[TheThinkTank] Rubbing alcohol substitutes, spraying grips with bleach, etc.

Cyclista Nicholas cyclista at inventati.org
Fri Mar 20 22:41:39 PDT 2020


Watered-down bleach won't work well on surfaces that have a lot of oils 
on them when the concentrate of bleach is low; therefore you might try a 
higher concentrate for grips and tape, and a lower concentrate for 

Acetone, commonly available as nail polish remover, or as "paint 
thinner" in hardware stores, also has antiviral properties:


Be aware that not all paint thinner is made from acetone, hence the 

Denatured alcohol available at the hardware store should also have 
antiviral and antibacterial properties.

All of these chemicals are highly irritating to the skin and 
subsequently anyone using them should wear nitrile gloves with at least 
5 mil thickness, as latex or vinyl are not all that resistant chemically 
and thinner mils (3 and below are more common) might break down more 
quickly. If using denatured hardware store alcohol, be especially 
careful as it often (but not always) contains methyl alcohol (as opposed 
to isopropyl or benzyl alcohol) which is poisonous and can enter the 
body via contact with skin.

As for minimizing contact on shared surfaces, at RIBs we are not 
allowing any "unclean" hands or gloves to come in contact with any item 
in the shop. If someone so much as scratches their head, with either 
their bare hand or their glove, they have to go wash their hands or 
gloves, or change gloves, before touching anything in the shop again. 
Ideally, they do not even touch their own clothing and afterward touch 
an item in the shop.

These extreme measures are considered necessary because it is literally 
impossible to sanitize several hundred filthy tools that are battered, 
gouged, and decades-old, so instead we are preventing them from getting 
infected in the first place. Additionally, it is assumed that there 
might very well be pathogens on the tools anyway, so people wash again 
after leaving. The idea is don't touch your body at all after washing 
your hands while in the shop space.

~cyclista Nicholas

On 2020-03-21 03:56, Andrew Shaw-Kitch wrote:
> Thanks for the lively conversation on how to ride the line between 
> serving
> our community and doing our part not to spread covid-19. This is an
> unprecedented situation from all angles, so it's nice to have this 
> group of
> like-minded folks from all over looking at things from this one.
> Here at Bikes for Humanity PDX we have postponed all classes, in-person
> programs, and open hours. We are doing bike adoptions on an appointment
> basis: (1) bikes are posted online for folks to browse, folks referred 
> to
> us from partner organizations describe what they are looking for (2) a 
> time
> is set 30 mins+ away from another appointment, and the adopter is asked 
> if
> they'll need helmet, light, and/or lock. (3) We meet in the parking lot
> behind our space with a couple bike options, and any other items they 
> might
> need. We feel this is a satisfactory means toward meeting the needs of
> people trying to access bikes as either a diversion or way to get to 
> work,
> as well as our own needs of revenue and the fulfillment of our mission.
> Does anyone have insight on how to maximize social distancing and 
> minimize
> shared contact of surfaces? I am also interested from a mechanical
> perspective, what the effect of watered down bleach is on grips, 
> saddles,
> bar wrap. Since we only have so much rubbing alcohol, and it won't be
> easier to acquire anytime soon, we are looking for a way to ensure 
> contact
> points are sterilized going forward. Spray bleach-water on grips and 
> wipe
> with rag designated as the touch-points sanitizing rag?
> And since rubbing alcohol is now prioritized for non-bike purposes, 
> what is
> another means of cleaning bearing systems, rims and disc rotors? I will 
> be
> taking the crisis/opportunity ("crisitunity" in the phrasing of Homer
> Simpson) of having the doors closed to catch up refurbishment of the 
> 100
> bikes in our basement...
> --
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