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How to Remove Rust from your Bicycle Chain at Home

Rust in your bike chain is normal, especially if you have an older bike. It is also normal if you happen to live close to the sea or don’t take good care of your bicycle. That being said, if your bicycle chain is dry, you’re wrecking your drive train.

Before we get to the removal of rust, here are a few problems that lead to rusting of your bicycle chain:-

1. Over lubing your chain:

When it comes to lubing your chain, there has to be a balance. Complete absence of lube in your chain is terrible for your drive train. On the other hand, over lubing your chain will attract more dirt and grime that will eventually wear it down faster.

2. Not cleaning your bike post-ride:

Most of us are so used to riding our bicycles and heading home straight to the shower. Little do we realise, a complete wipe down of your bicycle including your drive train can help prolong your bicycle and drive trains life span.

3. Rain Ride:

It’s fun to ride in the rain but not as much fun if you leave the bike to dry without any cleaning. The rainwater and salts make your bicycle vulnerable to rust that can prove harmful in the long run.

4. Not changing your chain:

This is a common mistake made by newbie cyclists as they are unaware. Often, riding until there’s no tomorrow. Eventually, the chain and the cassette wear out completely and need to be replaced.

Now, here are some ways you can remove rust from your bicycle chain. All you need is to follow some steps.

1) Inspect your bike chain

Make it a habit to check your bicycle chain and other moving parts. A dry chain or bolts will eventually catch rust.  Look for damaged links and browning of the chain.

If this is the case with your bicycle chain, you surely need to clean it. A damaged link might need you to shorten the chain or even replace it.

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If you have been riding regularly, your chain will eventually wear with time. So invest in a good bicycle chain checker or take it to a well-known bicycle shop. They can help you identify the problem and solve the issue.

3) Start to remove your chain

Depending on the amount of rust, you can either clean it on the bike or take the chain off and clean it. For complete removal of the chain, you will need a chain tool or a master link opener.

Get a good degreaser such as the muc off bio degreaser or park tool Bio ChainBrite™ cleaner.

If the rust is too much, we suggest you use a wire brush to scrub it off. Once done, ensure  to soap wash, dry and only then re-lube your chain.

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6) What if the chain is badly rusted?

If your chain is heavily coated with rust and does not move at all, you should replace it. But if you do decide to revive it, you should soak it in a degreaser solution and let it rest for some time. The time duration will depend on the degreaser quality and the amount of rust on your chain.

Then, scrub using a good wire brush and check.

If you aren’t happy with the results, re-soak it in the degreaser and scrub again until desired results.

After that, you can rinse the chain with hot water. The hot water will significantly remove the stickiness and it will not harm the chain. Follow this up with a soap water wash and a normal water wash. Dry and reinstall.

7) Use WD – 40

If you still see some stubborn rust left on the chain,  you will be able to break this up using a WD-40 Spray. The WD -40 Spray is a multi-purpose chemical and it does well on bikes that have accumulated some rust.

One thing you should always keep in mind is that WD-40 is more of a degreaser and not much of a lubricant.

Use the WD – 40 directly to the rusted part and let the chemical sit for a few minutes before wiping it off. Ensure to always remove all WD 40 before re-lubing your bicycle chain.

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8) Lubricate the bike chain

Once you have finished removing the rust from your bike chain, it is important to lube it the right way.

Watch this reel and learn how to clean and relube your drivetrain.

9) Reattach the chain

Reinstall the chain and watch this video to learn how to re-lube your bicycle chain.

We hope these few short tips have helped you in removing rust from your bicycle chain.

Do share with your friends and let them know about this.

How to Prevent rust on your bicycle at home.

Use MO 94 by Muc-off:

There will be times when your chain has too much rust and the links get jammed. In such cases, it’s best to install a brand new chain. If the bicycle chain has too much rust, they might appear to be fine, however, they are likely to break in the middle of your ride. You don’t want that do you?

So ensure to clean your drive train and enjoy your ride.

Written By

Abhishek Tarfe is a Certified Bike Mechanic from Park Tool School. He enjoys teaching people how to cycle and loves going on multi-day tours. Besides, he loves dogs and coffee. Follow his madness on Instagram

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