Frame cleaning question

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11 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

Crap. I inadvertantly rode through a newly painted white road line and the line material has caked onto my downtube, seat tube, shorts, and jersey. I got some off the bike with a wet paper towel and my finger nail but there is still much there, mocking me. It's a carbon fiber frame so naturally I am afraid to scrape with a screwdriver or wipe it down with anything that could dissolve the frame into a puddle with floating logos. Anyone have any experience in this area? Please help.

Anonymous's picture
Neile Weissman (not verified)

Contact the frame manufacturer. Let them suggest cleaning materials that wont compromise the frame.

I know peanut butter dissolves bubble gum ... or maybe it's the other way round.

Anonymous's picture
seth (not verified)

Simple-Green can cut through just about anything except the preserving-grease on brand new chains. make sure to use it in a well ventilated area, like out side. the stuff is non-toxic, but it has a powerful aroma.

oh, it's perfectly harmless on frames

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
2nd the motion Simple Green

"I concur with Seth about Simple Green. Do read the bottle carefully.

You want to avoid prolong contact with aluminimun bits and parts as it will tarnish the nice polish finish. I use the stuff all the time without a problem. Just be sure to wipe it down with a damp cloth afterwards. Simple Green - excellent stuff.

Another possibility and last resort is mineral spirits, aka paint thinner used in conjunction with a most delicate/fine grade sand paper or brillo pad. Get the ""odorless"" kind - use it outdoors and don't be smoking a cigarette while you handle the stuff; it's flammable. I'd test it out first on a very small discrete patch first and foremost. And not before checking with the frame manuf's recommendations and trying the simple green first."

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
carbon fiber

Does carbon fiber have any plastic in it?

I have an ancient memory of my brother dissolving in tears because his plastic model airplane disintegrated from his putting paint thinner on it. (Such thoughts as can be dredged up.)

No doubt someone else can explain what carbon fiber is actually composed of.

Anonymous's picture
Michael (not verified)
Carbon Fiber

Oddly enough, it is made from woven fibers of carbon held to strength by an epoxy of some sort. It is not surprising that the epoxy and a solvent like mineral spirits would get along poorly

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Just to be clear

Yes, mineral spirits (or another option: kerosene) is a caustic substance. I would only consider it a last option and done so judiciously in sparring amounts and not giving his frame a bath in it of course.

Considering the original poster's predicament, short of a new frame it's probably a matter of minimizing restoration damage versus living with the road-spray-paint on the frame.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
expensive fiberglas

In principle, not hugely different than the skin of a surfboard or the body of a Corvette:

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
and furthermore...

...lo-tech uses for hi-tech materials:

Anonymous's picture
bg (not verified)
cleaning carbon

I'd go to and review the posts on their message board. Calfee makes only carbon bikes. Someone there will know.

Anonymous's picture
Cheryl S. (not verified)
ask the manufacturer

Consult the manufacturer for a suggestion as to cleaning agent. At least then you're covered if your frame melts away!

Anonymous's picture
Leigh Ettinger (not verified)

Thanks for your suggestions everyone. I did contact the frame manufacturer and they suggested citrus based cleaners (such as Simple Green, Pedros, etc). They said to absolutely not use petroleum based cleaners or else risk carbon meltdown. With a citrus based cleaner I was able to get some more of the paint off but there still is some left that I will just have to live with. I hope the extra weight doesn't affect my climbing :)

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