How to Clean a Bike Chain with Household Products

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A bike chain is a significant component of the bike that transfers energy to the wheels with every single paddle & the bike moves on. As the bike rolls on different terrains, the Chain of the bike attracts & gathers dirt.

For this reason, the bike chain should be adequately maintained to ride smoothly, shifting gear well, lasting long.

The best solution is to clean the bike chain at home before going to ride. This article will describe all the necessary information about cleaning the bike chain with household products. Stay tuned for learning!

How to clean a bike chain with household products

  • Necessary Items – A bucket, Small sponge, Hot soapy water, Chain brush, Old toothbrush, Chain cleaner or degreaser, Dry rags, Chain Lube.

For Non-Removable Chain

First, remove the rear wheel & replace it with a chain keeper. This replacement will allow it more convenient to clean a bike chain.

  • Use a chain cleaner with a brush to clean the dirt from the Chain.
  • Now rinse the Chain with freshwater (low-pressure stream).
  • Rub out the water from the Chain with a dry rag & leave some time to dry it properly.
  • Remove the chain keeper & reinstall the rear wheel again.
  • Now, lubricate the bike chain & it’s Done.

For Removeable Chain

  • First, place the bike in a suitable position using a work stand or putting it upside down.
  • Check the state of bike chain & type.
  • Now, Using a soft brush & sponge, start washing the Chain.
  • With hot water, clean out the dirt & grit with a brush as it contains oil too.
  • Next, soak the Chain into the degreaser to remove excess grit & dirt.
  • After that, put the Chain into a hot water bowl to rinse out the degreaser.
  • Use a dry rag to clean the Chain properly.
  • Now, apply small drops of lubricant to every roller of the Chain.
  • Remove excess lube using a dry rag.
  • Reinstall the Chain into the bike & it’s ready to go.

Step by Step cleaning bike chain with household products (Full Guide)

Step by Step cleaning bike chain with household products

Inspect & Secure the Bike Chain (Step -1)

Use a bike stand to hold the bike securely or lean the bike against the wall. A side kickstand is not enough for keeping the bike in place while working because a bump or jostle could knock down the bike.

  • Setup the bike on the ground upside down with the seat & handlebar on the ground.
  • The bike stand is simply a holder with hooks attached to a frame. Hand the bike by the hooks of the wheels carefully.

Evaluate first the condition of the Chain (Step -2)

Regular cyclists usually clean the Chain of the bike every 200 miles or once a week. Evaluate first if the bike chain contains excessive dirt & grit or not. If there is, then it’s time to use a bike chain cleaner.

  • Usually, a single look at the Chain tells whether it needs cleaning or not. For more assuring, check the Chain with fingers. If the Chain is limited by grime, then cleaning is required.
  • Proper maintenance can prolong the Chain’s life & keeps the chain sprocket in better condition. Periodically chain cleaning lets you be aware of the changes like chain stretches or damaged links.
  • Check the master link of the Chain as it allows removing the Chain efficiently from the Drivetrain.

Examine the Drivetrain of Bike (Step -3)

The Chain fits into the Drivetrain & the Drivetrain connects the motor—every pedal transfer force from the Drivetrain through the Chain to the wheels.

Multiple gear bikes usually have a complicated gear-shifting mechanism at the wheels. For reattaching the Chain easily, take some pictures of those parts for further reference.

Clean a Bike Chain (Step -4)

Gather the supplies at first. Most of the items are household. Only chain lubricant might need to purchase from a local bike shop. Before starting cleaning the bike chain, gather all necessary things into the hand. Necessary items are –

  • A Bottle
  • Clean rag
  • Chain lubricant
  • Degreaser
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Wire clothes hanger
  • Gloves (optional)

Clean the Chain (Step -5)

Pour some isopropyl alcohol into the rag cloth & hold the rag onto the Chain. While holding the rag, slowly pedal forward to clean the Chain properly.

In most situations, this method cleans the Chain thoroughly. However, this method works great for deep clean too.

Put the Chain into the degreaser filled Bottle (Step -6)

Use a dry rag & soak it with degreaser & clean the Chain. For deep cleaning –

  • Fill the degreaser in one bottle and put the Chain inside of the bottle.
  • For excessive dirt, prepare two bottles of degreaser & rinse the Chain two times
  • The first rinse into the degreaser will be quick & the second rinse into another bottle to break up heavy grime.
  • Some of the bike chain degreaser alternatives found at home are – kerosene, paint thinner, and isopropyl alcohol. Those might not be as fast-acting or strong as Degreaser.

Remove the Chain from the bike (Step -7)

Find the master link & open it. The process is – Slide the pin holding the connection closed out of its slot. After opening the master link, pull the Chain easily from the Drivetrain.

  • Use gentle & firm pressure to remove the Chain from the Drivetrain.
  • Pressurizing the Chain to tear it free might damage the bike.

Degrease the Chain (Step -8)

Now put the Chain into the degreaser bottle, which we prepared earlier. Shake the bottle server times to break up the rust, piled dirt attached to the Chain. Soak the Chain for 20 minutes after shaking.

  • Soaking the Chain into degreaser might remove the factory from the Chain, so it’s necessary to lubricate after it.
  • Degreaser works overtime to its way to the hidden, thick & stubborn grime of the Chain.

Pull out the Chain & Dry it out (Step -9)

Use a coat hanger to hook the Chain after pulling it out from the degreaser bottle. Rub out the degreaser from the Chain with a Dry Rag.

  • Using a hand, slide the rag through the Chain to completely clear the degreaser. Use hand-pressure if needed.
  • Lubrication would be a must if the Chain soaked for a long time.

Reattach the Chain in the DriveTrain (Step -10)

Reattaching the Chain into the Drivetrain is unique from every bike series. For proper reattaching, see the reference pictures you snapped earlier while removing the Chain from the DriveTrain.

  • Check out the bicycle manual book in case of facing difficulty.

Reattach the Master Link (Step -11)

Reconnect the master link where the end of the bike chain meets the wheels’ middle point to ensure this, lay & thread the bike chain into the Drivetrain with one end extending to either the top- or bottom-middle point between wheels.

Lubrication of the Bike Chain (Step -12)

Good quality lubricant ensures smooth bike riding. It protects the Chain from harmful elements too. For lubrication, hold the bottle above the Chain’s top-middle point & squeeze out a thin, steady stream. Keep pedaling slowly & thoroughly lube the Chain.

After following these steps, your bike’s Chain will be noise-free, properly cleaned & lubed. Also ready for Rock & Roll in the Road.

Household products for Cleaning & Lubrication

Some best-quality household bike chain degreaser & Chain Lubes are

Bike Chain CleanerChain Lubes
  • Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Pledge Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner
  • Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner
  • Easy-Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner
  • WD-40 Bike (All Conditions Lube)
  • Lilly Lube
  • Finish Line DRY Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube
  • Squirt Lube
  • Rock-N-Roll Extreme

F.A.Q (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • What are the Bike chain lubes alternatives?

Several affordable alternatives for bike chain lube are available. Those are – Edible Oils, Coconut Oil, Petroleum Jelly, Teflon-based Lubricants, etc.

  • Can you use wd40 on the bike chain?

No! Never use WD40 as chain lubricant since WD-40’s primary use is as a solvent or rust dissolver. It is not a proper lubricant.

  • What oil should I use on my bike chain?

Light oil is typically the best choice for Chain. Some alternatives are – Thick Grease, Wax, Spray Lubricants. It depends on what weather conditions you are driving in.

Conclusions

From our perspective, Household products are the right selection for cleaning the bike Chain. You just need an excellent lubricant & degreaser with household products.

After reading this article, you get insight into how to clean a bike chain with household products.

Maintaining your bike chain will be easy for you from now on. Hopefully, you will enjoy your ride much more.