How to remove rust from a motorcycle chain? Step by Step guide

The chain is the component that handles the job to run the motorcycle wheel. Although, if you don’t maintain it properly it will gather dirt, debris, water, etc. This will result in the rust of the motorcycle chain which not only affects the motorcycle performance but also reduces the chain life. 

In this post, I have given you the steps to remove the rust from a motorcycle chain. We will discuss each steps in brief later in this post.

Removing rust from motorcycle chain involves these steps:

  1. Lift the motorcycle back wheel
  2. Cover the Work Area
  3. Wear hand gloves and protective goggles
  4. Use WD 40/ Kerosene to clean the chain
  5. Let it sit for 10-15 min
  6. Scrub the chain using Brush
  7. Rub out the chain using a Microfiber cloth
  8. Reinspect the chain for rust
  9. Lubricate the motorcycle chain

Here are the steps to remove rust from a motorcycle chain:

Step 1: Lift the motorcycle back wheel 

Paddock Stand to lift the motorcycle rear wheel
Paddock Stand to lift the motorcycle rear wheel

For doing most of the maintenance on the motorcycle we need to lift the motorcycle rear wheel. It can be done in two ways either your motorcycle comes with the main stand. But, in this era smartphones with no headphone jack, and motorcycles with no main stand.

We’ll have to go with the accessories like paddock stand, it helps to do most of the motorcycle maintenance either it be changing motorcycle chain, cleaning & lubing chain, etc.

Lifting the motorcycle rear wheel gives us the extra access to look more closely at the rusty spots or damage by spinning the wheels.

Paddock stands are easy to use and are a relatively universal fit for most kinds of motorcycles. And don’t require a high push or power to make your motorcycle stand.

The paddock stands come with a wheel that lifts the motorcycle wheel gently and keeps the rear wheel to ensure the motorcycle is upright.

Thus, use a paddock stand to lift the motorcycle rear-wheel and proceed with the next process.

Step 2: Cover your Work Area and Motorcycle parts

Now, as you proceed with cleaning your motorcycle chain rust, it will make your work area and probably your closeby motorcycle parts dirty and oily.

Thus, if you are working in your garage or any enclosed space, you will have to cover the ground to keep it clean. You can use newspaper, old towel, old bedsheet, etc these can be of a good base for your work area or space.

Apart from this, you may need to cover your motorcycle parts too in order to save them from the chain components dirt, oil, lube, etc.

Thus, make sure to cover your work area and motorcycle parts to prevent it from getting dirty.

Step 3: Wear the hand gloves and protective goggles

Before doing any mechanical work, it’s better to make yourself safe with some precautions. Although, cleaning and lubing chain is not a hazardous job. 

But, as cleaning chain contains sprays like kerosene, WD 40. So, to be protected from the smell of liquids and dirt. It’s better to wear hand gloves.

Protective goggles will save your eyes from getting dirty, liquid parts.

Thus, make sure to wear hand gloves and any googles while doing motorcycle maintenance. It helps to protect your hands and eyes.

Step 4: Use WD 40 / Kerosene to clean the chain

Now, at this point, you have two options to clean your motorcycle chain with. Kerosene is the cheapest option to clean the chain and can be found easily in the market. It’s natural, affordable, and one of the best alternatives to the market for expensive branded products.

Put Kerosene in the spray bottle, and spray the kerosene to the entire chain by spinning your rear wheel.

Or you can go with the WD 40 rust remover spray. Spray the entire motorcycle chain with WD 40  by spinning the rear wheel.

Step 5:Let it sit for 10-15 minutes

After spraying the kerosene, WD-40, or any other brand cleaning spray. Let it sit for at least 10-15 so that the sprayed coat of kerosene or WD-40 works its way to the links and rusts.

If you clean it early, it may not work effectively for your motorcycle chain. Thus, in the case of a rusty chain let the solution sit for the given time.

Step 6: Scrub the chain using Wire Brush

It’s time to scrub the motorcycle chain so that the rusty particle can be cleaned/removed from the surface. Make sure your hand gloves are google are still equipped.

Wire Brush to clean the chain
Wire Brush to clean the chain

So, scrub the motorcycle chain using the brush. Personally, I use a three-sided wire brush because it can clean the chain properly, I have attached the photo. You can also use a toothbrush as you prefer. Thus, clean/wipe the full chain by spinning the rear wheel.

Step 7: Rub out the chain using a Microfiber cloth

As you finished scrubbing the motorcycle chain entirely and cleaned the rusty particles, dirt, debris.

It’s time to give it another spray and again and let it sit for a few minutes. It is important to respray because it will clean the remaining rust particles and dirt accumulated in some links.

You can continue inspecting and spraying the chain using kerosene / WD 40 two-three spray for better cleaning.

Now, I assume that your chain has been mostly cleaned at this point, if not. Give it another spray to make it rust-free.

As you found that your chain is mostly cleaned then rub out the motorcycle chain using the microfibre cloth gently. You can also use any old cloth, towel but personally, I recommend you use a microfibre cloth. 

Step 8: Reinspect the chain for rust

Now, reinspect the motorcycle chain for any remaining rust. Although, I am sure that at this point your motorcycle chain must be cleaned.

Even though, if you found some dirt, rust remains on your chain give it another spray of kerosene or WD 40.

Step 9:Lubricate the motorcycle chain

Now, your motorcycle chain is cleaned as much as possible. It’s time to lubricate your chain for the next ride.

Lubing adds an eta layer of coating on the chain that it from reacting with water and other environmental elements. Thus, saving your motorcycle chain from getting rusty.

Guide on lubing the motorcycle chain

Lubricate your entire chain properly by spinning your rear wheel. Let the lube sit for a few minutes to get into the links and show its magic.

Here is a helpful video guide on removing motorcycle rust.

How to remove chain rust?

How to prevent the motorcycle chain from being rusty?

To prevent the motorcycle chain from getting rusty, you must take care and maintain it properly. You must clean and lube the chain periodically to save it from reacting with the environmental elements. This way you can prevent the chain from getting rusty.

As the old proverb goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” That’s why I am emphasizing the prevention of rust on the chain.

Regular cleaning and lubing of motorcycle chain is the only way to prevent it from rust.

Now, the rusty chain loses its rigidity and is compromised. It can be a sign of wear out chain. So, if your chain is badly rusty, you may have to change the motorcycle chain and sprocket set entirely.


Rusty chain is not a good sign, it just shows the laziness of the rider. Also, the rusty chain loses its strength, smoothness. So, it’s better you put some periodic time in chain cleaning and lubing. It will not only helps you to keep your motorcycle chain rust free but also prolong its life.

Anyway, somehow you weren’t aware of this. You should follow the effective steps to clean and make your chain rust free in easy steps. Share your experiences of cleaning your chain and the effectiveness of the tips of the article.


Is rust on motorcycle chain bad?

A rusty chain can damage the sprockets, ruin gear shifting, and decrease motorcycle performance. Apart from all this rusty chain makes a lot of sounds while driving. Therefore, the rusty chain affects the motorcycle and it is bad for the chain.

Does WD 40 remove rust from the motorcycle chain?

WD-40 is designed in such a way that it helps to lose the bonds between rust and metal surface by penetrating the porous layer of rust using its properties of lubricating and cleaning. It starts working as soon you spray it on the chain, just let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Protection Status