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  #1  
Old 01-13-2008, 08:41 PM
mike_khad1 mike_khad1 is offline
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Default Dirty Shop Rags

I maintain 8 bicycles in my garage. Does anyone know how I can get my assorted greasy, dirty, shop rags clean? Is there a bike store or auto shop in Portland area where I can drop them off, pay some reasonable charge, and pick up clean ones?

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=378459
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:02 PM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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I went over to the bikeforum link you provided. carpediemracing's info about using a commercial service is what I would suggest if you've got the money. Or, you could wash rags yourself if you're up to the bother, as others suggested.

One thing I did think of, if you haven't already, regards what to do with oily, greasy rags between the time after they've been soiled and when they finally get washed. There are special, metal, airtight containers made to store them. This is to address the issue of fire that can occur as a result of those flammable materials not being properly cared for.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:59 AM
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lynnef lynnef is offline
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I've got some pretty dirty ones, myself. I was thinking of soaking them for a few days in a bucket of Simple Green (if it gets the grease off the chain, it can get the grease out of the rags).

Maybe I'd wash them in the machine. But I'm not sure I want to experiment with my washing machine!
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Old 01-15-2008, 01:00 AM
Matt P. Matt P. is offline
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If you wash them right after you've used them, putting them in the washing machine seems to work fine - even with chain grease.

Then again, I did this at my apartment in Clackamas, and I didn't own that washing machine.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:54 PM
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Jeff Wills Jeff Wills is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt P. View Post
If you wash them right after you've used them, putting them in the washing machine seems to work fine - even with chain grease.

Then again, I did this at my apartment in Clackamas, and I didn't own that washing machine.
Been there, done that... won't do it again. It left a gray ring inside the washing machine. Fortunately, I do the laundry in the house (my wife does the dishes) so we haven't had any real problems. It helps that we're not particularly snazzy dressers, too.

Here's how I clean my collection: I fill a 5-gallon bucket 1/2 full with hot water and dump in a snootful of Simple Green. I dump in the oily rags and agitate with a broom handle for a couple minutes. I pull them out, let them cool a bit, then wring them out over my lawn. If I think they're really nasty, I'll throw them back in and agitate some more, but usually one cycle gets the majority of the stuff. I'll dump the dirty water in the yard- so far my grass is happy, so it can't be that bad. I'll lay the rags out on the garage floor to dry- it'll take a day or two, but they dry most of the way just sitting there.

The rags don't come out sparkling clean, but it does restore them to usefulness.

Jeff
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:21 AM
mike_khad1 mike_khad1 is offline
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Default Great idea Jeff

Jeff - I used your idea and solved two problems - shop rags and a parts washer. I had been shopping for a parts washer too. Something to clean chain, cassette, etc.

I went to home depot and bought two 5-gallon buckets - the kind that nest within each other. I drilled a bunch of holes (1/4 inch) in the bottom of one of the buckets. I half fill the intact bucket with hot water and simple green and put the parts in the bucket with the drilled holes. I put the one bucket inside the other bucket, swirl the water a bit and it works fine. After I finished cleaning and rinsing the drive train, I put the used shop rags in it and cleaned it.

I dumped the dirty water in a toilet figuring the water goes to a waste treatment plant somewhere. I strung my camping clothesline across the garage and hung the rags up to dry.

Thanks!!!
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