Keeping the Winter Bike Clean ... windshield washer fluid?

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by andyinabpx, 8 Jan 2019.

  1. andyinabpx

    andyinabpx New Member

    Hi everyone — new here but was hoping to get some advice. I just switched my Surly Cross-Check over to a 1x1 and I'm using it to commute through the Minnesota winter. It's already showing some wear from the wetness & road salt, so I'm trying to find an easy way to keep it clean. I don't have a garage or a garden hose, so it needs to be something I can easily do without either of those.

    One trick I heard about was to use a garden sprayer full of hot soapy water to hose down your bike, which sounds promising. Even better would be something that I could keep outside in the shed, and I was thinking it might work to use windshield wiper fluid (since it won't freeze). Anybody heard of this before, or have other tricks? Thx
     
  2. I have a water butt which collects rainwater in the garden. Every time I get home, if the bike looks a bit dirty. I just use a watering can to rinse the worse of it off. At the weekend I just take a bucket of rainwater and a brush and wash it down. I dont use any detergents. I then give the chain a clean and light oil.

    The bike looks great all through the winter.
     
  3. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    Location:
    On 3 Wheels
    Some screenwash will damage paint if too concentrated.
     
  4. Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    Screen wash contains ethylene glycol, which tastes sweet so can be tempting to cats and dogs, but it's poisonous so not a great idea if you have family pets.

    Hot soapy water applied with a soft hand brush of the type that comes with a dustpan would be best, followed up with drying with a microfibre cloth then later, a spray of WD40 or equivalent or an aerosol furniture polish, buffed off. Wash and dry the chain in the same way then lubricate. Obviously keep oily liquids off the brakes.
     
    raleighnut likes this.
  5. Heltor Chasca

    Heltor Chasca Out-Riding the Black Dog

    Especially consider this for a Surly as they don't use a clear lacquer over the actual paint. I use car wash with wax in the solution. Would this freeze?
     
    raleighnut likes this.
  6. Yellow Saddle

    Yellow Saddle Veteran

    Location:
    Loch side.
    I doubt there's glycol in there. In radiator antifreeze yes, windscreen wash, I don't think. I smell methanol or Isopropyl Alcohol, both of which do nothing to paint, especially in diluted form as found in windscreen wash.

    The best way to check is not to trust my sense of smell but look up the Material Data/Safety Data Sheet of the product in question. I think a dilute mixture of windscreen wash kept in the shed is a fine idea. These safety sheets are freely available on the 'net.
     
    meta lon and Dogtrousers like this.
  7. Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    Yes, Yellow Saddle is correct, ethylene glycol is used in car antifreeze not windscreen wash. It's methanol or IPA. Dunno why I wrote that.

    Hot soapy water sounds like the answer, though be sure to dry the bike off and protect the working parts with a dispersant. In the past I have had problems with cables freezing after washing in cold weather when a bit of moisture gets inside.
     
    raleighnut likes this.
  8. OP
    OP
    andyinabpx

    andyinabpx New Member

    Great thanks everyone! I'll start with hot soapy water, and maybe try and do some more research on the windscreen wash idea. Will post back if I learn anything new...
     
  9. Yellow Saddle

    Yellow Saddle Veteran

    Location:
    Loch side.
    I actually think your windscreen wash idea is an excellent one. That way you can keep a can of it outside and it won't freeze. I also think it will clean better than plain water and, I'm pretty sure it won't do anything to your paint. Test it on a small area but I'm optimistic it will work out.
     
  10. Johnno260

    Johnno260 Über Member

    Location:
    East Sussex
    I just use the pink muc-off stuff, it's not the cheapest thing but does the job nicely.
     
  11. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    Ready mixed is fine the concentrate also is fine if you dilute it.
     
  12. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    Ready mixed is fine the concentrate also is fine if you dilute it.
     
  13. SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    Location:
    London
    That's a waste of money. Bulk TFR is a fraction of the price. Same stuff, different profit margin!
     
  14. screenman

    screenman Legendary Member

    For once I agree with you, I buy it 2x 25 litre at a time for around £25 mixed my way it will make up 300 litres of more.
     
  15. SkipdiverJohn

    SkipdiverJohn Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Shock, horror - @screenman and me not disagreeing about something.
    Right, that's enough of that, back to Brexit....:laugh:
     
    Pat "5mph" and screenman like this.
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