Is there any suggestion to completely remove iron II acetate from a zinc-alloy steel surface? It can't be something abrasive, or if it is, it must be completely soluble.


My bike chain, which is made of zinc-alloy steel, got some bits of rust here and there after I cleaned it and left it wet for a while. I wax my bike chain, so the there's no protection against rust. I did some research and decided to sink it in white vinegar in order to get rid of the rust, since I figured between the plates and the pins must have got a bit rusty as well. I sank the chain in pure white vinegar for 10-15' and couldn't see any visible reaction. I guess I had to leave it there for some hours/days. I decided then to put the vinegar and the chain in an ultrasonic cleaner. After some 10-15' I checked it back. The rust was gone, but to my surprise (I'm not a chemist of course :) ), the chain turned completely black/dark brown-ish. I guess the ultrasonic cleaner catalyzed the process.

I guess the brown-ish layer is iron II acetate from what I researched. Basically, the acetic acid reacting with the steel.

My problem is, I want to get the chain completely free of the iron acetate. I was able to scrub most of it off with an iron brush, but only on the outside area. There is residue between the links and inside the pins. I already tried hot water and denatured alcohol (left the chain sank for hours), but none worked.

I wax my bike chain and I do it for a few reasons. It's environmentally friendly as no chemicals are needed to clean it, just hot water. Cleaning is fast and easy and I like to keep the drive train pristine. The issue with the iron acetate is that although the chain looks clean after each waxing. After the first run, the wax turns black-ish and the chain starts to look dirty again.

I read somewhere that NaCL would turn iron III acetate soluble. Maybe that would work for II as well? In any case, I'm not sure dumping the chain into a solution of water and table salt would solve my problem.

Any comments would be very welcome. Thank you very much.


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