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How to Clean Your Bike Chain

Author: Jared Long

Over time, our bikes begin to hoard dirt and grime. It is essential to give our bikes a little cleaning from time to time to make sure their parts move smoothly, especially the chain. The chain is one of the most critical components of the bike. Aside from the wheels, the chain is how we keep our bicycles moving efficiently. With these four easy steps, you can have your chain looking like new and moving with ease!

1. Rinse First: When beginning to clean your chain, give it a good rinse with water. Use a hose or spray bottle. Rinsing will help remove or loosen up any debris within the links, which you can later scrub out.

bicycle tire

2. Clean: After rinsing the chain, you can use a spray cleaner, an old rag, sponge, or even an old toothbrush. Rotate your chain backward using your pedal and scrub the chain while it is rotating. It helps to wrap the sponge or rag around the chain with a firm hold. Wrapping around the chain allows you to wipe the entire chain area as it’s rotating.

*Popular cleaners include SimpleGreen, Muc-off, and FinishLine but any cleaner labeled as a bike degreaser will do the trick!

bicycle cleaner

bicycle chain

3. Rinse & Dry: Now that you have scrubbed and wiped your chain, do another water rinse to get any leftover grime and cleaning material off your chain. Next, grab a clean rag and dry your chain. Drying is vital after cleaning to avoid rust, which will help lengthen the life of your chain!

4. Re-lube: Once it is all clean, you will need to re-lube the chain. Rotate your pedals backward and apply a drop of lube over each link.

applying lube to bike chain