There are few things that get my attention like the
words "easy to use", "time saver" or anything
that promises "one step". Add "no buffing" and I'm
Yep, I'm lazy. My mother used to tell me
that all the time. My answer (now that I'm an
adult)? So what? I'm beyond trying to come up with
excuses for my affliction, so I'll simply admit it and move on.
And while I'm at it, I'll also confess to having finally
lost my obsession with making sure
the bikes are in a constant state of concours-level shine and polish.
Don't get me wrong -- I like 'em clean, but I'd
rather be riding than polishing. Who wouldn't?
That may be one of the reasons for the popularity of Adventure Touring bikes.
They're supposed to look dirty! I'll bet
that's one of the main attractions in that segment.
Polishing rag liberation!
So when an email arrived from the makers of Star
Clean, I took notice. "Less work time, more play
time", it said. Hey -- they're speaking my
language! But wait a second! As webBikeWorlders know very well, talk is
cheap. Does the stuff work?
In a word, yes. Star Clean is another one of those obscure products
that seems to have beaten the big guys to the draw.
I have no idea how they came up with the formula --
another Mad Scientist maybe cooked up a batch by mistake in a garage
while searching for a cure for warts?
Actually, the cleaner/polish is made in Germany and it's
distributed by Star Clean in the U.S.A. It comes
in a 150 ml (5 oz.) tube and retails for $18.99.
Yeah, I know -- this sounds steep, but it only takes a miniscule
amount to do the deed, so the tube should last until,
oh, about the 22nd Century or so, when nano-coated
chrome won't need polishing anyway. And besides,
lazy suckers like me will spend anything to get out of
Front fork tube before: cloudy, dingy and buggy.
Fork tube after: nice 'n' shiny clean!
Top of shock absorber before.
Top of shock absorber after.
The best thing about Star Clean metal polish is that
it is just as easy to use as they
say. I have no idea what the stuff really is or
how it works; all I know is that it's a white-colored substance with the
consistency of something like a cross between yogurt and Colgate toothpaste.
It has no smell that I can detect.
The directions are slightly confusing; the box adds a
"rinse" step after the application, but the Star Clean
tube says to use a wet sponge to apply it, then wipe it
dry and you're done. Rinsing works well if you're
using Star Clean to polish chrome wheels, because by time you
wheel, some of the Star Clean has dried, and the water
works best to clean it off before wiping.
But on smaller parts, like a muffler or chrome light
or the like, it's easier and quicker to follow the
directions on the tube and simply wipe it off. This way
you don't have to mess with water and a hose.
As far as the claims go, they're pretty much correct;
the "no buffing" part is accurate, depending upon your
definition of "buffing". Since it's
applied with a wet sponge, you do have to wipe the
surface a few times to dry off the wet Star Clean
We noticed that it
does pay to give it a final touch with a second clean
polishing rag (the best polishing rags are the now
easy-to-find micro-fleece variety) to really bring out
Star Clean is kind of magical actually -- once I
discovered how easy it is to use, I couldn't
stop trying it, cleaning and polishing every piece of metal I could
find. Cruiser owners will love this stuff, as they
typically spend a lot of time keeping that chrome up to
One of the nice things about it also is that
it has no smell, no abrasives and it's claimed to be
non-toxic and non-hazardous, unlike some of the other
metal cleaners and polishes we've used, which sometimes
have a very heavy chemical or petroleum smell.
Star Clean also seems to do a very good job on bugs
-- check out the video (below), where I use it on the
chrome strip across the front of the GT1000's fly
screen. You'll see that it doesn't take much
pressure at all to clean it up and eliminate all of
those bugs, which have been stuck there since last fall.
Sportbike owners have fewer chrome or metal bits, but
the GT1000 has a decent amount of chrome (wheels) and
plain metal (forks, shocks, fuel tank cap and
chrome-plated plastic) to make it worthwhile.
[ADDENDUM: Note that Star Clean is billed as a
"One Step Metal Treatment", and I don't think it's a
substitute for a heavy-duty abrasive and chemical-laden
polish that will remove heavy staining, rust stains,
discolorations and the like. Visit our Motorcycle
Cleaners and Polishes index page for other reviews of
those type of products.
But based on our research, it's improbable that you
will find a polish that will magically transform that
old pitted or rusted exhaust or spokes into something
that looks factory-fresh. Star Clean is an
easy-to-use, quick cleaner and light polisher and our
experience has been that it works very nicely on
untreated metal, aluminum, chrome plated metal and
stainless steel mufflers and bits that are in good
structural condition but just need some touching up.
And after all; that includes just about anything an
owner would be using it on anyway...]
It's always very difficult to get good "before/after"
photos of a motorcycle polish product, but here's a
before and after using Star Clean metal polish on the
forks of the GT1000 and then on the aluminum top of the
shock absorber. Other than maybe two soap and
water washes last year, the metal on this bike wasn't
previously treated and it was starting to look a bit
cloudy from oxidation.
Video: Star Clean Metal Cleaner and Polish
The bottom line is that Star Clean lives up to its
billing as the easiest-to-use metal cleaner and polish
we've ever tried. It works on plain metal, chrome
and stainless steel, along with brass and aluminum.
The company claims that it "Cleans, Shines and
Protects"; I'm not sure about the "Protects" part,
because it hasn't been that long since I polished the
parts, but the "Cleans and Shines" part is on the money.
If you want to reduce the time spent cleaning your
motorcycle's chrome and metal, this is the best product
we've found so far.
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From "K" (8/10): "I would like to comment on StarClean. Awesome guys.
I just did a fundraiser for a nonprofit org and I used a tube of StarClean that I bought 3 years ago.
It was so amazing to remove
those stubborn paint transfer and scrapes, dull spots from Chaps
rubbing the tank and water spots off of chrome that the owners of
the bikes that we cleaned came over and gave more money for doing
such a great job. Thank you StarClean for such a great product.
You helped make our Bike Wash a huge success. Kudos. Looking
forward to the next one in September and to also have your product
available to our fellow bikers. We washed 33 Bikes in one
day and a few cars and SUV's."