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Verdict: 
Slower acting but more efficient on petrochemical gunk than many bike washes I've used
Weight: 
1,069g

The Oxford Mint Bike Wash does pretty much the same job as an ocean of similar grime-gobbling potions, although it is more effective on petrochemical based grot than bog-standard foaming types. It is also available in a 5-litre workshop size, which is great if you have a big fleet (and a motorcycle among them).

  • Pros: Efficient on petrochemical gloop but seemingly kind to all surfaces.
  • Cons: Slower acting

Oxford describes the wash as 'an all-purpose cleaner specifically formulated to quickly remove dirt and grime'. Being a motorcycle brand, it's not surprising to discover it's also recommended for engine casings.

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It's safe on all types of paintwork, plastics, rubber and carbon fibre, and the formula supposedly contains a corrosion-inhibiting protectant, one that acts on a molecular level. I couldn't tease anything further from Oxford regarding this or more general chemical alchemy.

After use, it leaves a slippery rather than squeaky clean surface on the host machines, one that is still evident three weeks hence. How long it will remain during sustained wet, greasy spells remains to be seen.

There is an argument that visually active formulas give the impression of efficiency, whereas a faintly bubbling film, one that clings to the host surface, is actually doing the business.

Method

To use the Oxford Mint Wash, pop the bike into your chosen cleaning spot and give it a clean water rinse with a garden hose, bucket and sponge, or watering can.

Give the Mint Wash a quick shake, flick the nozzle open and spray liberally over the bike. In common with an increasing number of bike washes, the standing time is minutes rather than seconds. Again, Oxford doesn't specify, but three minutes seems optimal.

Oxford mint bike wash beading paintwork roadcc.JPG

Assuming you haven't applied it in direct sunlight, it should be very damp still and any mud/organic spatter relenting. Work the remaining solution into the surfaces to ensure even application, then rinse with clean water.

Once clean, dry the bike thoroughly using a clean, dry cloth.

Results

I have deliberately experimented with marinating times, although avoiding letting it dry out. Regardless of surface – including raw titanium and flamboyant metallic enamels – there has been no hint of streaking or tell-tale staining. However, in common with most bike washes, matt colours required post-wash 'polishing'. Isolated watermarks also demanded subsequent furniture/specialist polishes, even on lacquered surfaces.

I was also pleasantly surprised (despite the lack of visual intensity) by its ability to gobble petrochemical gunk, such as waxy internal frame preserves, the sort that often turn liquid and leach from vent-holes during the warmer months.

I was similarly surprised by its purge speed. Congealed debris from chain lubes on chainrings and the transmission dropped away. However, embossed bar/saddle coverings required some gentle agitation with a medium brush dipped in warm water.

Mud, dung and generic organic gloop quickly breaks down, losing tenure within 30-60 seconds and, unless you've really allowed it to become matted and caked on, surfaces should be dinner plate clean come rinse-time.

That it's slower acting than citrus-based formulas and perhaps lacking their outright efficiency might be a consideration – if you are frequently designated team mechanic during cyclo-cross season, say.

The whole process, start to finish, took around 20 minutes with a dusty, oil-spattered machine, 25 for a gloop-spattered rough stuff tourer. Talking of which, this has a particularly thick powder coat finish, thus not treated to an acrylic clear coat. The only slight downside, despite the glossy effect, is that grime tends to stick more readily unless it's regularly treated to a good quality polymer wax.

So far, traversing dusty trails, unmade roads and country lanes, the Mint's glossy 'corrosion-inhibiting' barrier seems to be doing its thing, both on electroplated fasteners and, of course, the paintwork.

Prolonged exposure hasn't done anything nasty to grass areas, nor has prolonged use overly dried my skin. That said, those with more sensitive skin should don gloves as a precaution.

Value

Price-wise, the standard 1 litre size is on a par with some, and better value than others: WD-40 Bike Cleaner Total Wash, for example, is £4.99 for 500ml, while Crankalicious Mud Honey is £10 for 500ml. Muc-Off's Nano Gel Concentrate is £11.99 for a 500ml pouch which makes up to 2 litres of bike wash.

The 5-litre, workshop-friendly version is better value, as you'd expect, with an rrp of £15.99.

However, concentrates such as Muc-Off and Fenwick's FS1 are more versatile since these can be brewed to stock and custom strengths, depending on whether you are wanting a faster-acting bike wash or a full-blown degreaser.

Verdict

Slower acting but more efficient on petrochemical gunk than many bike washes I've used

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Oxford Mint Bike Wash 1 ltr

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?

Oxford says, "All-purpose cleaner specially formulated to quickly remove dirt and grime. Fast drying formula leaves a bright and sparkling finish.

High performance biodegradable formulation

Foaming trigger enables easy and gentle removal of dirt and grime

Safe on paintwork, metal surfaces, plastics, rubber and carbon fibre

Fast drying formulation leaves a clear finish

Features a clean, mint scent

Great For:

Paintwork

Engine casings

Metal work

Wheels

Forks"

My feelings are that it's a slower acting and slightly unusual grime busting formula but very effective and refreshingly different to many bog standard preps. Doesn't foam in the sudsy sense, either.

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

High performance biodegradable formulation

Foaming trigger enables easy and gentle removal of dirt and grime

Safe on paintwork, metal surfaces, plastics, rubber and carbon fibre

Fast drying formulation leaves a clear finish

Features a clean, mint scent

According to this YouTube video, it also leaves behind a corrosion inhibiting barrier

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Performance is better than many I have tested, especially on petrochemical grot, albeit visually slower acting than some. No streaks, runs or similar if left a little longer than intended.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Fairly economical and results seem to be lasting.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
6/10

On a par with most formulas. Those with sensitive skin should don gloves and a stray bead, caught in the eye, is moderately painful.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Certainly on a par with, if not better than, several iconic blends I've used.

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

Overall, it's slower acting but more efficient on stubborn petrochemical grot than bog standard types, and seems to leave a protective barrier behind.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Efficiency and relative economy.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing of note.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Favourable, compared with other stock blends (WD-40 Bike Cleaner Total Wash is £4.99 for 500ml), and the 5 litre option is better value. However, concentrates such as Fenwick's FS1 are more tuneable and better value.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Possibly

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Certainly worth a look.

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a decent bike wash with some unique characteristics, though I still prefer tuneable concentrate formulas.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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)