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At first glance, the cleaner called “Simple Green” just doesn’t inspire confidence; you’re trying to get rid of green crap, not add it. But the fact remains: it’s one of the most effective cleaner/degreasers out there that’s readily available, non-toxic, biodegradable, non-abrasive, non-flammable, and affordable.

Simple Green was developed about 30 years ago for industrial uses. But it’s sort of evolved into a great general purpose cleaner for the home. It’s got a slightly alkaline pH of about 9.5 whereas other cleaners tend to be at least 10 times more alkaline. That means it’s less caustic.

And the uses for Simple Green are endless. Their site has an application/dilution chart to help you figure out what mix will work best for your particular application.

I’ve used it to great effect for cleaning my BBQ grill, cleaning up oil spots in the garage, and cleaning my car’s wheels (in a pinch when I ran out of regular wheel cleaner). I’ve also had good luck cleaning some under-engine bits, applying Simple Green to rid parts of built-up grime.

While the original Simple Green is great, the company also offers a huge family of Simple Green-branded products. I’ve never used them so I can’t speak from experience here, but if they’re as good as the original, I’m in.

Original Simple Green is available pretty much anywhere. If you can’t find it, you’re not trying. I’d suggest you pick up a regular sized spray bottle for around $6 or $7 and try it out. If you like what it can do, hit up the warehouse store (read: Sam’s Club, BJs, Costco, etc.) or Walmart for the big gallon jug. In some cases you’ll even find five gallon jugs.

Original All-Purpose Cleaner [Simple Green]
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13 Responses to Simple Green, Simply Clean

  1. Simple green works great for cleaning pitch from saw blades and router bits. I dunk an old toothbrush into a cup of concentrate and use it to remove the grunge. For particularly bad burnt on grunge on router bits, I soak it for a few minutes and hit it with the toothbrush. You’ll see the power of simple green touted on many woodworking forums and sites.

    Just be sure to hit the blade or bit with some WD40 or light oil afterward. Don’t worry about getting it on wood, because next time you spin the bit or blade to full speed it flings it off pretty well.

  2. KMR says:

    Don’t use Simple Green on aluminum… not all of the bottles mention this, but some of the larger gallon+ size do. You’ll find your aluminum surface quickly oxidized after a bath in Simple Green.

  3. Toolaremia says:

    And don’t use it on some ABS and other plastics. It will make it flake or peel like a sunburn. As the bottle says, test first.

  4. Aaron says:

    Takes grease out of your pants too… you know, the good ones you should have changed out of before just doing that simple little job.

  5. TheEstablishment says:

    Maybe it doesn’t work great on polished aluminum, but Simple Green works fantastic on the beadblasted aluminum engine on my BMW motorcycle. Just make sure and rinse it off after scrubbing.

  6. One thing to keep in mind if you’re using it to clean carbide saw blades is that you should just spray and wipe. DO NOT soak your blades in it as it will cause cobalt binder degradation (according to Simple Green’s website and the guys at Freud tools) which can degrade the integrity of the carbide (think little tiny missiles of carbide at 100+mph). If you clean the pitch and resin within 12 hours or so it should wipe right off, if it doesn’t, try soaking it in strong black coffee. It will clear the pitch out without damaging the blade.

    Turns out the Freud tool guys also use the Simple Green wipe and clean method: http://tinyurl.com/2q3kfv

  7. LJDobie says:

    I picked up the gallon/sprayer bottle combo at BJ’s a few months back. It has been working great on cleaning up parts to go back into my 1990 Anniversary Thunderbird I have been restoring. Got to motor out of the engine bay, sprayed the bay dow, let it soak in for a few hours and hit it with the power washer. Came out great. I have also speayed down some of the rough looking spots and rubbed it down with a scotchbrite pad, then wipe, rinse and it is prepped for painting. It seems to remove all of the wax/grease/oil off. Works great on the plastic radiator overflow/window washer bottle as well to make it look new again.. Same method on those parts with the scotchbrite pad and SG… Seems to tak”yellow” off the plastic as well.

  8. PutnamEco says:

    I like Castrols super clean for cleaning greasy stuff. Seems to me to be about twice as potent as simple green.

    As for cleaning the Beemer, S 100 engine brighter does the trick for me. dissolves white oxidation off aluminum very well. Has saved me much elbow grease.

  9. AirClar says:

    I have used it light aircraft engines, with no ill effect, just spray it down with water.

  10. Teacher says:

    I buy a generic version of Simple green at Agri-Supply called “Green Stuff”. I get it for $5 a gallon as opposed to $10 a gallon for SG.

  11. Evan N. says:

    Simple Green gives me the biggest headache every when I use it for a while, so I don’t ever use it. Aside from that I remember it working well…yet I feel so many other products are better suited for the cleaning tasks mentioned here. For general ‘gunk’ on saw blades, etc. I would use Fast Orange. No headaches, plus a little pumice for scrubbing (although Fast Orange loses to SG in the non-abrasive category). If you degrease your engine with Simple Green you still have to worry about disposing the engine grease … so just use Gunk Engine Brite. It works better than SG. Or, as someone mentioned, Castrol Super Clean.

  12. MakenaTile says:

    Simple Green strips 411 stone impregnator/sealer off of stone tile. Most people think its safe to clean their stone floors with it. ITS NOT. Vinegar brakes down the stone.

    So what can you use? Turtle Wax brand Car Wash N Wax. (Synthetic wax only) Mix just like for washing car. Mop floor. No need rinse. Towel dry if desired. Works well on finished wood floors, Pergo floors as well. Polished and painted Cement floors too. Exterior stone pool decks: clean using wide soft broom with a solution of 2-4 cups per gallon. Hose off. It will be easier to clean from this day forth! Just spray it clean with hose- Rewash with wash n wax every 6 months.

  13. Eldar says:

    Can be Simple Green used to wash decks (marine vessels deck) and then is it safe (environmentally) if then the mix is washed into the sea or lake?

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