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Ultrasonic bike chain cleaning is a process that's being used more frequently in bike shops across the country. Ultrasonic machines have long proven their usefulness at cleaning grime from jewelry and are now showing how valuable they can be to bicycle repair shops and recreational equipment companies for a dirty job that tends to be time consuming. An ultrasonic cleaner can have a greasy, grimy bike chain sparkling clean in about 10 minutes.
How Does it Work?
Ultrasonic cleaners have generators that produce voltage, which in turn produces high frequencies that alternate to create high and low pressure within the cleaning chamber. When you place a dirty bike chain into the chamber cleaning solution, low pressure sound waves form little bubbles on the chain's surface and then collapse when the high pressure cycle kicks in. As they pop, the bubbles create little shock waves that essentially scrub the chain, cleaning dirt and oil from it.
Effective and Efficient
Even though the machine does the scrubbing for you, you're still likely to get your hands dirty because you have to remove the chain from the bike, but other than that, ultrasonic bicycle chain cleaning is almost hands-free. It's more efficient, too, allowing you to spend time on other maintenance aspects instead of hunching over a container of solvent with a brush in one hand and a dirty bike chain in the other.
Biodegradable Cleaning Agents
The cleaning solutions that these machines use are biodegradable, water-based and non-hazardous, eliminating the need to pay to remove hazardous waste. That's good for the budget, but also beneficial to the environment. The recreational equipment company REI estimates that by using ultrasonic cleaners in their stores, they are eliminating 40 to 100 gallons of hazardous waste per shop every year.
Quick and Easy Operation
After you remove the chain from the bike, all you have to do is turn on the machine and place the chain into the cleaning tank containing the cleaning solution. Let the machine do its thing for at least 5 minutes; you'll see the black grime floating off of the chain as it works. After you remove the chain from the tank, just blow it off, either with canned air or the blower system attached to the ultrasonic machine if it has one. At that point the chain is ready to be lubed and put back on the bike.
About the Author
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.