How to Clean a Bike Chain Using Household Products
Your bicycle chain is a vital part of your bike, connecting the wheels to the bike pedals, and allowing your bike to move. Not only does it help control your bike’s movement, however, but it also helps with balance.
Over time, with constant use, bike chains will get dirty and rusty. A poorly maintained bike chain can reduce the bike’s overall performance, and make riding less efficient or more demanding to pedal.
With it being such an important bike part, it is recommended that you clean your bike chain regularly – approximately once every two weeks. If you are using a particularly muddy track in bad weather, the chain should be cleaned as often as you can.
That being said, specialized tools are not necessary to properly clean your bike chain. In fact, it can easily be cleaned using household products.
What’s Needed to Clean the Bike Chain?
To clean your bike chain, you will need the following:
- Bike Rack or Repair Stand
- Chain Lubricant
- Chain Tool (optional)
- Gas mask (optional)
- Household degreaser
- Kerosene or turpentine oil (optional)
How do you Clean your Bike Chain?
As stated, household products can be used to clean a bike chain. When picking a degreaser, it is important to choose natural products that do not contain harmful chemicals.
Secure your bike, inspect the chain, and remove it:
- First, secure the bike on a bike rack or repair stand. The bike rack is useful because it holds the bike securely and prevents the bike from damaging the surrounding area by falling over.
- Inspect the chain. Look for excess dirt and debris, as well as damage to the links of the chain.
- Remove the chain after determining if it needs to be cleaned. The main link is a quick-release link that simplifies connecting and disconnecting the chain. If your chain does not have the main link, you will need a chain tool.
Degrease and clean the chain:
- Spray the chain directly with your degreaser. Put the chain in the bowl and check if the degreaser has covered the chain entirely.
- Let the chain soak for at least 30 minutes or longer.
- Use kerosene or turpentine to continue cleaning the chain. A gas mask is highly recommended if you are working with these chemicals.
- Repeat the steps of degreasing and cleaning the chain until it is completely clean.
- Let the chain dry for about an hour. The kerosene or oil will evaporate, and the chain will be clean and dry.
- Replace the chain.
After repositioning the chain, it must be lubricated:
- Spray the lubricant bottle on the upper central axis of the chain while you turn the pedal to rotate it.
- Test the chain by performing full rotations on the pedals. If it moves smoothly, all has gone well.
It may seem like a lot of work, but this is actually a simple and efficient way to maintain your bike’s performance.
How Do You Clean a Non-Removable Bike Chain?
If your bike chain cannot be removed from your bike, it can still be cleaned, but will require a few extra steps:
- Begin by removing the rear wheel and replacing it with a chain guard. This will allow you to get into a position that you can clean your bike chain more easily.
- Use a brush and a degreaser to remove dirt from the bike chain.
- Use a hose with low-pressure water flow to rinse the chain.
- Dry the chain with a clean cloth.
- Let it air-dry for a few minutes. Alternatively, use compressed air to dry it more quickly.
- Remove the chain guard and replace the wheel.
- Turn the rear wheel to ensure that it has been affixed properly.
- Finally, grease the bike chain.
Taking Proper Care of Your Bike Chain
With your bike chain being such an important part of your bike, it’s essential that you take proper care to clean and maintain it as needed. With it being such a simple process to clean your bike chain, a professional is not needed, and you can even do it from the comfort of your own home.
With household products being able to give your bike chain a satisfactory clean, and it taking very little time to do, there’s no excuse not to take proper care of this very important part of your bike.