I like to take care of my bicycle and clean it regularly.

After a deep clean I would use Muc-Off Bike Protect to protect and preserve the matte paintwork. This works, but is pretty expensive. I do notice the distinctive WD40 smell when rubbing this solution into the frame, forks etc...

I wonder if the branded Muc-Off spray is essentially a similar formula to WD40 with the addition of a higher price tag or is there something in the Muc-Off formula that isn't present in WD40?

I am concerned that if I use WD40 on my new carbon frame and forks to preserve the matte paint job, it could ruin the pain job?

Has anyone tried to clean/preserve the matte paintwork of a carbon frame with WD40? If so, what were the results and would you recommend it as a cheaper alternative to the Muc-Off product?

Muc-Off Bike Protect link: https://muc-off.com/products/bike-protect

  • 3
    WD-40 is mostly a solvent. Among bicycle applications, In my experience it works well for loosening and rinsing greasy dirt from a bicycle chain. It may contain light oils but I don't think of it as persistent. Suggest you contact the manufacturer of your frame and ask what the 'matte finish' is and what, if anything, you can do to protect it. As far as cleaning the finish, I would recommend a good quality car wash soap, a soft brush, and fresh water.
    – Tim D
    Dec 21, 2017 at 18:45
  • @TimD that's an answer.
    – Criggie
    Dec 21, 2017 at 19:09
  • Which WD40 product are you referring to? The WD40 brand has recently expanded to include a range of bike specific products so can no longer presume WD40 means WD40.
    – mattnz
    Dec 21, 2017 at 19:26
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    In general WD-40 should not be used in any manner for anything involving bicycles. Dec 21, 2017 at 21:54
  • 1
    @Tim D If you can provide information the OP can use directly (without just linking to an external resource) - that's an answer. Clarifying questions, instructions or guidance intended to get the OP to arrive at an answer should be comments. Dec 22, 2017 at 21:55

3 Answers 3


There's not really a generic answer as not all finishes will react the same way to a given chemical, especially over time with repeated application. WD-40 has a bunch of naptha, which generally speaking you want to keep away from paint you care about. It also leaves an oil coating behind that can attract dirt, which is ugly and potentially bad for the finish by itself.

Just use one of the many silicone cleaner/wax/protectant products. Silicone is good because its whole deal is it doesn't harm any finish type on bikes, regardless of specifics.


Assuming you are talking about the original WD-40 product, no don't apply that to your frame.

WD-40 is basically a light oil in a mineral solvent. The solvent carries the oil into tight spaces (such as a corroded thread fastener) via capillary action and this is what gives it its penetrating and loosening oil capability. The solvent then evaporates and leaves the oil behind.

So, if you put WD-40 on your frame you are:

  1. Covering it in solvent. That probably is not good for whatever finish the frame has. You might as well cover it in mineral spirits.
  2. Leaving a light coating on oil all over the frame - which you obviously do not want.

The Muc-Off product probably has some form of solvent in it which is what you are smelling.

  • 2
    After a soapy wash and rinse, wiping a dihydrogene-monoxide imbibed rag over the frame would probably be best. The product is cheap and the matte paintwork won't be affected. At least that's what I've been doing for 6 years on a matte carbon bike.
    – Carel
    Dec 22, 2017 at 21:16
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    @Carel -1 for tired old joke Dec 22, 2017 at 21:38

I handy trick is to look at the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for all these products. Often this helps remove the 'marketing veil' and you see that most products are just simple base chemicals...

For Muc-off Bike Protect SDS shows: enter image description here

For WD40 SDS shows: enter image description here

You can see that BOTH have Aliphatic Hydrocarbons. Looks like WD40 contains a bunch of 'base oils' while the Muc-off doesn't. That would explain why WD40 leaves an oily residue while the Muc-off doesn't. I'm not an industrial chemist, so can't help you interpret the data in detail but it's a start! :)

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