How to Clean Bicycle Chains

How to Clean Bicycle Chains
One of the often ignored points of bike maintenance is cleaning the chain. Fortunately it also one of the easiest and quickest fixes available for keeping your bike running smooth. A dirty chain grinds on the cassette, cog, chain-wheel and the chain itself. Cleaning the chain should be done monthly.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bike Stand
  • Chain cleaning tool
  • Chain cleaning brush
  • Biodegradable de-greaser (simple green or dish soap)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Clean rags
  • Chain lubricant
Step 1
Securely mount your bike on a bike stand. If you don't have a bike stand, a wind trainer will work also. Lacking either of them you will need a second person to hold the rear wheel of the bike up while you are using the cleaning tool.
Step 2
Put on your rubber gloves, soak a clean towel with some de-greaser and wipe the entire length of the chain. Turn the pedals and advance the chain some so you are able to wipe the entire length.
Step 3
Fill the chain cleaner with de-greaser and attach it to the chain close to the rear derailleur. Back pedal the chain to run the chain through the cleaner. Some cleaners have an optional push down button on top to further engage the brushes. Run the chain through the cleaner a dozen times to make sure it is thoroughly cleaned.
Step 4
Remove the chain cleaner from the chain, and with a clean towel wipe the cleaning residue from the chain.
Step 5
Lubricate the chain, following the directions listed on the type of lubrication you buy.

Tips & Warnings

When running the chain through the cleaner watch out for dirty fluid that will come from the chain.

Article Written By Andy McVeigh

Andy McVeigh lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is an avid outdoors enthusiast who enjoys paddling, biking, hiking, backpacking, camping, scuba diving and photography. McVeigh is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and is currently working on his MBA.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.