ENSURING your pride and joy is kept in tip-top shape using a bike cleaner not only leaves it looking great, but it can actually help to prolong the life of your ride.
In fact, if you own a bike, you probably fall into one of two camps.
You either love your bike like it is a member of the family and clean it affectionately after every ride, or you just chuck it in the shed or garage once you’ve had your fun.
If you fall into the latter group, it might be worth changing your habits and investing a little bit of time and money into bike cleaning equipment; it could save you a lot more in the long run.
Like most things in cycling, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all cleaner, and its best to take a multi-pronged approach.
Although you can get a generic cleaner that will get off most bits of dirt from the road and trails, it’s good to have a degreaser and disc brake cleaner (if you have disc brakes) on hand too.
Read on below to see our guide of the best bike cleaning products that are essential for all cyclists.
1. Best bike general cleaner: Pedros Green Fizz II
- Pedros Green Fizz II, from £5.99 from Amazon – buy here
The first essential for any bike sprucing up session is a general cleaner that can be sprayed on to the whole bike before giving it a good hose down.
The Green Fizz from American brand Pedro’s is a great foaming wash that should be able to lift even the toughest bits of mud and grime.
It’s safe to use on carbon components and is also biodegradable, so won’t damage your bike or the planet.
2. Best degreaser for bikes: WD40 Bike Degreaser
- WD40 Bike Degreaser, £11.49 from Amazon – buy here
Although you could use a general cleaner to try and get the grime off your chain, it’s better to use a product designed specifically for cutting through grease.
Step forward the firm favourite for mechanics nationwide, WD-40. Simply spray it onto your drivetrain before wiping away to reveal the shiny chain and cogs that lay beneath.
And if you’re not sure what lube to apply to your chain after degreasing, check out our guide on best bike chain lubes.
3. Best bike disc brake cleaner: Fenwicks Disc Brake Cleaner
- Fenwicks Disc Brake Cleaner, £5.49 from Amazon – buy here
Disc brakes require special attention because they can easily become contaminated, resulting in a horrible squeal and, in a worst-case scenario, reduced performance and efficiency.
Fenwick’s Disc Brake Cleaner does as it says on the tin, keeping your brakes sharp and noise-free after every application.
4. Best water displacer: GT85
- GT85, £10.27 from Amazon – buy here
While often seen as a rival to WD40, there is actually a difference between these two sprays. The former is perfect for cutting through grime but doesn't have great lubricating properties, while GT85 is ideal for using towards the end of your cleaning session because of its water displacing and protective properties.
It's important to try and get rid of any water on the drivechain as any lubrication you apply after will be more effective, and a quick blast of GT85 should do the trick.
Plus, this three-pack will ensure you've always got some in reserve.
5. Best frame polish: Juice Lubes Frame Juice
- Juice Lubes Frame Juice, £9.99 from Amazon – buy here
Think polishing your bike is just for the purists? Think again.
While it might seem like an unnecessary step, giving your bike a final once over with a dedicated polish will not only give it an instant shine, but will help protect any paintwork, chrome, carbon, plastic or rubber components it's applied to.
It also reduces the build-up of grime, meaning you'll need to spend less time washing your bike next time out.
Simply spray the Frame Juice on, give it a polish and you're good to go.
6. Best brushes for cleaning bikes: Muc-Off 5 Cleaning Brush Set
- Muc-Off 5 Cleaning Brush Set, £19.15 from Amazon – buy here
Although it is fine to use a bog-standard sponge and a bucket of hot soapy water, you’ll be able to get into all those little nooks and crannies a little bit better by using a brush (or five).
The cleaning set by Muc-Off will help you get your bike looking good as new without scratching your bike’s paintwork or damaging any components.
The pack even includes a claw brush for your chain and a special ‘detailing’ brush. Fancy.
7. Best jet washer for bikes: Karcher OC3 Mobile Outdoor Washer
- Karcher OC3 Mobile Outdoor Washer, £129 from Wiggle – buy here
If you want to take your bike cleaning up a gear, you’re probably considering getting yourself a jet wash.
The OC3 from German jet wash-specialists Kärcher is a great pairing for your bike, and has been designed with delicate-yet-muddy components in mind.
It has a four-litre tank, is fully portable and the brand claims that the 5 bar pressure of the jet is gentle enough even to use on your dog too. Paw-fect!
What can I use to clean my bike?
If you don't have any specialist kit to hand, it's perfectly possible to clean your bike with everyday household items. A diluted multi-purpose cleaner will be able to get rid of most dirt and an old toothbrush works wonders at loosening grime in hard-to-reach places. If you want to invest in some bike-specific kit, a general cleaner such as Pedro's Green Fizz is a great place to start, while Muc-Off's 5 Cleaning Brush Set can get into any two-wheeled nook and cranny.
What soap should I use to wash my bike?
Before you reach for the washing up liquid, it's important to check that it's free of salt. While it will only be a small amount once diluted in water, over time it could have a negative impact on components if not completely rinsed off, causing corrosion and rusting. Look for salt-free soap or a bike-specific all-purpose cleaner for the best results.
Can I use WD40 to clean my bike?
WD40 is a staple in any mechanics armoury and for good reason – the spray can cut through grease easily, helping to get drivetrains and other grimy components looking like brand new in seconds. It's best reserved for the hardest-to-shift dirt though, with hot soapy water a more cost-effective way of washing off general dust and mud.
Looking for the ideal bike wall hanging fitting for your needs? Read our reviews here.
Found our roundup of the best bike cleaners helpful? Check out all our selections on the Sun Selects Health and Fitness page.
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