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How To Clean A Bike Chain With Household Products?

How Can I Clean A Bike Chain Using Household Products?

Bike chains are notoriously difficult to clean, and most importantly when it becomes rusty bike chain. They tend to collect dirt and grime over time, making them look dirty and unkempt.

Importantly, the bike has a rusty chain, which makes it uncomfortable for the owner, to ride a smooth drive.

Instead of using harsh chemicals, and expensive chain lubricants all you need are some household products like vinegar, dish soap, water, and baking soda to clean the chain. Here’s the equipment you need during the process to clean a bike chain with household products:

Product You Are Going To Need For Bike Chain Cleaning Solution

  •  Clean Cloth

A clean cloth is the most important gadget you are going to have because if you use a dirty cloth doing your bike’s chain dry, it would get dirty again.

  • Brush

If you have an old teeth brush or stiff-bristled brush then it’s going to help you rinse well during cleaning.

  • Glove

The glove is must-have equipment if you are planning to play washing chain with vinegar/ chain with water.

  •  Warm Water

Warm water helps you to remove all the stains and dirt smoothly.

  •  Degreaser

Degreaser could be used to deeply clean the chain, and the homemade degreaser would work even better.

  •  Baking Soda

Baking soda will help you in many ways because of its chemical properties, it would work better with warm water, vinegar, and dish soap.

  •  Dish Soap

Dish soap is a hidden knight of our household gadgets; it has many hidden properties for removing stains and stubborn dirt.

  • Vinegar

Vinegar has magical properties when used with baking soda; it will soften the dirt that would be easy to remove afterward.

Steps To Clean Your Bike Chain With Household Products

1. Place Your Bike On A Bike Stand

First, take your bicycle off the ground so that you can inspect it from above. If you want to avoid damaging your ride, then you need to put it in a good position.

Bad positioning could cause your ride to fall. You can also use a bike rack if you don’t have a bike rack. Make sure that the bike rests on its saddle and handlebars so that they stay upright.

2. Remove Dirt And Grime From Chain Links

First, gather chain cleaning devices, and remove all the links from the dry chain. Use a small screwdriver to loosen the bolts holding the chain together. Once the bolt is loose, pull out the link. Remove all of the links from your bike chain before you begin cleaning.

Use a pair of pliers to grip the end link of the chain. Pull the link out of the rest of the chain until you’re left with just the last link. Repeat this process until you’ve removed all of your links.

Next, spray the entire length of the chain with a spray bottle, hose, or garden sprayer filled with warm water, or use a bike degreaser then rub it with a stiff-bristled brush.

3. Find The Master Link Of The Dirty Bike Chain

Removable chains often come with a master link that securely locks them. To remove the chain, you must find the master link and then release it. Do not tug too hard, as it may damage the gear teeth.

If there is not any master link you find then the easiest way to do this is to use an impact wrench.

The tool will be able to quickly turn the pin in place and allow you to pull on the chain without damaging anything. If you don’t have one of these tools, you can still get the job done by using a hammer or sledgehammer. Just make sure you are careful when doing so.

4. Soak The Chain In Dish Soap With Hot Water

Dish soap contains surfactants that break down grease and oil. When applied to the chain, these chemicals dissolve oils and fats left behind by previous riders.

Use soap and water to wash away the grime and debris that has accumulated on the chain. Rub the rag or dish sponge along the entire length of the chain. Rinse the chain thoroughly after applying the soap and water.

Soak the chain in a bucket of soapy water for 15 minutes, this soapy water is one of the most important steps. Rinse thoroughly under running clean water.

Clean your bike with a clean cloth or paper towel. If you are using a rag, make sure it is not too wet as this can cause rusting. Wipe the chain in a circular motion from one side to the other. Do not use abrasive cleaners such as steel wool or wire brushes. These will scratch the surface of the chain and may damage the finish.

5. Scrub To Clean Bike Chain With Baking Soda

Use a toothbrush to scrub the chain with baking soda. Rubbing the chain with baking soda removes excess grease and grime.

Afterward, rinse it off thoroughly with water. If you have an old-fashioned toilet brush, use that instead of a toothbrush. The bristles will help remove any leftover residue from your chain.  To clean your chain, soak it in warm soapy water as well.

Make sure the soap is mild enough not to damage the finish on your chain. Rinse the chain well after scrubbing. If you have an old toothbrush that is no longer usable, use it to clean your chain. You can also use a soft cloth or rag to wipe down the chain.

You should be sure to clean your chain regularly. This will help prevent rust and other problems from occurring on your chain. If you don’t clean your chain often enough, then you could end up with some serious damage in the future.

Here, a question is often asked by many how often I should wash my chain? You should clean your chain every two weeks. This will help prevent rust from forming

6. Degreaser/Homemade Degreaser

Degreaser is a good remedy for rust chain, but does anyone wonder if it can be made at home with household products?

If yes, then here is the procedure to make a homemade degreaser to use as a bike chain cleaners/ bike chain degreaser.

Homemade degreasers instead of regular degreasers which are sold online and on other platforms are having a typical smell that you could fall a victim to. You might get allergic to those odors. homemade degreaser is not having chemicals in it so better to use it for cleaning chains, better be used a clean cloth.

Most importantly it is non-toxic To make a homemade degreaser mix one cup of vinegar with three cups of water and 1 cup of baking soda with half a cup of dish soap in a bowl.

Homemade degreaser could be used as a bicycle chain lube for the dirty chain. Let the water run until the chain is completely wet.

7. Dry The Entire Bike Chain With Paper Towels

After rinsing the chain, dry the chain with paper towels.

Be sure to wipe away any remaining moisture, as it would be summoning rusting in the future so dry it with your content and when you are satisfied that there is no moisture on the chain anymore then you can move ahead to the next stage of putting the chain bank on.

8. Lubricate The Bike Chain

After cleaning off the rust from the bicycle chain, you’re ready to reassemble it onto the bicycle. It is important to lubricate every link in the chain before moving forward.

Lubrication of the chain is critical for proper operation and longevity of the chain. The most common method of lubrication is by using a grease gun or spray bottle with oil.

Oil will not work as well on chains that are made out of stainless steel because they do not absorb oil like aluminum or copper does. Grease is the better option for the situation.

9. Reassemble Chain

Once the chain is dry, reattach the links back to the chain. Tighten the bolts securely. Bike chains are essential parts of bicycles.

They connect the bicycle wheels so that they rotate smoothly and prevent the chain from slipping off the sprockets. However, bike chains tend to accumulate dirt over time. When the chain becomes dirty, it makes the ride uncomfortable and increases wear on the drivetrain components.

To advance or rotate the bicycle pedal by hand, use your hands to push down on the pedal. You can then easily wipe the entire bicycle pedal. However, rotating the bicycle pedal is only applicable if you didn’t remove it from your bicycle.

I highly recommend removing your bicycle chain while washing because it provides in-depth exposure to detergent. To do so, slide the pin that holds the chain into place out of its hole. This will allow you to remove the chain. Once you’ve removed the chain, it becomes simple to wash. 


In all these steps mentioned above, you can deeply clean your bicycle chain and drive the train completely. By adopting these measures you can avoid the use of commercial chemicals which could be harmful to you as well.

Stop gathering lubricant bottles anymore, use your household stuff to achieve a better result in no time, and also save your money instead of paying for expensive gear.

The most important thing to keep in mind when maintaining your bicycle chain is that you should always clean the bicycle chain and drivetrain one by one, by using the same items used to clean your car’s transmission.

Another important thing to do is when maintaining your chain remember the drivetrain as well and keep it clean. A good way to do so is to run a sponge or rag through it periodically. You should also make sure to lubricate your chain regularly.

Did you find our tutorial helpful? We hope so! Now you can save your hard-earned cash and spare yourself hours of cleaning. These methods are surprisingly easy, aren’t they? If you want to be sure your bike chain stays shiny and free from rust, do a regular cleaning of your bike twice a month.


Last Updated on November 4, 2022 by Sai

Evan Medders

Evan Medders

I'm Evan an avid cyclist and bike consultant. Besides my biking, I enjoy being a dad to two, a husband to one. Cycling is a fun and sustainable means of transportation, something not only our planet but also your body craves. We need to stay in physical shape, and keep our Earth in a good condition so we face fewer natural disasters. Biking is our way to see we do our part :)

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