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Maximize Solvent Use

By Brad Quartuccio

For a truly dirty chain no amount of wiping will make it clean again, it’s going to need a bath. The solvents and degreasers used can be noxious, expensive or both—it’s best to maximize your use of them before disposal no matter what. It should go without saying, but you should always defer to the safety precautions of the solvent of your choosing, none of it is good for you, though some is less bad than others.

1. Any two containers will do, but I like to use these old 8mm film reel canisters I found in my basement when I moved in. Place the dirty chain and some solvent in one container, put the lid on and shake it up.

2. After you’ve shaken up the chain, remove it from the solvent bath and wipe it as clean as you can before setting it aside in your second container. Let the remaining solvent settle until all of the grime collects at the bottom.

3. Carefully pour off the now clear solvent into the second container. Repeat the process until your chain is sufficiently clean, saving any remaining solvent in an appropriate container for future use.

Depending on the solvent, you may find that oils collect at the top rather than the bottom of the container. This doesn’t affect chain cleaning much, but can change your decisions on how to best collect and reuse the solvent.


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