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How to Clean a Bike Chain with Household Products

how to clean a bike chain with household products

There is no doubt that the bike chain is one of the integral parts of your bike. It plays a significant role in controlling the bike movements, and it’s balanced. However, this part of the bike also is prone to dirt which can accumulate quickly into the bike chain. Once gathered, the dirt can compromise and reduce the chain’s efficiency, which can affect the overall operation of the bike. Fortunately, bike chains can be cleaned easily using cleaning products available in our homes.

But how to clean a bike chain with household products? It is highly recommended to clean the chain at least every two weeks. It is also essential to clean it immediately after biking it in a dirty trail or rainy weather. In this particular post, we will show you the proper way to efficiently clean a bike chain using products that can be easily accessed in our household. We want to show you, our readers, that maintaining a bike chain is easy, and constantly cleaning it will help prolong the life of the chain as well as the bike.

Cleaning a Bike Chain Using Household Products

Accumulated debris and dirt can have a negative impact on the overall performance of your bike, including the efficiency of the ride. Also, pedaling can be difficult and will need you to exert more effort when biking on the road. For this reason, it is essential to clean the chain of your bike regularly. The cleaning can be done using simple household products found in our home and the usual bike tools and maintenance products that we own. Please check on our step-by-step procedure below:

Household materials you need:

  • Household degreaser ( this material includes any one of the following: Shelite, Green All-Purpose Cleaner, Brasso Multi-Purpose Metal Polish)
  • Kerosene or turpentine
  • Mask
  • Gloves

Bike tools and maintenance products you need:

  • Bike repair stand
  • Allen keys
  • Chain tool
  • Chain lubricant

Step-by-step Procedure in Cleaning a Bike

cleaning a bike chain using household products

Step 1:

You will need to set up the bike stand, then put your bike after. The purpose of this step is to secure your bike to give you easy access to cleaning the bike chain. The next thing to do is place your bike on the bike stand and make sure it is put safely and securely. Always remember that the bike stand’s importance cannot be underestimated. It securely holds up the bike during the cleaning process while also preventing any possible damage to the nearby area should the bike accidentally fall down.

Step 2:

After removing the chain, you will need to check the bike chain thoroughly. This action is essential so that you will have a clear idea of the status of the bike chain. You will need to look for the chain parts with excessive dirt and debris to let you familiarized which area to focus on during the cleaning. This step is also your chance on the current quality of the bike by looking for any possible damage to the chain links.

Step 3:

After doing your personal inspection, you will know where to go during the cleaning. You now have a clearer idea of the dirtiest parts that need attention and so on. This time, you will need to take off the chain and then look for the master link. What is the master link? It is actually the main link of the chain that can be easily removed from the chain with its quick-release feature. The master link can give you the ability to easily connect and disconnect the chain. If your bike chain does not have a master link, I suggest using a chain breaker tool to connect and disconnect the chain.

Step 4:

This step is actually the start of the cleaning process. Proceed to get your degreaser and start spraying it to the chain if the cleaning material comes in a spray bottle. If the degreaser is packed with a standard bottle, then put the chain in a container while mixing the degreaser inside. Make sure that all parts of the chain are soaked and leave them for 30 minutes. This process is to soften and eventually removed all the dirt found on the bike chain.

Step 5:

After the degreaser has done its job, the next step is for you to clean all the remaining dirt using kerosene or turpentine, whatever your preference is. Make sure to wear a mask and gloves in your hands for safety purposes. Use the kerosene to remove all the remaining dirt but repeating the cleaning process is allowed until the bike chain is totally cleaned.

Step 6:

Once you have finished the cleaning process using the kerosene, you will need to let it dry for an hour or so. You can put it outside and let it naturally dry to see the result of your cleaning activity eventually. Once the chain is dry, reinstalling the chain into the bike is your next plan. After that, putting a lubricant on the chain is the next action that you will do. What you do is hold the lubricant bottle at the top middle pin of the chain while turning the pedal to rotate the chain. This action is to spread the lubricant quickly to all parts of the chain.

Step 7:

After applying the lubricants, the next step is to test the chain by making complete pedal revolutions. See for yourself if the quality of the bike chain has improved, which should be because you have already clean it. After testing, you can wash your hand and clean yourself from all the dirt you take from doing the chain cleaning.


Knowing how to clean a bike chain with household products is an excellent skill to learn for the proper maintenance of your bike. The process presented here may look like it requires a lot of work, but honestly, it is not. Constantly doing chain cleaning can work wonders on the performance of toys bike. It is also one of the ways to let you know a little bit more about your bike when it comes to your knowledge as a bike owner.

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