How to Clean Rust from Bike Chain

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How to Clean Rust from Bike Chain
How to Clean Rust from Bike Chain

If your bike's chain is very rusty, changing it might be the best option for the skinny's health, since imperfections and deterioration can damage the transmission system. If the rust is only superficial, a lemon juice or anti-seize remover are great ways to restore the shine. After cleaning the component, just fit it back in, lubricate it and exit in grade.


Part 1 of 3: Inspecting the Component

Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 1

Step 1. Attach the zica to a bicycle rack

The little foot will not be stable enough to keep it straight when cleaning, so place it in a bicycle rack or turn it upside down on the floor itself (on the handlebars and seat).

  • If you have a cool bike and don't want to scratch the paint, put a cloth on it so it doesn't touch the floor.
  • It's easy to make a bike rack out of scrap: make a stable structure with hooks, and secure the skinny one by the wheels.
  • Attaching it to a bike rack or turning it upside down makes it more affordable for you to get the job done.
Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 2

Step 2. Check component status

Take a closer look: if it looks like it's warping or there are imperfections and deterioration in the metal, it's best to buy a new chain; soot build-up, surface rust and cracking can be removed to make it work like new.

  • To ensure longer component life and function, the most avid cyclists clean it once a week or approximately every 320 km.
  • Keeping the chain clean and lubricated will help keep both it and the driveline in good condition, as well as making it easier to see loose links; in this case, replace the damaged links immediately to prevent further damage.
Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 3

Step 3. Find the master link, if applicable

Many modern chains are equipped with a master link (a special link that makes it easy to remove the part), usually with a pin that fits snugly into the opening of the next link.

  • Many gearless bikes have no master link; if you don't see anything different, there may be nothing to see.
  • If the zica doesn't have a master link, you can ask a bike repair shop to add one. The procedure costs around R$5.00, in most cases.
Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 4

Step 4. Take a photo of the transmission for easy reassembly

It is very important to put everything back in its place. To make it easier, take a few shots from various angles of the chain, gears and sprockets, before taking the first one.

  • Walking bikes often have complicated wheel shift mechanisms. If yours is like this, take pictures that clearly show how the current flows through these parts.
  • By failing to put it back in the transmission system, you will be doing serious damage to the skinny and yourself (if the bike even moves).

Part 2 of 3: Cleaning Surface Rust

Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 5

Step 1. Remove chain in case of heavy surface rust

If there is a master link, take the pin out of the socket with your hands and, when the chain loosens, remove it; without a master link, just remove one link from the pins next to the pedal (after the first one, the rest comes off easy, and then just take the part off).

  • It is especially important to remove it when there is a lot of surface rust and soot; when there is little oxidation and dirt, there is no need to remove it for cleaning.
  • If there is no master link, it can be replaced in the same way it was removed: just fit the links on the pins.
Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 6

Step 2. Wipe the component with a cloth with degreaser

Moisten a clean cloth with degreaser and run it on the chain to remove dirt and grease (stretch rubbing may be necessary).

Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 7

Step 3. Soak it if necessary

In more serious cases, soak the soot and dirt-filled chain in a degreaser for 20 minutes. Then rinse in another bucket with hot water.

Most degreasers are not good for the skin, so wear latex gloves unless otherwise stated on the product label

Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 8

Step 4. Remove small amounts of rust with a steel wool moistened with lemon juice

Put on latex gloves (since this technique is also not the best for the hands), dampen a steel wool in lemon juice, rub it on the rusty parts and wipe everything off with a paper towel.

  • Neutralized oxidation can get trapped in the steel wool. In this case, just rinse it with hot water, add more lemon juice and continue the service.
  • With large amounts of oxidation, it may be necessary to clean periodically to get a sense of how much is missing.
Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 9

Step 5. Remove lemon juice with soap and water after cleaning

Lemon juice contains a lot of sugar. If it dries, it will make the current very slow; rinse it with hot or lukewarm water mixed with a little detergent.

Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 10

Step 6. Destroy large pieces of rust with a wire brush and anti-seize

Spread the de-seize on the rusty parts and allow time to penetrate. Then take the wire brush and rub it hard.

  • Wipe with a clean rag to remove rust residue as needed. When all the rust is gone, you can lubricate and replace the chain.
  • Never use de-seize as a lubricant; use only chain lubricants.

Part 3 of 3: Reseating the component

Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 11

Step 1. Replace chain in driveline

This procedure depends on the type of bike and chain, but photos taken earlier may help. Attach one side of it so that the other can reach the opposite side (either top or bottom).

  • The links should engage the pins and move smoothly through the driveline components. If there is resistance, it means that you fit it the wrong way.
  • If you have difficulty re-assembling it, look for a tutorial on YouTube or search the zica manual for keywords.
Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 12

Step 2. Fit the master link

Use your fingers to replace the chain and fit the pin of the different link into the next one (you will probably hear a click).

Visually speaking, the master link will be aligned with the others; otherwise, the part may warp and end up spoiling

Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 13

Step 3. Analyze component movement

With everything connected, use your hand to turn one of the wheels and see if the chain runs smoothly. If there is any resistance or irregular noises (such as moaning, scraping or squeaking), you have misplaced it.

Many mistakes can be fixed with your fingers; in other situations, it may be necessary to remove it and start over from scratch

Remove Rust from a Bike Chain Step 14

Step 4. Lubricate it.

A chain lubricant will prevent the component from creating more rust or soot: position the product tip over the middle of the chain and squeeze lightly (a fine, steady stream will come out); at that time, turn the wheels. When you do a full turn, you're 100% lubricated and ready to go.


It is better not to reuse the container you used when cleaning. So it's good to use something cheap and replaceable


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