can you use simple green


New Member
May 4, 2013
can you use simple green to clean your chain? or do you guys use bike specific cleaners? thanks.
Yes. Simple Green non-toxic.

If the chain is off the bike you can use car brake cleaner also. This will completely remove all grease, oil whatever from the chain.
I've used Simple Green for years. It's been fine around my carbon, aluminum and rubber bike components. I use it in the Park Tool chain cleaner and the brushes, case and sponge are unaffected by it.
sweet. i was not sure if it would affect the finish of the frame.

as a follow up what kind of chain lube do you guys use? im leaning towards the dry lube. can you use silicon based or graphite based dry lubricants? or any favorite product?

Originally Posted by bababoy .

can you use simple green to clean your chain? or do you guys use bike specific cleaners? thanks.
Of course you can, try it and you'll see it works well.
"as a follow up what kind of chain lube do you guys use?"

In 41 years of cycling I've used everything from Dri-Slide to Amsoil to Slick50 to boutique bike oils...every snake oil under the sun. Motorcycle chain oil/spray...industrial chain lubes...Pedros...Finish name it. Everything EXCEPT stovetop paraffin.

For years I've been using 85-140 weight gear oil.

It's a high pressure lubricant with decent cling, good penetration and low cost. About $4/qt.

Last night I replaced a Campy chain that just went past the 0.05% stretch point on the new Park gauge and the cassette stack while I was at it. No wet lubricant I've tried has measurably increased or decreased my drivetrain component life.

Most folks say the dry lubes need re-application more often and offer less wear index in return for a cleaner looking chain that picks up less road ****. Dry lubes are definitely less messy. Prolink, Finish Line, White Lightning, Pedro's, etc. all offer dry lubes infused with Teflon, ceramic magic molecules and unicorn farts.

The dry lubricants have improved a bit over the years for lubricity and longevity, but using a chain cleaner every week or two and wet lube is how I roll. Wet oil is infused with all kinds of additives and available in semi-synthetic blends and full synthetic formulations. Personally, I think it's the 'oil' part that does the actual lubricating and if you clean your chain even once a month what you put on it doesn't matter a whole lot.

If you ride in the rain, go with wet (or a paraffin job). For dusty, sandy, gritty roads or if you just like a shiny chain the dry stuff might pay off.
Bob would cringe but a local mechanic uses paint thinner as a degreaser - I've been using it in my Park cleaner & also spray it on the chainrings to get the black oil residue off using a brush - then a soap n water wash down and some Prolink on the chain.

Bob, was wondering how you clean your chainrings - same basically as I mentioned above or different ???
The chainrings get Simple Green on them as the Park Tool chain cleaner gets the chain soaked and clean.

I use a rag to shield the rear wheel/tire from excess SG dripping off the chain and derailleur pulleys. That rag gets fairly well soaked and I use it to wipe down the chainrings, pulleys/cage assembly and finally to floss the cassette gears.

Chains and gears on a bike are the perfect representation of an exposed roller chain driveline...and all the dirty drawbacks that go with such!

Chains and gears are supposed to be dirty.

I never try to get my driveline 'you-can-eat-off-it' clean. My intent is to flush as much of the abrasive dirt and grit off as possible. The minute you apply new lubricant and go out for that first 20-miler the old stuff that invariably is still under the rollers comes flushing out black. Or you pick up a new coating of horse ****, road grit, dust, car rust, etc. And it is all busy getting dirty looking again.

For those that clean between 'cleanings' with just an old sock or rag and re-lube, the driveline is never operating room clean. But neither is it a real ***** to get it back to 'that looks damned good!'. The folks that clean once a 3000-mile summer and just keep re-applying more lube as needed...they are the ones with a real mess on their hands...and shirt...and floor...

There's a happy medium between the OCD folks that only use operating room/clean room standards, sterile dry lube and lint-free rags made from virgin sheep and the crud-caked components like most of the local club members seem to have three weeks after their annual tune-up at the LBS that lasts until the next appointment with the (deservedly) depressed mechanic.

Only you and you mileage/road conditions can determine a schedule/lubricants that keeps your chain and cassette alive the longest and we can all be proud of our right-inside-calf black stripe jobs every now and again.

Lately, I've been pre-lubing (prior to applying the oil) my cleaned chains with aerosol chain lube from Liquid Wrench:
It foams on, penetrates into the pins/rollers and dries to a clingy, tacky, waxy feel. I like it. $2/can at Menards and also available in liquid, bottle format (but I do so enjoy killing the ozone layer and pissing off the tree huggers).

Despite alien ranting on about how poor the human is at observing and quantifying 'stuff', I will ask you there ANYTHING in cycling that feels smoother and faster than a racing bike that just had a thorough driveline cleaning and lube?!?!
Bob, I've been using the aerosol spray Liquid Wrench Chain Lube ($2/can on sale at Menard's) with Finish Line Wet lately.

I've also stepped up cleaning intervals after any ride through lots of road grit. I rode 61 miles yesterday and the chain was darned clean after a ride over some pretty decent roads.

Today, I took the wife out and we rode one of those Greenway Rails-to-Trails things that run through a lot of woods for only 22 miles. The crushed Maple seeds, the crushed wood dust and the crushed dried leaves made a Holy mess out of the driveline. The constant spray of that stuff coming off the paved trail surface and front tire (it was a sunny, dry day) coated the chainrings, the chain and cassette gears. I cleaned both drivelines when we returned home.

Her bike chain was lubed with 70 Weight Harley-Davidson oil (aircraft oil by Castrol or Pennzoil are also excellent for open chain drive applications). My bike is going for a long ride tomorrow in dry conditions (cross your fingers!) so it got only the Finish Line Wet and a finger of red wheel bearing grease (in case crossing my fingers fails miserably...Ohio weather is tough to predict!). It will be cleaned again on Tuesday, post ride, and get the Liquid Wrench before the Finish Line.
Thanks a lot, CampyBob. Here are positive thoughts that you enjoy a great ride today. I will get myself the Liquid Wrench (it costs considerably more here in Maryland) and Finish Line Wet.

I think the Harley oil might be available locally, and I'm sure Amazon might have it plus aircraft oil.

Hope you had a great ride!

I don't like Simple Green but if you insist on using it get the non corrosive Simple Green. Plain Simple Green can damage unfinished aluminium components. A person should never use water or water based cleaners to clean chains, just my opinion.