Care for your bike and the planet: Best eco-friendly motorcycle cleaners

Motorbike cleaner
Motorbike cleaner
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We all want to keep our bikes clean. Not only is it the best way to pride and joy looking its best but it’s an important part of its maintenance schedule and a vital way to ensure it’s performing to its best ability, too. But it’s important to look after the environment too, so it’s good to purchase eco-friendly motorcycle cleaners.

Many traditional cleaning products, by being solvent or acid-based, can be potentially disastrous here, not just to drains and the water systems, but to the atmosphere and in terms of packaging as well.

Which is where the new breed of ‘eco-friendly’ automotive cleaning products, many of them specifically designed for use on motorcycles, come in.

These are often alkaline or water-based, so pose no threat to the environment, are available with refills, so have potentially less waste packaging and are often designed to tackle specific cleaning tasks on your bike.

Related: Best motorcycle cleaning brushes

But what, exactly, is out there? What do they do, what are they made of and what do you get for your money? Here’s our pick of some of the best eco-friendly motorcycle cleaners currently available to help you choose.

This cleaner from Midchem is water-based, is biodegradable, uses citrus oil and is intended to be used to get all forms of muck off your bike - mud, road grime and traffic film.


It can be used neat for particularly stubborn debris or diluted for less hardcore muck and to go a longer way. It is acid and caustic-free and can be used by professionals, industry and regular bikers alike.

Pros

  • Citrus based
  • Biodegradable
  • Good value

Cons

  • Unfamiliar brand

This cleaning solution comes from ex-TT racer and TV star Guy Martin and is a novel design in being water-free. The pack comprises a pouch of two capsules of cleaner with each capable of making 750ml of liquid when mixed with water, then dispensed from the provided spray bottle.


It’s claimed to be fully biodegradable as again it’s alkaline based with no acids, solvents or CFCs, is even friendlier to the environment by not shipping around unnecessary water and is designed and made in the UK.

Pros

  • From Guy Martin
  • ‘Mix your own’ design
  • Easily applied

Cons

  • Not as proven as some
Price: $24.98

This, from highly reputable cleaning-product brand Muc-Off, is specifically designed to tackle the grimmest of bike cleaning tasks, chain cleaning, comes in an easy-to-use aerosol, so it's a doddle to spray on, leave, then rinse off.


It is suitable for all types of bike both on and off-road, won’t damage rubber or alloy (so is suitable for all types of chain, including O, X and Z-ring types), is fully water soluble and biodegradable so is friendly to the environment. It even comes with a lush watermelon fragrance – what’s not to like?

Pros

  • Respected brand
  • Easy to use
  • Watermelon fragrance

Cons

  • Not the cheapest (but not bad)

Putoline is another leading brand specialising in motorcycle lubricants and cleaning product with over 40 years' experience. Its Action Cleaner is specifically designed for cleaning bike air-filters and is a high-grade foam degreaser that is dispensed by a spray can but is also an eco-friendly motorcycle cleaner water because it's soluble and fully biodegradable.


This means it has the added benefit of therefore also not damaging any glue in the filter (as it’s not solvent-based) and by cleaning the filter, ensures a longer service life for both the filter and your bike’s engine.

Pros

  • Reputable brand
  • Extends the life of your air filter and engine
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • A little pricier than some

This double pack from bicycle and motorcycle cleaning specialists Dirtbusters comprises a one-litre spray bottle of its eco-friendly "spray-on, wash off" cleaner plus a 250ml spray-on bottle of its ecological chain cleaner, so you can get all your cleaning products in one go.


Both contain what they call ‘muck munching microbes and enzymes for powerful eco-friendly cleaning’ and are suitable for all types of bikes and motorbike. Although not as well known as others, they’re well rated.

Pros

  • Double pack
  • Well rated
  • Simply spray on and wash off

Cons

  • Not as well-known as some

This specialist bike-cleaning spray is from well-respected, leading French petrochemicals, lubricants and cleaning products manufacturer, Motul. It is specifically designed for motorcycles and is a biodegradable cleaner that comes in a handy one-litre spray bottle.


It’s easy to use; is claimed to remove dirt and protects against corrosion, is usable on all surfaces and is biodegradable. It gets very good ratings from users, as well. Simply spray, wait, agitate slightly for stubborn dirt and rinse off.

Pros

  • Leading brand
  • Simple to apply
  • Usable on all surfaces

Cons

  • Refills not available
Price: $56.99

This is the larger pack version of Muc-Off's highly rated eco-friendly motorcycle cleaner is biodegradable motorcycle cleaning spray, so is effectively a refill pack if you've already got the spray dispenser, important when we're trying to be "eco-friendly".


The nano-technology bit refers to its claim to break down dirt on a molecular level; its alkaline-based formula is free of all acids, solvents and CFCs so is fully biodegradable; its famous pink fluid is safe on all surfaces and, in this economy pack form, is great value, too!

Pros

  • Highly rated
  • Refill-pack value
  • Other sizes available

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with spray dispenser

This eco-friendly motorcycle cleaner is biodegradable spray cleaner was specially developed for all types of bikes, on and off-road and scooters, too, and removes dirt, grime and oily deposits with no need to scrub and polish.


Again, it’s effective on all surfaces, too, and being alkaline based and biodegradable, inflicts no harm on the environment whatsoever.

Pros

  • Respected brand
  • Easy to apply and rinse off
  • Specially developed for bikes

Cons

  • Refills not available

Rrp: $18.28

Price: $17.21

Another biodegradable, eco-friendly product from Muc-Off. Distinct from the same company's biodegradable Chain Cleaner, this is simply a degreaser aimed more at performance machines.


It’s claimed to cut through the toughest of grime, including waterproof grease and lube residue leaving your bike chain running smooth and it’s easy to spray on, leave, then rinse off so takes no time at all to use. Best of all, it’s fully-biodegradable so is completely friendly towards the environment.

Pros

  • Aimed at performance bikes
  • Spray-on, rinse-off design
  • Highly rated by buyers

Cons

  • Aerosol type so not refillable

This German-branded cleaner is one of the most respected in the business, dating back almost 60 years and this cleaning fluid has specifically been developed for use on motorcycles, both on and off road, scooters, bicycles and more.


It comes with its own spray bottle dispenser with refill packs available, is alkaline based, as are many others, so contains no environmentally harmful solvents or acids, and is easily applied, left, agitated as required and then rinsed off.

Pros

  • Proven and respected brand
  • Refills available
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Not the cheapest

About the author: After qualifying as a mechanical engineer, Jim Blackstock began working on magazines in the early 1990s. He remains passionate about product testing to ensure readers know what products offer good value and why. He relishes torrential rain to see if riding kit keeps water out and an hour or two to tinker on a project bike in his workshop.

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