I've bought these bars second hand and would like to clean them out before I use them. Right now they're full of dust, dirt, spiders, etc.

Will it do any damage to run water through them? I'll, of course, let them drain and dry before putting them to use.

dirty inside of bars

  • 1
    Water will not hurt a standard steel or aluminum handlebar. The exception would be bars with internal cables, where there is some risk of forcing water into the cable housings, but such bars are fairly rare (and you'd know if you had one). – Daniel R Hicks Jan 8 '17 at 14:40
  • Water might annoy the spiders though... – Penguino Jan 8 '17 at 22:53

Its totally fine. For bars with impacted dirt in the ends I have used a blunt screwdriver to dig as far in as possible, then put water in and leave it to soak though the dirt. Adding dishwash liquid helps too.

You should be able to poke a wire or string all the way through the bars.

I'll use a hot air blower to dry the whole bars outside and inside through both ends. Also I hang it up to save burning the fingers.

Once its cooled down again, I sand any imperfections, and then use an aerosol spray can of anti-rust/primer to blast down both ends of the bars in turn. Its not going to coat all the inside, but should help longterm, specially right at the ends.

Then I prime the outside, wait, sand, top coat, wait, (sometimes I do a clearcoat) and then reassemble carefully. Fit new grips once the brakes and stuff are on.

  • A small bottle brush might help too. – Criggie Jan 8 '17 at 19:44

If you have a forgiving spouse (or they are out of town), then you can run it through your dishwasher.

Be sure to run an empty load after it and also get rid of any incriminating spider parts that might be stuck in the output filter.

Pro-tip: Only dishwash parts that don't have any bearings in them. The problem isn't (just) washing the grease out of the bearings, it's that the grease will transfer to other parts of the dishwasher and can be hard to take off or otherwise explain to your spouse.

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    I wouldn't think that a dishwasher would be very good at cleaning out the inside of the bar. You'd do just as well using a hose to force water through it. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 9 '17 at 0:24
  • You have to stand it up so that the lower jets (which are more powerful) can get into the bar end. It might not work with longer straight bars. – RoboKaren Jan 10 '17 at 2:29
  • Wouldn't work very well for drop bars either. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 10 '17 at 2:56
  • Running the washer empty afterwards is rather wasteful and prim, since its needless. – gschenk Jan 10 '17 at 20:28

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