OXFORD MINT BIKE WASH
1 litre £6.99
For a quick bike clean, pump action spray-on types have distinct advantages. Mind you, Oxford’s Mint Bike Wash has done a full clean as well. Differences between spray cleaners can be pretty fine, but I’ve found the Oxford far from profligate, with a bit more bite than some.
Pros: effective and economical.
Cons: be nice to have a concentrate version.
There’s not a whole lot of detail on the make-up of the potion. However, when Oxford say bike they mean both motorbike and cycle. In with the surfactants – the bit that lifts the dirt – is a small percentage of perfume. No, not a cheap pressie for your partner, just the mint of the brand name.
Although it’s described as “biodegradable” keeping out of the reach of children is recommended, and whilst Oxford proudly point out that it is not tested on animals, it’s probably best not to try it out yourself. On the other hand, it is declared to be safe on carbon fibre, rubber, paintwork, metal surfaces, plastics, and I’ve noticed no ill-effects on anodised or chrome parts either.
It is also available in a five litre refill.
Give your dirty bike a rinse over for starters. Then spray away. The spray-head has two settings. Look closely and you’ll see. One delivers a relatively narrow dose of cleaner – ideal for getting into nooks and crannies, or just being parsimonious. The second gives broader coverage. Much of the time, I have used the first, especially if into the crannies of the front mech and other out of the way spots. Either way, there’s plenty of foam to help spot the bits that have escaped spraying. those are not the only ways in which it seems comparable to Silkolene's Wash Off.
Leave for a few minutes. With wheels off, I worked on cleaning them whilst allowing the rest of the bike to soak.
Select a suitable brush. Oxford suggest one of their sets (there are others, such as Pedro’s Pro) which, coincidentally I had in stock, along with their Big Softy Brush. For more clagged MTBs etc, I tend to use Green Oil’s Eco Brush.
Much dirt came away with a simple wipe with the ubiquitous cloth; brakes, stays and derailleur required a bit more brushing. Only the hidden depths of the underside of the mudguards and the gravel machine’s forks and stays required a second blast and more elbow grease.
Finally wash it away, and you should have a nice shiny bike.
Ideal for quick blow-overs, are sprays more profligate for a full valet? Well, generally, yes. There’s not so many cleans in a litre bottle as in a half-litre of Crankalicious Mud Honey. Mind, this is reflected in the price. Equally, SKS Wash Your Bike, another spray on, comes in significantly more expensive. I’ve not found the Mint Bike Wash especially wasteful – four filthy bikes in and there’s still over half a litre left.
Lizard Skin DSP bar tape can be bit of a dirt magnet, so gave the Mint Wash a decent run for its money. Beginning with the basic procedure, followed by a scrub with a stiff brush and a rinse, it got rid of most of the muck. I found that another small dose and a good rub with a rag brought things back to best.
On the whole, I have found Oxford Mint Bike Wash very effective, getting the dirt out and leaving a nice smear free finish. Especially good for a general blow over, it seems to go a bit deeper and further than some other sprays I have used.
Concentrates, such as Crankalicious Pineapple Express suit some better, with the ability to brew to your preferred strength. However, Mint does the job very well, and goes beyond the call of duty.