Have you ever tried happily riding your bike, when suddenly you hear weird noises coming from your chain or worst your chain derailing? This on of the most common and the most annoying problem bikers do face.
If your bike is not cleaned regularly then these problems should be expected. Accumulated dirt can cause the chain of your bike to develop rust and make weird noises. This would for sure ruin your biking experience.
Bike chains are one of the most important components of a bike and should be maintained regularly to extend its life.
These are the items that are just laying around your household that you need to clean your bike chain:
- dishwashing soap
The main thing that we should eliminate when cleaning a bike chain is the dirt and grease accumulated. If a degreaser or chain cleaner is not available a dishwashing soap is a perfect substitute.
When riding outdoors, small rocks could get stuck between your chain, these rocks are hard for the dishwashing soap to remove. In this case an old or unused brush could be used to scrub the links of your bike chain.
- Old clothing items to be used as rags
This piece of clothing would be used as rags to be used to ensure that the dish soap evenly reaches all parts of the chain. Sponges could also be used if a cloth is not available.
- Homemade degreaser
Sometimes a dishwashing soap is not enough to clean your chain, in this case you can make your own degreaser. Mixing baking soda, lemon juice, and hot water is all you nee to do. This might be not as effective as branded degreasers but this cleaning your bike regularly using a homemade degreaser would give the same results.
Now that you know what items you should prepare to clean your bike chain, lets go through the process of cleaning it.
- Prepare your bike
It is important to secure your bike before cleaning it ensure that it would be properly cleaned and avoid causing damage if it falls over. A bike stand would be really helpful for this.
- Prepare the cleaning equipment
Make sure that all the materials you need for cleaning your bike is near you, this would include the degreaser you made, rags, and brushes.
- Check how dirty the chain is
This step would enable you to access how dirty and how much cleaning do you need to do to your chain.
- The last part is to check whether your chain is removable or not.
If chain is removable you should locate the master link, make sure to not pull it too hard to avoid damaging your gears. When removed you could soak your chain for a while in the degreaser that you made. Then check whether the grease and dirt are removed before rinsing and lubricating the chain. The last step would be installing the chain back to the bike.
However, some chains are not removable. In this case you should soak a rag in the degreaser that you have made then use that rag to soak your bike chain. Make sure to include all parts of the chain and the gears. Nest step would be using another rung to rinse off the degreaser with the dirt and grease collected. After these steps use another rug, but this time it should be dry in order for you to clean and dry the chain. Then as always, the last step would be lubricating the chain.
Cleaning the chain of your bike should be done regularly, this is to ensure a smooth ride and to prolong its life span. Maintenance cleaning should is advised to be done at least once every two weeks or as needed if you happen to be riding on a muddy or dusty road.