The Many Uses of Simple Green


Posted by Coach Patty Collins

Along the lines of last week’s short column extoling the many virtues of white vinegar, I have to share my second cleaning secret of triathlon…Simple Green!!!

I use Simple Green for the following:

  • Cleaning my drive train
  • As a spot degreaser in the laundry (for any grease or oil stain on any washable fabric)
  • Hand cleaner (especially after bike maintenance, changing tubes, etc)

Why I love it:

  • Non-toxic
  • Biodegradable
  • Cost effective

One gallon of Simple Green costs about $14.00 without too much bargain shopping.  One gallon of Nashbar degreaser (also non-toxic and biodegradable) costs about $28.00.  With that $14.00 in savings, I can buy 3 spare tubes or some cool cycling socks.

So, how do I use Simple Green?

Bike Cleaning:

I put it in a spray bottle (a new one is about $2.00, but we probably have one almost empty of something else we have under our sink). Rather than buy the gallon, you can also get it in a spray bottle. They do make a bike-specific product, but standard Simple Green works just fine too.

I spray my drivetrain and let it soak a few minutes.  I then go to work with an old toothbrush and or regular household kitchen sponge with a scrubby pad side.  It doesn’t take too much effort to see the shine of our components come through the grease.  Rinse with a hose and let air dry! 

I actually had a friend remark, “I didn’t know my chain and cassette were silver;  I thought they were dirt and grease colored”.  We’ll save lubes of choice for another article, but after everything is dry, I’ll lube my chain, let that sit a few minutes before wiping the excess with a clean rag.


In my laundry:

More times than I care to remember I’ve stained a blouse or favorite race T-shirt with something!  Sometimes it’s a drip of grease from post race pizza or even a bit of salad dressing.  Invariably, it’s always on something I really like!  When I get home I spray the oil/grease spot with Simple Green and throw it into the wash.  It might take a couple times through the wash, but it always comes clean. I use to wear only black cycling shorts because it would hide the grease so well.  Now I branch out into other colors because I know I can always get them clean.

On my skin:

I like to think I keep my bike pretty clean, but most of us have finished a ride with the notorious “bike cassette tattoo” on the back of our calf.  I spray a little Simple Green on a rag or paper towel, wipe, and viola, clean leg!  Sometimes it takes a little more scrubbing of my hands if I’ve just changed a tire or gotten into some serious bike maintenance, but my good friend, Simple Green, has never failed me!


Coach Patty is not endorsed by, nor does she received compensation or free product from Simple Green. She just knows what works to keep things clean!



Coach Patty Collins is a USAT Level 1 Coach, USAC Level III, and USMS Level II Coach. She is a Veteran having served 24 years in the Army with deployments to the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, retiring in 2015.  She joined Team MPI in Jan of 2017 shortly after competing in the Paralympics in RIO as a triathlete. A life long athlete, Patty began as a high school runner and switched to Triathlon in college and has dabbled in bike racing and kayaking. Patty's drawn to coaching because of its inherent reliance on developing relationships with athletes and establishing and sharing goals. She enjoys the process immensely and believes it's one of trust, confidence, life balance, goal setting, and joy along the way. Patty has one (adorable) son. Contact Coach Patty at

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