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How to clean a rusted bicycle chain

October 25, 2024
How to clean a rusted bicycle chain

How to clean a rusted bicycle chain? Riding a bike is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Just by pedalling, you can get anywhere you want. It’s cheap, it’s a way to exercise, and you’re in permanent contact with the environment around you.

One disadvantage is that quite a lot of rust usually forms on the chain, thus affecting the entire ride of the bike. For the same reason, as soon as you see a spot of rust, we recommend that you get to work and clean your chain. If you don’t know how to do it, then you are in the right place! In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about how to get the rust off the bike chain.

How to clean a rusty bicycle chain: a step-by-step explanation

The first step is cleaning the bike frame to remove any remaining dust or mud. You can use a little soap to make sure the dirt is completely removed. Some products work to remove rust from your bike that you probably have around the house.

One of the most popular is to use a mixture of equal parts water and baking soda to remove minor rust. To remove the most embedded rust you can use spray vinegar. You can also choose to buy a spray to remove chemical rust and get rid of it in a much shorter time.

You can use any suitable rust remover and any method that suits the condition if you have to deal with minor rust or a stubborn one. Treating the two conditions similarly can lead to a problem in that you may not get the exact result you expected.

To remove rust from your bike successfully, not only do you have to apply the rust cleaner on the rusty parts, but you also have to do it properly so that no trace of it remains. When you use different products to remove rust, their way of application is also different.

If you choose to apply a mixture of baking soda and water, we recommend that you use a brush or scouring pad to get to all the rusty parts of the bike. Let it act for at least 20 minutes and rub the rusty parts with the scourer.

You can use a scourer to help you with the most difficult areas. Keep in mind that the scourer can scratch the paint on your bike, so don’t apply too much force, but rather go over the worst parts until the rust is removed.

Why is rust generated in the chain of a bike?

Now that you know how to get the rust off the bike chain, let’s tell you a bit more about why rust forms in the first place. In this way, you will be able to know how to avoid it, or at least what measures you can take so that rust is not generated so often.

The reason for rust on your bike may be due to time spent without using it, storage problems, grease or dirt stuck on it for a longer duration.

Apart from that, water, humidity or any storm can easily create rust on some of the components of your bike. If you store your bike outdoors, it is more likely that it will collect and oxidise more often on the chain, unless you cover it with a waterproof cloth or a special protector.

How to identify rust in a bike chain

Identifying the rust in a chain can be a bit difficult if you use it often since this means that it is not as visible to the naked eye. You may not even realize it, but your bike’s chain may have a small amount of rust that may be hindering you from getting a smooth ride.

Take a look at the part of the pedals, the brakes and the handlebars. Also, look at each pivot point on the derailleur and gears and identify any parts that contain rust. Don’t forget the plate and the pine nuts. Check them closely and analyze any small bits of rust.

Recognizing the rusty parts of the chain is the most important since you can know which is the exact part where you need to clean, or which is the part that needs extra cleaning.

Extra tips on how to clean a rusted bicycle chain

It’s always best to use some kind of store-bought rust cleaner, as they tend to have a higher amount of chemicals and be more effective. In any case, the home remedies listed in this article are also very helpful. We do not recommend mixing both methods as they can damage your chain or end up not being effective.

When cleaning your chain, we recommend that you wear gloves to protect your hands. Remember that whenever you work with chemicals, even if they are homemade like baking soda and vinegar, you should still protect your exposed skin. To prevent the floor from getting dirty, you can cover it with newspapers or old fabrics.

After you have cleaned the chain and once it is completely dry, you should put some lubricant on the chain to extend the life of the chain. This will help get it running smoothly and quickly again, and keep it from getting rusty too quickly.

In conclusion

Cleaning rust off your bike chain is pretty simple, but it’s important to do it so your bike always performs at its best. Remember that once your chain is always rusty or impossible to remove the rust, then it’s time to change it and get a new one.

You don’t need to change a bike’s chain very often, and you don’t need to do it as soon as you see a rust spot. You should always try to clean it yourself, and if this is no longer effective you should consider looking for a new one.

Do not forget to pass some type of polish or lubricant after cleaning the rust on your chain, this will make it work better and the cleaning will last longer, preventing more rust from forming. If you store your bike outdoors, we recommend that you cover it with some type of rubber, silicone or any type of bicycle cover to prevent it from being exposed to water or humidity.

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