Reviews

Best Bike Chain Degreasers: Maintain Your Bike’s Efficiency 

Use a good-quality bike chain degreaser to extend the life of your chain

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BY Linsay Thomas , Michael Trigg / LAST UPDATED ON July 12, 2021

A properly cleaned and lubricated chain reduces friction. Regular cleaning and degreasing can also lengthen the lifespan of your chain and gears, particularly if you ride mostly backcountry or your riding environment is desert and trails. A clean chain makes pedaling easier, allowing you to ride further.

Best Overall
White Lightning Clean Ride
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Summary
Summary
Clean Ride sets as a dry wax film, so there is no oily film to attract dirt and abrasive contaminants. It is cycling's only self-cleaning lubricant.
Pros
Pros
This is a good product for getting the deep stuff loose. It strips away grease, lube, and grime. It is also long-lasting.
Cons
Cons
In wet weather, the wax film becomes wet and sticky, reducing efficiency.
In extreme heat, the wax film will not last as long as in cooler conditions.
Best Overall
White Lightning Clean Ride
Best Value
Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner
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Summary
Summary
1-Step is a light, wet-style lubricant. It penetrates and flushes old grease and contaminants out with each new application.
Pros
Pros
This cleaner is a surprisingly versatile two-in-one product. Primarily for chains, it also works on gummed-up mechanisms and sticky cables.
Cons
Cons
It’s somewhat messy to use and requires more frequent reapplication than traditional wet lubes.
Best Value
Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner
Honorable Mention
Finish Line Speed 1 Bike Chain Degreaser
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Summary
Summary
This is a dry-style degreaser. It cleans and strips down to the bare metal.  It evaporates dry and leaves no residue.
Pros
Pros
It’s perfect for cleaning and decontaminating disc brakes. A turbo sprayer uses mechanical agitation to help quickly remove contaminants. It’s fast-acting with good dirt stripping power.
Cons
Cons
Some users complain it is less potent than the manufacturer suggests and is not great for excessive dirt build-up. Don’t expect it to last long if it’s your only cleaning product.
Honorable Mention
Finish Line Speed 1 Bike Chain Degreaser

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Benefits of Bike Chain Degreasers

  • High protection. Degreasers are made to break down grease and grime that build up on bike chains and other moving parts. Excessive dirt found on bike chains reduces their lifespan and causes premature aging. By using a degreaser regularly, you can protect your bike in the long term and increase its durability. 
  • More efficiency. Grease and grime are also known to have an impact on shifting performance and overall bike efficiency. With the right degreaser, you'll keep all the moving parts clean and make sure they operate smoothly for superior bike performance. 
  • Easy maintenance. Degreasers also make maintaining chains super easy. They break down dirt without much effort and allow you to get back on the trail in no time. Furthermore, some products combine cleaning and degreasing for even more user convenience. 

Types of Bike Chain Degreasers

Spray Bottle

The main difference between bike chain degreasers comes from package options. The most common products come in spray bottles that are easy to use and transport. They make a perfect on-the-go solution when quick chain cleanups are needed far away from home. Also, most of the degreasers that come in spray bottles are water-based and less corrosive. 

Aerosol

Degreasers that come in this packaging option are more flammable than the spray-bottle ones. For that reason, they are stored in metal casings that are not easy to burn. Aerosol degreasers are usually compact and lightweight, which makes them highly portable and easy to store. Bikers can keep them in maintenance tool kits and use them anytime and anywhere. They only need to be extra careful when using it at high temperatures and avoid storing the aerosol under direct sunlight. 

Can

Those who need heavy-duty bike cleaning solutions might want to opt for degreasers stored in cans. This is a popular option for saving some extra cash, too. Degreasers that come in cans need to be diluted in water, which makes them more powerful and long-lasting. You can also pick a perfect blend for each particular situation without being too hard on your pocketbook. 

Top Brands

White Lightning

White Lightning was founded in 1994 by Paul Maples, a chemist determined to create a perfect lube for cleaning and maintaining vehicle chains. After the first chain lube from White Lightning became incredibly popular, the company quickly grew into a widely-known brand. Today, the White Lightning Clean Ride is one of the most popular bike chain degreasers on the market.

Finish Line

Finish Line is a company located in Hauppauge, New York. It all started in 1988 when Henry Krause made the first bicycle lubricants for enhanced performance and ultimate durability of all moving parts. Now, Finish Line produces all kinds of degreases, lubricants, cleaners, tire sealants, and more. The Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner is our best value pick on the list. 

Bike Chain Degreasers Pricing

  • Under $20: Most all-purpose degreasers are pretty inexpensive. They might be less efficient in removing tough dirt and grease, but are still an excellent option for regular bike chain maintenance.
  • $20 and up: Pricier degreasers offer better cleaning results, dry faster, and last longer. For a few extra bucks, bikers can also get dilutable products that can be used over and over again for tough cleanups.

Key Features

Surface

Degreasers are designed for heavy-duty cleaning of bike gears and chains. They are extremely powerful and able to remove grease, oils, and tough grime within a few moments. To achieve ultimate efficiency, most degreasers use solvents that are hazardous and unsuitable for plastic, paint, and rubber. Therefore, it's crucial to use degreasers carefully, depending on the surface type.

We also recommend getting degreasers made from naturally derived citrus and mineral spirit solvents. These are safe to use on different bike parts and are less harmful to humans too.

Formula

Along with picking a product with natural solvents, it's essential to get a non-toxic and biodegradable one. The truth is, most degreasers won't be both biodegradable and non-toxic. However, products that claim being both will certainly be safer than those without any labels. Thus, it's important to check out the product's description before the purchase.

Also, keep in mind that biodegradable products can still be toxic. We recommend looking for a combined formula and still use gloves and protective gear when handling the bike chain degreaser.

Ease of Use

When it comes to the application, most bike chain degreasers are easy to apply and wipe clean. Due to their high efficiency, these products resolve most of the dirt and grease all on their own. Still, sometimes you might need to use brushes and pads for detailed cleanups. 

Consider whether you're a fan of spray bottles or you’re more up for getting a can. The former will allow for quick and effortless application, and the latter requires dilution but ensures thorough cleanups and lasts longer. In both cases, you'll get rid of the harmful buildup in a breeze. The only difference is that one application type might work better for you particularly.  

Other Considerations

  • Quick Dry. It's also important to consider how much time the product needs to resolve dirt and grease. If you need something super efficient and quick so you can continue your ride within a few moments, we recommend looking for quick-dry bike chain degreasers.
  • Price. Your pocketbook will also influence your decision when choosing the best bike chain degreaser. If you're on a limited budget, products in cans might be the best option because they dilute in water and last for longer. For those who can spend a few extra bucks on new degreasers, we recommend getting spray bottles. 

Best Bike Chain Degreasers Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
White Lightning Clean Ride

Clean Ride is an efficient self-cleaning chain lubricant. It removes grease, harmful lube, and grime, leaving a dry wax film for more protection in the long term. The formula contains no oils and maintains the chain in perfect condition for quite a while. Furthermore, the non-oily coat doesn't attract dirt and abrasive contaminants.


The Clean Ride lubricant is an excellent choice for deep cleanups. You can use it on chains, cables, and other moving parts. The product works and dries quickly, which means you can use it anytime and anywhere. It also comes in bottles of 8 and 32 ounces, so you can pick the one that works the best for your particular application.


The main drawback of this product is its performance in certain environmental conditions. In wet weather, the wax coat might become quite sticky, which could further result in reduced efficiency. On the other hand, under extreme heat, the wax film wears out rather quickly.

Best Value
Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner

Finish Line offers a wet-style lubricant that penetrates and flushes grease and dirt found on bike chains and parts. It's an effective solution to getting rid of harmful buildups and residues and keeping bikes at optimum performance. The product also leaves a light, wet coat for more protection and durability.


The product works both as a cleaner and a lubricant, keeping all bike parts working smoothly and effortlessly. It's perfect for maintaining chains, gummed-up mechanisms, and sticky cables. Thanks to the anti-rust additives, the Finish Line lubricant protects bike parts from harmful weather elements, too. Additionally, the lubricant is available in a drip bottle of 4 ounces and aerosol cans of 8 and 17 ounces.


The thing that might bother you with this product is the application. The Finish Line lubricant is somewhat messy to use. To avoid cleaning a puddle of lube, we recommend using the product outdoors. Unlike other traditional chain lubricants, this product also might require frequent reapplication for ultimate results.

Honorable Mention
Finish Line Speed 1 Bike Chain Degreaser

Here we have another Finish Line degreaser. This time, we will be talking about a dry-style one. The product is designed for cleaning and stripping down dirt and grime without leaving any residues. It evaporates dry and makes chains, disc brakes, and other bike parts sparkling clean and well-lubricated. 


We also like that the product offers a turbo sprayer with mechanical agitation for removing contaminants super fast. No brushing or water rinsing is required whatsoever. Furthermore, the product is safe to use on plastic and paint, and therefore, incredibly useful around the house too. 


However, if you're looking for a degreaser for heavy-duty cleanups, we suggest checking out other alternatives. This Finish Line degreaser is not that efficient on excessive dirt and might leave some spots untreated. Also, the degreaser is not very long-lasting. You'll either have to buy several bottles or use it along with other cleaning products.

Honorable Mention
WD-40 Specialist Bike Chain Lube

The WD-40 degreaser is an easy-to-use product that cleanses and lubricates bike chains. It's ideal for riders who are always on-the-go and need a compact degreaser to keep within hand's reach. The WD-40 degreaser features a professional-grade formula and proves to be super-efficient. 


The product works to resolve dirt, grime, and grease buildups and enhance overall bike performance. The maintained chain operates smoothly and ensures better results in the long term. The WD-40 degreaser also prevents friction damage and extends the chain’s lifespan. It doesn't contain wax and is suitable for application in both dry and wet conditions. 


The product does come in small containers, though. The smallest one measures 2.5 ounces, and the biggest one contains 6 ounces of the degreaser. For long term use, you'll probably need a few containers, which could be quite pricey. Also, frequent reapplication might be necessary for those who are riding their bikes daily.

Honorable Mention
Oil Eater Original Cleaner and Degreaser

This is an all-purpose cleaner and degreaser you can use on different bike parts as well as floors, carpets, grills, decks, and more. Thanks to the non-abrasive formula, the Oil Eater degreaser is safe to use on all kinds of surfaces. The product dilutes in water for removing even the toughest dirt and grime, and it doesn't contain acids or petroleum solvents.


The degreaser features a water-based and biodegradable formula. It's safe for the environment and non-corrosive. Because it's highly concentrated, the degreaser lasts for quite a while and is even suitable for industrial purposes. You get a 1-gallon bottle of the liquid with a lemon scent, which should be enough for cleaning your bike and home for about a year or longer.


We do have a few things to warn you about before you decide to get this product. First, the degreaser might irritate your skin and damage your nails. Make sure to wear protective gloves and glasses. Secondly, the bottle is a little tricky to use. You'll need to dilute the degreaser in water, which could result in a messy situation due to the awkward design of the cap.

Honorable Mention
DuPont Teflon Chain-Saver Dry Lubricant

The Chain-Saver lube justifies its name with the high-performance formula that works wonders on bike chains. It's not only able to penetrate and eliminate the toughest dirt and grease, but it also leaves a protective wax film for long-lasting protection. The film deflects abrasive contaminants and keeps the chain clean for longer, ensuring smooth rides at all times.


The formula applies and dries quickly and is resistant to water and dirt. You can use the Chain-Saver degreaser on bikes, ATVs, go-karts, tools, and much more. We find it especially useful for vehicle moving parts because it provides a clean and thermally stable barrier for ultimate performance.


Despite the product's description, the degreaser doesn't offer rust protection and might be unsuitable for wet and salty conditions. If you do opt for it, make sure to use it on a completely dry chain. When it comes to the product's design, we only have complaints about the nozzle. It sometimes sprays unevenly and gets clogged easily. The provided extension tube also doesn't fit the nozzle perfectly.

Honorable Mention
WD-40 Specialist Industrial-Strength Cleaner & Degreaser

This is another WD-40 degreaser worthy of your attention. It features a biodegradable formula that works wonders on dirt buildup on motorcycle chains. The degreaser works to enhance chain performance and protects against corrosion and premature aging. It features a non-abrasive and non-flammable formula and proves to be environmentally friendly.


You can use this WD-40 degreaser on all kinds of surfaces, including metal, aluminum, copper, and glass. It turns out to be super useful for cleaning greasy automotive parts, tools, and machinery. You can even choose a perfect bottle size from several available options. The 24-ounce one even has a uniquely designed cap for simple refills.


However, the bottle sometimes leaks. It's not always easy to tighten the cap, which could result in accidental spills. You'll have to be careful when using the product, so it doesn't tip over and make a mess. The other concern regards the degreaser's efficiency in resolving excessive dirt. For thorough cleanups, you might need to reapply the product or use a more powerful degreaser.

Honorable Mention
Chemical Guys Signature Series Orange Degreaser

Chemical Guys offers an orange degreaser that works on tough grease, grime, dirt, and debris. You can use it on engines, tires, rims, chains, tools, and machinery. All you need to do is to dilute the product in water and apply it on the surface. The efficient formula will get the work done.


The Chemical Guys degreaser is suitable for both home and professional purposes. The citrus-based formula strips even the toughest grease and makes the surface as shiny as it gets. Overall, the product allows you to keep your bike's moving parts at optimum levels and ensure smooth performance at all times. Furthermore, the application is easy, and the product works almost immediately.


The product might have a strong chemical smell, though. We recommend applying it outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Another drawback might come from a watery formula. Due to the low viscosity of the liquid, you might run out of it quickly. Therefore, one bottle of the liquid doesn't last for very long.

Honorable Mention
Tri-Flow Superior Lubricant

The Tri-Flow lubricant comes in a convenient drip bottle and features a powerful formula. It's one of those products you can use to clean and lubricate chains and pivot joints as well as to loosen up rusted and corroded screws.


The Tri-Flow lubricant offers superior results even under extremely low and high temperatures. It even has additives for repelling moisture and preventing rust and corrosion. Overall, the product cleans moving parts with ease and quickly reaches tight spots thanks to the low viscosity.


However, the product only comes in a 6-ounce bottle and turns out to be a little expensive. If you're looking for a long-lasting degreaser or want to buy in bulk, you might want to consider some other options on our list. This particular product might also fail to make the bike chain super shiny.

Honorable Mention
Simple Green Industrial Cleaner and Degreaser

If you're looking for an all-purpose cleaner that works on different surfaces, you might want to check out the Simple Green cleaner and degreaser. It's an environmentally-friendly product that doesn't have strong odors or harmful solvents. The formula is non-abrasive and non-flammable as well as super effective on dirt, debris, grime, food residue, and more.


You can use this cleaner not only on your bike chain, but also on floors, tools, machinery, garden equipment, and much more. The application is simple and only requires diluting the degreaser in water. Additionally, the all-purpose cleaner comes in a 1-gallon bottle and at a reasonable price.


One of the things to keep in mind with the Simple Green degreaser is the low efficiency on tough grease and grime found on bike chains. Although efficient, the product doesn't perform that well on excessive dirt. You might also run out of it in the middle of the project because some areas need a few more swipes for spotless cleaning results.

Tips

  • If you don’t have a chain cleaning tool, use a folded rag. Pour a small amount of chain cleaner onto the rag and then hold it around the chain as you backpedal for a few rotations.
  • Choose a bike lubricant that’s right for your conditions. A chain degreaser that performs well in dry, hot climates may not perform as well in wet, cooler conditions. If you have a bike with fat tires and you enjoy snow riding, your choice of a chain degreaser may be limited.
  • After one or two long rides, or following wet rides, always clean and lube your chain. If you’re commuting regularly, a once-a-week chain cleaning and lubing will keep it running smoothly and maintain the integrity of the chain.

FAQs

Q: Is gasoline a good degreaser?

A: In theory, gasoline is a very effective degreaser. However, it’s not safe and has a somewhat pesky habit of evaporating very easily.

Q: Is WD40 a good degreaser and lubricant?

A: It is a reasonably good chain degreaser, but is not designed for bike chains. It’s best to use a product specifically designed for degreasing and maintaining your bike chain.

Q: How often should I degrease my bike’s chain?  

A: This depends on the climate you live in and how often you ride. Dry, dusty, backcountry riding calls for more chain maintenance than riding on paved roads and pathways.

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best bike chain degreaser is White Lightning Clean Ride due to its self-cleaning ability and its wax protective film. 

If you are an occasional biker or if you are storing your bike for the winter, a more budget-friendly option is the Finish Line 1-Step