I'm installing a basket on my cruiser, and getting some of the allen screws into the fork braze-ons is rough going. It feels like there's dirt or grease inside the threads of the braze-ons. Forcing the screws in could damage the threads.

How can I clean out the inside threads thoroughly, using common household items?

Note: Folks installing racks and fenders will often run into the same problems. I mention it here so searches on those terms will show this question.)

  • 1
    After getting the threads cleaned out, when you do run the bolt in there, grease the bolt threads a bit so you don't risk wasting your effort to some rust later. Dec 1, 2011 at 6:18

3 Answers 3


I use Q-tips and a degreaser (WD40 or similar will work). Spray on, wipe off. Soaking helps cut hard to remove grime.

  • I assume the Q-tips shrink when you dip them in degreaser? (Otherwise they wouldn't fit.) Sep 22, 2010 at 2:44
  • 1
    This might help with grime, but it might not help with paint. Many manufacturers will get paint on the threads, making it difficult to threat the bolts in. The brass wire brushes may work best, if this is your issue.
    – Jack M.
    Sep 22, 2010 at 16:36
  • 3
    Paint and burrs in the threads can be cleaned up with a tap. This is a mechanic's tool that cuts threads. Be careful, you can completely wreck the threads if you use it wrong. (I know the poster said common household items. In the working-class neighbourhood I grew up in these were common household tools; I can think of several people that had them. In my current neighbourhood not so much, but you may be able to find someone who can loan you one.) Sep 26, 2010 at 19:12
  • I would assume that a citrus-based cleaner (eg SimpleGreen) might help. Dec 1, 2011 at 6:19
  • I hadn't thought of this until I tried to do this today, but this works much better with cheap cotton swabs than with brand-name q-tips that have a generous amount of cotton on the end. Feb 9, 2013 at 22:59

I think your best bet will be an appropriate diameter brass thread cleaning brush: thread cleaning brushes

Amazon sells a few options, but a local hardware store will probably have more options.

  • 1
    Your link to Amazon is to the results for a search on "twisted brash brush" instead of "twisted brass brush" which gives 18 results instead of three.
    – Amos
    Sep 21, 2010 at 22:51
  • I just edited it to brass brush for the link Sep 21, 2010 at 23:10
  • I asked for how to do this common household items... but these are very cool! Sep 22, 2010 at 1:10

After cleaning out the threads try running the bolt from the backside that should set all the threads in line on the outside where you are going to screw into ... just a thought

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.