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I have bought not so long ago (about two month) brand new and the shiny white from my handle tap have become pretty dirty:

handlebar

I am tempted to just change the tape to another color - that would be problem solved for me - but that would basically be a dirty hack. How can I clean the white tape and remove the dirt?

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For those wondering yes I have my bike in my bedroom, i.e: p.chmouel.com/inbedroom.jpeg –  Chmouel Boudjnah Sep 7 '12 at 15:44
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You mean everybody doesn't? –  Neil Fein Sep 7 '12 at 15:45
    
Wrap it with white (or orange or blue) hockey tape. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 7 '12 at 15:52
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(Or wash your hands.) –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 7 '12 at 15:52
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Why wash it? You worked hard to accumulate that much dirt - it just shows that you ride a lot. I thought my white tape was going to be a P.I.T.A. to keep clean, too but once I realized it's a badge of honor I just let it go. –  lawndartcatcher Sep 19 '12 at 12:39
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Grab some of the disinfecting wipes in the round containers that you normally use for kitchen counters, etc. I like the Clorox brand in the yellow (Lemon Fresh!). Wrap around bars and squeeze a bit as you twist/rotate in the same direction as the wrap.

With cork based wrap this is fairly effective. With some of the slicker surfaced wraps (Lizard, etc), it's downright awesome. If you start cleaning with the wipes on a regular schedule your wrap will get even cleaner over time.

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BTW: this works for other color wrap as well...it's surprising how much better black (non-cork) wrap looks after a good clean. –  Ken Hiatt Sep 7 '12 at 16:06
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I use a cleaning product called Simple Green. It's bio-degradable ( good for the environment ) and really does a complete cleaning job! You can mix it at different strengths from a 1/2 gallon or 1 gallon refill size. It comes in a spray bottle initially. I use it to clean my bicycle rather than soap and water. It is safe to use and doesn't harm the paint. Just spray it on the bike or a soft cloth, and wipe the grease and dirt/dust off easily. No need to rinse the bike. It should gently remove the dirt/sweat from your handlebar tape. If the grips are cork, use just a little Simple Green on a soft cloth and wipe gently and remove from the tape. Don't allow the Simple Green to stay on the tape for an extended period ( which is determined by the strength you mix the Simple Green ). Same goes for wiping the bike using Simple Green. Don't allow it to dry on the paint. Wipe it on and with a dampened second cloth, wipe it off. You'll find more uses for Simple Green besides your bike! If you're married, better buy two bottles so your spouse can have their own bottle!

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word of warning on simplegreen. If you let sit too long, like say a year, it will bleach things. Especially in the heat. Something about it breaks down over time and it can damage things when its old. –  Matt Adams Sep 7 '12 at 23:23
    
I love Simple Green, but no longer leave it on or let parts soak in it for very long... (velonews.competitor.com/2005/11/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq/…) –  Glenn Gervais Sep 8 '12 at 0:09
    
The link above has a posting from a rep @ Simple Green which has a (new) product, Extreme Aircraft and Precision Cleaner, they claim is better for use on bicycle parts than plain old Simple Green. You can get it here: amazon.com/gp/product/B001VXU7OE –  IconDaemon Sep 8 '12 at 15:22
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I've never gone wrong cleaning wraps using a soapy rag and elbow grease. I use an old bit of towel and dish soap. This has done a great job cleaning up thoroughly bike-greased and sweat-upon wraps.

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I use a citrus degreaser and its great. I clean my entire bike with it, but it gets the sweat and oils off the tape so the dirt stops sticking.

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