Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin Review


Words by Robert Johnston // Photos by Matt Morris

If Guy Martin is not a familiar name to you already, then it probably should be. He is a legend of going fast, holding numerous speed records (including doing 135mph in a tractor!) and race wins, with a career that has been nothing short of remarkable. A big part of his expertise in going fast stems from his mechanic background, with his signature look being covered in grease and grime. This was no doubt the catalyst for his foray into the world of cleaning products, and the birth of Proper Cleaner. Although he is a man that is burned his fair share of fuel, his Proper Cleaner brand is founded with eco motives, and has some unique features that help to reduce their environmental impact. We were supplied with the original Proper General cleaner and the Proper degreaser for some testing at the tail end of the UK fall, providing plentiful opportunity to put the products to the test in the most demanding conditions.

Proper General Cleaner – The Proper General Cleaner by Guy Martin is a general use cleaner, targeted at bikes but suitable for many applications. Guy and his team looked at ways of reducing the environmental impact of their products, and came up with an obvious issue that is rarely highlighted – why bother shipping containers containing a fluid that is almost entirely water? In removing the water from the equation, suddenly you can reduce package volumes and considerably cut down the weight, minimizing fuel wastage and overall shipping costs.

To achieve this, Proper General Cleaner ships in an empty plastic spray bottle and comes supplied with two capsules in a separate resealable pouch. Each of these capsules offers 750ml of cleaner once diluted, so you essentially get 1.5L of cleaner for your initial £6.50 investment. Further pouches are available at a reduced £5 too, with the idea that you should only need the original bottle for multiple refills, saving on the plastic waste in the long run.

The dissolved capsules produce a 100% biodegradable liquid cleaner that is suitable for all parts of the bike; and will play friendly with carbon fiber, anodized and rubber surfaces. It is also disc rotor and pad safe, removing the need to exercise caution when cleaning.

Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin Review

Proper Degreaser – The Proper Degreaser follows many of the same key features as the General Cleaner, shipping in the same empty 750ml spray bottle with two capsules. Each of these capsules dissolves to produce the same 1.5L of total degreasing fluid, with a £10 initial outlay for the full kit followed by £8.50 replacement pouches.

As you may expect, the degreaser is a harder hitting formula, designed to shift the thicker dirt and grime you would expect to see on your drivetrain. Yet again, it will play friendly with paint, anodizing and rubber seals. However, they do not specify whether it is safe for carbon or not, so it may be best to use it with caution on your composite superbikes, and some extra caution should be taken to keep the spray off your brakes too. Nevertheless, the capsules still carry the same 100% biodegradable nature that remains in line with the Guy Martin ethos, with additional Vegan and Eco labels to boot.

Proper Cleaner by Guy Martin Review

I am not sure if it has been the weather; increased traffic due to the pandemic; or if I’m becoming soft, but the trail conditions have been atrocious of late. Finishing up every ride, there is a question as to what bike is under the-inch-thick layer of gloopy mud – the cleanup mission needs every bit of help it can get. Good conditions for one thing then: testing a cleaning product.

Mixing up both cleaners is as simple as can be – add half the water, drop in a capsule, give it a shake, top up the water and you are good to go. They smell good and have easy to distinguish colors to prevent you spraying the red degreaser on your brakes or wasting the yellow general cleaner on the grimiest areas.

The Proper General Cleaner has a foaming insert on the nozzle, helping to create the satisfying suds that suggest the cleaner is hard at work. When sprayed on to a damp bike, these suds fade away quite quickly – you certainly do not end up with the same foam-covered bike as with some competitors, but then I always thought this was more of a show thing. After the cleaner is sprayed onto a bike and agitated with a brush, the worst of the mud can be easily shifted, but it is not as effective as some. I found I needed to use about 1/4 of a bottle per wash to have the desired impact on the bike, which is a touch more than with the likes of Muc-off. The finish left behind is slightly duller than other products too, however the lack of brake squeal leaves my thinking this is a good thing. You may want to apply some form of polishing spray to keep your paintwork as shimmering as new. After getting some on my relatively sensitive skin, I was pleased to find the General Cleaner is not as damaging as some others, negating the need to rush for some moisturizing cream immediately. Given that the General cleaner does not last as long as the competitors per-volume, it’s a relief that the replacement capsules are slightly more affordable, helping to aid the value proposition. The reduction of plastic consumption in the long run helps the conscience when lathering up a bike, as does the fluid’s biodegradable nature – no need to worry about the poor fish in your local river with this.

The Proper Degreaser bottle features a wide spray nozzle that forgoes any foaming element, which can lead to the liquid finding its way onto unintended parts of the bike at times – spray with caution. The formula is certainly not as strong as some others, requiring a little more patience and aggravation to get the worst grime off a jockey wheel than some harsher degreasers, but it does an okay job. The plus side of its slightly milder nature is the reduced impact of stray degreaser hitting bearing areas. It does leave a brake squealing for its first period of braking, but the remnants quickly burned off once there was some heat in the brakes. Given that it was only used on very targeted areas, it is lasting a lot longer than the General Cleaner, helping to justify its slightly elevated price tag. The Eco-friendly nature and ease of storing a spare capsule gets a big tick, helping to reduce the number of bulk containers needed in the garage and making it more likely to be available to use on the road.

The Wolf’s Last Word

They may not be the most powerful cleaners on the market, but the Proper Cleaner range by Guy Martin offers a particularly eco-friendly option for those who are still looking to keep their bikes looking spick and span without harming the planet we ride them on.

General cleaner – £6
Degreaser – £10

We Dig

Eco Friendly motives
Nice smell
Cheaper refills

We Don’t

Not as effective as some
Slightly dull paint finish
Wide spray of degreaser nozzle


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