We often hear: “I clean my bike with dishwashing liquid and my chain with Dasty degreaser!”. On cycling fora and blogs, we see household cleaning products being recommended to clean road bikes, gravelbikes and MTB’s. If these cheap cleaning products get the job done, why should you choose products that are specifically developed to clean bikes and bicycle chains?
You can find the Dynamic team at events like LTD GravelRaid, Tour de Dumoulin and PlugPlug. In the Dynamic bike wash, you can clean your bike for free after the event. We provide the best products and have some tips and tricks to share.
Household cleaning supplies or bike care products?
We love to meet other cyclists and to listen to their stories. Everyone experiences something special during the events we attend. One of the frequent topics is the products people use at home to maintain their bike.
Recently, someone asked us an interesting question: “I clean my bike with Dreft (dishwashing liquid) and degrease my chain with Dasty (a household degreaser). It is super cheap, foamy and my bike is clean afterwards. Why should I use a product that is designed to take care of my bike?” We wanted to answer this question on this blog so everyone can read along.
Do not clean your bike with dishwashing liquid!
Often we see people who clean their road bike with dishwashing liquid, like Dreft. Especially the chain is often degreased with dish soap. Let’s dive deeper into Dreft!
Dreft is a household cleaning brand of Procter & Gamble, a multinational. In the official documentation of Dreft, which we found online, we see this dishwashing liquid is a solvent based cleaning product. On the packaging, there are multiple warning signs that warn us that the product can cause serious eye irritation and is harmful for creatures living under water. For us, Dreft is a soap that helps to remove grease quickly from pans and pots. Which is perfect when doing the dishes.
Why is dish soap not appropriate for bike cleaning?
Dreft is a powerful cleaning product which removes grease and dirt. When used on your bike, dish soap will aggressively remove everything off your bike including the carefully applied assembly greases which protect the vulnerable parts of your bike.
- The bearing grease will disappear as quickly as you clean a pot after cooking. This affects your bearings, which then are no longer greased and will wear much quicker. The lifespan of your bearing is therefore shortened and the performance limited.
- Moving the shifting- or braking cables will be less smooth, because the lubrication in the outer cables is dissolved. Again something that affects both wear and performance negatively.
- Dishwashing liquid also removes the anti-corrosion layer on the nuts and bolts, this leads to rusty bolts and parts getting stuck due to fretting corrosion.
- The assembly paste that protects your bottom bracket or your headset is dissolved by dish soap. The elements will have free play and this will increase the wear of these expensive parts.
In the short term, it looks like an easy and cheap solution to clean your bike with Dreft. In the long term, it’s a bad idea which may lead to high costs spent on replacement parts and bike parts that perform poorly.
Do not degrease your chain with Dasty!
Dasty is a household degreaser which even has its own fanclub in the Netherlands! On Facebook, fans talk to each other about how to use the cleaners of the Wibra (cheap household retailer) to clean their kitchen, make their kitchen appliances look like new and remove oil spills of the driveway.
Luckily, nobody in this Facebook group talks about using the product to clean premium carbon bikes and parts. At events, we sometimes hear people who do use Dasty to degrease their chain. This product is a very aggressive degreaser which removes dirt and grease quickly. Additionally, it might also be harmful for the vulnerable metal chain links of your bicycle chain.
For cleaning your bike, we discourage using Dasty. If you want to keep your bike rolling smoothly, you want parts lubricated with specific greases at the right places and a wax or oil on your chain. Dasty is effective against dirt and is described by Ger Koper of the Delft University of Technology as an alkaline substance which is not environmentally friendly and accelerates corrosion. These are not characteristics anyone likes in products used to maintain your bike. Also, it’s not clear if this degreaser is safe to use ons carbon or bike paint.
Toothpaste for your teeth, bike care products for your bike, dish soap to do the dishes.
What cán you use to take care of your bike? We’re glad to tell you there are plenty of products on the market developed to safely clean your bike in a quick and effective way.
Clean your bike safely
To clean your road bike, gravel bike or MTB, we have developed Bio Filth Fighter. This bike cleaner is biodegradable and there are no warning signs on the bottle. This cleaning product is specifically developed to wash your bike quickly without being harmful for your bearings, greased components, or the protective layer of your frame. It’s a product that is 100% safe to use on your precious bike. Bio Filth Fighter helps to let dirt dissolve in no time without being harmful for your bike or environment. A better choice than an aggressive household degreaser or dish soap if you ask us!
Degrease your chain safely
We have developed Drivetrain Detox to degrease your complete drivetrain without harming bearings or other vulnerable parts of your bike. There is no product available that cleans stubborn dirt quicker without warning signs on the bottle. Of course, Drivetrain Detox is biodegradable and planet friendly.
You now know the dangers of using household cleaners to wash your bike. Save money in the long term and keep your bike performing at it’s best by choosing products that are developed to clean your bike. For only €34,99 you’ve got a complete cleaning kit!
Photo’s by Erwin Sikkens, Etienne Kraemer, Jannis Brandt