How to Clean Bike Chain & Gears Using Ultrasonic Cleaner?

Anything when maintained well functions well and lasts longer. And the same is true when it comes to your mountain bike.

If you are a passionate biker, you already know that your bike and its drivetrain deserves proper maintenance regularly.

bicycle chain cleaning
Bike Chain & Cassette

As the bike parts (especially the chain and cassette) may get dirty over time, it may obstruct your performance in a sport.

Also, the goals you desire to achieve in the race or in a mountain cycling competition may not be achieved if you neglect proper maintenance of your bicycle.

The good thing is that, unlike other vehicles, your road bicycle does not need expensive maintenance.

All it requires is a bit of patience and the right tools.

You just need to set aside 30 minutes every weekend to get down the dirt settled on the chain and movable parts.

What Parts Need The Most Attention?

The chain, cassette, and gears are the most used parts of your bicycle.

The dirt, grime, and grease get settled over there easily. You, therefore, need to take special care of these parts to enhance the overall performance of your bike.

Believe me, when overhauled in the right way, you can keep your cycle running just like new for a longer period of time!

Having said that, what are the best tools you may use to clean bike chains and gears? Let’s check them right below…

5 Best Bike Chain Cleaner Tool

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No matter whether you use your bike for leisure riding, daily commuting, or racing, you need to use the right cleaning tools to clean the parts right after enjoying a long ride!

This is important for keeping your bike in tip-top condition for a long period of time without getting wear and tear quickly.

Some of the best bicycle chain cleaner tools that you can use for effective maintenance and cleaning of your bicycle chain are as below.

These are not too expensive and can save a good deal of your time as well.

1. Ultrasonic Bike Parts Cleaner

Using a bike chain cleaning machine is a much better way to clean your bicycle chain and gears than as compared with the old traditional cleaning methods.

A professional-grade ultrasonic cleaner like iSonic P4820 is one of the best to look at when you need to get remarkable cleaning of bike chains, bearings, and other bike parts in a very short time period.

It is, in fact, the smartest device that makes your rigorous cleaning task much easier.

This best ultrasonic cleaner for bike chains comes with a variety of features, such as a digital timer, solution heater, degas function, etc., and is worth looking at.

The device makes use of a cleaning solution that should be placed in the tank along with the chain and other gears that need to be cleaned.

Most of these liquids used in the bicycle chain cleaner tool are Eco-friendly and safe. Hence you do not have to worry about their acuteness.

Be aware that you should not put anything like a degreaser, kerosene, or mineral spirits in an ultrasonic cleaner bath as it can negatively affect its performance.

As soon as you switch the unit on, the ultrasonic cleaner transducers create small microscopic bubbles that are pushed through the cleaning solution.

These bubbles reach the unreachable areas of the rusty bike chain and gears to give you a thorough cleaning treatment.

The process is easy to follow, and you just have to follow the step-by-step instructions provided in the instructions manual.

Besides the popular ultrasonic cleaner for bike parts (such as iSonic, Skymen, and others), you may use a few other products that are effective in providing the best cleaning results.

These are as follows…

2- Finish Line Bike Chain Cleaner

Finish Line Bicycle Chain Cleaner Kit comes with EcoTech Cleaner, Chain Lube, and Degreaser Concentrate, all of which help clean your bike gears and parts efficiently like a real pro.

This heavy-duty bicycle chain cleaner kit includes a cleaner that clips directly to the chain for performing the cleaning task.

This means you need not remove the chain from the bicycle to get involved in all the dirty and hassle full processes.

The three-brush rotating design and scrubber pads of this bicycle chain and gear cleaner help in cleaning the parts of the chain quickly.

And just within a minute, you can find your chain cleaned.

Also, its 30-degree exit angle helps in eliminating all the mess, and a powerful magnet at the bottom collects all the metal filings and various contaminants to make the chain completely clean.

3. Park Tool Cyclone Chain Scrubber

CM-5.2 Cyclone Chain Scrubber is another great tool that helps you in making the bicycle chain cleaning task easy.

The Park CM-5.2 Cyclone Chain Scrubber (by Park Tool) is introduced with a large solvent reservoir and a sequence of revolving brushes to let your chain sparkle in less time and in a cleaner, hassle-free way.

For easy cleaning, it has a magnet at the bottom of the solvent basin to draw the scrubbed particles from the chain and keep them to be sticking to the chain.

The device can work great with multi-speed bikes and even for single-speed models. It holds nearly 2- 3 liquid ounces of solvent for better function.

Other exciting features of this amazing bicycle chain cleaner are:

  • It has durable sponge material to draw the solvent from the chain as it departs the Cyclone, decreasing the mess and drips.
  • It has strong locking clips with an ergonomic handle to use smoothly without any discomfort.

Most bike novices searching for the best bike chain cleaning device find this CM-5.2 Cyclone Chain Scrubber and cleaner useful.

Why not add it to your set of tools for applying excellent cleaning to your bike?

4- Park Tool Bike Cleaning Brush Set

Park Tool Bike Cleaning Brush Kit is another good product that you should have in your bike cleaning kit.

This bike chain cleaner brush set comes with various types of brushes which makes all the cleaning tasks easy and fast.

These brushes include:

  • 1 GSC-1 Gear Clean Brush
  • 1 Tapered Detail Brush
  • 1 Frame Cleaning Sponge/Bristle Brush
  • 1 Soft Bristle Soaping Brush

You can make use of these brushes not only for cleaning the bike parts but also for various other garage repair processes or household objects.

5. White Lightning Bicycle Chain Cleaner

Imagine a bicycle chain cleaning kit that is good and worth your money without any need to rush to the service center.

Fortunately, you have such a product for easy use and to be free from the greasy and full of grime chains forever.

The White Lightning Bike Chain Cleaner Kit cleans the bicycle chain, gears, and parts to your surprise in just a few minutes.

Being quick and easy to use a bicycle chain cleaner tool, it’s now made simple to keep your chain clean and in good working condition all the time.

You can employ this bike chain cleaning tool to work without the need to remove it completely from the bike and cleaning the holes and corners generally.

Just fill the component with the degreaser, fasten it to the bike chain, reverse the pedal for a few seconds and observe its wonderful effect on the chain.

Finally, clean the White Lightning Bike Chain Cleaner using tissue and re-lubricate it with quality lubricant for better results.

Additional features of the product that makes it easy and effective to use are:

  • You have the product with 3 revolving brushes for the fast and perfect cleaning of the minute holes.
  • It gets clipped directly to the bicycle chain without any requirement of a heavy task like removing the chain from its location. Whether it is your bicycle or bike, it does wonders in every way.
  • The 3 brushes revolving design are the main function that cleans the dirt and grime from the chain within a minute or two.

Why Use Ultrasonic Cleaner for Bike Parts?

Ultrasonic cleaning equipment is a versatile unit that can be used in almost any type of cleaning application: from metals and plastics to expensive jewelry pieces.

More often used in automotive, engineering, printing, and electronics industries, these can work very efficiently to clean the items safely at home as well as in shops.

As these are very reliable, fast, and efficient in cleaning; you can use them for cleaning the heavily smudged bike parts.

Also, if you run a bike servicing business and need to clean various bike chains at a time, this can save you good time, energy, and money.

How Often to Clean and Lube Bike Chain/Gears?

You should keep a check on your bike’s gear and chain on a regular basis.

Clean up and lube the parts at least once a week (or once every 200 miles) to keep them in good working condition.

As soon as you are back from a long trip or a long ride, spare some time and concentrate on the bike chain cleaning task.

Specifically, by cleaning the build-up dirt, rust, or tight links (which do not bend in an easy way while riding), you can improve the condition of your bike and can make it last longer.

You can do this just by applying proper chain lubricant as it lubricates the links of a rusty chain, making it move softly while riding.

You can clean the very dirty bicycle chain with a brush tool while completely immersing it in a chain solvent.

This removes the grime and dirt giving a cleaner and newer look once again.

This way, you can enjoy a joyful and smoother ride with the crisp-shifting of gears for the whole coming week.

What Can You Use to Lube Bike Chain?

When choosing a good bike chain lubricant, you should necessarily look for these 3 things:

  • It should do the job well it’s intended for – provide lubrication
  • It should be able to minimize dirt accumulation; more dirt means more wear
  • It should be highly durable and long-lasting as lack of lubrication can increase chain wear

When picking, it’s good to check that it’s specially formulated as bicycle-chain lubricants and is designed for bike drivetrains.

This should contain Teflon®, which is usually good at repelling dirt and water. Do not go for a low-quality non-bicycle-specific product.

Finish Line DRY Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube (here on Amazon) is one of the best available on the market.

You can choose it from a variety of different sizes according to your needs.

Can I use 3-in-1 oil on my bike chain?

Using motor oils or 3in1 oil to lubricate the chain of your bike is not a good idea.

These oils tend to be heavy and will not penetrate deeply into the rollers.

Also, many times these lubricants may gum up your chain, making things worse.

Signs Your Bike Chain Needs Cleaning and Oiling

The most common problem, which is the possible signs, it’s time to clean and oil your bike is a tight link.

Tight links that do not bend as smoothly as they should.

These are most of the time caused due to the accumulated dirt or corrosion in between the link plates.

At other times it’s also due to improper pin installation or damage caused in the chain.

While you can fix the dirt part easily by cleaning and lubricating, you may need to get the chain repaired (or replaced) if it’s serious damage, chain stretch, or issues due to poorly installed link pins.

How long do bike chains last?
Most mechanics recommend replacing your bike chain regularly (every 2,000 to 3,000 miles) to prolong the life of drivetrain. Depending on your riding nature and usage, you may, however, need to replace them before.

How To Maintain Your Drivetrain With Household Products?

When it’s time to clean your bike parts, drivetrain, and chain, you need to follow certain ways and tips that are less expensive and effective.

The best inexpensive way to clean your bike chain and cassette is by using household items.

An old toothbrush and a lubricant are the best ones to get started.

For getting your bike chain cleaned without removing it, you can quickly brush out and lubricate the links on the spot.

What Household Products to Use for Cleaning and Oiling?

Simply washing your bike with soap or water won’t remove the oils and grease on the drivetrain parts.

This will only help in removing the settled dirt.

With that said, using a degreaser to remove the old grease and oil is an important part of overhauling your bicycle.

Using a homemade degreaser like kerosene or vinegar can make the cleaning job very easy for bike parts. These can also work to dissolve any rust present on the chain.

However, if your bike parts and chain are heavily soiled, you can make use of degreasers like WD 40 or a 3D Orange Degreaser.

It works very effectively to remove all the lubricant from bicycle chains, cables, and other pivot joints.

However, care that this should not be used to lubricate the parts. You may need other lubricants that are meant for oiling the bike parts.

When choosing a degreaser or other household DIY items for bike parts cleaning, you need to be careful enough, as the wrong items can completely damage your bike parts rather than getting them cleaned.

Steps For Cleaning

Steps you may follow for getting your dirt bike parts cleaned in a most efficient and time-saving way are as follows:

Step 1.

Set your vehicle at a place that is open. A lot of space may be needed to splash water on the vehicle after its complete cleaning.

Step 2.

Use gear shifters to shift the chain to the outer rear cog to clean.

Step 3.

Secure the bicycle on a bicycle stand and elevate the rear wheel.

If required, flip the bike resting on the seat and handlebars as this is the right position to clean and grease the parts.

Step 4.

Now give your bicycle an overall rinse (with soapy water) before using any cleaning products; a good rinse will let the debris and dirt get loose and make it easy to clean with pressure.

Step 5.

Use a Degreaser or a bicycle chain cleaner on the chain, frames, gear, and cogs sinking for more than 5 minutes, based on which any settled shabby dirt or grease will be alleviated.

Step 6.  

It is essential to remove all the grime and tough dirt with a sharpened tool and brush, which are purposely designed to clean the bicycle gears and chain in an easy way.

Step 7.

Use a chain stretcher which is a misnomer, and stretch the chain easily for further cleaning work.

Step 8.  

Lubricate the chain and cassette using a good bike chain lube and wipe the excess lubricants with a rag, as too much of it will attract grime and dirt.

And you are now good to go…

Although the above procedure may sound a bit technical, you can do it easily on your own with some practice and care.

If you want to clean your bike chain, cassette, gears, cables, and other pivot joints like a pro, we highly recommend using a bicycle chain cleaner such as an ultrasonic cleaning device that delivers the best cleaning results without any hassle.

Why not get one along with some basic bike chain cleaning tools? Add to your collection of garage tools to keep your bike perfectly clean and free from grunge.