How to Clean your Bike Chain

It is said that a clean bike chain is a long lasting chain! If you carry out a bike M Check or  ABC basic bike check on a regular basis, you will notice the state of your bike chain.

Your bike chain requires regular cleaning as well as lubricating. There are a number of products available from your local bike shop which will leave your bike chain nice and shiny! Hot water and soap may do the trick up to a certain extent but for a full and proper clean you can’t beat a good degreaser from your LBS. I use either Muc-Off or Fenwicks bike cleaner.

When done regularly, your bike chain will last you several thousand miles. To end up with a beautifully clean bike chain, try the following:

  • Dry your bike chain
  • Use a couple of baby wipes to get rid of excess grease and muck
  • Apply degreaser using a paint brush
  • Back pedal until chain is clean (repeat if chain is very dirty!)

These four steps will leave you with what looks like a very nice clean chain. However, if you check between the links, you will still see some old grease in there.

Chain Cleaning Hacks

bike chain cleaner

To get rid of these last bits you can use a chain bath which will give it a great deep clean or you can opt for a home made chain cleaning tool. There are a couple of options:

Toothbrushes: Tape two toothbrushes together so the bristles are facing each other then run chain through the bristles.

Nail scrubbing brushes: Exactly the same as above but with nail brushes!

Of course, there’s always the option of a chain bath and you won’t have to put anything together!

Once the chain and links are all spotlessly clean finish off with some clean warm soapy water as this will get rid of any residue. Dry your bike chain and then relube using appropriate lubricant for your everyday riding conditions.

Cleaning the Rest of the Drive Train

You now have a spotlessly clean drive train; great! It is always good practice to clean the rest of the drive train too. Use a paintbrush with the degreaser of your choice and apply to the cassette and jockey wheels as well as the front ring/s.

Big thank you to the guys at GCN for allowing us to embed their videos on our site. They have great cycling videos on their YouTube channel! For a full demo on cleaning your bike chain thoroughly, this video will show you step by step how to do it..