Green Oil Clean Chain Degreaser Jelly is a non-flammable, non-toxic, citrus-based infusion designed to strip chains and discs of their lubes and ingrained grot. It does the job well, and even if it's no better at it than some competitors, it's less toxic than many of them.
I'm told it's derived from fermented apple and coconut oil, which when diluted with 900ml of water produces a litre of bike wash. It used to be available as a concentrate in a 1 litre bottle for serious workshop fettling, a form I've preferred for a few years since it can be used as a neat degreaser, diluted to suit.
Back to the 100ml version... Blended for chains and discs, we are told it can be used in several ways. The most obvious is the default: park bike(s) outside, shake the bottle, pop the spout and dispense carefully – like a chain lube in other words.
Now rotate the cranks a few turns and allow it to nibble away for a minute or so while you fetch a bucket of tepid water and a stiff transmission type brush.
When tackling disc rotors, dribble it straight on, and agitate with your brush. Leave between 30 and 60 seconds before rinsing. Tepid water strikes the best balance between comfort and efficiency, although the hotter you can bear it, the faster it works.
Dry thoroughly with a clean rag and, in theory, you're done. In practice, this method works much better than Green Oil's other suggestion, which involves pouring 30ml into a chain bath, introducing water and leaving to marinate.
Ceramic and other sophisticated lubes (including Fenwick's Stealth) vanished in two treatments (5 minutes) using the first method, ditto 10w40 motor oils, bog standard wet types and their gritty contaminant too.
Middleweight Teflon infusions and barely-there summer synthetics were dismissed first time, with minimal bristle plot persuasion.
Putting all this into perspective, the most potent petrochemical strippers will do these tasks in two short blasts, 30 seconds marinating time, followed by a quick scrub. I had my Univega's filthy transmission – rings, chain, cassettes, jockey wheels and derailleur cages – gleaming in 12 minutes flat. Like for like, the Green Oil achieved similar results in 15-16.
If purchase price is your only determinant, there are plenty of cheap solvents that will strip chains, cassettes and rings bare and with frightening efficiency. However, they are often toxic and/or highly flammable. There are others who swear by washing-up liquids. It ultimately boils down to personal preference. However, my overall mark is compared with similar bike-specific products.
Capable degreaser and a credible alternative to petrochemical solvents
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Green Oil Clean Chain degreaser jelly
Size tested: 100ml
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:
"Clean Chain Degreaser
Revolutionary degreasing gel!"
Clean Chain degreaser was developed due to two frustrations with other degreasers .
1- They are runny
2- They are petrochemical based, damaging your skin, garden and environment
(Though sometimes claiming 'orange extract' content for a greenwash edge!)
Clean Chain is a degreasing gel, so it sticks to the chain for effective degreasing.
Clean Chain degreaser is 100% Natural and biodegradable"
Does exactly what it says on the tube and will also tackle other areas of the drivetrain, discs too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Made in Britain
- Unique gel formula- easy to apply
- 100% natural ingredients
- Can be diluted to make 1 litre of Green Clean bike cleaner
Clean and convenient to apply.
Reasonably priced. If purchase price is your only determinant, there are plenty of cheap solvents that will strip chains, cassettes and rings bare and with frightening efficiency. However, they are often toxic and/or highly flammable. There are others who swear by washing up liquids. It ultimately boils down to personal preference. My overall mark is compared with similar bike-specific products.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, Green Oil Clean Chain Degreaser Jelly has proven itself a credible alternative to traditional petrochemical anti-lubes. Ours made surprisingly short work of most oils and, where appropriate, their contaminant. True to claims, it also works well on grotty discs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Convenient, effective and much kinder to the environment than petrochemicals.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's a good product that scores 7 on everything except value.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)