There are several detergents that you can use to degrease bike chain. But, can you use dish soap to degrease bike chain? This article has the answers.
Is dish soap a reliable means of degreasing and cleaning bike chain? Can dish soap damage bike chain when used for degreasing and cleaning?
You can use dish soap to degrease bike chain. Dish soap is one of the most reliable solutions for cleaning bike chains. It will break down the soil, dirt, grime or other elements on the chain, without damaging the metal or completely stripping the necessary lube on the chain.
In this article, we will walk you through the importance of cleaning bike chain and the steps to follow when doing it. Also, we will take a closer look at whether you can use dish soap to degrease bike chain. So, if you are confused as to whether you can use dish soap to degrease and clean your bike chain, then you’ve come to the right place.
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A bike provides a convenient and affordable means of getting around and exploring various places, commuting to work or even exercising. But as you move around with your bike’s, it will collect all forms of dirt. It will collect mud, leaves, sand, and other forms of dirt.
And if this dirt and grime is left to build up on the chain, it will eventually become a grinding paste, leading to premature wear and tear, rough pedaling and poor shifting. Also, allowing the build-up of dirt and grime on your bike’s chain can lead to wasted efficiency.
So, if you are looking to get more efficiency, longevity and performance from your bike, then keeping the chain clean and the entire drivetrain should be a priority. And, cleaning the chain is an easy and fast process.
Importance of Cleaning Bicycle Chain
Cleaning a bike’s chain can sometimes feel like an unnecessary bother to some people. However, keeping your bike chain clean comes with numerous benefits. Here are some key reasons why you should clean your bicycle chain regularly.
First, cleaning your bicycle chain can help to extend its lifespan. As much as your bicycle chain will still wear out at some point, dirt, grit, grime and sand can accelerate this wear rate. If there’s dust or grit on the chain, it will grind away the metal, causing your bike chain to wear out prematurely.
Second, cleaning your bicycle chain can also help to make your ride easier. If your bicycle chain is clogged with dirt, the friction levels will increase considerably at the sliding surfaces of every chain link. As a result, this friction will cause you to use more effort than you should, making your ride tiresome and less enjoyable.
So, how often should you clean your bike chain? Well, the frequency will mainly depend on riding conditions as well as mileage. Ideally, it’s highly advisable to clean and lube your bike chain at least once per month. But if you are a weekend warrior or a long-distance rider, you should be cleaning the chain at least once per weekly or bi-monthly.
How to Clean a Bike Chain
Gather the Necessary Supplies
You will need various tools and supplies to properly clean your bike chain. You will need a bucket or pan. This bucket or pan will hold the water and detergent mixture. You will also need several pieces of cloth.
You should have a combination of both new and older pieces of cloth. The older pieces will do the initial wipe and remove the majority of the grime. On the other hand, the clean cloths will do handle the rinsing process.
Also, you will need a brush of some sort to help remove the grit. A toilet brush, a toothbrush or even an ordinary brush will do the job. The most important thing is to ensure that the brush you select for this job has hard bristles. If you use a soft-bristled brush, it will not remove the grease and dirt completely, meaning you will have wasted your time.
You will also need to have a bicycle chain lube. You will use the chain lube as part of the post-cleaning process. You should ensure you purchase high-efficiency chain lube. A high-efficiency chain lube will provide better lubrication and last longer.
Clean the Chain
After gathering all the supplies and tools needed to clean the bike chain, it’s now time for the actual task. When it comes to cleaning a bike chain, you can do it in two ways. First, you can clean the chain while it’s still on the bike. And second, you can clean the chain after removing it from the bike.
Cleaning the Chain While on the Bike
If you don’t know how to remove a bike chain, you don’t have the tools to remove it or you don’t want to remove it for whatever reasons, you will still manage to clean effectively.
To clean it while it’s on the bike, you will need to get one of the pieces of cloth that you have and soak it in the water mixed with detergent. You should then squeeze the cloth to get out some of the water. After that, you will then use the piece of cloth to wipe the chain.
You will need to use your hands to pedal slightly, so that you can move the chain around. You should then need to wipe it as it moves around. By doing so, you will manage to wipe the entire chain, meaning you won’t miss any part.
After the initial wipe, you should then rinse out the piece of cloth in clean water. Ensure you’ve rinsed it completely and it no longer has soap or dirt residue. You should then wipe the chain a second time. This time, you will be removing the soap residue and any remaining dirt.
After the second wipe, you should then dry the entire chain using a piece of clean cloth. This step will give you an opportunity to identify any parts that you may have missed during the cleaning process.
Cleaning the Chain after Removing it from the Bike
If you opt to clean the chain after removing it, then you will follow a slightly different process from the one we’ve described above. However, you will still use the same tools and supplies.
After removing the chain from the bike, you should submerge it in water mixed with detergent. You will then allow it to sit in that solution for some minutes. Letting it to sit for a couple of minutes will allow the solution to break down the dirt and grime.
After 15 minutes or so have lapsed, you should then remove the chain from that solution and then give it a thorough scrub, using the hard-bristled brush. After scrubbing the chain, you should then return it back to the same solution.
Again, you should allow it to sit in there for a few minutes. From there, you should then remove it and rinse it. If the chain is completely clean, you can then go head and dry it with a clean piece of cloth.
Lube the Chain
At this point, the chain is clean and dry. However, you will need to go a step further and lube the chain thoroughly. After coating the entire chain with lube, you should then wipe off the excess lube to prevent pooling.
Can You Use Dish Soap to Degrease Bike Chain?
Dish soap is one of the best cleaning solutions when it comes to bike chains. It’s strong enough to break down all the dirt and grime present on the bike chain. But on the other hand, it will not damage the chain in any way or remove the necessary lube.
Cleaning your bike chain should be part of your bike’s regular maintenance. And as you can see, you don’t need costly or hard-to-find cleaning solutions. You just need dish soap and you are all set.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson