I’m after a cheaper (than the bike-specific brands) biodegradable degreaser for cleaning my bike chain.

I have found a few which are apparently biodegradable, however, I’m wondering if there is anything about non-bike-specific degreasers that could cause any damage to the bike?

  • Hi Ben, welcome to the site. I've edited out the product reference to make the question more generalised, avoiding product recommendations. I hope it's still in the spirit of your question, please edit if you want to.
    – Swifty
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 10:35
  • 2
    Not part of the question, but the more aggressive cleaners can cause damage to the user, via skin contact, or fumes in the eyes/airways.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 3:29

3 Answers 3


I use a generic citrus degreaser from Home Depot (largest home improvement stores) that costs $2.99 a bottle. Works fine, does not damage the bike.


This question came up recently in Lennard Zinn's Technical Q&A column. Apparently if you leave a part in Simple Green (the degreaser he specifically discussed) for a very long time, the metal can deteriorate. But this is a matter of weeks or months. If you rinse off your chain the same day, it won't be a problem.


The ones available around here , at least, seem to be generally less effective than the bike ones on a per-unit-volume basis, so you might need to use a bit more, but it certainly shouldn't do any damage (which would tend to result from them being too strong).

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