Best Bike Chain Cleaner: What To Use To Clean Your Chain
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To get the most out of your bike, proper maintenance is a must. Knowing how to handle minor problems, such as how to change a bike inner tube or put a bike chain back in place is a good place to start, but the best thing to do is prevent these issues from happening in the first place. To do this, keeping your bike clean is paramount, and the first place you should start is the chain.
Your bike chain is one of the most important components of your bike, and if it starts to fail, you’ll have problems on your hands. Jams, degradation, and the chain falling out of place are all common occurrences for a dirty bike chain, none of which are pleasant to have while out on a ride. Thankfully, there is a veritable arsenal of cleaning products and equipment for you to battle dirt alongside. In this article, we’ll be covering a few of the best bike chain cleaners, saving you the trouble of finding something that works.
How to clean a bike chain
Before we cover the best bike chain cleaners on the market, let’s look at how you clean a bike chain in the first place. All in all, it is pretty simple, working pretty much as you’d expect. Simply apply your chosen bike chain cleaner directly to the chain itself, making sure to coat every chain link with the substance. Once the bike chain cleaner is applied, grab a dry rag or a brush and start to work the cleaner into the chain.
Wait a few minutes for the bike chain cleaner to set, then you can start to clean it off. If you’re unsure how long to leave it for, check the guidelines provided by the cleaner’s manufacturer. In most cases, they should have this information either on the packaging or on their website. Rinse it off with some water or a wet rag, but make sure you get it all. If you leave the bike chain cleaner on, it could end up attracting more dirt the next time you’re out for a ride, making your efforts be in vain. Once the bike chain is all clean, dry it off, and you’re done.
Best bike chain cleaners
Now you know how to easily clean a bike chain, it’s time to search for some good cleaning substances. Here are some of our favorites currently on the market.
Muc-Off Nano-Tech Bike Cleaner
First on our list is the Muc-Off Nano-Tech Bike Cleaner. The brand likely needs no introduction, with Muc-Off having made a name for themselves by providing cyclists with a series of excellent quality products over the years. This particular bike chain cleaner is no exception, being a highly effective, yet fairly safe, cleaning fluid for use on all surfaces. Pour a bit into a household spray bottle, and you’ve got a good product with easy application. Better yet, it only takes 5 minutes to take effect, making the cleaning process simple, effective, and quick from start to finish.
Sta-Bil Sport Bike Chain Cleaner and Lubricant
STA-BIL SPORT Bike Chain Cleaner & Lubricant
- STA-BIL SPORT Bike Chain Cleaner & Lubricant keeps bikes performing like new by penetrating deep into a bike’s chain, cables, and derailleurs
- Following application, this biodegradable product will proactively prevent rust from building on treated areas, and it limits corrosion build-up
Next up is a great two-in-one solution – the Sta-Bil Sport Bike Chain Cleaner. This bike chain cleaner can be used as both a cleaning substance and a lubricant, doing a good job in both roles. It takes a little more effort than the previous cleaner, requiring you to prepare your bike chain by wiping it down with a clean rag first. Provided you can tolerate this, it’ll do just as good a job in a more portable form, and helps combat rust, too. For a cheap and effective solution, the Sta-Bil Sport Bike Chain Cleaner is a good call.
WD-40 Specialist Bike Degreaser
A tried and tested product in many industries and fields, WD-40 can add being a capable bike chain cleaner to its many specialties. If you want to use it as a bike chain cleaner, you’ll need to pick up the specially made WD-40 Specialist Bike Degreaser, rather than the regular can you might be used to. It works exactly as you’d expect; apply it to your bike chain, give it some time to set, then wipe it off. It’ll get into those hard-to-reach places quite well, making it a good bike cleaner for mountain bikes, and it doesn’t include citrus, despite the smell. This means you’ll have a good bike cleaner that doesn’t risk damaging your bike’s paint or varnish.
Muc-Off Dry Chain Lube
Another excellent product from Muc-Off, this dry lube is a brilliant choice for harder-to-reach areas, or bikes that wouldn’t fare too well with a wet lubricant or cleaner. The Muc-Off Dry Chain Lube is perfect for mountain biking, being well-suited to dry and dusty environments without much chance of wet encounters. It’s easily applied, with the same application method as you’d expect, and is biodegradable to boot. For a dry lube, this product from Muc-Off is a great choice.
Pedro’s Chain Pig II – Chain Cleaning Machine
Last up is Pedro’s Chain Pig II. If you would prefer a simple, hands-free method of applying bike chain cleaner to your bike, this product is right up your alley. With its handy chain hook, you can affix it to your bike chain and leave it in place, backpedaling to let the Chain Pig II do its work. This single feature makes the Chain Pig II very convenient, allowing for the easy application of bike chain cleaner wherever you are, without an issue.
Also Read: How To Remove a Bike Chain
Keeping your bike chain clean is an absolute must for any cyclist. A clean chain means a lower chance of jamming or the chain falling out of place, and increases the lifetime of this vital component. Any of these products, and many more, are a great way to look after your bike, and make sure it stays in good shape, up for whatever the trail might throw at you. Remember, look after your bike, and it’ll look after you.
Also Read: How Often Should You Lube Your Bike Chain