How to Clean a Motorcycle Chain (Using Lube)

How to Clean a Motorcycle Chain (Using Lube)

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It’s crucial that besides cleaning your motorcycle carburetor, there’s the need also to learn how to clean a motorcycle chain. Even though the process may take a few minutes to complete, it’s worth all the time you may have to invest.

A thorough motorcycle chain cleaning and lubing help improve your bike’s performance and also extend its lifespan. Using a lube to carry out the cleaning process is one of the easiest ways to achieve a clean motorcycle chain quickly.

My aim in this post is to take you through all you need to know about lubing and cleaning your two-wheel vehicle chain, whether it’s dirt bike, ATV, motorcycle, or UTV. 

I make the steps as short as possible. I also simplify the process while ensuring that the information contained is as detailed as it should be for both beginner riders and veterans.

Why You Should Clean Your Motorcycle Chain

So let’s begin this way: why should you clean and lube your motorcycle chain? Knowing the significance of this simple but all-essential maintenance process helps you to appreciate it and imbibe the culture of not compromising or overlooking it.

Prevents Engine Breakdown

You know the chain is the link between your bike engine and the wheel. So, don’t allow the accumulation of excess grease in the chain to avoid performance issues, which can potentially cause engine breakdown and malfunction. Cleaning the chain is one surest way to keep your bike engine running and active.

Guarantees Safety

I’m sure you don’t want to imagine, let alone get involved in a motorcycle crash. It’s even better to believe than experience it. So, you’ve got to take all steps to clean the chain. Cleaning this part of your bike reduces the excess dirt, debris, gunk, and sticks that often cause chain malfunction and safety compromise. The truth is that the trash inside the chain can cause a tumble while riding.

Reduce Maintenance Issues

Your bike is a combination of different parts. If a part suffers, the others will be affected. This multiplier effect depends on the cost of maintenance and on the overall functioning of your bike.

Extends Motorcycle Lifespan

Like every other vehicle, scheduled maintenance keeps your bike in the right conditions, cleaning and lubing your motorcycle chain helps extend your bike’s lifespan. Adequate and proper cleaning, lubing and lubricating of the chain is essential to increase the functioning of the sprockets, chain, wheel, and other parts of your bike,

Improve Performance

Performance is essential for a motorcycle. It’s not just about riding; riding at maximum speed with maximum power, torque, and fun is quite crucial to the overall experience in the saddle of the bike.

Apart from being a mere means of transport, a motorcycle should be fun whenever you hop on it. Cleaning the motorcycle chain gives an air of fresh breath and increases performance.

How to Clean a Motorcycle Chain Using Lube

Now that you know why you need to clean your motorcycle chain let me take all the steps to do a proper cleaning. Pay attention to every detail here.

It would help if you took safety measures before you start cleaning your bike chain. Grease spillage is one thing you may not possibly avoid. Get some grease absorbents, such as some piles or pieces of cardboard or thick newspaper. To prevent grease stain on your body and skin, put on gloves; you can also wear your best rags, I mean those old clothes that could get dirty.

Before you start to get rid of the accumulated grime on your bike chain, you need to know what type of chain your motorcycle uses. Is it the rubber-sealed motorcycle chain, like in X-ring, O-ring, or Z-ring chains, which requires and encourages gentle cleaning and lubing? Or is it the plain bike chain without seals that uses the metal-on-metal links and requires more aggressive cleaning and lubing?

Step 1: Position Your Bike Properly

There are several ways to position your bike. You can use the kickstand wherein you can maneuver the bike around the driveway. Either a center or paddock stand will also be an efficient where.

As you are efficiently clean and lube the chain, the stands allow the rear wheel and bike chain to whirl freely as you apply the chain cleaner and chain lube. The other method is to remove the chain from the bike before you use the cleaner on it.

After placing the bike correctly for ease of access, it’s time for a thorough inspection of the entire chain system. Begin with the checking for chain wear. Inspect the master link and the sprockets. Ideally, the gears should have a flat set of teeth. Do not place a new chain on worn sprockets. Examining all these will tell you whether your chin needs cleaning or replacement.

Step 2: Soak The Chain

How to Clean a Motorcycle Chain (Using Lube)

After running a comprehensive check and carrying out a thorough inspection of the chain and the entire chain system, begin to dissolve the inside a chain cleaner. Necessarily, the cleaner should knock the grime and gunk off the chain.

Kerosene is a great solution you can use as a chain cleaner. There are other solvent products out there you can use. Be generous with the use of Kerosene on your chain. While it has no apart from helping you to dissolve the grime and dirt that stand the way of the proper functioning of the chain, Kerosene soaks the chain in its entirety.

Step 3: Scrub & Respray The Chain

After leaving the chain inside kerosene for some minutes to get soaked, begin the process of scrubbing the grime off the chain. Use the best motorcycle chain brush to get the gunk off your motorcycle chain thoroughly.

This step comes immediately after you finish scrubbing off the chain. While the first spraying softens and takes the thick grime off the chain, this second spraying process soaks the chain with the chain cleaner.

Step 4: Air Dry The Motorcycle Chain

The penultimate step in cleaning and lubing the motorcycle chain requires you to air dry it. Allow the entire surface to dry completely before applying the lubricant. The lube works best on a dry surface. No single remnant of grime or cleaner should be left on the chain.

Step 5: Lubricate The Motorcycle Chain

Now that the entire surface and body of your motorcycle chain is air dry, the next step up here is to apply the lubricant. Apply the lube evenly on the chain and make sure you use the best oil for this purpose. Two things are essential here: never use a lubricant that will eventually fling off the chain or mess up the other parts of the system.

Depending on whether your bike is using a sealed chain or unsealed (plain) motorcycle chain, there are different procedures for applying a lubricant on your motorcycle chain. For the unsealed plain bike chain, you only need to use the lube and clean the excess.

However, sealed chains come with an integrated O-rings system that automatically lubes the interior of the chain. Nevertheless, apply the oil to help keep the exterior of the chain from corrosion and rust.

Now your chain cleaning process is complete. It’s time to ride. Don’t forget to clean up the workstation and the entire body of the bike. Have a test ride to see the difference between the delivery of your old dirty chain and the cleaned and lubricated one.   

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use kerosene for cleaning my motorcycle chain?

Yes, you can use kerosene or paraffin to clean your motorcycle chain. Apart from being a cheap option, the solution does a perfect job on your chain. As one of the best motorcycle chain cleaners, the kerosene doesn’t leave any gunk or dirt on your chain after cleaning. Here’s the big thing: if you choose kerosene, go for the best models.

Should I replace my bike chain after every cleaning?

No, you don’t have to. Overall, you’ll need to replace your motorcycle chain every 20,000 to 30,000 kilometers. However, this interval will be less if your bike doesn’t require maintenance or is used more intensely.

How often should I clean my motorcycle chain?

Depending on how frequent and intense you use your bike, it’s best to clean your motorcycle chain at least every 7,000 km. Make it more often if the intensity of usage is more, or you can follow the owner’s manual for a specific recommendation. However, lubricating the chain should take at least every 500 kilometers.


Using the safest and best motorcycle chain cleaner is as crucial as cleaning the motorcycle chain.  Do not compromise either of the two. I’m confident if you follow these simple steps, you’ll have saved yourself a lot of bucks that should’ve gone to the hands of a professional.

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