How to clean a bike chain? Here are 6 ways to clean. | Cycling Tip

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Your chain life is depending on how good you are maintaining at it. One of the ways to use the chain longer is that you clean the chain often. Here I will show you six ways to clean your bike chain. (Four ways at home, Two ways at traveling)


1. Chain Cleaner

Open the cleaner, put some soap and water, place your chain in the middle, close the lid, hold with one hand, pedal with the other hand. That’s how you clean. You can use any kind of soap. If you put degreaser, it can be better than soap. In my experience, it is not well cleaned much for a dirt chain with the soup. Probably it’s good for light clean.


2. Bicycle Clean Brush

You can clean with a brush and soap or degreaser. This way would be cleaner than using chain cleaner.


3. Degreaser Aerosol

These products are for cleaning bike chain that it’s safe to use without a doubt. It is easier than a chain cleaner to use.


4. WD-40

Some people would say WD-40 would ruin your bike chain. But, actually many people have used it and they don’t have any problem as a bike chain is made in a simple way. The point is that you must put a bicycle oil after cleaning with it. I’ve used it from time to time when I stayed at the people’s house while traveling as most people having it at a garage. This is so good to clean the rust on the chain.


5. Soap + Water + Old Toothbrush (The way to clean on traveling)

Remove chain, put it on the soap water at the container, and then clean with the old toothbrush. It’s easy to remove the chain if you use a quick chain link. I’ve always used the chain link since I’ve started traveling. You have to buy a right size chain. If you use 9-speed, you have to buy a 9-speed chain link. If you didn’t open your chain for a while, it would be hard to remove. Just keep trying and then you succeed to open at some point. There is a special tool to open it but it’s too much to carry on a bicycle trip


6. Petrol + Old Toothbrush (The way to clean on traveling)

Many long-term travelers carry petrol for using MSR stove. This is way better than using soap. The way to clean is similar to number five. Remove chain, put it on the container of petrol, and clean with the old toothbrush. It’s well cleaned like #4 WD-40. After drying it, put the bike oil later.



The most practical way to clean would be number three WD-40 bicycle cleaner. In my personal experience on the trip, number four WD-40 and number six petrol were good. (I didn’t get the chance to use #3) The most important thing is to put the oil after cleaning(degreasing).

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  1. Chain cleaner with citrus degreaser, the car wash detergent and water in chain cleaner. Dry off with methylated spirits on a rag then lubricant.

  2. Iknow some use diesel, also.

  3. Diesel is pretty good, too, I agree, done it often when no other stuff available

  4. How often do you replace your chain while traveling? And casette

    • I should have changed often like every 3,000~km 5,000km probably but I didn’t do it cause it’s expensive. I usually changed every 10,000 km.

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