WD-40 stands for Water Displacement 40th attempt. It is evident by the name itself that it’s a water displacement product used to prevent rust. People often find themselves confused about whether to use WD-40 or not. Here, you will get answers to all of your queries about WD-40 by the most experienced tech bikers. I am sure you will not hear any local bike shop employee sharing this with you.
The “real truth” about WD-40 for bike chain, is it good for cleaning or not, is, “Yes, you can use WD-40 for the bike chain, and it’s perfect for cleaning”. Although its use is controversial, professional bikers and mechanics have been using it for years, and to our surprise, they have all positive things to say about it. Therefore, you do not need to get worried, thinking it might damage your bike because this is truly a misconception.
However, experts suggest you consider a few things while cleaning with WD-40. Just before that, let’s take a brief look at its history.
Brief History about WD-40
A company named Rocket Chemical Company created WD-40 in 1953. The efforts were to create something that could solve problems related to greasing and prevent rust. The number 40 in the product name represented that it was in their 40th attempt of making the formula when they succeeded in achieving the goals.
Some misconceptions about WD-40
Many of the cyclists say and write that the sole purpose of WD-40 is to remove water and keep things free from rust. Further, they report that it is not a lubricant. This not lubricant thing is not valid. According to the website of WD-40, it is a mixture of unique and special oils.
However, it is suggested by most experienced bikers not to use any other degreaser if you have already used WD-40 still; if you want to use any, clean and remove WD-40 entirely from the chain.
However, use WD-40 as the only lubricant; it will work for you and last 8 to 12 hours of riding, even in dry conditions.
Step by Step Guide on keeping your Bike Drivetrain clean with WD-40
WD-40 bike degreaser is excellent for removing thick dirt, grease, and grime from your bike chain. Follow these steps to clean up;
- First, place your bike on a stand so that the wheel is free to turn with a rag under the chain to collect any dirty or excess liquid.
- Apply WD-40 by spraying liberally onto the chain where it comes into contact with the rear cassette while rotating the crack in a counter-clockwise direction. This will ensure an even amount of degreaser is applied to remove any excess build-up of dirt and grime on the drivetrain.
- Once applied, allow to remain in contact for one or two minutes.
- The liquid will quickly soften and lift dirt, grease, and oil from the chain.
- To remove the heavier stubborn build-up of grime, you may need to agitate with a brush.
- Spray with clean water from a hose and dry with a clean cloth or towel.
- If you are in a hurry and don’t have access to water, you can wipe off the chain with a rag.
While cleaning a bike can be a real effort, riding a dirt bike is something that no one will like. WD-40 serves as an excellent solvent. It dissolves rust and contaminants and gets the cleaned and shiny parts.
Using WD-40 on Bicycle Chain
As WD-40 is a solvent, it strips away all the existing lubricants. It serves as a cleaner as well as a lubricant. Many professional bike repairmen and reputed organizations will say it is OK to use WD-40 on your bike chain. However, we may find an issue with WD-40 being a little LIGHT lubricant. It will cause it to come out on wet roads or weather conditions.
But, using WD-40 will not ruin your bike at all. Overall, this product is unique and handy. It serves as your primary bike chain cleaner and a light lubricant. Many cyclists have had WD-40 in their routine bike cleaning and are still using it. Since WD-40 is less oily, it stays longer in dry conditions than other more expensive bike lubricants.
Spraying it on your bike chain will leave it dry and clean. WD-40 is not just an excellent and degreaser but also America’s most trusted and widely used cleaner.
However, the company does not advertise its use for the bicycles; you can still use them for the same purpose, until or unless you are not a competitive racer.
WD-40 cleans off your derailleur and bike chain’s grime, junk, and dirt. Spray WD-40 on your chain and cassette, and then give it a spin. WD-40 loosens any oil grease on the chains, and it comes out quickly when you clean it later. When you are doing the rest of the cleaning of your bike, WD-40 is generously degreasing the chain.
After some time, you can take your cleaning sponge and start to clean it. You can use soap and water. Rub with hard hands by rubbing thoroughly. You can see the straightway comes up clean now. The sparkling cleaned bike awaits you to ride on it.
Expert Cyclist’s stories and suggestions about WD-40
Simon Richardson, biking for more than 11 years, has been using WD-40 for the cleaning purpose in his routine. On the global cycling network channel, he showed his 5 minutes bike wash, and not to your surprise, and used WD-40 as his degreaser and cleaner. He said that using WD-40 on your bike is OK.
Another blogger, cyclist, and bike mechanic said that the misconceptions about WD-40 about ruining your bike are not valid. He says that the product is ten times cheaper and works best and even increases the life of your bike chains.
Ultimate Cheeks Trick
Use WD-40 for the lubricant as well as a degreaser. Now, every rule in the book will say that this will not work this way. But the cyclists have been using it for decades, whether they go for 10 hours riding or take 5 hours training rides. WD-40 stays quite a lot. The riders have used it for the mountain bikes too.
Spray it on your bike on the chain. Also, spray it to the rail, trailer, and brake caliper. Try to make it a part of your riding routine.
Give only 5 minutes after the ride, and you are always ready to ride a shiny bike. It will last longer, and it will work better.
Some precautions you need to remember!
Ensure you are not pointing or spraying WD-40 anywhere near your bike’s rim, brake caliper, rotor, or hub bearings. It will be detritus to all.
- Spray the sprayer gently. You do not need to spray at full blast. It only requires a soft touch of your finger. Just keep it easy and gentle on the trigger. Let only a slight trickle spray on the chain.
- Secondly, if you are going out for a ride in wet weather conditions, bring a small bottle of Tri-Flow (synthetic chain oil) or any other chain oil. One con of WD-40 is that it washes off very quickly in wet conditions.
- Last but not least, you can use WD-40 on your derailleurs. It will keep the bushings clean. Moreover, it will allow free movement. But in case your rear derailleur pulleys contain a sealed bearing, avoid using it there.
Hopefully, the article reached your satisfaction by giving all the real answers to your questions. Although WD-40 is controversial, the years of cycle cleaning experience do not lie.
If you are still confused about whether to go for it or not, as it may be the case because of a large amount of controversial content present on the internet, we would suggest you give it a shot yourself. It is ten times cheaper than others in the market. But it will be worth more than the money.
Does WD-40 remove dust and rust from the chain of the bike?
Yes, WD-40 is a cleaner but works as a lubricant as well. It removes rust and dirt very efficiently. It fulfills all the purposes of heavy cleaning.
Does WD-40 damage the gear and chain components by rapid usage?
No, It doesn’t damage the gear and chain components. However, be careful when you are spraying. Please don’t be too harsh with it and don’t apply an immense amount of it. Try not to spray on other parts.
Is spraying a WD-40 on a bike’s chain a good idea?
Yes, spraying and cleaning with WD-40 is a good and safe idea. You can also use it as a degreaser, cleaner, and light lubricant.
Is the use of WD-40 safe on brake pedals?
No, you should certainly avoid using WD-40 on brake pedals. Many people are sharing their stories of accidentally using it on brake pedals. The pedals didn’t work the way they should afterward.