Picture of How to clean your bike chain and drivetrain

Do you have legs that you use to ride a bike? If so, then you've probably had grease stains on your fancy pants more than a few times.


Don't worry. Keep your legs. They aren't the problem. A dirty chain is the culprit. With a few steps you can guarantee those stretch jeans remain ridiculous and dirt free.

A few Items you will need:

  • Rags
  • Solvent and Lube
  • Gloves
  • Firm Brush ( a toothbrush will get the job done)
  • Small screwdriver

Let's get started.

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Step 1: Check to make sure the chain is worth cleaning

Picture of Check to make sure the chain is worth cleaning

If you chain is worn than it might need to be replaced rather than refaced. ( it rhymed.... leave me alone)

  • Take a ruler and measure from the center of a link pin. The 24th pin down the line should be exactly 12 inches apart from the first pin you're measuring from. Each chain link is made exactly half an inch long. If the chain is stretched 1/16 inch or more it's time to start thinking about a new chain.

Step 2: Wipe the chain down

Picture of Wipe the chain down

Usually your chain can be cleaned up with a simple wipe down unless it is caked with the really nasty stuff.

CAUTION! If you don't want to be cleaning your own finger meat out of your chain and rear sprocket then I would suggest taking it slow. DO NOT spin the chain through the rag at full speed. While you might save some time doing this you might save some digits by not doing this.

  • Snap those gloves on doc!
  • If it's caked on then take your brush and a little solvent and scrub scrub scrub. ( you can use a container and some solvent to dip the chain into to dissolve the tougher grime)
  • Dampen the rag with your solvent.
  • Proceed to scrub on the sides, top, and bottom of the chain with the rag.
  • Slowly move the chain along to clean the entire length.
  • Spend a few minutes going over the chain multiple times.
  • Wipe off the excess solvent