With a brush and oil: How to care for and clean your bicycle chain properly


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With brush and oil
This is how you properly care for and clean your bicycle chain

The bicycle chain has to withstand a lot. But dust, dirt and moisture can damage it and increase wear and tear. But regular cleaning and care is easy – this is how it works in detail.

The bicycle chain looks forward to regular care. Because it transmits the pedal forces to the rear wheel and does its hard work in wind and weather without much protection.

A chain soiled by dust, dirt and moisture is more sluggish, not only wears out faster itself, but also causes more wear on the sprockets and chainrings. According to the ADAC, a cotton cloth, a brush (like an old toothbrush) and chain oil are sufficient for thorough cleaning.

The coarse dirt has to go

Ideally, you have an assembly stand for the work. But you can also simply turn the bike over onto the handlebars and saddle, but the ADAC advises against this if you have hydraulic brakes. In suitable gloves, the fingers remain flexible and clean.

First remove the coarse dirt with the brush, so you can also get into the interior of the links. A toothpick, for example, can loosen stones that are jammed in it.

Detail work is announced

In the second step, the work becomes finer. The chain is wrapped in the cloth and, by moving the pedals, let it run through your hand two or three times. If that is not enough, the cloth can be made slightly damp – not wet – and provided with a few drops of washing-up liquid. But this degreases it, so that the chain then has to be lubricated all the more thoroughly.

The chainrings, derailleurs and sprockets, like the chain itself, can be cleaned with the same brush, a rag and some oil. If in doubt, special chain cleaner sprays can also help, according to the ADAC.

Admittedly, the adjacent gears are harder to clean than the chain itself. However, less dirt usually gets caught on the gears. Otherwise there are chain cleaning brushes or special cleaning hooks for particularly stubborn dirt between the sprockets in the accessory trade.

That’s how it works

Oil lubricates the clean chain – only use special chain oil for this. Supply each chain link selectively. In addition to the drop applicators, there are also sprays, but these are more difficult to dose. Because oil must not get on the brake discs or brake flanks, otherwise the braking effect will be massively impaired.

After about 15 minutes, wipe off the excess oil with a cloth – the proper cleaning of the chain is complete. There are other cleaning aids and care products available in the accessories trade.

What you should never use when cleaning the chain: high-pressure cleaner, petrol, soapy water, anti-corrosion solution, universal oil and steel brushes. How often cleaning and care is necessary depends on the frequency of use and the weather conditions.

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