The Detroit Post
Saturday, 16 October, 2021

How To De Rust A Bike Chain

Paul Gonzalez
• Sunday, 03 January, 2021
• 10 min read

If that still doesn't work, try soaking the chain in a bottle filled with degreased for 20 minutes. For a more natural alternative, use steel wool wet with lime juice to scrub away light rust, then rinse away the lime juice with soapy water.

chain bike rusty file commons wikimedia


It is an inevitable chemical reaction that occurs when a bike chain comes in contact with salt, water, mud and other elements. It can be confusing; some sites recommend one method while others tell you that it’s the absolute worst thing you can do.

Some people state that cleaning a rusty bike chain is a waste of time. However, it is recommended that you learn how to replace a bike chain as it is one of the easiest things to do on a bike.

The best degreased is one that effectively removes grease and other dirt, that is safe for your hands, and also for the environment. Green Move Prep, Finish Line Citrus Bike Degreased, WD-40 and Diggers Mineral Turpentine can also be used.

Wear latex gloves every time you handle bike chain degreased. Pour it into a clean plastic container, preferably one that hasn’t been used before (any residual chemicals can react and have unexpected results).

You can use a rag or soft brush to get the chain completely free of grease. Lime juice contains citric acid which is excellent at stripping away rust.

chain bikes rust reactions bicycle keep dead shape always let mtbr werunandride

Both lime juice and steel wool are rough on the hands so make sure you wear latex gloves for this stage. Soak the steel wool in lime juice and then scrub the parts of the chain that are rusted.

The wool will get clogged with rust as you clean; discard, get a new piece, soak it in lime juice and keep working. After a few minutes working on the chain, wipe it clean using a soft rag to see how much rust is left.

Once all the rust is gone you need to rinse the chain completely to remove all traces of lime juice and steel wool. If you don’t oil it properly it will rust again, and you will need to repeat the process of cleaning it or replace it altogether.

Applying too much lubricant isn’t recommended, so give the chain a gentle wipe with a clean cloth to remove excess oil. If you use your bike more than two or three times a week you should clean and lube the chain at least once a month.

Clean it of excess grease and debris and add lubricant where needed. You should oil your bike chain to prevent rust if you ride it in conditions such as mud, dirt, rain, and snow.

rust bike chain remove step

If you notice that the chain isn’t moving smoothly or makes creaking noises when you ride it’s time for a clean and lube. Review them carefully before you buy to ensure that they perform as stated in the marketing material.

You may feel tempted to use something that resembles bike chain lube, such as motor oil or something as simple as Vaseline. Motor oil contains finite particles and chemicals that will damage the chain over time, and Vaseline will not provide the required protection from the elements.

You may find products like WD-40 recommended is some quarters; they may help remove rust but only for a short period. Finally, if you don’t lubricate the chain after cleaning you shouldn’t expect the job to hold.

Choose your lube carefully, and make sure that it is recommended for bike chains. If the chain is heavily rusted don’t waste your time cleaning it.

It will not work, not to mention the rust may start to affect other parts of the bike such as the drivetrain and frame. Rust and bike chains have an affinity that seems designed to frustrate even the most fastidious biker.

chain bike rust remove

Keep rust removal simple with regular cleanings and lubing that help prevent the orange-brown stuff from accumulating. Accumulated rust removal is a much more difficult task and affects the chain ’s pliability as well as the bike ’s overall performance.

Letting rust accumulate usually means making a trip to the bike shop for a new chain. You might need several sized brushes to get into tight areas between side plates and center rollers of the chain.

Dampen a plastic or steel scouring pad with lime juice and scrub out surface rust spots from the chain. For hard-to-remove rust, remove the chain for soaking in a citric acid solution, such as lime juice.

Soak the chain in a bowl of lime or lemon juice for 60 minutes to two hours. Add lubrication sparingly, one to two drops at a time, between the side plates and center rollers along the chain.

Creating a seal between the bike chain and the elements with proper lubrication prevents rust. Tips Cleaning and lubricating the chain after riding in wet conditions can especially help prevent rusting.

chain rust bike remove down upside

Heavy rust freezes chains and makes them more susceptible to breaks. Here we have shared an amazing article on removing rust from bike chain with vinegar.

Like all other vehicles, your bike needs maintenance and proper care as over time the environmental factors such as air and moisture tend to take their toll on it. Being primarily made of metal bikes are often prone and susceptible to rusting and corrosion if not taken care of on regular basis.

Being simple in their aesthetics bikes are often forgotten and not taken care of by their owners ending up corroding and eventually the parts break down. Rust is a product of a chemical reaction, it is produced when the oxygen and moisture present in the atmosphere reacts with metal.

Now rust is a pretty bad thing and when it starts to show up you know that you are in trouble as it can happen to any part of the bike. Rust starts slow and small but tends to grow fast and spread to the rest of the metal and it is not like it is will disappear on its own, so must know how to remove it properly without damaging your bike.

It is a cheap food item that is readily available in most households or you can find it in any supermarket or corner store and surprisingly vinegar has rust removing abilities too and that is what we are going to explain how to remove the rust off of your bike chain in simple, easy and quick steps. Now, you have made yourself familiar with the tools and it is about time we learned how to get that stubborn rust off of your chain.

chain bike rusty file commons wikimedia

Now simply take the bottle of white vinegar and pour it into the container. Dip it properly and let the vinegar get soaked into the brush’s bristles.

Repeat the process of dipping and rubbing with vinegar and once you are done with removing the rust, you are to give it a good clean with water so the remnants of vinegar and rust come off, giving your chain a well finished and shiny look. Make sure the rag is clean, you can also use any piece of cloth but it should be soft and shouldn’t have any lint that could get stuck in the chain.

And there you go you now have removed the rust off of your bike chain by using nothing but vinegar and some old household items. You feel like you have a rock stuck in the chain, but know that you don’t.

Attack the chain with steel wool soaked in lime juice. If the bike ’s been rotting away in the back of a shed/garage for years, it may be beyond repair.

You can’t access rust -removing products (check online!) Cost A new bicycle chain can run you up to $50 or more, depending on your pick.

bike chain rust rusty

A little rust means you can leave it on, but if there’s a substantial amount it’s best to remove it. If not, consider running to an expert, and learn how to remove/replace a bike chain for next time.

Degreased isn’t perfect, so now you have to tackle parts of the chain where rust still clings. Grab your lime juice and steel wool from any grocery store, and get scrubbing.

Keep your gloves on for this stage, as you don’t want to scratch or irritate your skin. A scratch from steel wool is rough, but pair that with the acid in lime juice.

Wipe down the chain with a clean rag mid-scrub, to check your progress. Reattach your chain if necessary, and make sure it moves freely.

It’s an aggressive substance that’s corrosive to rust but not metal. It depends on the degreased, but the ingredient list can include anything from citrus juice (for the acid) to mineral spirits.

chain background bicycle reactions preview werunandride

However, it doesn’t hurt to wipe down all bolts and other joints with a small amount of degreased each month. All connecting parts of your bike can easily fall into disrepair.

Once you know how to remove rust from a bike chain, it’s an easy process to repeat. Be sure to keep some degreased and extra lubricant on hand, for emergencies.

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