How to Clean Bike Chains
An important part of bicycle maintenance is cleaning its chain and drivetrain. If you ride your bike regularly, then you should clean and lube your bike’s chain at least once a month. If you ride in wet and muddy terrain, it’s a good idea to clean your bike’s chain more frequently. Dust and grime easily get lodged in your bike chain’s links. If unattended, they act as an abrasive agent on your drivetrain, causing chain wear and gear malfunction.
Cleaning your bike chain is a simple process since you don’t need to actually remove the chain from your bike.
Tools you’ll need
- Several rags
- A stiff brush, like this one, or a hard toothbrush
- Bio degreaser
- Bike chain lubricant, wet or dry, depending on terrain and weather conditions
- A chain-cleaning tool (optional)
Steps for cleaning a bike chain
1. Put your bike on a stand or horizontal rack, like one of our top picks for best bike rack. You’ll want to keep your bike elevated and its wheels free-moving while you clean the chain.
2. Apply some bio degreaser on a clean, dry rag, and hold the rag to the chain. Revolve the pedal backward slowly, keeping the rag on the chain as it moves. If your chain is extra dirty and grimy, you can use the chain-cleaning tool. Fill the tool’s receptacle with bio degreaser and run the chain through the tool.
3. To remove dirt from the cassette (the sprocket cluster attached to the rear wheel’s hub), apply bio degreaser to the stiff brush. Hold the brush on the cassette while pedaling the chain forward. Make sure to get the brush bristles in between the chain links.
4. If there’s still built-up grime, use the rag to “floss” it out in between the gears.
5. Wait for the degreaser to dry.
6. Apply the lubricant to the chain, one drop at a time between each link, slowly revolving the pedal backward.
7. Hold another clean rag to the chain, pedaling backward, and remove any excess lubricant.
8. Take your bike down off the rack. You’re ready to ride!