I have a carbon frame which I'm worried I will scratch the paintwork on. I know the basics of cleaning paintwork without scratching it, using two buckets, one to rinse and one to wash with, grit guard, etc.

However, the first step is usually to degrease. On my chain I'm pretty brutal and tend to soak it in WD-40, I basically don't care about the chain that much, see: Can I use WD40 and generic bicycle oil to maintain my MTB drivetrain?

The frame is a different matter though, it isn't a wear and tear part, and I don't think I should spray WD-40 directly onto the frame. I know that spraying WD-40 onto a car's paintwork will ruin it over time --- it will supposedly look nice at first, and then sometimes start to flake off.

My question is simply what type of degreaser I should use? I'm not sure if I'm allowed to ask for a specific product, so maybe I should phrase it in a way where I ask what type of product I should look for? I'm sure this would be relevant to others too, carbon frame or not, all type of paintwork can be ruined if using the wrong chemicals.

Are there any special considerations with a carbon frame? It wouldn't surprise me if painting a carbon frame is more difficult than a steel or aluminum frame, hence requiring a different type of paint, which requires different care for when degreasing it?

  • WD-40 is not a suitable lubricant, use the citrus degreaser mentioned below for the chain with a dishwashing brush. Rub dry with a rag, I use an air nozzle on an air compressor and lubricate with teflon chain lubricant. Leave it alone for two hours and wipe off the excess with a rag.
    – Carel
    Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 12:21
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    The frame is painted and clear coated, same as your car or any other bike. Use any cleaner you would use on those.
    – mattnz
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 3:20

2 Answers 2


Citrus degreasers work well. They can be washed away with water.

If you are going to spray your chain with WD-40, try making some shields with cardboard to keep it off the frame, brakes, wheels, tires etc.

  • 1
    I think I phrased in the question in a poor manner. I didn't mean to imply that I want to use WD-40 as a degreaser, I was trying to say that WD-40 is probably a bad idea. Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 13:53
  • Are you saying I should use a Citrus degreaser on the frame? Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 13:54
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    @AlphaCentauri if you have got road gunk, chain lube etc on your frame citrus degreasers work well. They also break down chain lube and can be used to clean chai, cassette and rings. Personally I don’t use it in the chain unless a deep clean is required. Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 14:09

Just be careful of what you are using on your frame, over a period of time using unsuitable items faded mine. I found using a light vegetable soap and water then a rub over with hand cleaning wipes bought for working on the car or around the house is mild enough and should environmental friendly.

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