The best bike cleaners make the sometimes joyless task of washing your bicycle that little bit easier.
Bike cleaners differ from general purpose cleaning products in that they’re generally formulated to be safe on all bike components, meaning that you don’t have to worry about overspray getting on your brakes or tyres.
Typically, using a bike cleaner is a case of giving your machine a quick spritz with the hose, spraying on the cleaner, scrubbing with a brush, and then hosing the whole lot down. Some don’t require water, however, and it’s best to follow the product instructions.
The best bike cleaners according to our expert testers
These three bike cleaners all scored four out of five stars in our test:
Oxford Mint Bike Wash: £7 – 1 litre
Duck Smart Bike Ezee: £7 – 500ml
Juice Lubes Dirt Juice: £8 – 1 litre
Oxford Mint Bike Wash
Oxford Mint Bike Wash. Immediate Media
Oxford’s British-made biodegradable bike wash is certainly the mintiest-smelling cleaner we’ve got on test here – and it’s effective too.
It foams up nicely and works well even on seriously grime-encrusted wheels and tyres. It also dries quickly without leaving any streaks, shines up well, and if you really like it you can buy 5-litre top-up bottles of the stuff for £15.99.
Duck Smart Bike Ezee
Duck Smart Bike Ezee. Immediate Media
Bike Ezee doesn’t require water, though Duck Smart does recommend you give your bike a quick soak first if it’s very dirty. But for lighter spatterings of grit and grime you just spray this on, wipe it off with a microfibre cloth, and then polish it up to a shiny finish thanks to its silicone.
It cleans effectively, seems to keep dirt at bay and smells like banana milkshake!
Juice Lubes Dirt Juice
Juice Lubes Dirt Juice. Immediate Media
Another UK-made biodegradable cleaner, Dirt Juice is designed to work in just a couple of minutes and we found it did its stuff quickly and efficiently even after wet and dirty rides.
It has a slightly more chemical smell than some, but was extremely effective and if you buy it as a super-concentrate – diluting it 10:1 with water – it represents superb value.
Muc-Off Nano Tech
Muc-Off Nano Tech. Immediate Media
The classic biodegradable cleaner, as used by Team Sky (now Ineos). After spraying, we found three minutes was adequate for all but the most encrusted grime to become easy to wipe and rinse off.
The ‘Nano’ name means it cleans down to a tiny scale, though we didn’t notice a significant difference. It’s better value in bigger bottles – or vats if you go for the 25L option (£102.99).
Guy Martin Proper Cleaner
Guy Martin Proper Cleaner. Immediate Media
Price: £6.50 for 2 × 750ml
Motorcycle maestro Guy Martin has a novel, carbon footprint-reducing take on the humble bike cleaning fluid (biodegradable, of course): you get a 750ml bottle and two soluble cleaning tablets.
Drop one in the bottle, leave it for 20 seconds then shake it up, and Bob’s your uncle. It shifts crud well, though requires a little more brushing than some other fluids.
WD40 Bike Cleaner
WD40 Bike Cleaner. Immediate Media
As well as making lubes, WD40 has joined the bike-cleaning fluid battle.
This works in exactly the same way as most of the others here – rinse your bike, spray it on, brush the grime off and rinse again – but though it seems to be as effective, it’s a little pricier, and doesn’t do enough to justify the extra cost. It also contains benzisothiazolinone, a skin irritant.