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Delivering What’s Next in Precision Cleaning

Ultrasonic Cleaner for Bike Parts

The ideal solution for precision bicycle detailing.

Even the most careful cyclist will eventually leave grease and grime on their bike. And if you do not wash the parts often enough, they will rust and be unusable.

The challenge is removing caked-on dirt and grime and rust from small, intricate parts in a way that precision-cleans them for extended use before the cycle of bicycle cleaning comes around again.

There are OK ways to attempt this cleaning – mainly by applying elbow grease and a soft-bristled brush – and then there is the best way.

What is the best way to clean your bike parts?

Methods for cleaning bicycle parts include:

  • Using a soft-bristled brush. This method can take a long time and doesn’t get to the components as well as the other methods.
  • Using a small hand-held jigsaw with an attached brush to carefully cut out areas with caked-on grunge. This method is time-consuming and causes surface wear.
  • Using an ultrasonic cleaner to remove virtually all debris and rust effortlessly.

As you can see, the best way to make your bike parts spotless is with an ultrasonic cleaner.

A Crest Ultrasonics cleaner uses high-power, microscopic implosions to clean your parts in a way that would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve using any other method. In addition, Chem-Crest detergents are safe yet powerful, helping to loosen and weaken the bonds formed with rust and debris over long periods of neglect.

What is ultrasonic cleaning?

Ultrasonic cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves to vibrate a fluid within a tank. This activity causes microscopic bubbles to form on any part’s surfaces held inside the tank, which then implode, forcefully pulling any substrates or grime off the inner or outer surfaces. The entire process is called “cavitation.”

Because cavitation is fluid-based, it can precision-clean within blind holes, cracks, and recesses that one cannot reach by hand or other brute-force methods. Because filthy items are suspended in a basket within the tank, the bottoms of all parts are equally cleaned.

Combining water or solvents with cavitation lets bike shop employees and avid DIY cyclists detail all sorts of parts, removing fingerprints, dust, dirt, oils, rust, and grease. Manufacturers use ultrasonic cleaners to remove these and other contaminants that machine-assembly can create during the parts-making process.

What are the benefits of using an ultrasonic parts cleaner?

The benefits of ultrasonic cleaning include:

  • Precision – reaching microscopic levels of contaminant removal
  • Uniformity – attacking every part surface, no matter own complex or hidden
  • Speed – completing within 10-15 minutes, usually
  • Safety – working within a tank without the need for manual scrubbing labor
  • Productivity – allowing workers to focus on other tasks while the cleaning occurs
  • Economy – containing fluids that can often be reused, depending upon life cycle and cleaning nature
  • Decluttering – using tanks with modest floor or counter footprints

What bicycle parts can you clean with an ultrasonic cleaner?

Manufacturers, shops, and cyclists all use ultrasonic cleaners. Depending upon the scope of the need and size of the equipment, you can clean:

  • frames
  • wheels
  • rims
  • chains
  • cassettes
  • freewheels
  • sprockets
  • rings
  • bearings
  • shifters
  • derailleur pulley systems
  • and more

Items needed For ultrasonic cleaning

The items needed for ultrasonic cleaning are:

  • Ultrasonic cleaning tank (preferably heated)
  • Distilled water or parts cleaning solvent
  • Rags or sponges (preferably several different ones)
  • Rubber mat to place under benchtop tanks

What is a common cleaning schedule?

There is no set rule as to how often you should clean and re-lubricate your bike. You will need to examine what kind of bike you have and how often you ride it. In general, a mountain bike might require a thorough cleaning every two weeks, but a road bike doesn’t need cleaning as often since it won’t get as dirty.

Regardless of the amount of use, you should refresh your bike every three months to ensure that it is in good working order.

The process for detailing bike parts with ultrasonics

Begin by removing the parts from the frame. Remove any mounting equipment or other connectors you might need to remove with it.

Next, ensure that any excess dirt is gone off the parts with a quick wipe and rinse before putting it in a heated ultrasonic parts cleaner. You don’t need to take this step, but it will help save processing time when inside the tank.

When your parts are ready, add your liquid of choice to a tank containing your choice of distilled water or detergent. If possible, choose one able to break up and transport electrostatic contaminants. Place the disassembled parts on a rack above the tank, and you can set the timer and walk away.

It usually only takes five minutes to get the job done. Depending on how pristine you want it, you can set the timer for longer or put fewer parts of your machine in at one time.

Use a good parts degreaser with a built-in rust inhibitor, and there will be no need to rinse the parts once you remove them from the bath. By mixing in some air and then flash drying, just by adding heat, you can reuse these bike parts right away.

Generally speaking, we recommend cleaning the parts of an active bicycle once or twice a month to maintain proper performance.

What is the best size of ultrasonic parts washer for cleaning bike parts?

The tank size you need depends upon the task at hand, including whether you are a manufacturer, bike repair shop, or hobbyist. Of course, the amount of working space you have is another determining factor.

Fortunately, Crest Ultrasonics offers everything from large, automated stations to small benchtop tanks. Whatever your need is, from work type to part size, we have ultrasonic parts cleaners that are just right for you.

Ultrasonic Bike Parts Cleaner

These steps include a heated ultrasonic cleaning stage, followed by a stagnant rinse stage, and final ultrasonic lubrication. Each step in the process allows processing stages to run separately and simultaneously.

Powersonic Benchtops

Cleans like no other benchtop ultrasonic cleaner with ceramically enhanced transducers and overlapping ultrasonic waves. You can order your preferred Powersonic tank size, voltage, and accessories online right now!

All-purpose Parts Cleaner

Engineered with high-intensity ultrasonic power that goes beyond industry standards, our parts washers’ pull-through bag filtration and specially designed pump recirculation eliminate the loss of ultrasonic activity and cavitation while processing.

Digital Modular Series (DMS)

For higher throughput and larger components that can’t be handled manually. Standard plug-and-play options include filtration, frequencies, automatic fill/drain, conductivity, and much more. Our DMS system is expandable, versatile, and modular.

What do you use as a bicycle cleaning solvent?

Do not flammable solvents in ultrasonic cleaners. For the sake of safety, choose an aqueous cleaner that is not flammable. These solutions can reach into all areas and will clean exceptionally well when combined with heat.

Chem-Crest offers you exceptional ultrasonic cleaning detergents such as these below.

chem crest chemicals
Ordering available for gallon, case, pail, 55-gallon drum, and tote sizes. Items generally shipped within 24 hours.

Chem-Crest® 235

A multipurpose, mild, phosphate- and caustic-free alkaline liquid cleaner that is useful in many applications demanding removal of various contaminants such as oils, greases, particulate matter, and carbon residues. This detergent was specially developed for the cleaning of off-engine, firearms, and bicycle parts, though it finds many other uses throughout industrial, mechanical, and maintenance cleaning operations. Freely water soluble. See detailed specifications >>
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Chem-Crest® 400L

A non-hazardous petroleum distillate designed to be used at full strength in an ultrasonic bath for the primary use of displacing and absorbing rinse water and for the lubrication of weapons and bicycle parts. This solution is designed to absorb large quantities of water that can later be settled out for the purpose of reusing the lubricant. See detailed specifications >>
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