How to Clean a Bicycle Chain With Household Products [9 Easy Steps]

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A bicycle is not complete without a chain. Because the cleaned and lubricated chain of a bicycle helps to move the wheel forward smoothly without creating any unwanted noise. The chain of a bike must be rust-free in order to work properly. It must be properly greased and lubricated regularly to increase the lifespan of a bicycle Chain.

The primary objective of this blog article is to guide you on how to clean a bicycle chain with household products. Don’t worry it’s very simple to clean your rusty bike chain by using some household items at home.

So, please read this article completely to clean a rusty bike chain quickly with household items.

List of Household Products You Can Use to Clean The Bike Chain

how to clean a bicycle chain with household products

You won’t have to buy anything from outside to clean your rust bicycle chain. What you need to do is just gather a couple of household products such as Dish Soap, Brushes, Old T-Shirt or rags and homemade degreaser etc. They are surprisingly effective at cleaning.

Why do you need these household items? Let’s discuss them one by one:

1. Dish Soap

The first thing you have to pick is dish soap. Why do you need dish soap? Because this will help you to scrub the dirt from your cycle chain. Cleaning the dirt and grease is very important in order to clean the bike chain properly.

Dish soap is an alternative to cleaner or degreaser, you don’t have to buy them. You will easily find dish soap at home. You can also use liquid detergents, they are more effective.

2. Brushes

Secondly, you need an old toothbrush to clean the dirt which is inside the chain because soap and detergents can’t get them off. You will need a toothbrush to do it manually.

There are many brushes out there, but a toothbrush is the best of them because it is small in size and can effectively take out the dirt from the chain. Also, It is available at everyone’s home.

3. Old Cloths or Rags

Then, you need a piece of cloth to scrub the bicycle chain effectively and efficiently. You can take any piece of clean old cloth to soak the mixture you will make to clean the cycle chain. If you have a dish sponge, it’s good to go.

4. Baking Soda and Few Lemons

You need a degreaser to take out the grease from your bicycle chain because it’s very tough to remove grease without a degreaser. This article is all about how to clean a bicycle chain with household products, so I won’t suggest you buy anything from outside.

You will have to prepare a homemade degreaser with household items ie., Baking Soda, soap, water and Lemon Juice (why lemon), these are the essential things to make a homemade degreaser.

What you need to do is, mix baking soda, soap and lemon juice with enough amount of hot water. You are ready to use your homemade degreaser. It is not as strong as the branded ones. But it will help you to remove the grease from your bike chain.

Once you have gathered the above-mentioned household items, you are ready to clean your rusty bicycle chain using the household items.

How to Clean a Rusty Bicycle Chain With Household Products (Step by Step Guide)

how to clean the bicycle chain with household products

Sometimes bicycles are dirty and may cause your bike performance, It is always recommended to clean your mountain bike periodically. If your mtb is dirty, try cleaning your mountain bike in just 15 minutes.

After gathering the above-mentioned household products, you should take your bike to a place where no one disturbs you and you can do this task effectively. So, Follow the below-mentioned step on how to clean a bicycle chain with household products.

#1. Put your bicycle on a Stand (If you have a stand)

The first step is to put your bike on a bike stand in order to clean the bike chain effectively and efficiently. A Bicycle stand also allows you to fix your bike at a certain position and angle which is perfect for you.

Although the Bike stand is optional, If you don’t have one. You can just put your bicycle upside down so that your bike saddle touches the surface and the handlebars stay on the floor as it is. This will also help you to perform your task easily.

#2. Find out the Master link of the Chain

When your bicycle is positioned perfectly on a stand or on the floor. Then, The second step is to find out the master link in a bicycle chain. The Master Link is an accessory for roller chains that allows bike chains to be connected and disconnected without using chain tools.

A master link of a bike chain allows you to remove your bicycle chain easily. You can clean the chain after removing them.

Watch this video to find out the Master Link in a bike chain:

#3. Prepare the Cleaner using household products

The third step is to make a homemade degrease by mixing baking soda, soap, and lemon juice with enough amount of hot water in a pan. This mixture is powerful enough to clean the grease of the bike chain.

#4. Soak the cloth in the Cleaner

After making the homemade mixture which will work as a degreaser, soak the cloth in it. Take the soaked cloth or sponge and wipe off the dirt and grease from the bicycle chain.

Do this process until the chain starts shining.

#5. Advance your Bicycle Chain or Remove Them to Clean (If Removable)

You can advance or rotate the bike chain by rotating the pedals with your hands. The entire bike chain can be easily cleaned this way. Advancement of your bike chain is only possible if your bike chain is not removed.

I would highly recommend you remove the chain from the bike, By doing so you can use the toothbrush to take the dirt out from the area where the cloth can’t.

Find the master link, and pull the pin from the link. As you pull the pin, the chain will be removed from the bicycle.

Put your bike chain for 20 minutes in the homemade degreaser(mixture) for in-depth cleaning. Then take a toothbrush and start rubbing on the chain.

#6. Rinse off the Entire Bike Chain with Clean Water

After degreasing your bicycle chain, you can rinse the degreaser from your chain using clean water.

#7. Dry the bike chain with a dry cloth.

The next step is to dry the bike chain. You can take a dry cloth, cover the chain with the cloth and squeeze them to soak the moisture from the chain. You can also use a hairdryer to dry out the chain.

#8. Put your bicycle chain on the drivetrain (If you removed the chain)

Once your bicycle chain is properly dry, you can put them back on the drivetrain if you have cleaned the bike chain after removing it. Take the master link and re-install them carefully.

#9. Lubricate the Bike Chain

how to lubricate the bike chain

Now, Your bike chain is cleaned using household items and re-installed on the drivetrain. Now, the next step is to lubricate the bike chain using a branded lubricant. Lubrication allows your bike chain to run smoothly and not let rust.

Lubrication should be applied in a steady, but a small stream. In the meantime, turn the bike chain with the pedals. You can now hit the streets once it has turned one full turn.

5 Tips to Lubricate the bike chain like a pro mechanic

  1. Always wear gloves while lubricating your bicycle chain to ensure the protection of your hands from the harmful chemicals of the lubricant. Also, Make sure you are lubricating the bike chain in an open area so that unwanted smells are clear immediately.
  2. Never leave your bike chain as it is after cleaning them. Lubrication is the most important step just after cleaning the bike chain. You should never forget this step.
  3. Lubrication is essential for a bike chain. You can prolong the life of your chain by cleaning and lubricating it periodically.
  4. Sometimes, you don’t have to perform the entire step to clean the bike chain. You can only clean the grease with the help of a cloth and degreaser. At last, lubricate the chain.
  5. Also, You might have to put some more effort while cleaning the bike chain if your bike chain is too dirty. Have some patience and do it carefully.

Watch this video to learn more about how to clean and apply lubricant to a bicycle chain:

How to Clean the Drivetrain of a Bike at Home?

Never forget to clean the drivetrain along with the bike chain. You may find some dirt on the drivetrain parts of a geared bicycle, you should clean them too. Just take a piece of cloth and soak it in the mixture and rub them on the drivetrain. A clean drivetrain allows a cyclist for a smooth ride.

If you don’t know: What is a drivetrain in a bicycle?

After cleaning them, take a dry cloth and dry out the moisture and water. You can also use a hairdryer. Once the drivetrain is dry, you can lubricate them as well. Timely cleaning and lubricating your drivetrain prevent rust.

A professional bike rider always maintains his bike health regularly by cleaning the chain and lubricating the bike parts where it is necessary. You must follow the same practice to maintain your bicycle’s health.

FAQs: How to Clean a Bicycle Chain with Household Products

What are the benefits of cleaning my bike chain?

A cleaned and lubricated bike chain gives a very smooth ride and does not create unwanted noise. It also increases the lifespan of a bicycle chain. If your bike chain is cleaned, your ride will be effortless and enjoyable. You can ride a bicycle for long routes if your chain is cleaned and well-lubricated.

Can vinegar be used to clean a bike chain?

Yes, vinegar can be used to clean a bike chain instead of lemon juice. Both lemon and vinegar have the same property. But, when you use vinegar, try to prepare the solution and apply it carefully otherwise it may damage your bicycle parts.

Which household product removes rust from a bicycle chain?

Baking soda and vinegar have the strong power to remove rust from a bicycle chain. These two products can be easily found in everyone’s home.

Can I wash my bike with shampoo?

Yes, you can use shampoo as well to clean the bike chain. But, don’t apply it to the brakes otherwise brakes will not work properly for a few days.

Conclusion: Steps to Clean a Bike Chain at Home

Finally, I have explained everything about how to clean a bicycle chain with household products. Now, you don’t have to go to a mechanic for this simple work. You can clean your bicycle chain on your own, this will save you hard-earned money.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, you can help us by sharing this wonderful article with your cyclist friends. I will surely appreciate your feedback!
Also, Let me know your thought in the comment section below. Always remember, a clean bicycle makes you feel good.



I am the founder and editor of Cycling Guru India, a fitness freak and passionate cycling enthusiast from India. My passion for cycling led me to build the Cycling Guru blog site where I share my cycling experience, cycling tips & guides, and help people to get the best bicycle. Feel free to contact me on my social accounts or through the contact form. You can also follow me on Strava.

3 thoughts on “How to Clean a Bicycle Chain With Household Products [9 Easy Steps]”

  1. Thanks for these useful tips. I used a kitchen degreaser on the bike chain. However, I consider that the degreaser and chain cleaner would do a much better job than household degreasers.


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