Simple Green Industrial Cleaner/Degreaser.

Procedure:

  1. Fully seat chain into brushes.
  2. Fill the chain cleaner with solvent to the marked fill line.
  3. Pour out dirty solvent.
  4. Lubricate the chain after cleaning.
  5. Wipe off excess lube.

The Park Tool Cyclone chain cleaner is a popular choice among cyclists who prefer a dedicated tool for chain maintenance. Paired with Simple Green Industrial Cleaner/Degreaser, this combination is effective in thoroughly cleaning the chain.

The process involves fully seating the chain into the brushes, filling the cleaner with solvent, pouring out the dirty solvent, lubricating the chain post-cleaning, and wiping off excess lubricant. This method provides a systematic approach to chain cleaning and ensures efficient removal of dirt and grime.

7. Dish Soap

Dish Soap
Dish Soap
  • Usage: Dawn dish soap in hot soapy water.
  • Procedure: Apply Dawn on the chain as if using it as lube, scrub with a stiff-bristled, long-handled toilet brush.
  • Tip: Rinse thoroughly and dry before re-lubing.

Dish soap, particularly Dawn, finds its place in bike chain maintenance as an accessible and cost-effective degreaser. Using a bucket of hot soapy water and a stiff-bristled toilet brush, cyclists apply Dawn directly to the chain, scrubbing away grease and grime. The cleaning process involves thorough rinsing and drying before re-lubing. This method is a straightforward and budget-friendly option for cyclists who prefer household items for their bike maintenance routine.

8. Citra Solv Concentrated Cleaner and Degreaser

Citra Solv Concentrated Cleaner and Degreaser
Citra Solv Concentrated Cleaner and Degreaser
  • Usage: Use undiluted in a pickle jar.
  • Ingredients: Water, Decyl Glucoside, Laureth-7, Lauramine Oxide, Sodium Laurylglucoside Hydroxypropyl Sulfonate, Methyl Soyate, Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Methylisothiazolinone.
  • Procedure: Rinse the chain well after application, dry with a towel and an air compressor if available, and then re-lube.
  • Caution: Don’t dilute Citra Solv to prevent potential rusting.

Citra Solv Concentrated Cleaner and Degreaser, when used undiluted, is a choice for some cyclists. However, it requires careful rinsing to prevent rusting. After application, users rinse the chain thoroughly, dry it with a towel, and, if available, use an air compressor for efficient drying before re-lubing. The product’s ingredients, including water, decyl glucoside, and orange peel oil, highlight its natural components. While it offers effective degreasing, cyclists must be mindful of the rinsing process to avoid any potential residue.

Conclusion

These bike chain degreaser alternatives caters to different preferences, budgets, and environmental considerations. Whether opting for traditional solutions like kerosene or embracing specialized tools like the Park Tool Cyclone chain cleaner, cyclists have a range of options to keep their chains clean and well-maintained. Experimenting with these alternatives can help riders find the most suitable solution for their specific needs.

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