Are you looking for a great way to clean your bike’s chain and make it look as good as new? In that case, you may want to use dish soap when you have no other option. But, can you clean bike chain with dish soap?
Yes, it is possible to clean the bike chain with dish soap, but it is not the ideal solution. Dish soap is not designed to remove all the grease and dirt from a bike chain, and it can leave behind a residue that will attract more dirt and grime.
Let’s dive deep into this topic and find out everything there is to know about cleaning bike chains with dish soap.
Should you use dish soap to clean bike chain?
Dish soap can be used to clean bike chains, but it is not the most effective option. Rather, bike chain specific cleaners or degreasers will work better.
When you use dish soap to clean your bike’s chain, it’s important to rinse the chain thoroughly to remove all the soap residue. Otherwise, the soap can attract dirt and grime, which will shorten the life of your chain.
Moreover, dish soap is not designed for bike chains and can cause irreparable damage to the chain if used too frequently. So, it’s best to avoid cleaning bike chain with dish soap.
Alternatively, you can use a bike-specific chain degreaser like Muc-Off Bio Drivetrain Cleaner, which is a safer and more effective option for cleaning bike chains.
The reasons for not using dish soap as a bike chain cleaner
Before you start scrubbing away at your bike chain with dish soap, there are a few things you should know. Here’s a list of reasons why dish soap is not the best choice for cleaning your bike chain:
1. Not Designed for Bike Chains
Dish soap is not specifically designed for bike chains, rather they are optimized to be excellent cleaning agents for dishes. So, if you use dish soap on your bike chain, it will likely clean it, but not as like as a product that is designed specifically for bike chains.
2. Removes the Lubricant from Your Bike Chain
If you use dish soap to clean your bike’s chain, it can remove the lubricant from the chain. This can cause the chain to wear out faster and can also make it more difficult to shift gears.
3. Damages the finish on your bike
If you use dish soap to clean your bike, it can damage the finish on the frame and components. This is because dish soap is designed to remove grease and grime, and it can also remove the protective coating on your bike. Same as car too.
Dish soap is not biodegradable, so it can pollute the environment if it is not disposed of properly.
Dish soap is usually more expensive than bike specific cleaners. So, if you are looking to save money, you should use a bike specific cleaner.
6. Hard to Remove
Dish soap is difficult to remove from your bike chain and can leave a residue that can attract dirt and grime.
What to do when you have no bike chain cleaner?
If you don’t have a bike chain cleaner, you can cleanse your chain with a rag and some degreaser.
- First, remove your chain from your bike.
- Next, soak the rag in the degreaser and scrub the chain.
- Finally, rinse the chain with water and dry it off.
You can also use a product called the clean chain degreaser jelly. It’s made out of a jelly that clings to the bike’s chain and it’s 100% biodegradable as well.
Here’s what you have to do:
1. First, apply the jelly on the chain while the bike is in an upside down position.
2. Then, use an old toothbrush (or a new one) to scrub the chain.
3. Take the bike out for a ride. This way, the jelly will get into the nooks and crannies of the chain.
4. After that, rinse the chain with water and dry it with a clean rag or a dry brush.
How to Clean Bike Chain at home?
In case you don’t have a bike chain degreaser at hand, you can always use some alternatives. You can use a regular dishwashing liquid, white vinegar, or alcohol.
Here’s the top three bike chain degreaser alternatives that can be easily found any household:
1. White Vinegar
White vinegar is a great alternative to bike chain degreaser. It’s mild, non-toxic, and very effective in removing grime and dirt from your bike chain.
Here’s how to degrease your bike chain with white vinegar:
1. Remove your bike chain from the bike.
2. Place your bike chain in a bowl and cover it with white vinegar.
3. Let it soak for 30 minutes.
4. Rinse your bike chain with water and dry it with a clean rag/towel.
5. Lubricate your bike chain and reinstall it on your bike.
Borax is another great alternative to bike chain degreaser. It’s a natural cleaning agent that’s very effective in removing grease and grime.
Here’s how to degrease your bike chain with borax:
1. Take out the bike chain from the bike.
2. Mix 1/2 cup of borax with 12 ounces of water.
2. Use a rag to apply borax on the bike chain.
3. Let it sit for some time.
4. Finally, rinse the chain and let it dry before reinstalling it onto the bike.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is not only a good all-purpose cleaner, but it’s also great for degreasing and cleaning your bike chain.
To clean the bike chain with baking soda, here’s what you need to do:
1. Make a paste with water and baking soda.
2. Then, apply this paste on your bike chain and let it sit for a few minutes.
3. After that, use a brush to scrub your bike chain.
4. Finally, rinse your bike chain with water and dry it with a clean cloth.
Bike chain degreaser alternatives
Looking for an excellent alternative to a bike chain degreaser? Well, there’s good news! You have plenty of degreaser options to choose from.
Here’s our list of top 5 hand-picked bike chain degreasers that the market has to offer:
1. Muc-Off Bio Drivetrain Cleaner
Muc-Off is a well-known brand in the world of bike chain cleaners. The company produces a variety of degreasers and cleaning products, all of which are of the highest quality.
The Muc-Off Bio Drivetrain Cleaner is one of the best bike chain degreasers on the market. It’s made from natural, biodegradable ingredients and it’s safe to use on all types of drivetrains.
2. WD-40 Specialist Bike Degreaser
WD-40 is another popular brand that produces excellent bike degreasers. The WD-40 Specialist Bike Degreaser is one of them.
This degreaser is designed specifically for bicycles and it does an outstanding job at removing all types of dirt and grime. It’s also safe to use on all types of drivetrains.
3. Park Tool CB-4 Citrus ChainBrite Degreaser
Park Tool is renowned for producing a variety of high-quality bike tools and accessories. This degreaser does a great job at removing all types of dirt and grime, without damaging your chain or any other parts of your bike.
4. Peaty’s Foaming Drivetrain Degreaser
This degreaser is a great choice for those who want a powerful and effective product that is also affordable. With the help of Peaty’s degreaser, you can easily clean your drivetrain and make it look like new. The degreaser is also very easy to use and it comes with a foaming nozzle for easy application.
5. Smoove Prep Chain Cleaner
This degreaser and chain cleaner is one of the most trusted on the market today. It is safe to use on all bike chains and works on all types of drivetrains.
But, you should remember to only use a small amount of this degreaser as it is much harsher than other degreasers in the list.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I wash my bike with car soap?
Though it is possible to wash your bike with car soap, we don’t recommend it. Car soap is designed to be tough on grease and grime, but it can also strip away the protective waxes and finishes on your bike frame and components. Instead, use a milder soap.
Can I use Dawn dish soap to clean my bike?
Yes, you can use Dawn dish soap to clean your bike. However, keep in mind that Dawn dish soap can also damage your bike’s outer surface. Therefore, it is best to use Dawn only for very tough cleaning jobs and to rinse it off thoroughly afterwards.
Is it bad to wash your bike with water?
It is not bad to wash your bike with water. In fact, it is the best way to clean your bike. However, you should avoid using water from a highly-pressurized hose, as this can damage your bike’s paint.
In this article, we’ve tried to find out whether you can clean bike chain with dish soap. In conclusion, we have found that it is not safe to do so. However, there are other ways to clean a bike chain that are more effective and safer.
So, if you’re looking to clean your bike’s chain, we recommend using a commercial bike chain cleaner or a degreaser like the ones that we’ve mentioned. These products are specifically designed to clean and lubricate bike chains.
They’re also safe to use and won’t damage your bike. See some eco friendly soap list as well.