The 10 Best Bike Chain Cleaners
This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in January of 2018. One of the most essential components of a bike is its chain, since few parts affect performance more than a dirty one. Removing all that grease and crud can be tough, which is why we've put together this list of cleaners. They'll help break down dirt and grime, and some even lubricate plates and rollers, allowing them to flex more freely. You'll notice the difference on your next ride. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 08, 2020:
Updated the listing for the Park Tool CG-2.3 Kit to the latest 2.4 version.
The liquid within Bike Medicine Golden dispenses in a consistent, controlled manner, so you shouldn’t have to worry about struggling to apply the cleaner, or it spurting out too quickly. We highlighted this in the listing. While WD-40 Bike Degreaser is no doubt a high-performing option, we discovered that the chain often attracts dust after being treated, which we’ve noted in the bullet points for this item.
Since Pedro Pig Juice is plant-based, solvent-free and fully biodegradable, it’s one of the better options for those who place a high priority on environmental friendliness. It’s certainly effective, but it won’t deliver the fast-acting power that some of the industrial-strength cleaners can.
As an all-in-one cleaner and lubricator, Finish Line 1-Step will definitely save you some time. However, its effects, especially the lubrication, probably won’t last super long if you’re a regular rider. If you’d prefer a thorough degreasing every once in a while (versus frequent applications), you may want to consider something else.
The Muc-Off Nano Tech is an effective universal cleaner that can be used to wash every inch of your bike, which is quite convenient. However, when used on the chain, we did note that degreasers designed specifically for chain cleaning may produce better results.
June 27, 2019:
Cleaning a bike chain may seem like a dirty and time-consuming job, but it doesn't have to be with one of the handy options on our list. If you don't already have scrubbing brushes, your best bet is to buy a kit that comes with both the cleaning solution and a brush of some kind, like the Finish Line Pro Shop Kit, Park Tool CG-2.3 Chain Gang Kit, and White Lightning Kit. Another option is to buy Finish Line Speed, which requires no scrubbing and completely evaporates after a few minutes, leaving behind no residue.
While solvent-based formulas used to be more powerful in the past, these days biodegradable formulas are just as effective, and don't have the potential to damage gaskets or a bike's finish. Because of this, most of our list is made up of non-toxic, biodegradable solutions. The exceptions to this are Finish Line 1-Step, which is also a lubricant, Finish Line Speed, a no-scrubbing formula, WD-40 Bike Degreaser, a foaming agent, and the easy clean included in the White Lightning Kit.
Dynamic Chain Cleaner Suitable for chains, derailleur cages and pulleys, this solution quickly dissolves oil and other contaminants, leaving behind a special film that helps prevent the components from drying out after cleaning. You can use it with a brush or cloth, or pour it into a chain cleaning tool. dynamicbikecare.com
Liqui Moly Brake Available in a 200-milliliter or 400-milliliter aerosol spray can, this cleaner from German oil and lubricant company Liqui Moly utilizes a variety of solvents to make fast work of dirt and gunk. For best results, dispense it generously all over the chain, then let it dry for 10 minutes before applying some lube. liqui-moly.com
Craftsman Capitol Premium This nifty little cleaning cartridge clips directly onto the chain, so all you need to do is turn the pedals to achieve a fast, easy scrubbing. The rotating brushes are encased in durable plastic, and they’re not prone to accumulating grime or dirt. It comes with a bonus hand brush and a notched scraper, too. craftsmancapitol.com