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WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser Review

June 13, 2019

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WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser Review

WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser
4.7

Summary

WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser goes where I need it, effectively cleans (and is fun to watch, to boot), competitively priced, and lasts several months. It’s also Widely available online and at local bike shops, and even some home improvement and big box stores.

However, it’s not the least expensive formula available, and it’s no biodegradable if eco-friendliness is at the top of your list.

  • Price
  • Ease of Use
  • Effectiveness
  • Longevity
  • Overall Value

Pros

  • Competitively priced
  • Effective at removing dirt and grime and leaving my bike’s drivetrain sparkling
  • Lasts a long time
  • Doesn’t contain ingredients that damage parts or finishes
  • Comes from a reputable company with a complete lineup of bike products

Cons

  • Some competing products come with lower prices
  • Not biodegradable
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WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser claims to quickly and easily make your bike’s drivetrain sparkle, without damaging its finish or parts. Here, I’ll talk about my experience and compare it with third-party formulas so you can learn more.

About WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser

WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser features a fast-acting formula that promises to penetrate stubborn dirt, grease, and grime and remove it from your bike’s drivetrain in seconds, without leaving behind residue.

Simply use the precision aerosol spray can and apply the formula wherever you need, and its fast-acting foam clings to surfaces and can help your drivetrain last longer and deliver optimum performance.

Despite its power, WD-40 advertises their Chain Cleaner & Degreaser is safe for all bike components and finishes, without any citrus solvents or acids.

With so many bike degreasers out there, is WD-40’s formula right for you?

I’ve used WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser for years. Here, I’ll combine my firsthand experience with details from the company to help you decide.

How WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser Works

After shaking the 10-ounce can, you’ll remove Chain Cleaner & Degreaser’s cap, line the nozzle up with the blue dot, and spray onto your bike’s drivetrain (e.g., cassette, rear and front derailleurs, chain, and chainrings) while backpedaling.

Because the formula’s safe for all bike finishes and components, WD-40 tells us you won’t have to worry if any extra sprays or drips on other parts as you wait a couple of minutes for it to work.

Like any other degreasing formula, Chain Cleaner & Degreaser’s three active ingredients penetrate dirt and grime, break it up, and help loosen it from surfaces:

  • 2-(2-Butoxyethoxy)ethanol (Glycol Ether DB), 5-10%
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (Isopropanol), 1-5%
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas (propane, n-butane) or Isobutane propellant, < 2%

You can use a brush to help release especially stuck-on grime. Just be sure to keep away from heat, open flames, sparks, and electrical tools while you work.

Using a blend of four active ingredients, WD-40’s Chain Cleaner & Degreaser formula effectively breaks up gunk and grime, but without damaging parts or finishes with citrus or acid-based components. Credit: WD-40 Company

Once you’re finished, you’ll spray your drivetrain with clean water to thoroughly flush away the formula, and then gently dry using a cloth, so your chain will come out “sparkling clean,” according to the website.

Pro tip: If your drivetrain isn’t especially dirty and you’re short on time, you can skip the water and simply wipe away the excess with a clean rag.

But, is the formula this easy and effective in the real world?

My Experience Using WD-40’s Chain Cleaner & Degreaser

I’ve used WD-40’s Chain Cleaner & Degreaser for more than a year and found that it really is as easy to apply as the manufacturer advertises.

I start by placing the bike on my Park PCS-10 bike stand so my rear wheel can spin freely, and because my bikes’ drivetrains get pretty mucked-up, I address them first. Otherwise, I’ll end up flinging debris everywhere and cleaning the surrounding areas twice.

Starting with the cassette, I spray a liberal—but even—amount of the foam where it meets the chain, and then move forward toward my chainrings and crankarms, slowly backpedaling as I go.

It sticks right where I need it, and I like seeing the foam immediately go to work, which loses its firmness over the course of one to two minutes. As it does, grease, oil, and dirt drip away with it.

For especially grimy chainrings and rear mechanicals, I’ll scrub them down with a medium-stiff bristle brush, followed by a specialized chain tool that cleans three sides at once.

Afterward, I spray off the dirt, grime, and WD-40 Degreaser with water. I’ve never just wiped it away with a rag, although the company emphasizes that this is perfectly legit if you don’t have access to water or are otherwise in a hurry.

Bottom line: In combination with a bit of elbow grease, I’ve found that WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser is super easy to use, goes right where I put it, sticks to my bike, effectively breaks up grime, and really does leave my bike’s drivetrain sparkling clean.

A 10-ounce can typically lasts me several months, and I’ve found the formula comes with a competitive price, something we’ll discuss further in the next section.

How Can You Choose Between WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser & Third-Party Formulas?

There are multiple bike drivetrain cleaners and degreasers in the same marketplace as WD-40’s formula, which also promise to provide powerful grease and grime dissolving capabilities—many with foaming action.

As a few examples, here are a handful of options found on Amazon., along with how their formulas compare:

Product Active Ingredient(s) Notes
2-(2-Butoxyethoxy)ethanol (Glycol Ether DB), 5-10% Isopropyl Alcohol (Isopropanol), 1-5% Liquefied Petroleum Gas (propane, n-butane) or Isobutane propellant, < 2% Part of WD-40’s complete bike products lineup, safe for all parts and finishes
Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, Stoddard solvent,  d-Limonene, Alcohols, C9-11, ethoxylated, Diethylene glycol monobutyl ether, Sodium lauryl sulfate Citrus-based, not safe for plastic/rubber, biodegradable
Distillates (petroleum), hydrotreated light, Propane, Butane,  1,2-Propanediol, Sulfonic acids, petroleum, calcium salts   Engineered for commuters and recreational cyclists, cleans and lubricates in one step, also provides rust protection
N/A Includes extension tube to reduce overspray and mess

The fact of the matter is that choosing a bike chain cleaner and degreaser isn’t rocket science. However, depending on your needs and preferences, where you place your emphasis can have a big impact on the overall value you achieve.

For example, if paying the lowest price is a top priority, Finish Line’s Polish & Protect is the least expensive of the group. But, at $13.99 for an 8-ounce can, their 1-Step formula offers the highest per-ounce price at $1.75.

Comparatively, ProGold’s Foaming Degreaser Spray comes in at $0.83 per ounce, but with the second highest upfront price behind Pedro’s Oranj Peelz.

However, ProGold also only comes with five Amazon customer reviews, who’ve given the spray an average rating of 3.4 stars—the lowest in the table above. The company’s website is also currently under construction, so we can’t know exactly which active ingredients the formula contains.

On the other hand, Showroom Polish features a 5-star average rating among seven customers, whereas  WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser comes with a 4.5-star average Amazon rating among more than 360 customers, if a greater amount of feedback is essential to you.

Cumulatively, WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser features an effective formula, almost wholly positive—and a generous amount of—online customer feedback, and it’s available from a wide variety of retailers.

Should you go ahead a buy, though? Let’s conclude next.

Should You Buy WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser?

I’ve had nothing but great experiences with WD-40 Chain Cleaner & Degreaser, and based on online third-party feedback, it seems like cyclists of all disciplines have experienced much of the same.

With this said, common—although infrequent—complaints reported difficulties with the spray bottle, ineffective protection, and excessive gunking after application. I’ve yet to experience any of these issues.

Still, you could probably argue that “a bike degreaser is a bike degreaser,” so any formula will do, as long as it doesn’t contain ingredients that could damage parts or finishes. So, if you’re looking to potentially achieve many of the same results—at least based on online customer reviews—but save yourself a few bucks in the process, you might achieve better value with a third-party formulation.

From my perspective, though, I appreciate using thoroughly tested products from reputable companies, so I don’t mind paying a couple of dollars extra for WD-40’s formula and plan to continue using it indefinitely.

Ready to buy? Consider clicking the link to the right. Why? As an Amazon Associate, TreadBikely earns from qualifying purchases, which helps support our mission. Learn more here.

>> Keep rolling: WD-40 All-Purpose Bike Wash Review

Derek is an avid cyclist with more than two decades of experience in the sport, and currently resides in Denver, Colorado. He enjoys all types, including road, MTB, cyclocross/gravel, commuting, and touring. When he's not writing reviews and guides related to bike accessories, parts, and gear for TreadBikely.com, he's riding, talking about cycling, or thinking about bikes he can't afford. #rolloutblissout
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