How to Clean a Bike Chain with Household Products in 9 Steps

The chain is the most important component of your bicycle. It is responsible for transferring the energy of your pedaling to the wheels. It is that part of the bike that usually attracts and gathers much dirt. The bike’s chain help in controlling the bike’s movements and maintaining balance. When the dirt accumulates excessively on the chain, it can have a real negative impact on the performance of your bike. This might be followed by the risks of accidents and tripping off. A poorly maintained chain can reduce the energy transfer making your ride less optimum and more strenuous.

It is recommended to clean the bicycle chains every 2 weeks in normal circumstances. It is pertinent to know how to clean a bike chain. You can also accomplish this goal with manufactured products, it is highly advised to use homemade and household products for this purpose. So let’s move forward to answering the question of how to clean a bike chain with household Products…

Table of Contents:

Required Tools and Materials before Cleaning the Bike Chain

There are some tools required for cleaning a bike chain. These are as follows…

  • Bike Stand
  • Chain Tool
  • Chain Lubricant
  • Gloves
  • Household Degreaser
  • Gas Mask
  • Soft Rags
  • Metal Cleaner
Cleaning the Bike Chain with Household Products

How to Clean a Bike Chain with Household Products in Steps

1. Gather All Supplies and Equipment

Before starting the cleaning of your bike chain, you need to gather all the supplies and equipment required for the cleaning job. The list of those tools and materials has already been provided above. If you don’t have any of those items, look for their alternatives as you’ll be needing them. Prepare your workplace accordingly where you will be doing all the cleaning work.

It is better to cordon off and shield your workplace so the children can’t enter it. This way you can refrain from any interference and collisions with other people and have more focus on your work. Check your city or state bylaws before attempting anything like that to be on the safe side.

2. Use Protective Gears

After the work area preparations, now you need is the necessary protective gear for the cleaning process. It is a dirty task to handle the bike chains because of all the grease. The grease has the ability to soil garments and inflict some permanent remarks on your skin. Don’t get in direct contact with grease by wearing an overall.

Don’t forget to put on your hand gloves as they will shield your hands from all the dirt. It is also recommended to have gumboots for your feet protection. Wearing a gas mask is a perfect idea if you intend to work with kerosene or turpentine. It will also protect you from lung infections.

3. Take Some Pictures of the Bike Chain

We will tell you why it is necessary to take some pictures of the entire bike chain. Its purpose is to let you know how the chain is supposed to look like when you install it. In this way, the reinstallation process will become easier. Have a look at all the parts of the chain like chainrings, attachment points, sprockets, pedals, and bearings. You can also magnify the tiny things in your pictures for a better understanding. You will need to superimpose the chain against a white background for the best shots.

4. Visual Inspections of Bike Chain

Visual Inspections of Bike Chain

You have taken the photos of the chain, now it’s time to go ahead do some visual inspections of the chain itself. This visual inspection will help you ascertain whether the bike chain needed any repair or not. You can use the handy chain checker for this process as well. In case, the chain needs repair and renovation, do it before you start the cleaning process. It is better to have the opinion of an expert mechanic for the bike chain before starting any repair procedures. If it doesn’t require any repair, you can start the cleaning.

5. Chain Disengagement from the Bike

This is the step to disengage the chain from the bike. It is also advised to have video footage of the chain disengagement. This video will help you to return the various components of the bike chain to the exactly same place. Here how you can disengage the chain…

  • Slide the pin holding the link to open the master link.
  • Feed the chain now through the drive train to pull the chain free.
  • Collect the items like bolts and nuts in a small box or a piece of paper.

6. Soak the Chain in a Degreaser

You are done with chain disengagement, you have to put the removed chain in a degreaser to get rid of any grease. Here’s how you can do that….

  • Place the chain in the bottle of the degreaser.
  • Immerse it fully and then airtight the bottle.
  • Shake the bottle well several times.
  • Leave the chain in the bottle for about 20 minutes.

If you are satisfied with the outcome, you can do this procedure more than once until you are satisfied.

7. Removing the Degreaser

After the degreaser has done its job, now you are free to get rid of it from the chain. Using some de-greasing agents, wash the chain. You can also spray the degreaser from the bottle on the chain. When you are done spraying, leave the agent to settle on the chain for some time and then rinse in kerosene or turpentine. You can do this procedure several times as well if you are not satisfied the first time. Wipe the chain with a clean cloth and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Removing the Degreaser

8. Restoring the Bike Chain

Now it’s time to restore the bike chain to its original condition. It is done as follows….

  • Reattach the master link.
  • Adjust the bike ends such that they meet at the midpoint between the wheels.
  • Slide the pin of your master link back to its original slot and complete the reconnection.
  • Check whether it’s fastened completely or not.
  • Make any adjustments if needed.

These are general guidelines that work for most bikes. If it doesn’t suit your bike, the preferable thing to do is following the manufacturer’s manual for better results.

9. Lubricating the Chain

This the final step of the bike chain cleaning process with household products. Use good quality lubricant and follow these steps…

  • Hold the lubricant directing towards the middle pin of the chain.
  • Gently squeeze the lubricant onto the chain.
  • Rotate the chain by spinning the pedals so that the lubricant is applied to all parts of it.
  • Increase the chain lubrication for smoother rides if the revolutions are sticky.

Now, restore your workplace and store all the gears you have just used. You are ready to hit the road.

Wrapping It Up

You have learned a simple and easy way to clean the bike chain with household products. The chain is an integral part of the bike that is needed to be regularly maintained. If not, your bike’s performance and efficiency will be greatly affected. Follow all these simple steps and have a smooth bike ride with a clean bike chain.

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