SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
SQUIRT BIKE CLEANER CONCENTRATE
1 litre £16.99
Squirt Bike Cleaner Concentrate is essentially an eco-friendly degreaser stock that can be used neat or diluted to produce a bike wash of tunable/custom strengths. In degreaser mode, it requires a few minutes to dissolve the grime and you’ll need to rinse components with clean water afterward. However, results are worth the wait.
Pros: Effective in both forms and on stubborn petrochemical grot, non-toxic, economical.
Cons: Avoid eye contact and minimise contact with skin.
Before I get into it, worth noting Squirt Bike Cleaner Concentrate can be purchased in several sizes. Aside from our home enthusiast 500ml version, there’s a 60ml, 1 litre or 5litre workshop version. Precise ingredients are a trade secret, but I can say its 65-70% water, the remainder small amounts of sulphate, gluconate, oxides, Cocamidopropyl Betaine and Sodium Metasilicate.
Despite the high-water content, its green and very concentrate. Runnier than Green Oil Chain Degreaser Jelly , but still a rich clingy viscosity that would latch on to the host gunk, breaking it down. Apparently, in bike wash mode, it can be mixed 1:25 and still perform well.
As a degreaser, it can be applied directly to the host components via brush, or decanted into a parts washer and cassettes, rings bearing races etc submerged for a really deep clean. It can also be delivered old school team mechanic fashion, into the drivetrain using a brush, or even via a chain bath-if you’re just giving the bike a quick wash and want to switch to a different chain lube.
I’ve generally defaulted to the other methods, primarily since I’ve been doing high mileages in mucky weather. When it comes to heavily soiled components caked in a witches’ brew of grease, oils and impacted contaminant, strip and immerse them in your parts washer/tub for 30minutes, then agitate with a suitably stiff brush.
For these purposes, I decanted 500ml in a separate (but thoroughly cleaned) screw top container. I poured 100ml into a heavy-duty PET tube, added components and left then marinating for fifteen minutes.
At this point, tickle components with that stiff bristled brush of choice. Yep, get that cassette claw between the sprockets and dig out that matted sludge-satisfying isn’t it. Got a chain in there? Yep, give that a tickle too. Leave another fifteen minutes, tickle, remove, rinse, dry, inspect and refit/consign to the bin. Talking of which, it can be re-used, provided you’ve not literally dredged components from a swamp. I’ve left stainless steel chain rings, electroplated chains for an hour or so, then introduced others later in the week. So long as you’ve got a snug lid on your makeshift/parts washer it shouldn’t evaporate, or dry out.
As a bike wash, pour 100ml into a 1 litre bottle and top up with water. I’ve erred towards a richer brew-200ml/800ml water for speed but very much at my own risk. Harvest a bucket of warm water and your cleaning sponges/brushes. Stating at the bars, spray liberally over the bike and leave fizzing away at the grime for 30-60 seconds before introducing your brushes/sponges.
I’ve done several, extended deep transmission purges as part of a general early season care. Sometimes I’ve worn mechanics gloves, others I haven’t. Squirt hasn’t dried my hands or left them feeling rough. However, I’ve rinsed hands thoroughly and moisturised afterwards.
In common with lots of similar bike washes/degreasers, get a misty droplet in your eyes and you’ll know about it. Flush thoroughly with cold water, monitor and seek medical attention as required. Prevention is better than cure, so use out of the wind/in sheltered spots. Kind to grass and the wider environment it may be, smoothie it is not. So, store as you would a more traditional/petrochemical product-away from small children and curious pets.
The squirt isn’t the fastest blitzer but very effective on most kinds of lubes and greases, resulting in dinner plate clean hosts. Technique plays a big part. Using the baste marinate, agitate and warm water rinse, it’s dismissed all traces of middleweight ceramics from chain, cassette, ring and derailleur jockey wheels - within 10minutes.
Getting a moderately filthy bike squeaky clean in 30 minutes is realistic, using the bike wash and degreaser tag team.
Congealed wet lubes and greases required longer standing time and more enthused scrubbing.
Toothbrushes are particularly good for lifting frame preserve that’s leached from breathe holes, grease from bottom shells and on to crank spiders, hub shells etc. One dismissed a lightweight eco-friendly blend. Two helpings were needed on more basic PTFE based greases and Green Oil Eo Grease . Bargain on three, if you’re stripping a sophisticated, highly weather resistant blend, such as White Lightning Crystal High Performance Grease prior to reapplication. Though repeat applications may be necessary, we’re talking thin coats, via a soft bristled brush-paint brushes are perfect for this. On par with strippers such as Cranklalicious Gumchained Remedy Chain Cleaner . Not a patch on dedicated strippers Green Oil Agent Apple Extreme Immersion Degreaser , but then Squirt is a versatile concentrate and won’t do nasty things to painted, composite and rubberised surfaces, if you’re leaving components in situ.
It’s equally effective as a bike wash-even in the stock, recommended form, although worth noting that a good trigger spray helps agitate the mix, thus improve potency. Give bikes a light blow-over and watch as the subtle suds begin melting ingrained organic muck, within a few seconds of contact.
Wait 30 seconds or so before introducing your brushes, then introduce the warm water and a clean, soft brush/jumbo sponge. A richer 200/800ml mix took the work out of petrochemical gunk-lube spattered stays, bottom bracket shells etc. Perhaps not surprising, since it sits longer on the host. Regardless of strength, rinsed promptly, there’s been no streaking or unsightly watermarks in painted, plated, polished, or anodised surfaces.
On a strictly cash basis, there is a fair bit of comparable choice. Fenwicks FS1Bike Cleaner Concentrate is also biodegradable, kind to surfaces and wider environment alike and a few quid cheaper (£11.99 rrp for 1 litre). Similar story with Juice Lubes Dirt Juice Super Concentrate Bike Cleaner (also £11.99 for 1 litre). Crankalicious Pineapple Express 1 Litre Concentrate is a little dearer than the Squirt at £20.
Weldtite Citrus Degreaser (1 litre) can also be tweaked to different strengths and is generally effective in both roles. However, it’s an old school chemical formula, so arguably not the fairest comparator.
When all’s said and done, Squirt Bike Cleaner Concentrate is a solid workshop staple. What it lacks in aggression it makes up for in overall results, and though more expensive than some SDC favorites, its reasonably economical to use.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Decent concentrate for general workshop duties, albeit a little pricier than some.
Extra (UK) Ltd - Exclusive UK Bike Distribution
PUBLISHED APRIL 2021
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH