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The Easier Way to Clean a Bicycle Chain – A Brilliant “Hack”


September 2016

One of the most important maintenance activities concerning a bicycle is cleaning the chain.  With the miles I put in, I have to attend to it every week or two.  Anything that can make it faster and easier, I’m all over it.  I read about a simple hack a while back that makes it so ridiculously quick (and easy) that I had to share it (now that I finally got around to actually putting it together)…


First, because I use Finish Line Ceramic Wet Lube, all I need to clean the outside of the chain is a damp, soapy towel….  Then, to clean in between the plates and rollers, my new tool:


In the photo above, notice that I have the brushes separated a little bit.  I did this for ease of cleaning after use.  I simply put the brushes over the chain and squeeze.  I worked them back an forth a little bit because I’m a little silly that way:


Sure enough, the chain isn’t perfect, but certainly quite clean (except that stupid plate right in the middle of the photo, because that’s just my dumb luck):


Anyway, cleaning the chain took a mere two minutes.  I did, for the record, go back and get the offending plate.  Sheesh.

Try it out, it’s as easy as it gets.


  1. elisariva says:

    Wow! Look how silver your chain is!! No cat 5 tat on your leg I bet 😉

    • bgddyjim says:

      Well, I hadn’t lubed it yet… The lube I use turns quite black after one or two rides but it’s super quiet. If I touch my calf to it, the tat is ridiculously black (I always leave my right foot clipped in so I can’t get a tattoo). 😎

  2. You must have black teeth

  3. biking2work says:

    Great info, thanks. I got into cleaning my chain regularly a while back as a part of the bike clean and it reduces that greasy build up on the components to make the overall clean quicker. 1 question, what do you clean your brushes with?

  4. bikevcar says:

    Great idea – I’ll have to try that

  5. unironedman says:

    Obsessive Cleaning Disorder: symptoms include incredibly clean bikes and really useful blog posts. No known cure. Which is great really. For the rest of us 😉

  6. Sue Slaght says:

    This is so helpful Jim! I am definitely going ot try the toothbrush trick. Thanks!

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