Review: WD-40 BIKE Foaming Wash, Degreaser and Protectant

Pro Review

Why You Want: You care enough about your bike to give it the occasional bath, degrease (and polish), and you’re looking for quality products that will help get the job done. And hey, who doesn’t like a clean, shiny bike.

Pros: Foaming wash and degreaser are biodegradable and gentle on your skin. Foaming wash comes in spray bottle, making it easy to apply where you want it. Degreaser is safe for all frame materials, even rubber or plastic. Protectant rubs on and off with no fuss, and provides a nice shine.

Cons: The Foaming Wash is $14 for a one liter bottle, compared to four bucks for a similarly sized container of Palmolive dishwashing liquid. (Not that anyone ever uses dish soap on their bike…)

Marketing Spin: “The real story behind why we got into the bike business is because when kids are young they hear about WD-40 when mom and dad are out working in the garage,” explained PR man Mike Irwin. “We wanted to take that brand name recognition and develop a line of reliable products for cycling. And we wanted to cover the three main bases, cleaning, lubing and protecting.” [Note: RoadBikeReview will cover WD-40's new bike lube products is a separate post.] Here are a couple videos from WD-40 on how to use these products. First the wash, then the polish.

RoadBikeReview Take: The irony to WD-40’s entrée into the cycling world is that for years the company’s best known product arguably did more harm than good. Unbeknownst to countless amateur home-mechanics, traditional WD-40 is not the same as chain lube. But now the famous lubrication maker is doing its best to undo that damage, releasing a full line of WD-40 bike-specific products. (We’ll look at its new lubes – wet and dry – in a separate post.)

We’ve used the foaming wash, degreaser and protectant several times at our at-home bike wash station, and have no complaints. After soaking our brush with the foaming wash, dirt and grime were easily brushed away. And the spray bottle makes on-bike application easy if you prefer that method.

The degreaser, which utilizes a surfactant formula that WD-40’s Mike Irwin claims is almost like a soap, did the same trick on our dirty chain. The rationale of the formula is that unlike citrus based chain cleaners, it’s not hard on your skin, while unlike solvent based formulas, it’s not hazardous to breath. It’s also safe on all parts of your bike, so no need to panic if you accidentally spray it on places you didn’t mean to.

As for the protectant, whether or not you deem it necessary to polish your bike is a matter of personal preference. It’s certainly not something we’d ever done in the past. But I will say that it left a nice shine on both our carbon fiber Parlee road bike and composite Specialized cross-country bike. Have to admit, though, that I’m a little skeptical about WD-40’s claim that it actually “helps prevent the build-up of dirt, dust and grime, and helps treated surfaces stay cleaner longer.” Seems a little too good to be true. I will say that the protectant did seem to cover up a few of the blemishes and scratches on my road bike, which is another one of its claimed features.

As for traditional stuff, WD-40 still makes it and has released it in a new bike-part-friendly squirt bottle. They say you can “use it to lubricate squeaky shifters, cables, derailleurs and pivot points; free metal-to-metal seat posts, bottom brackets and bolts; shed mud from pedals and cleats; remove adhesive residue and sticky substances; or prevent rust on steel frames.” Just don’t spray it on your chain!

Rating: 4 out 5

Price: WD-40 BIKE Foaming Wash, $14 (1 liter bottle)
WD-40 BIKE Heavy Duty Degreaser, $15 (20oz bottle)
WD-40 BIKE Frame Protectant, $14 (8oz bottle)

More Info: www.WD40Bike.com

Review: WD-40 BIKE Foaming Wash, Degreaser and Protectant Gallery
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About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures in British Columbia, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, and Peru among many others. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in January, 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and edited a book on cycling tips. When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying the great outdoors with his wife Lisa.


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