I was trying to revive my old dirty chain for a few weeks while I waited for my replacement cassette to come in, so I partially soaked it in some chain lubricant. What's the safest way to dispose of a small amount of dirty chain lube?

  • 2
    Throw it in with the dirty oil you're saving from the oil change in your lawnmower, then take it all to you local haz waste spot. Or just take it by the local auto mechanic's shop and have them dump it in their waste oil barrel. Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 22:55

2 Answers 2


Depends where you are located.

Where I live in the US the county has a hazardous waste disposal facility that takes used oil - usually from people changing car and lawnmower engine oil.

As an aside, soaking a chain in lube to get it clean will not be very effective. Clean a chain with a de-greaser or solvent (preferably a environment friendlier citrus based one), then re-lube.

  • And in my experience chain lube used in a "chain washer" need not be dumped after each use. Save it for the next use, next week, and don't worry about getting rid of it until bike season is over. Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 22:57
  • So lube good as a solvent? I would think something very thin is needed to shake dirt and grime loose. Perhaps citrus degreaser, or mineral spirits like paint thinner, kerosene, etc.
    – nogasbiker
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 22:27
  • @nogasbiker no, lube is very bad as removing away dirt because it is sticky by design. A degreaser should be used. Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 23:15

Another option is to put it in a bottle and let it stand for a long time.
There's a good change the impurities will settle out down the bottom and you can skim off the good-enough cleaner at the top to reuse.

I have an old landrover that takes many litres of EP90 gear oil, and that's expensive. So when its contaminated with water, I let it stand in a big glass flagon bottle for 3 months then carefully decant. I normally get 1/2 to 2/3 back by volume, and the bottom part is disposed of as per other suggestions.

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