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How to Clean a Bike Chain With Household Products

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Having a clean and shiny bike chain is crucial to your pedaling efficiency and the life of your chain. Fortunately, it isn’t that hard to clean a bike chain with everyday household products at home.

Here you have four household products that work great:

5 Household Products that Work Great

Dish Soap

Dish soap is great to clean any other exterior part of your bike, like the body or gears. It’s gentle enough for plastic, and it doesn’t leave grease buildup behind. Just squirt a little bit onto a rag and wipe down the chain as you pedal backward; rinse with water.

Vinegar

Vinegar is a household product that cuts through grease and grime. If you want to take the shortcut, pour some vinegar onto your chain and pedal backward for several minutes; when it stops fizzing, rinse with water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda isn’t just great in baked goods. It can also be used to absorb grease and grime. Just pour some baking soda onto your bike chain, leave it there for several minutes, then brush it off with an old toothbrush.

WD-40

WD-40 is designed to dissolve all kinds of gunk. If you’re using the aerosol version rather than the liquid, spray down your bike chain and wipe it off with a rag after several minutes.

Old Toothbrush

You’ll need an old toothbrush to brush up baking soda or other particles left behind after you clean your bike chain with one of the previously mentioned household products.

Read more: How to Bike With Your Dog

How to Clean a Bike Chain in 3 Simple Steps 

In general, the process for cleaning a bike chain is simple:

1. Put your bike on a work stand or put it on the floor wheels up.

One of the first things you should do when working on your bike is to put it in a stand. A sturdy, well-built work stand will make this task easier and help protect against any potential bumps or falls that could cause damage if not adequately secured by an athlete like yourself!

Inspecting your bike’s chain and drivetrain is easy to do when it’s upside down, so you should use this method if possible. Clear away any dirt or leaves before beginning the inspection process by wiping them off with a damp cloth; scrutinize everything for damages that could cause problems in future rides like broken chains (or other parts).

2. Degrease your bike chain with a degreaser.

Put your degreaser into a spray bottle and spray it directly onto the chain. If you’re using WD-40, pour it down your bike and wait for a few minutes. Then use a rag to wipe the chain clean. You might need to do it two or three times if your chain is filthy and messy.

3. Lubricate your bike chain

Although you can use any household oil lubricant, WD-40 is a perfect choice because it doesn’t attract as much dirt or dust as other kinds of oil. Now it’s time to put the lubricant onto your chain. Spin the pedals backward to help the lubricant get into all parts of your bike chain.

How often should you degrease a chain?

How often you should clean your bike chain depends on how much you ride and the conditions in which you ride.

If you live near an ocean, for example, salty sea spray could build up on your bike chain after just one ride because it’s so corrosive—the same goes for riding in areas with lots of precipitation like rain or snow. If you live in a place like that, it’s best to degrease your chain more often – at least once a week. 

If you only ride when the weather is nice, and everything is dry, you might not need to do it more than twice or three times per year. Keep all of this in mind when planning your biking schedule, and you’ll be able to enjoy riding your bike no matter what the weather or surroundings are.

Recommended Reads on Bike Maintenance

How Often to Tune Up Bike – Everything you need to know about regular bike tune-ups. How often, what is included, etc.

How Much Does a Bike Fit Cost – Learn what’s the price of a standard professional bike fit in 2022.

When to Change Mountain Bike Tires – Learn when is the right time to change your mountain bike tires.

How to Prepare Your Bicycle for Spring – Here’s how to prepare your bike for the upcoming riding season. From cleaning to adjusting the brakes and preparing your safety gear.

About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.

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