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Verdict: 
Does exactly what is expected and it's better for the environment than most. What’s not to like?
Weight: 
373g
Green Oil Green Clean
9 10

Through the winter months, a decent bike cleaner is almost essential. There are plenty of options and to be honest they tend to do a pretty similar job, but the Green Oil Green Clean is working its way up to the top of the list.

As with much of the Green Oil range, the product is made of natural ingredients and is fully biodegradable. The detergent, containing coconut oil and orange peel extract, is safe to use across the bike including your precious drivetrain. Used in conjunction with a good brush, it foams up well and is strong against the muddiest and grimiest of bikes.

> Buy this online here

It seems like a clever and well thought through product. The dual-mode spray, with both pistol and wide spray modes, makes for accurate aiming. And for any of you cleaning bikes on the lawn, there's no need to worry about damage to your treasured sward: the biodegradable detergent means no nasty chemicals to worry about.

As with most detergents, a large proportion is simply water. Here, though, Green Oil simply fills a third of the bottle with concentrate, leaving you to top up the remainder with water. This small change means less weight during transportation, reducing the carbon footprint of the product (and the price), helping the environment. As with most brands these days, you can also buy concentrate to refill when you run out.

> For more reviews of cleaning products, brushes, sponges and the like, click here

Another neat touch is using old fizzy drinks caps as the safety cap to prevent leaking during transportation. Having said that, I didn't find any leaking from the spray nozzle cap, even when thrown around during a vigorous bike clean.

So it may not be as cheap as your basic citrus-based detergent, but at a relatively modest £7.99, it's still cheaper than the equivalent Muc-off cleaner we've tested. When it's just as good and cheaper than its rivals, plus safer for your bike than some cheaper options, there's not much more you need to know.

Verdict

Does exactly what is expected and it's better for the environment than most. What’s not to like?

road.cc test report

Make and model: Green Oil Green Clean

Size tested: 1 Litre

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Green Oil says: "The Green Clean formula is totally biodegradable, but not only that, its formula uses 100% natural ingredients. That means a minimal impact on the environment, and lower carbon footprint. Green Clean was developed in house and has award winning cleaning performance. It uses a special detergent derived from coconut oil, and orange peel extract among other natural ingredients. Curiously, the orange peel is a bi-product of the organic orange juice industry. All ingredients are sustainably sourced too."

A strong and yet safe bike cleaner to be used across the board. Removes the toughest of grime leaving a pristine looking bike. Great value for money and a well thought through product.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Sold in 1L bottles, they come filled with a third concentrate for you to then fill up with, ideally, rain water. The nozzle has two modes – pistol and spray options. The detergent is fully biodegradable and contains coconut oil and orange peel extracts among the ingredients. With these natural ingredients, it makes it safe for the environment and doesn't damage the bike either. The cleaner is made in the UK and utilises old fizzy drinks caps as safety caps during delivery so as to not leak from the nozzle.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Tough plastic bottle that can survive being thrown around during cleaning. The nozzle seems slightly cheap, but works well and hasn't failed on me. The bottle lasts and can be reused after finishing.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Strong cleaner that foams up well. Works against both a muddy frame and oily drivetrain. No corrosion or damage caused during use either. Does the job well!

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Bottle is strong and should last for a good number of refills.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

Similar or cheaper price than it's main rivals. Naturally more expensive than the cheap citrus based cleaners, but these can be harmful to both your bike and the environment. No body wants that!

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very effective cleaning detergent that acts fast and leaves your bike looking shiny again.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Foams up well giving you plenty to work with when scrubbing the whole bike. Clever little packaging ideas too by using fizzy drinks caps and only sending the concentrate – reducing weight and the product's carbon footprint.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 5ft 8in  Weight: 62kg

I usually ride: Cannondale CAADX  My best bike is: Scott CR1 Pro

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives

7 comments

Avatar
KiwiMike [1074 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Hi James

What were the state of the drivetrains you test-cleaned -  50 miles, 500? What were the lubes you had used - particularly, any wax-based ones which are notorious to shift. And difference shifting say Pedros Ice Wax vs. bog standard Shimano wet lube?

How much elbow-grease did you have to use, say compared to drain-safe Fairy liquid or Ecover?

Avatar
rjfrussell [217 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Same question-  how does this compare to an Ecover multi-surface cleaner?  For tests like this, it would be very helpful if performance could be compared to a couple of benchmarks- such as, say, an Ecover product, and a well known bike specific product.

Avatar
levermonkey [642 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

I have tried Green Oil cleaning products in the past and found the performance  is worse than generic supermarket value range washing-up liquid.

Please compare the following

  • Cleenol Washing-up Liquid 5l (Staples) £9.38 (£1.88 per l)
  • Bikehut Citrus Degreaser 5l (Halfords) £17.00 (£3.40 per l)
  • Muc-Off Bike Cleaner 10l (Amazon) £34.94 (£3.49 per l)
  • Green Oil Bike Cleaner £7.99 per l

I can find no justification for the high price. As to the 'eco' angle;  unless your bike if free of carbon-fibre, titanium, synthetic products, plastics, etc and your clothing if free from lycra and other synthetic fabrics (I won't even start on production and delivery miles) then who are you trying to kid? The only thing green about cycling is the zero emissions at point of use! Do please get a grip!

Avatar
a1white [10 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like
levermonkey wrote:

 As to the 'eco' angle;  unless your bike if free of carbon-fibre, titanium, synthetic products, plastics, etc and your clothing if free from lycra and other synthetic fabrics (I won't even start on production and delivery miles) then who are you trying to kid? The only thing green about cycling is the zero emissions at point of use! Do please get a grip!

 

That is a very poor argument. Bsed on that we might as well all just give up and drive round in 5 litre SUV's. No one can be perfect and and get around in a 100% sustainable way, but I'd rather use products like this, rather than some of the ridiculously toxic cleaners that are out there, and at least cutting downon the crap we are pumping into our world.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1074 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

At £7.99 for 1000ml, it's about *532 times* the price of using dishwashing liquid.

Ecover washing up liquid is £2.25 for 1L - or about *thirty* hefty 33ml squeezes into a bucket that will give you about 5L of hot, soapy (but eco-friendly)  water to deal to multiple bikes. I make that about £0.015 per litre (You could choose to use a lot less water too, but I like it sloshy).

What about as a degreaser though? 

£8 for 5 *litres* (£1.60/L) of Swarfega Oil & Grease remover (B&Q/Toolstation) does a bang-up job. And according the hazmat sheet, it's biodegradable and non-hazardous: this stuff is *designed* to end up in waterways and treatment plants, as well as your lawn/garden beds

http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1640410.pdf

The Green Oil equivalent 'Clean Chain Degreasing Gel' is £4 for 100ml - or £40/L. That's *twenty-five times* more expensive than the Swarfega stuff.

 

You may wibble on about disc brakes being all marketing. You may maintain that no-one needs 11-speeds, or that one cable feels *exactly* the same as another.  Meanwhile, the biggest scam in cycling today is quietly sitting on the shelves of your LBS: bike-specific 'eco' cleaners & degreasers.

 

Avatar
DaveE128 [390 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes
KiwiMike wrote:

 

£8 for 5 *litres* (£1.60/L) of Swarfega Oil & Grease remover (B&Q/Toolstation) does a bang-up job. And according the hazmat sheet, it's biodegradable and non-hazardous: this stuff is *designed* to end up in waterways and treatment plants, as well as your lawn/garden beds

http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1640410.pdf

While I do agree with your point about the ridiculous pricing, the above quoted bit is clearly innacurate. I quote from the datasheet that you link to:

"Collect and dispose of spillage as indicated in secton 13. Avoid discharge to the aquatc environment."

"Do not let washing down water contaminate ponds or waterways."

I think the point about price is actually far more widespread than just eco products. Many bike products are a complete rip-off, and where an alternative from motorcycles or other fields is available, it's often cheaper and better.

One example I have come across in the past is suspension oil. There was (when I last serviced my suspension forks - a long time ago now) a fork oil product from Finish Line which was rubbish (rubbish performance, and you could hear the cavitation, which also engraved marks all over the damper in my Marzocchi fork) that costed multiple times as much as a bottle of Silkolene motorbike fork oil from Halfrauds which worked perfectly, and has kept doing so for over 10 years. It appears Finish Line have since increased their container size and reduced price, but it is still multiple times more expensive than the silkolene equivalent per ml, and I still don't trust it.

Avatar
levermonkey [642 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
a1white wrote:
levermonkey wrote:

 As to the 'eco' angle;  unless your bike if free of carbon-fibre, titanium, synthetic products, plastics, etc and your clothing if free from lycra and other synthetic fabrics (I won't even start on production and delivery miles) then who are you trying to kid? The only thing green about cycling is the zero emissions at point of use! Do please get a grip!

 

That is a very poor argument. Bsed on that we might as well all just give up and drive round in 5 litre SUV's. No one can be perfect and and get around in a 100% sustainable way, but I'd rather use products like this, rather than some of the ridiculously toxic cleaners that are out there, and at least cutting downon the crap we are pumping into our world.

I cannot think of any bike cleaners that are available to the general public that require extreme safety measures. Some may require "use in a well ventilated area" because they contain solvents or propellents and  prolonged or excessive skin contact may cause industrial dermatitis but that does not mean that they are "ridiculously toxic"! It just means that you should take sensible precautions (clean your bike outdoors and wear nitrile gloves).

Do you remember when car shampoos and washing up liquids started making a big fuss about being 'Phosphate Free' and therefore marine friendly? They didn't have phosphates in them to start with.