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When is the last time you thoroughly cleaned your bike chain? Many novice and serious cyclists can be guilty of bike chain neglect, but did you know that a dirty bike chain can cause expensive wear and tear as well as affect your gear shifts and pedaling? Who knew that keeping a clean bike chain was so important? If you’re looking to clean your bike in order to gain better performance then you need to focus your energy onto your bicycle chain – this is the part of your bike that takes the most stress. Just think about all of those bike rides you have been on through different terrains. Dust, dirt and mud plays havoc on your chain, which has a knock-on effect on the rest of your bike.
An easy way to improve your ride is to use a bike chain degreaser. These products are used to strip oils and dirt from a well-used bike chain, and they are fairly inexpensive. The problem is, there are quite a lot of different products on the market. It can be quite tricky to know which is the best to buy.
In this guide we look at a range of chain degreasers. We discuss why using this type of product is better than dish soap and advise what to look for when looking to buy a degreaser.
Keep reading to find out our top bike degreasers.
The Best Bike Chain Degreaser
What we like about this particular bike degreaser is the fact that it acts fast and is simple to use. This product has a turbo sprayer that uses a mechanical agitation to remove grease and dirt – fast. This is a fast-acting product that dries quickly and leaves no residue. This means that you can apply lubricant immediately after use. This is actually Finish Line’s most popular product, and with its dry degreasing technology and reasonable price we can see why. The product has been created with special solvents that break down grime and grease as well as remove dirt and dust. It has also formulated to displace water and moisture, keeping your bike chain rust-free.
No special tools required
Special dry degreaser technology
- BrandFinish Line
- Weight1 pounds
If you’re looking for a bicycle chain degreaser that is more natural and less toxic, then this Park Tool product is perfect. The ChainBrite bicycle chain and component cleaning fluid is 100-percent biodegradable. This is a natural, plant-based degreaser that has been formulated for use with the CM-5.2 Cyclone Chain Scrubber and CM-25 Professional Chain Scrubber. You can also use it as a general purpose degreaser as well. Despite this product being powerful enough to clean your chains, it’s gentle enough to not cause any damage and won’t harm plastic, alloy or any rubber parts.
For use with cm-5.2 cyclone chain scrubber & cm-25 professional chain scrubber
Can use as general purpose degreaser
Won’t harm alloy, plastic or rubber
- BrandPark Tool
- Weight15.7 ounces
This wouldn’t be a comprehensive guide if we didn’t include WD-40. You might be wondering why a bicycle lubricant is on the list, so let us explain. A clean bicycle chain also needs to be well lubricated in order for you to get the best performance. Where many cyclists would perhaps degrease and clean their chains before re-adding lubricant, others may wish to use WD-40, which will clean you chain and add lubricant at the same time. This classic bicycle product is quick to use and will extend the life of your bicycle chain by keeping it lubricated and preventing corrosion. The no-wax formula prevents any damage from friction and will not build up inside the chain links and drivetrain. If you want to purchase a product with a great reputation that is highly recommended in the cycling community, then WD-40 is your product.
No wax formula
Extends life of bicycle chain
- BrandWD-40 Bike
- Weight5.6 ounces
The Finish Line lubricant and cleaner is a fast one-step product that can easily rival WD-40. If you’re looking for a simple and fast product that can clean and lubricate your bicycle chain at the same time, then this formula won’t let you down. When you use this on your bicycle you will flush out contaminants and old lube while leaving behind a thin film of clean lubricant. This product is known to have a strong cleaning and lubricating formula that can extend the life of your bicycle chain. It has a great reputation among professional cyclists, and we think that this speaks volumes! The product performs so many different tasks. Not only does it clean and lubricate but it also helps prevent corrosion from conditions such as rain and salt air. The product is available in drip and aerosol varieties and is also good for loosening old gear shifters and stiff cables.
Cleans & lubricates
Quick & easy to use
- BrandFinish Line
- Weight4 ounces
If you’ve only ever used a standard degreaser for your bicycle then we’re going to throw an alternative product out there for you to consider. Hands up: who’s heard of speed wax? Wax is said to be the fastest lube for your bicycle. It also has a reputation as one of the cleanest lubricants available as it’s not liquid, greasy or oily and therefore doesn’t pick up dirt, sand, or dust. This wax product is easy to apply when melted first using a crock pot. Just simply melt the wax, dip your chain into the mix and agitate. Hang up to dry, and you’re good to go. If you’re looking for a safer, non-toxic product that will clean and lubricate your chain while increasing its life, then this is a good option. This is perfect for bike enthusiasts and professionals who are looking for the best, fastest product for their bicycle chain.
Requires crock pot to melt wax
Perfect for racing & training
Includes cable tie & reseal bag
- Weight15.5 ounces
Here’s another plant-based bike chain degreaser that is much better for the environment. If you are conscious about the products that you use and are looking for something with significantly less chemicals and something that won’t harm or damage your bicycle, then Pedro’s Pig Juice is ideal – what a name too! Nothing to do with pigs, this degreaser and cleaner is made from solvent-free, plant-derived materials that clean bicycle chains really well. This product promises to cut through grime, dirt and oil to reveal your shiny clean chain underneath – what’s not to love?
Gentle on bikes
- Weight1.1 pounds
Packaged into a handy trigger bottle, this bike chain degreaser is biodegradable and non-toxic. The natural solution is also non-corrosive, so it will prevent the build up of rust on your chain. One of the best features of this particular product is its ability to cling to vertical surfaces, which makes it super easy to use. It will clean your chain by removing any dirt, grime or grease and is 100-percent safe to use on painted surfaces.
Handy trigger bottle
Foam formula clings to vertical surfaces
- BrandSimple Green
- Weight1.75 pounds
One of the highlights of this particular bicycle degreaser is the fact that it’s gentle enough to use anywhere on your bike. You can even use this cleaning product on your disc brake rotors and brake pads. This product is also 100-percent fully biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about chemicals when you use it in your yard. We like products that are simple to use, and with the Muc Off Nano Tech Bike Cleaner you can’t get any easier: simply spray it, leave it on for a few minutes, and then rinse it off with a clean cloth.
Easy to use
For use anywhere on bike
- BrandMuc Off
- Weight1.6 pounds
This bicycle degreaser has been specifically designed for bicycle drive chains and features a strong biodegradable formula that has been manufactured to be safe when in contact with plastic and rubber parts. Interestingly, the gentle formula has been made using orange peel and soy-based extracts, but despite its natural ingredients it is strong enough to use diluted with water. This is a fantastic product if you want to dissolve bicycle chain dirt and grime quickly.
Strong biodegradable formula
Can dilute with water
- BrandFinish Line
- Weight1.32 pounds
One of the features we looked at when choosing the best bike chain degreasers was ease of use. The White Lightning product works super fast and promises to break down grease in minutes. Stubborn grime, dirt and grease can easily be washed away with this product, which not only cleans fast but dries in minutes too with no leftover streaks or residue. This strong formula doesn’t require any rinsing, so you can clean your chains, gears, derailleurs and disc brake rotors easily and quickly.
Fast acting formula
Cleans without the need for rinsing
No streaks or residue
- BrandWhite Lightning
- Weight1.4 pounds
Best Bike Chain Degreaser Buying Guide & FAQ
We compiled this buying guide because we felt that although a bicycle degreaser is a relatively inexpensive product, purchasing the wrong type could be potentially detrimental to your equipment. If you take cycling seriously and have a bicycle that you care about then it’s vital to keep it in tip-top shape. A poorly maintained bike will not only slow you down but it won’t function well either. Below we look at the features you should look out for when buying a bicycle degreaser, why using one is essential and look at the importance of using a biodegradable formula. We also answer your most commonly asked questions.
Keep reading to find out more.
What to Look for in a Bike Chain Degreaser
If you think you can use almost anything to clean your bicycle chain you’d be wrong. It can be harmful to use the wrong type of product so it’s essential to do your research first and buy a degreaser which has been specially designed to take on the task.
Here are some of the most important features you should look out for:
- Easy To Use
We believe that when you’re cleaning your bike it shouldn’t be a difficult task at all. Look for products that are fast and easy to use, buying a complicated degreaser that requires special equipment may make you less likely to use the product regularly - no one wants to feel that cleaning their equipment is a chore. Spray cans and fast acting formulas make cleaning your bike easy and enjoyable. There’s something deeply satisfying about seeing the dirt loosen and come away from your drive chain!
Using a biodegradable formula is beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, it’s easier to rinse away with water and secondly it’s thought to be better for the environment. The last thing you want to do when cleaning your bike is to rinse away chemicals that will end up in your garden or down the drain. This issue is a little controversial however, as some people believe that biodegradable products can still be toxic. We’ll talk about this more in the FAQ section. But if you’re going to clean your bike near grass we’d always suggest using a biodegradable product.
- Dries Fast
A fast drying product makes light work of bicycle maintenance. If you purchase a bike chain degreaser that dries fast then you can add your chosen lubricant afterwards and be road ready in minutes.
- Value for Money
You shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on a chain degreaser nor should you opt for the cheapest on the market. Look for a product with the best reputation. A degreaser that comes highly recommended and provides the best value for money.
Why You Should Use a Bike Chain Degreaser
There is a concern among certain novice riders that a bicycle chain can be too clean and that regularly degreasing a bike chain will remove essential lubrication from within. There is no evidence to suggest that a bicycle chain can be too clean. On the contrary, there are many reasons why you should use a bike chain degreaser and follow up with lubrication.
A bicycle chain will wear down over time and there are many factors that contribute to the wear and tear of a bicycle chain. One of the main reasons for chain wear is dirt and in particular, grit. Grit tends to grind away at the metal which will slow down your bicycle and reduce its performance. Professionals believe that there is significant efficiency lost from cycling with a dirty chain. A well cleaned and lubricated chain will extend the life of your bicycle and give you a more efficient and faster ride. Using a dedicated bike chain degreaser when your chain has picked up dirt and grime will make it easier to maintain your bicycle in the long-run. Chain degreasers have been specially formulated to be used with particular part of your bike and therefore will not harm your bike in any way whilst at the same time cleaning it fast and easily.
Non Toxic vs. Biodegradable Degreasers
There is quite a bit of controversy when it comes to degreasers and many people have questioned whether or not biodegradable means non-toxic. The truth of the matter is that biodegradable chain degreasers are not guaranteed for safety.
It’s all a little misleading.
Some natural biodegradable products are 100% safe and non-toxic but there is no guarantee that all are. You could be unknowingly purchasing a bike chain degreaser which could be causing harm to the environment and be hazardous to the user. Even a non-hazardous sticker on packaging doesn’t guarantee safety, this is a trick that many manufacturers use to avoid transportation restrictions. The best advice is to look at the ingredient list of the product that you buy and if in doubt contact the manufacturers to ask advice. Always use genuine biodegradable products if you plan to clean your products on the grass and if you do ever use a product that doesn’t state that it’s non-toxic use protective gear such as gloves, nose masks and glasses. The last thing you want is harmful chemicals near your eyes or on your skin.
Best Bike Chain Degreaser FAQ:
Q: How often should I clean my bike chain?
A: Professionals clean their bike chains after every serious ride but were aware that this isn’t feasible for most people! You just need to take a commonsense approach when it comes to cleaning your bicycle chain. If you are frequently using your bicycle then it’s likely to be picking up more and more dirt so you’ll need to keep an eye on your chain and see if it’s starting to accumulate nasty gunk. The conditions in which you cycle is important too. If you regularly use your bicycle on dusty or dirty roads then you’re more likely to need to clean your bike regularly. Remember, your drive chain is the part of your bike that will receive the most wear and tear so it’s important to look after this. It’s also open and exposed to the elements and so water and dirt can cause quite a bit of damage. If you are looking to gain optimal performance from your bicycle then your bike will benefit from a regular monthly clean.
Q: Is it safe to use WD-40 on bike chain?
A: Another controversial topic. Many people advise against using WD-40 on bicycle chains but there are many people that say it’s absolutely ok. WD-40 is a solvent containing a very light lubricant. Lots of cyclists don’t like the idea of using this product on their bikes because it only leaves a light lube on your chain. WD-40 loosens dirt and grime and acts as a degreaser, it then leaves a fine film of lubricant behind. So fine that many cyclists believe that the lubricant is too fine and not thick enough to stick to fast moving bicycle parts. We believe that it is safe to use WD-40 as a cleaner and degreaser but you will need to follow this up with specific bicycle lubricant which has been designed to have a stronger hold on moving bicycle parts.
Q: Can I use dish soap to clean my bike chain?
A: Lots of people have been asking whether or not it is safe to use dish soap to clean their bicycle chain. It’s a cheaper alternative to many bike chain degreasers on the market and we can see why people are looking to use this as an alternative. According to several professional sources, using a mild dish soap is totally safe option for cleaning your bike chain. Warm water, mixed with biodegradable dish soap will clean the grease and grime from your bicycle. The problem is that it strips oil from your bike so you will need to add a suitable lubricant afterwards. Dish soap isn’t as effective as a special bike chain degreaser however, but if it’s the only thing to hand then go ahead and get those soapy suds on your bike - it won’t cause harm so long as you rinse it well afterwards.
Our Top Pick
It was a tough decision but when we weighed up the pros and cons of each product as well as the price, we found that the Finish Line Speed Bicycle Chain Degreaser was our absolute favorite. This is a great little bicycle chain degreaser that comes with a fantastic reputation. In fact, many professionals love this brand and when we look at the results we can see why it comes highly recommended. This is a fast acting product which is simple to use too. The product has a turbo sprayer which uses a special mechanical agitation to easily remove grease and grime. We loved that it dried fast and left no residue. This is an important feature as bicycle chains should be lubricated fast after cleaning to avoid oxidation.