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By the term consumable metallic parts I mean things such as derailleur pulleys, chains and cassettes. I have met tourers that suggested me cooking oil for cleaning the metallic parts, more here. The irony is that this frugal question ignited the tip but I am starting to feel cooking oil is not necessarily frugal, the oil is binned at the end (loss). My answer contains a cleaning way for about 0.1-0.5EUR. So how can I clean the parts more cheaply?


  • cooking oil used to clean chains -answer here
  • substitutes for chain lubricants -question here
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Do you consider cassettes to be "consumable"? I do consider my chain to be "consumable". And by maintaining the chain, the cassette lasts for quite a long time. And for the cassette, I'm not pulling it off unless replacing the bearings. Do you plan to disassemble your rear wheel and clean the cassette just because? – user313 Mar 28 '11 at 21:26
@wdypdx22: yes I do. The left cassette is for winter, the right one is for summer. When I changed my winter tires to summer tires, I changed the cassette&chains and it was a good time to clean the consumables. You can see in the first picture how much junk there was on the cassette after winter. I believe this way I can make my cassettes and chains much long-lasting -- and it keeps me cleaning the metallic parts thoroughly. I do ride quite a lot so I want as cheap maintenance as possible hence the question. Any low-cost option to clean the consumambles besides cooking oil? – user652 Mar 28 '11 at 22:00
I think it would be better to have a short question and put most of your material in as an answer. As it is it's more like a wiki page. I'm happy to remove my downvote if you do that, otherwise I think we should close the question. – Мסž Mar 29 '11 at 1:37
@moz: thanks. It should now be more accessible. – user652 Mar 29 '11 at 14:08
some other reason for down-vote? – user652 Mar 29 '11 at 19:55
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Kerosene isn't bad... Low flash point and reasonably safe. (BBQ starter fluid)

I admit I've used gasoline... It's a wonderful solvent. I don't smoke...

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they are flammable but do they corrode the metal? Cooking oil does not corrode but it is probably not as efficient as these liquids. Any idea whether I could use only a small tip of kerosene or something like that and dissolve it into something cheaper and then use it for cleaning the metallic parts? Such solution may become more efficient dust dissolver and may become cheaper, have to investigate it... – user652 Mar 29 '11 at 0:19
Oil, diesel/kerosene/petrol(gasoline) don't corrode and will all dissolve oil. – mgb Mar 29 '11 at 14:00
I carry an MSR stove, while touring, that will burn just about anything. The gasoline that I usually burn in it is an excellent degreaser--and the stove will generally burn the used gasoline when I'm done. Just have to clean the jet every now and then to dislodge the gunk. At the end of a season, I let the fuel bottle dry out and any remaining gunk goes into the trash bin. – DC_CARR Mar 29 '11 at 18:02
No..No petroleum product I know of will corrode or damage metal components in any way. – M. Werner Mar 29 '11 at 20:00
@DC_CARR: +1 how do you precisely clean them to avoid waste? Do you put the gasoline to a cloth, to a bottle or to a container? When you apply the gasoline, how do you prepare your metallic parts? Do you take them off, wipe them with some cleaner or do something else? What about after-wards? Like in my procedure, there are surely many points to go wrong. I like this way because it reuses the used gasoline. In my cooking oil thing, I binned it. But here the cost must be very near 0 or is it? Anyway very promising tip! Thanks. – user652 Mar 29 '11 at 20:04

You can see below how I cleaned my cassette with grocery store stuff like cooking oil and hand-cleaner. It worked very well but I used about 0.2-0.5 liter cooking oil, material cost perhaps 0.1-0.5EUR (but very dirty cassette and I think I could use less).

This brush was going to bin, reuse at the best. Cost = 0. The other side of the brush is hacked to clean some in-between parts, you need a knife for it, again cost = 0. I used also a braking cable to some parts.

enter image description here

I used a braking cable to get the dirt between the cogs and other places, worked well, needless to buy expensive Par.* plastic things.

enter image description here

Picture before final cleaning where it became like new but good comparison to new one. Sorry different products actually, the old cassette is done with dimmer metal and a bit heavier. On the surface, you can see the cooking oil.

enter image description here

Cleaning the cooking oil off can be a hurdle, you don't want it while riding because it will go rancid more here. If your hands stand or you have hand-protections, you may want to try cloth-cleaning-stuff, cheap bulk grocery store stuff. I have tried it and it is a bit more effective to hand-cleaner stuff to take the oil out, particularly with running hot water. But if you cannot take the cooking oil off, even with hand-cleaner, cloth-cleaner, running water and brushing, for some odd reason you may want to try the petroleum products suggested by this answer. I have never used petroleum products but they should work but maybe too expensive in your location.

Cooking oil has transformed the initial salty-dirty-bad-stuff to easier cooking-oil-mess. I am still uncertain to which extent the cooking oil can be bad to the chain particularly if left rancid, perhaps no worry at all if you can take the most of it out and perhaps it will go out when you ride some kms, anyway working well for me.

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