Road Bike Maintenance

How to: Clean your chain in five easy steps

I’m ashamed to admit it, although I cycle most days – I can’t remember the last time I gave my bike a thorough wash. When I asked my female friends about their bike cleaning routines – many exclaimed “What cleaning routine?”

A dry, dirty chain in need of a very good clean!

Risking an onslaught here, I think that, if we’re honest, when it comes to bikes – the majority of us either neglect to wash and maintain them properly or are happy to sit back and let the men in our lives do the fixing, and even the cleaning too.

However, we cannot, and should not rely on our male counterparts to help us clean and maintain our beloved bikes. It’s really important we get to grips with the basics and so to get us going, Juice Lubes, who make a range of high performance lubricants, fluids, and cleaners, have provided us with a selection of products to help us show you how to get your bike sparkling and running like a dream.

Part 1: Cleaning your chain

From my own experience, cleaning the chain is the worst chore. No matter what I do, I always end up transferring oil and grime from the chain on to my clothes. But, it’s one of those things that has to be done – a clean chain is a smooth-running, long lasting chain and nothing spoils a ride like a chain that sticks and slips and won’t shift and then breaks.

There are a few different approaches to chain cleaning, but to ensure you do it more often, we want to showcase the Juice Lubes ‘Dirty Little Scrubber’ device (their name, not ours!).

At just £12.99 this Dirty Little Scrubber from Juice Lubes is a vital device to have in your cleaning kit.

By including this easy-to-use device in your chain washing routine, you’ll end up with a sparkling chain, minus the mess and dirty hands.

Kit list:

  1. Chain cleaning device, we used Juice lubes Dirty Little Scrubber
  2. Concentrated degreaser, we used Juice lubes Dirt Juice Super Gnarl
  3. Cold water
  4. Rag/cloth (an old school bike race t-shirt circa early 90s is always a good option)

When cleaning your bike we recommend you do it outside for obvious reasons. If you can position your bike near a drain to slew excess water and degreaser into – then all the better!

5 steps to a clean chain:

1. Take the lid off your Dirty Little Scrubber and fill the device to the max line with undiluted Dirt Juice Super Gnarl degreaser.

2. Once filled with degreaser, with the metal hook hanging down, lift the Scrubber so the lower part of your chain is resting on top of the internal brushes. Next – pop the lid of the Scrubber back on the device.

At this point you shouldn’t need to hold on to the Scrubber as it will be suspended from the chain.

3. The metal hook on the Scrubber is designed to anchor the device in one spot while you whizz the chain through the bath of degreaser held inside. This means you need to lift the hook up and position it behind the rear mech bottom jockey (labelled in the photograph).

4. Here’s where the magic happens. Turn your pedals backwards so the chain runs through the Scrubber without moving your bike, giving your chain it’s own mini car-wash!

If you’ve not cleaned your chain in a while – we recommend repeating step 4 a couple of times. Discard the used degreaser and re-fill with more neat Dirt Juice Super Gnarl.

5. When you’ve removed the Scrubber pour cold water over your chain to rinse off degreaser. To ensure you’ve got rid of all the degreaser we recommend you use a rag, hold it where the Scrubber sat, on the bottom of the chain and once again back pedal so the chain runs through the rag you’re holding until it’s nice and dry.

Although we’ll go into lubes in more depth, once the chain’s nice and shiny and dry, don’t forget to reapply a chain lube. If you’re in a hurry, you can lube it up just before the next ride. If you can, doing it before you put the bike away gives the stuff time to get everywhere it needs to be and puts you one step nearer to ride readiness next time.

Getting a sparkly chain doesn’t need to be a laborious time consuming chore, especially with the range of chain cleaning devices out there. So don’t delay, go detox your chain today – you’ll be surprised at what a big difference it makes to your ride!

Why not share your cleaning tips with us, how do you get your chain gleaming?


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