How Often Should I Clean My Bike Chain?

You want your bike chain to last longer and work efficiently, right? Well, you can only realize that if you clean it. So, the question is, ‘how often should I clean my bike chain?’

You should clean your bike chain at least once a month if you cycle regularly on perfect roads or after every 100-200 miles of cycling. You should do it more often, however, probably after every use, if you ride on sandy, muddy, dirt, or salty surfaces and after a hard, long ride.

That means the road condition and how often and longer you ride a bike dictate how sooner you should clean your bike chain.

Let’s get deeper into analyzing our post title.

how to degrease a bike chain

How Often Should I Clean My Bike Chain? (Guide)

Here’s a quick guide showing how frequently you should clean your bike chain.

1. Clean The Bike Chain At Least Once A Month If You Ride Regularly On Perfect Road

Let me clarify what a perfect road is. I’m talking about a clean, dry paved road.

So, that doesn’t include gravel roads and dirt paths. Instead, it consists of the urban streets.

The other thing that should be favorable is the weather condition. If there are salty, humid, or salty conditions, such conditions do not count as perfect.

Now, if you commute on a paved road, you should clean your bike chain at least once a month. In most cases, you only degrease and lube the chain.

2. Clean The Bike Chain As Soon As Possible After Completing 200 Miles

If you don’t mind a little calculation, this rule will help you keep your bike chain in perfect condition.

Just calculate the distance you’ve covered with your bike. On average, you should clean the chain after hitting 100-200 miles.

Remember, however, that this rule depends on your cycling surface. If the conditions are perfect, as discussed above, then you can easily hit 200 miles.

However, it would help if you did it sooner off-road.

3. Clean The Bike Chain After Use If You Ride On A Muddy, Sandy, or Salty Surfaces

Sand and mud are not friendly to your bike chain. Sand grains, for example, easily get trapped on the chain, wearing it out slowly.

On the other hand, mud wets the chain surface and invites rust, which also wears down your bike chain. Similarly, salty conditions encourage lasting.

In such a case, you can avoid chain wear by cleaning the chain after use.

4. Clean The Chain Bike Immediately After A Long, Hard Ride

Remember, you use more of your chain lubricant after a long ride. So, you’ve to replace it.

Also, cycling long-distance means the chain is likely to attract dust and other forms of dirt. So, you have to wash off the dirt using a chain lubricant.

Moreover, if you aggressively ride your bike, the chance of friction occurring and leading to chain wear is high. That’s why you should wipe off the chain and lube it after every long, hard ride.

How Do I Clean My Bike Chain?

Now that you know how often to clean bike chain, you have these three options for doing it:

a) Use WD-40 Spray

A WD-40 spray is naturally a degreaser. Simply put, it gets rid of hardened grease and grime from your bike chain.

One top recommendation for DIY chain cleaning is the WD-40 Specialist Bike Degreaser.

Here are four steps for cleaning your bike chain with WD-40:

How Often Should I Lube My Bike Chain

Step 1 – Degrease

Once you’ve your WD-40 spray, here’s how to degrease your chain with WD-40:

  • Position the spray can close to the bike chain while the chain is still attached and spray
  • Give the degreaser enough time to act before moving to the next step

Step 2 – Scrub Off

Once the degreaser dissolves the hardened grease and grime, you should scrub them off. You can do it quickly and efficiently with a commercial scrubber like Park Tool cm-5.3 Cyclone Bicycle Chain Scrubber.

Alternatively, you can use a toothbrush, which may not be as quick and efficient as a commercial chain scrubber but will get the job done.

Step 3 – Wash and dry

Now, you have to give your chain a new look, which means washing off the scrubbed deposits. Here, you need to use clean water to rinse off the chain and then wipe it dry.

Step 4 – Lubricate

Lastly, you should reapply a lubricant since you degreased the chain in step 1. The grease will prevent friction and rusting to enable the chain to serve you better and longer.

One great pick is the Finish Line 1-Step Chain Cleaner & Lubricant. It doubles up as a degreaser (chain cleaner) and lubricant.

b) Using Household Supplies

Don’t worry if you don’t have access to a WD-40 spray. You can still clean your bike chain using household supplies, and here are your options:

Option 1 – White Vinegar

White vinegar is a powerful degreaser that you can use in place of a WD-40 spray. You’ll need to mix one part of white vinegar with two parts of water.

Here’s how to degrease a bike chain with white vinegar:

  • Remove the chain and soak it in the vinegar solution
  • Alternatively, spray white vinegar on the greased chain using a spray can
  • Wash off the vinegar with soap and water
  • Allow the chain to dry before reattaching it

Option 2 – Kerosene and Dish Soap

Kerosene is also a fantastic degreaser that you can use in place of vinegar. The dish soap helps to rinse off the kerosene and wash off any grease that might have remained.

Here’s how to go about this DIY project:

  • Soak the greasy chain in paraffin
  • Alternatively, spray paraffin to the chain
  • Allow the paraffin to act before applying dish soap and then scrub it off
  • Wash off the chain with clean water and then wipe it dry
how often should i clean my bike chain

In the absence of kerosene, you can use turpentine and follow the same process.

Option 3 – Baking Soda

You can use baking soda to remove hardened grease from a bike chain. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Sprinkle enough baking soda on a damp sponge and use it to wipe off the chain
  • Follow it up with a damp cloth free of baking soda
  • Allow the chain to dry

It’s worth noting that you can still combine white vinegar with baking soda in equal parts when dealing with hardened grease.

c) Commercial Bike Chain Cleaning Kits

Are you tired of having to detach the chain from the bike before cleaning it? Then get yourself a commercial chain cleaning kit.

Not only do they allow you to clean the chain while attached, but they also come with everything for chain cleaning. That includes a degreaser, scrubber, and brush.

Now, here are three fantastic bike chain cleaner kits to consider:

1. White Lightning Bike Chain Cleaning Kit

The White Lightning Bike Chain Cleaning Kit comes complete with a degreaser, cleaner kits, and three rotating brushes.

Its cleaner clips reach the chain’s hidden parts to eliminate the need to detach the chain from your two-wheel.

On the other hand, the degreaser gets rid of hardened grease and grime while its three rotating brushes clean your chain in a minute or less.

2. Finish Line Shop Quality Bicycle Chain Cleaner

The Finish Line Shop Quality Bicycle Chain Cleaner also comes with a degreaser, cleaner clips, and three rotating brushes to guarantee a hustle-free chain cleanup.

Additionally, it comes with a chain lube to apply to the chain after cleaning. Plus, the chain cleaner has a 360-degree exit design to minimize floor mess and features a magnet bottom to collect all metal filings.

3. Park Tool CG-2.4 Bicycle Chain & Drivetrain Cleaning Kit

The Park Tool CG-2.4 Bicycle Chain & Drivetrain Cleaning Kit is perfect for cleaning the bike chain and the drivetrain.

It comes with a powerful plant-based cleaning solution for your entire drivetrain, a chain scrubber, a gear brush, and a degreaser.

So, you wouldn’t have to buy any other tool or cleaner to clean your bike chain once you have Park Tool CG-2.4 Kit.


1. Do You Clean Your Bike Chain After Every Ride?

If you ride on a dusty, muddy, or dirt trail, it’s advisable to clean your bike chain after every ride. But if you cycle on a perfect road, you can do it twice a month or after 200 miles.

2. Do I Need To Degrease My Bike Chain?

Chain degreasing is essential in discouraging gunk buildup. If gunk builds up, your chain may not be efficient. It may even be impossible to shift.

3. How Often Should I Lube My Bike Chain?

If you ride your bike regularly on paved roads, consider lubricating the chain at least once a month. You should lube the chain immediately, nonetheless, if you notice it’s dry.

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Closing Thought:

So, how often should I clean my bike chain? As shared, you’ve to consider your frequency of riding, the riding surface, and even how long and hard you ride to determine how often you should clean the bike chain.