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Verdict: 
Strong but environmentally friendly degreaser that'll get your drivetrain shiny again
Weight: 
292g

Green Oil's Agent Apple is a good degreaser that's made from environmentally friendly ingredients. Don't let that trick you into a false sense of security: this is a full-strength concoction and you should treat it with respect. It's fairly expensive, so you'll need to be sold on its eco credentials to choose it over cheaper options.

  • Pros: Works well, biodegradable, smells nice
  • Cons: Quite an expensive way to clean stuff

Agent Apple is an alcohol-based degreaser, made from plant-based alcohols, fermented apple extracts and orange peel extracts. It's fully biodegradable, although it's potent enough to come with a hazard label. You shouldn't pour it directly into your nearest freshwater lake, but if you spill some on your lawn it's not going to get very far.

> Buy this online here

You might not care about that, only whether it's good at degreasing stuff. It is pretty good at degreasing stuff. Simon from Green Oil has produced a video showing how it should be used: basically, pour it into an old ice cream tub and scrub away. Wear gloves for this: it's not really stuff you want on your skin.

I chucked the transmission of my Kinesis Tripster ATR (chain, jockey wheels and cassette) in the tub and left it overnight to soak. When it came to scrubbing time it was pretty easy to get everything spick and span. The solution is pretty volatile, so it'll evaporate if you leave it out of the bottle for too long, and of course you lose some through wiping everything down and spattering it on your best jeans that you forgot to take off.

You also get some sludge at the bottom you'll need to tip away, but when I poured the remaining juice back in the bottle I had just under two-thirds of it left. Green Oil says that the degreaser is strong enough to be used three times. Certainly it's still potent on the second go at a manky chain. In the end you're probably more likely to run out of a usable amount through wastage.

If you were a bit more careful and only poured half the bottle into your scrubbing container to begin with (which would be plenty) you'd still be able to do a whole transmission, and so you'd probably get your chain and cogs looking box-fresh six or so times from the 300ml bottle; about £2 a go. That's significantly more expensive than using something like Swarfega Oil and Grease Remover, which is about £8 for 5 litres, and will also buff up your bits nicely, albeit with a little more elbow grease. So the eco credentials will need to be important to you. If they are, there's no faulting the performance.

Verdict

Strong but environmentally friendly degreaser that'll get your drivetrain shiny again

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Green Oil Agent Apple Extreme Immersion 300ml

Size tested: 300ml

Tell us what the product is for

Green Oil says:

Agent Apple was created because people asked us for an alcohol based super powerful degreaser - to get any metal part shiny like new.

Re-created for 2018 to be re-usable, Agent Apple Extreme Immersion Degreaser is perhaps the most powerful bike degreaser available.

And it's biodegradable.

 

We wanted to make a citrus degreaser without the petrochemicals and dirty smell, from sustainable ingredients.

Plant based alcohol made from EU grown sugar, fermented apple extracts and orange peel extract make Agent Apple Extreme Immersion degreaser the stongest on the market.

 

Why degrease your chain and cassette?

Layer upon layer of chain lube can build up into a mess. Pollution in the air can pollute your chain, and mud and road dirt can also make it dirty. A clean chain with oil can be over 99% efficient.

 

The 'grinding paste' you see on some chains can be completely destroyed by immersing it in Agent Apple, along with light use of a toothbrush.

Agent Apple Extreme Degreaser may discolour non-metallic items, and damage carbon fibre. It smells like vodka and orange but don't drink it - we've included an eco-friendly molecule called denatonium benzoate to make it taste bitter.

Great if you live with pets, children, or that mate Dave who drinks too much.

 

To our knowledge, Agent Apple is so strong it's the World's first re-useable bike degreaser. It can be used over 3 times.

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

From Green Oil:

- Made in Britain

- Utilizes citrus extract and plant based alcohol

- Super strong

- Petrochemical free

- Re-usable pour back 3 times

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Depends on how highly you value its eco credentials, but it is expensive.

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

Very well: it cleans the things.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good performance, smells nice.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Expensive.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe

Use this box to explain your overall score

Good performance, not great value, but you may be prepared to pay the extra for the environmentally friendly composition. Many degreasers are pretty hardcore unpleasant.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 189cm  Weight: 94kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

19 comments

Avatar
Simon E [3480 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

It's expensive compared to the Swarfega but what about compared to other bike-specific brands? Muc-Off drivetrain cleaner, Fenwick's foaming cleaner, Pedros Bye, Finish Line Speed Degreaser all £9-15 for 500ml so similarly expensive (and vague 'biodegradable' claims are invariably bollocks).

I've used white spirit and Jizer in the past but I try to avoid using petrochemicals so use a relatively gentle kitchen degreaser called Orange Mate (£4 for 500ml) applied with an old toothbrush. It likely requires more elbow grease than a stronger product but it works fine with no inhalation or skin irritation issues and any aquatic life nearby will be grateful (I think).

Avatar
mylesrants [429 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Once inch paint brush and a little tray of petrol.

Once careful hand

Once gleaming bike.

 

re lubed will last a life time

Avatar
mylesrants [429 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Once inch paint brush and a little tray of petrol.

Once careful hand

Once gleaming bike.

 

re lubed will last a life time

Avatar
StraelGuy [1602 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

I use white spirit, like petrol but less stinky. Similar point though. Whilst we're all still driving diesels and petrol and I'm getting through 20 litres of diesel a week in the car, I'm not going to worry about using a couple of litres of white spirit per year.

Avatar
Simon E [3480 posts] 9 months ago
5 likes
StraelGuy wrote:

I use white spirit, like petrol but less stinky. Similar point though. Whilst we're all still driving diesels and petrol and I'm getting through 20 litres of diesel a week in the car, I'm not going to worry about using a couple of litres of white spirit per year.

Is there no perceived benefit of reducing your own direct exposure to the chemicals? Or the fact that it will contaminate the soil and end up in our rivers?

Perhaps your logic is not so dissimilar to the people who throw their half-empty Relentless cans and McD litter out on the roadside near my work. Since they're only adding one item to the dozens that are already there, what difference does it make?

Avatar
StraelGuy [1602 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

No Simon, I'm not one of those people. I would cheerfully feed anyone I caught throwing fast food wrappers out of a car window through a wood chipper. My point was that while the world is still getting through billions of litres of petrol and diesel a day, cyclists using a few hundred litres per year between them is not something I am going to lose sleep over. I recycle EVERYTHING I can and the used white sprit goes to the dump where it is recycled.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [2298 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:
StraelGuy wrote:

I use white spirit, like petrol but less stinky. Similar point though. Whilst we're all still driving diesels and petrol and I'm getting through 20 litres of diesel a week in the car, I'm not going to worry about using a couple of litres of white spirit per year.

Is there no perceived benefit of reducing your own direct exposure to the chemicals? Or the fact that it will contaminate the soil and end up in our rivers?

Perhaps your logic is not so dissimilar to the people who throw their half-empty Relentless cans and McD litter out on the roadside near my work. Since they're only adding one item to the dozens that are already there, what difference does it make?

 

I think that's a false analogy.  Because the pile of litter is composed entirely of the accumulation of such individual items, it's just the sum total of the actions of such individual litterers.  Whereas the previous poster is comparing two different forms of contamination, one of which occurs on a much larger scale than the other.

 

  It's a question of where it's worth concentrating effort to get the biggest effect.   With a finite amount of effort and money available, you'd get vastly better results putting that work, ingenuity, and expense into reducing the deisel use than in putting it into worrying about the bike oil.

Avatar
a1white [157 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes
StraelGuy wrote:

No Simon, I'm not one of those people. I would cheerfully feed anyone I caught throwing fast food wrappers out of a car window through a wood chipper. My point was that while the world is still getting through billions of litres of petrol and diesel a day, cyclists using a few hundred litres per year between them is not something I am going to lose sleep over. I recycle EVERYTHING I can and the used white sprit goes to the dump where it is recycled.

But  surely if there is a cleaner/greener solution out there, that works just as well as the one that is damaging the environment, why not use it (or at least try it)?

Avatar
Simon E [3480 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

I think that's a false analogy.  Because the pile of litter is composed entirely of the accumulation of such individual items, it's just the sum total of the actions of such individual litterers.  Whereas the previous poster is comparing two different forms of contamination, one of which occurs on a much larger scale than the other.

 

  It's a question of where it's worth concentrating effort to get the biggest effect.   With a finite amount of effort and money available, you'd get vastly better results putting that work, ingenuity, and expense into reducing the deisel use than in putting it into worrying about the bike oil.

Interesting, thanks.

One point: there's very little effort involved in choosing to buy an environmentally benign/gentle product for cleaning. In contrast, reducing vehicle mileage, fuel consumption & emissions is a much harder thing to achieve. IMHO they may be little gains but they are still gains.

I'd also not want to underestimate the impact of many people making these positive choices. Look at the plastic bag tax or recent outcry over marine plastic to recognise that significant change can be brought about by many people making such choices.

And isn't having more eco-friendly products (or fewer harmful products) in bike shops, their workshops and our homes a good thing? If I was a mechanic at my LBS I'd definitely want to use benign cleaners & lubes instead of petroleum-based ones all day, regardless of whether I drove a petrol/diesel vehicle to work and back.

Avatar
StraelGuy [1602 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

When I first, first got into cycling at uni around 1990, the next 'big thing' was citrus degreasers made by distilling the oils out of waste orange peel. They were absolutely superb, thery stripped oil and grease off a chain the same way petrol does but they seem to have fallen by the wayside somewhat. I looked recently and, while you can still get the ridiculously overpriced cycling branded stuff, they don't seem to be available commercially ie at sensible prices anywhere. I'd ditch the white spirit in a flash if you could get a litre of that stuff for three or four quid!

Avatar
fukawitribe [2628 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
StraelGuy wrote:

When I first, first got into cycling at uni around 1990, the next 'big thing' was citrus degreasers made by distilling the oils out of waste orange peel. They were absolutely superb, thery stripped oil and grease off a chain the same way petrol does but they seem to have fallen by the wayside somewhat. I looked recently and, while you can still get the ridiculously overpriced cycling branded stuff, they don't seem to be available commercially ie at sensible prices anywhere. I'd ditch the white spirit in a flash if you could get a litre of that stuff for three or four quid!

There's loads of it about, try Amazon or the more industrial suppliers e.g.

https://www.citrus-cleaning-supplies.co.uk/products/Chemicals/Housekeepi...

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StraelGuy [1602 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

There's a lot of greenwash about. I actually have 5L of that exact stuff and it isn't a citrus degreaser, it's an alkaline cleaner - doesn't even smell of citrus no...

Avatar
fukawitribe [2628 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes
StraelGuy wrote:

There's a lot of greenwash about. I actually have 5L of that exact stuff and it isn't a citrus degreaser, it's an alkaline cleaner - doesn't even smell of citrus no...

Choose another one then, wasn't trying to advocate any one in particular. Most degreasers are moderately to highly akaline,  the citrus element is a solvent.

Edit : here you go, while i'm waiting for tests to run

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Citraclean-Citrus-Degreaser-Concentrate-Litres/...

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StraelGuy [1602 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

Cheers dude, that looks extremely promising. Will order and report back.

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fukawitribe [2628 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
StraelGuy wrote:

Cheers dude, that looks extremely promising. Will order and report back.

Cheers, would be interested in what you reckon on it.

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jaysa [106 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

As white spirit is so toxic to living things in water, we've switched to Screwfix No-Nonsense heavy duty degreaser (code 88668), both for dobbing on filthy bikes before handwashing, and in an ultrasonic cleaner for bike chains, which come out mint.

It seems to be petrochemical free and I'd hope it's less damaging to the environment.

£8.99 for 5 litres ...

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BehindTheBikesheds [2621 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Just lol, 5litres of environmentally friendly degreaser is £8 for 5 litres, people buying this crap are being mugged off on a massive scale.

1/10 for value would be more accurate Dave abd reduce the score to 2.5/5 on the fact it's yet another rip off product purporting to be something different.

There's even an 'oranage squirt' degreaser, 5litres for just over £5.

Oh and I don't see any official EU Ecolabel and you have to apply to get the product data sheet, why is that when other companies offer it freely for their product?

Avatar
StraelGuy [1602 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

That's the stuff I ordered although they've changed the name to Citra Clean. It's arrived and it smells like the right stuff so I'll test it on a really manky, greasy chain after tonight's ride and report back.

Avatar
StraelGuy [1602 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Bad news, it's crap. Doesn't dissolve chain cack at all . On the plus side, I'm not going to run out of household cleaner before I retire...