The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Bike Chain Clean


At Cycletribe, we understand the importance of a well-maintained chain for achieving peak bike performance and longevity. That's why we've meticulously crafted a step-by-step guide to help you keep your bicycle's chain clean, properly lubricated, and prepared for any terrain, whether it's the open road or rugged trails.

Materials You'll Need

  1. Bike Chain Cleaner: A purpose-made chain cleaning device.
  2. Bicycle Degreaser: A biodegradable degreaser to break down grease and grime.
  3. Brushes: Small, stiff-bristled brushes for detailed cleaning.
  4. Clean Rags: To wipe down the chain and surrounding components.
  5. Chain Lubricant: High-quality bike chain lubricant suitable for your riding conditions.

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

Choose a well-ventilated area and lay down newspapers or a bike mat to catch any drips. Ensure your bicycle is stable and won't topple during the cleaning process.

Step 2: Shift to the Smallest Chainring and Smallest Rear Cog

This minimizes tension on the chain, making it easier to remove and clean.

Step 3: Remove the Bike Chain (Optional)

Use a quick link or a chain tool to remove the chain. This step is optional but makes thorough cleaning more accessible.

Step 4: Apply Degreaser

Using a brush, apply a generous amount of bike-specific degreaser to the chain. Work it into the links, jockey wheels, and cassette. Let it sit for a few minutes to break down grime.

Step 5: Use a Bicycle Chain Cleaning Device

Place the chain cleaner on the lower part of the chain and fill it with degreaser. Rotate the pedals backward to run the chain through the cleaner. Repeat until the chain appears visibly cleaner.

Step 6: Scrub with Brushes

Dip your small brushes into degreaser and scrub the chain, cassette, and jockey wheels. Use a toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas. Ensure thorough cleaning for optimal performance.

Step 7: Rinse and Wipe

Use a hose or a damp cloth to rinse off the degreaser. Wipe the chain, cassette, and jockey wheels with a clean rag. Ensure all degreaser is removed.

Step 8: Reinstall the Bike Chain (If removed)

If you removed the chain, reinstall it and lubricate it immediately to prevent corrosion.

Step 9: Apply Chain Lubricant

Apply a quality bicycle chain lubricant to the chain while turning the pedals backward. Ensure even coverage. Wipe off excess lubricant with a clean rag.

Step 10: Shift Through Gears

Shift through all gears to distribute the lubricant evenly. Use a clean rag to wipe off any excess lubricant.

3 Maintenance Tips:

  • Regular Cleaning: Aim to clean your chain every 100-200 miles or more frequently in adverse conditions.
  • Inspect Regularly: Check your chain for wear and replace it if it's stretched or shows signs of damage.
  • Lubricate as Needed: Reapply lubricant after riding in wet or dirty conditions.



By incorporating these steps into your routine and committing to regular maintenance, you'll keep your bike chain clean, well-oiled, and primed for countless smooth rides ahead.

Dive into our library of bike repair articles to arm yourself with indispensable maintenance insights and seize control of your bike's performance. Have any additional tips or experiences to share? Feel free to add them in the comments below. Wishing you many happy cycling adventures!

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