Learn How To Properly Clean And Grease A Bike Chain In Six Steps [Infographic]

Learn How To Properly Clean And Grease A Bike Chain In Six Steps [Infographic]

The chain on your bicycle can get gunked up with dirt and grime over time, so it’s a good idea to clean it every once in a while. This illustrated guide will show you how.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak.

Before you get started, you’ll need a few things: a chain break tool, an old toothbrush, a bucket, a rag, some citrus-based degreaser and some chain lubricant. Once you’ve got all your tools, just follow the six steps above in this illustrated guide from The Art of Manliness.

A properly maintained chain will last longer and help your bike ride smoother, so be sure to give it a good cleaning at least once a year.

How to Clean and Grease a Bike Chain: An Illustrated Guide [The Art of Manliness]


  • Yeah no. Do not take the chain off to clean it.

    Great way to damage the locking pin and/or links over time. Just clean it with some kerosene on a rag, dry, lubricate. Couldn’t be easier.

  • Modern (9/10/11 speed) chains use pins that break when they are popped out. You need to buy a replacement pin for these if you want to re-join the chain.
    If you really want to do this then get a chain with a locking link like some SRAM chains, although these only survive so many clip/unclip cycles before needing replacement.

    Basically never remove the chain unless you are replacing it entirely or you snap a link.

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