Cycling is a great activity that can help you get into better shape, with its only downside being the obligatory bike maintenance. To make the most of your bike, you will have to clean and degrease it regularly.
So, how do you dispose of the bike degreaser after cleaning your bike?
Oil-based bike degreasers are more complicated to dispose of as they must be taken to proper reclamation centers or environmental services that collects household hazardous waste . Water-based bike degreasers can be disposed of by simply flushing them down the drain.
Is Degreaser Bad For Your Bike? (Bike Degrease Options)
Most degreasers are not bad for bikes and cannot damage them. A degreaser is something you need to clean the chain, gears, or bearings on your bike. It can only damage a bike if you leave it on for too long or if it contains harsh chemicals that should not be used on bikes.
We already mentioned that there are two types of degreasers.
The first is the water-based degreaser that is more environmentally friendly, safer to use, and easier to dispose of. You can use this type of degreaser on any bike as it is not likely to cause any unwanted damage to it.
The second is the oil-based degreaser, which can be hazardous if not used properly. If you decide to use an oil-based degreaser, you will have to be very careful. It would be smart to read the manual for the degreaser before using it on a bike since some degreasers are known to damage tires, bike paint, or leather parts. (Source)
Using degreasers that contain harsh chemicals is also not recommended because they can harm a person’s health. These degreasers should not be inhaled or left on the skin for long as they can cause rashes and more serious diseases.
Is WD 40 Bike Degreaser Biodegradable?
WD 40 is a degreaser that has been on the market for quite a while. It is popular worldwide, with people using it to degrease their bikes, cars, machines, and what else not. It is not that expensive, while it is readily available in most retail stores.
One of the reasons why we want to use WD 40 as a degreaser is because it is water-based and therefore, environmentally friendly. It is made out of water, sodium tripolyphosphate, a non-ionic surfactant, and an amphoteric surfactant. With growing pollution concerns in the world, it is great to have such an eco-friendly product available. (Source)
This means that you can dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet. The company has done testing and confirmed that the “components of this product are not expected to harm aquatic organisms,” so this is a safe disposal tactic. (Source)
Even though you do not need to look for any reclamation centers to take it to, you can certainly dispose of any remaining WD 40 degreaser at an environmental service. As for the packaging, you can recycle it instead of just throwing it away.
Can You Reuse Bike Degreaser?
Bike degreasers can be reused, especially water-based ones. However, a general recommendation is not to reuse degreasers as their quality might be compromised by the particles that remain in them after each degreasing.
Degreasing a bike means you are removing all dirt and grime from it. Particles from the dirt and grime will remain in the degreaser. So, if you decide to reuse the degreaser, the particles will make their way back onto the bike and will make the cleaning more difficult for you.
This is why we do not recommend reusing your bike degreaser. Degreasers such as WD 40 are not expensive, while you can get small containers of it whenever you need to degrease something. That will allow you to use the entire degreasing solution at once, so you will not have to think about whether you want to keep the degreaser to reuse or not.
You should dispose of them in reclamation centers as soon as you are done using them. When doing so, put the solution in an air-tight container that cannot easily open or let fumes out.
Is Degreaser Corrosive?
Most water-based degreasers are non-corrosive and safe to use. There are, however, some oil-based degreasers that are corrosive and not appropriate for bike degreasing.
Whenever you are on the market for a degreaser, it would be smart to read the instruction manual on the degreaser to see whether it is corrosive or not. There are specific instructions that can tell you which degreaser is suitable for bike degreasing and which parts of the bike should be cleaned with the degreaser.
If you use a harsh, corrosive degreaser on a bike, chances are that the bike will rust quickly. This will make the bike look worn out, while you will also need to replace certain parts that have rust on them if you want to ride the bike again. To save yourself the trouble and money, be careful with the type of degreaser you use.
How Long Do You Leave Degreaser On?
When you are degreasing your bike, it would be smart to leave the degreaser on for only 5 minutes. That is enough for the degreaser to dig through the dirt and grime, helping you clean your bike to perfection.
It is also worth mentioning that not all parts of a bike need degreasing – it is usually the chain, gears, and bearing that should be cleaned with a degreaser. The other parts can be cleaned with a regular cleaning solution.
Some degreasers, especially oil-based ones, are too harsh for you to clean the entire bike with. The bike saddle material or the adhesives can be easily damaged by harsh chemicals. The same goes for the rubber on the wheels.
To clean the more delicate parts, you can use lukewarm water and a bit of dish soap. There are a ton of helpful guides online that can teach you how to maintain your bike without causing unintentional harm. So, consider following such guides the next time you need to clean your bike! (Source)
Does Degreaser Damage Bike Paint?
Harsh degreasers can damage bike paint as well as all rubber, adhesives, plastic, and leather parts on the bike. This is why such harsh, oil-based degreasers are not recommended and they could be dangerous to work with.
On a more positive note, many water-based degreasers can help you clean your bike without causing any damage to the paint. You can use those degreasers on the entire bike, leaving them on for a few minutes before rinsing them off. The result will be a spotless bike that will look brand new.
The best thing would be to go to a bike store and have the employees help you choose the best degreaser for your needs. They have intensive knowledge on how the degreasers should be used and even disposed of. So, use their advice to protect both your bike and the environment from unnecessary pollution.