Best Bike Chain Cleaners: Break Down Dirt and Grease

Remove old grease and other contaminants with these bike chain cleaners

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A buildup of dirt on your bike’s chain system can make it perform significantly slower. You need a cleaner that can get rid of the grime so that the chain can keep the gears spinning and wheels turning faster. Here are some of the best chain cleaners that you should consider keeping in your tool kit.

  • Best Overall
    Park Tool Bio Chain Brite
    Summary
    Summary

    A plant-based degreaser and chain cleaner that quickly removes oil, dirt, and grime.

    Pros
    Pros

    Biodegradable and non-toxic formula. Easy to use. Won’t damage plastic, rubber, alloy parts, and carbon crank arms. It has a pleasant smell. More viscous than most cleaners. Prolongs the life of the chain system.

    Cons
    Cons

    Needs to be scrubbed in for the best results. It doesn’t have a spray applicator. Scrubber sold separately.

  • Best Value
    Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner
    Summary
    Summary

    An affordable four-ounce chain cleaner that easily flashes contaminants and lubricates in one application. 

    Pros
    Pros

    Offers all-weather protection. It offers maximum rust protection. Flushes out the old lubricant. Keeps your chain free of dirt, dust, and grime. Reduces friction and chain wear.

    Cons
    Cons

    It doesn’t work too well on off-roading mountain bikes. Feels sticky. Messy application.

  • Honorable Mention
    Pedro’s Pig Juice Chain Cleaner
    Summary
    Summary

    A biodegradable and solvent-free formula that cleans and degreases the chain system.

    Pros
    Pros

    Removes dirt, oil, grime, and other stubborn stains. It doesn’t damage bike finishes. Has a convenient spray applicator. Reduces wear and damage to the chain and gear components. Prevents corrosion.

    Cons
    Cons

    Needs to be rubbed in to remove tough stains. The spray nozzle may easily fall off.

Tips

  • Before applying the cleaner, remove the wheel to make sure that the cleaner stays off your disc brake. Use a plastic bag to seal the brake caliper.
  • Change the gears to make the chain loose so that the cleaner can flow through freely. If the chain is too tight, you won't get the dirt out of the internal parts. 
  • Follow up with warm, soapy water to wash off any grit left behind by the chain cleaner. Do not use non-soapy water, which can rust the chain. 
  • After you clean your chain, lubricate it with a wet or dry lube, depending on the weather in your region and cycling conditions. 

FAQs

Q: How often should I clean my bike chain? 

A: Clean the bike every time it gets filthy or at least once a week. There's no harm in cleaning the bike after every ride, as long as you have the right cleaning tools. Give the chain and gears a deep clean at least once a month. 

Q: What's the best way to clean a bike chain? 

A: The best and easiest way to clean your bike chain is to clamp it on a bike stand or flip it on the handlebars and saddle. Apply the cleaner on the chain and let it soak in for a few minutes. Then rotate the pedals with your hand while scrubbing out the dirt. 

Q: Should I remove a bike chain to clean it? 

A: If your chain has connection rivets, typically featured on 11- and 10-speed bikes, such chains click in place, and removing them may weaken the link. It's possible to upgrade to an aftermarket quick link chain, which typically comes with tools that allow you to snap the chain in place after removing it. 

Final Thoughts

Our top pick is the Park Tool Bio Chain Brite. It’s safe for all parts of your bike and is very effective at removing tough grease and dirt stains. 

If you are looking for a pocket-friendly bike chain cleaner, consider the Finish Line 1-Step Bicycle Chain Cleaner.