So the second link led to: and:

"The first time you use the hot wax method you’ll want to sanitize your drivetrain before starting (you’ll only need to do this once). Remove the chain and strip it using your favorite biodegradable degreaser (my favorite method is to fill an old plastic soda bottle 1/4 of the way with Simple Green, feed the chain in the top, put on the cap, shake like crazy, let it soak for 10 minutes, shake like crazy again, then rinse the chain thoroughly with water). While the chain is drying, scrub your chain rings and rear cogs. Use whatever method you’d like, just make sure everything is squeaky clean and dry or the wax will pick up and absorb the oily gunk that was leftover, defeating the purpose."

Have used SG for years as a degreaser. I use 50/50 diluted Simple Green all the time at our Coop, time vs. money. Have the client do something else while the gear-train soak is going on.

I would put the chains in a 50/50 solution in a free two liter bottle and every time the shop is open give them an agitation and let time do it's thing. Keep a production line going and experience will soon dictate the best soak time. I would throw in some 1" lengths as agitators to see if it speeds things up. Cheap and reusable.

Or else make a chain ring rig on a board (I cut off one side of a one piece crank and ran it through a 2X to make a window up/down crank, so just use two) and just run them through a standard chain cleaner. Maybe do that once for the big gunk and then do the soak.


On Wed, Jan 4, 2012 at 6:31 PM, james bledsoe <> wrote:
right  the ultrasonic cleaner will get the gunk and grease off  but then there is the rust!!

good and wonderful news,  chelate!! one part molasses to nine parts water will remove 100% off the rust.  it takes time but no work and if one lets the solution evaporate the water soluble crystals make an rust colored ink or stain for making art.

i have cleaned rusty steel by soaking items in the above mixture and painted with the residue.   but grease will act as a resist and the chelate solution will not penetrate to the rust.   it may take a couple of weeks for the reaction to complete the rust removal.
the solution also has a strong odder that is pungent  i keep my active chelates out of doors.


--- On Wed, 1/4/12, Matt Brittenham <> wrote:

From: Matt Brittenham <>
Subject: Re: [TheThinkTank] REALLY Cleaning Chains
To: "The Think Tank" <>
Date: Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 10:43 AM

If you toss the chain in a bottle of mineral spirits, let it soak for a while and agitate it a few times, it should come out completely devoid of grease residue. If you want to get really super clean for jewelry purposes invest in an ultrasonic cleaner. you can get cheap home models for ~$30 a small professional duty one can be had for as little as $100. 

On Jan 4, 2012, at 11:31 AM, Christine Hill wrote:

Hi everybody,

We've been getting really into upcycling bike parts here at Bike Recycle Vermont -- we sell jewelry and fun products at local artists' markets to raise money for the shop. We love making jewelry with the ever-iconic bike chain, but getting it clean is so time and labor intensive. Has anyone found an effective way to clean multiple chains at once, and I mean really clean them out, get them grease-free and bone dry to the point that you'd wear the thing around your neck?

We tried a parts cleaner, we tried bringing them to a car wash... each time we still ended up going at each chain with a tooth brush and some degreaser and spending 15 minutes scrubbing it.



Christine Hill, Americorps*State
Bike Recycle Vermont/Local Motion
w: 802.264.9687    c: 339.223.0722

"When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

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