Rusty Bike Chain: 9 Great Tips How To Clean And Protect Your Bike Chain At Home

The chain on your bike is one of the most fundamental elements of the bike. It is responsible for controlling the gears, while also connecting the front and rear tires. However, bike chains go through a lot and you will need to make sure that you protect your bike chain or know how to fix a rusty bike chain at home.

The best way to fix a rusty bike chain is to prevent rust from ever getting a foothold on the bike. It might not always be easy, but with some regular maintenance, it should not be that hard. It is better to prevent issues these issues, as removing rust can not only damage the bike chain, but it often means replacing it.

To ensure that you can deal with a rusty bike chain and understand how to prevent it from getting rusted in the first place, we have created this article. In the article, we will be looking at some of the top tips for keeping the chain in the best operating condition. However, it might take some work, but you won’t have any bike chain issues.

Rusty Bike Chain

Top 4 Tips For Protecting Your Bike Chain From Rust

As mentioned, dealing with rust can be frustrating and you will need to make sure that you protect the bike chain from damage and rust. While cleaning it to remove rust is possible, it is far harder to clean the chain than to keep it in the best condition. Here is how to prevent rust from building up on the chain and keep it in optimal working condition:

1. Don’t Leave It Outdoors

One of the first steps to preventing rust from building up on your bike chain is to keep it indoors. Many people simply lock their bikes outdoors and this will leave all of the components exposed to weather conditions. By leaving it exposed, you will eventually notice that rust starts building up on the chain and you need to remove it as soon as possible.

Store bike in garage

The best way to store your bike is often in your garage. There are plenty of great bike racks that you can rely on and many of them are cheap. Once you have the bike rack-mounted in your garage, you can put your bike on the rack after each trip to keep the components protected from the elements. The 4 Bike Rack for Garageis one of the top options we recommend.

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12/01/2022 09:13 am GMT

2. Clean The Bike After Each Trip

The next important step will be cleaning the bike after each trip. Whilst riding, you might be going through puddles and dirt. The dirt particles might get stuck to the chain and since they often have moisture, they will stick. The moisture will be transferred to the chain and this could cause rust to set in on the chain.

To prevent the chain from getting rusty, you will need to wash the bike after each trail. Washing the bike is easy and you only need a cloth and some soap and water. If you catch the dirt particles before it gets stuck to the chain, you should be able to clean the bike effectively. It should not take you more than an hour to clean the bike and the chain.

3. Allow The Bike To Dry Before Storing

It can be easy to clean the bike and simply place it in the garage once it is cleaned. However, the bike will still be wet and this means that you could see a buildup of rust over time. You must allow the bike to dry out before storing it. You might want to use a dry cloth to wipe all of the components to dry it out faster.

However, leaving the bike in the sun on a hot day will not do any harm. As the bike is outside, the sun will do all the work for you. Depending on how hot it is, it could take only a couple of minutes for you to have your bike dry out. However, you should only do this after washing the bike, or the dirt and grime particles could get stuck to the chain.

4. Choose Dry Trails

The final tip might not be one that you would like to see, but if you don’t want to spend time cleaning the bike chain, you need to choose dry trails. Yes, you will still have dust particles coming up and sticking to the chain, but it should not be as bad as having mud sticking to the chain. The dust will eventually fall of the bike as you go.

However, this tip is only for beginners. More experienced riders will enjoy the challenge of harder trails and working their way through the mud. If you don’t like cleaning your bike and you choose the lazy route, you might want to choose dry trails.

How To Clean Your Bike Chain Like A Professional Mechanic In 5 Simple Steps

Not all of us are mechanics and some people hardly have any mechanical skills. However, cleaning your bike chain requires some mechanical skills that you will need to understand. We have determined how to clean your bike chain. You can use the following systematic guide to ensure that your bike chain is in the best possible condition:

1. Select the Right Cleaning Agent

One of the first decisions you will need to make is the right cleaning agent. You will need to determine which cleaning agent you will need to use to remove the dirt effectively. If you are simply dealing with your standard dirt, soap and a simple cloth should do the trick to ensure that you have it cleaned.

However, a degreaser is often a great option when you have rust that is already on the chain. The degreaser will work to eliminate all of the rust and ensure that you have a smooth and clean chain. It can take some time for the rust to dissipate, but it is better than having to replace the bike chain.

2. Cleaning The Chain Rings

If you have finally made it to cleaning the chain, you have to start with the chainrings. It is some of the smaller components, but dirt and rust often like to get stuck and build up in the chainrings. A simple cloth or even a chain cleaner will enable you to reach some of these smaller nooks and crannies and will enable you to have clean chainrings.

Cleaning The Chain Rings

3. Cleaning The Cassette

The cassette and the chainrings work hand in hand and you will find that both of them will offer you some challenges when it comes to cleaning them. However, the cassette will need to be cleaned the same way you approach the chainrings. You need to work through every cog and make sure that no rust, dirt, or grime is stuck to it.

4. Cleaning The Chain

Once you are done with some of the minor components, you will be left with cleaning the chain. The chain is the biggest component, but it is one of the easiest to clean. You can clean it on the bike, or you can remove the chain. For the best professional cleaning for your bike chain, we recommend removing it from the bike.

Cleaning The Chain

Once the chain has been removed, you can soak it, or you can apply some of the degreasers to ensure that you get rid of the rust. You might want to leave it a while for the water and the cleaning agent to remove as much of the dirt as possible. Using a scrubber, you can assist the cleaning agents in removing as much dirt as possible.

5. Gently Rinse And Let It Dry

Once you have cleaned the chain and removed as much of the dirt and grime as possible, you can leave it out to dry. However, you need to make sure that you remove as much of the cleaning agent as possible. Many of these cleaning agents often harden and they also cause some issues when stuck to the chain or cogs.

Once you are sure that everything is removed, you should let it dry. The drying process could take some time, but when you have a hot summer day, you can leave it outdoors and the sun will take care of the rest. We recommend making sure that all of the components are dry before you reconnect the chain to the bike.


Dealing with a rusty bike chain is one of the hardest things you can do. The chain will not work correctly and you might find that it slides off the bike. However, these tips should ensure that you don’t have to deal with a rusty bike chain. Let us know in the comment section how you deal with cleaning your bike chain.

About Martin

I am Martin, I am the author of this blog. My main interests include cycling. That's why this blog was created. I have always been interested in technology and how bicycles are made, so I built one myself.

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