Keeping your bike chain clean is essential for optimal performance, but manual cleaning can be time-consuming and not less effective. That’s where ultrasonic cleaners come in handy. By using high-frequency sound waves, ultrasonic cleaners can clean even the hidden and interior parts of your chain like pins, inner links, and roller surfaces.
The sound waves created by the UC don't directly clean the chain, but create and implode millions of tiny vacuum bubbles.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to clean your bike chain with an ultrasonic cleaner, so you can get the best possible results.
What You Need for Ultrasonic Chain Cleaning:
- Ultrasonic cleaner (this one works great at a good price)
- Aqueous cleaning solution (non-flammable!!)
- 36 oz. or larger measuring cup
- Paper towels
- Dry, clean rag
- Compressed air (optional)
- Denatured alcohol (optional)
- Clear plastic container with lid for alcohol rinse
- Rubber gloves
- Safety glasses
Step-by-Step Guide to Ultrasonic Chain Cleaning:
- Mix aqueous solution concentrate with hot tap water according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Put the mixture in the ultrasonic cleaner and run for 5 minutes to degas the solution.
- After degassing is finished, place the chain in the basket and the basket in the UC, and replace the lid.
- Set the timer to clean the chain for 5 minutes, then flip the chain for an additional 5 minutes.
- Unplug the UC, remove the basket and place the chain in a large measuring cup.
- Fill the cup with hot tap water and agitate the chain aggressively for at least 30 seconds.
- Dry the chain with a clean rag and check for any residue marks left on the rag.
- If there are no dirt marks on the rag, you can stop here and wax or use another lubricant. If you’re prepping a race chain continue on.
- Pour out the dirty cleaning solution from the tank and clean the tank with paper towels.
- Repeat steps 1-6
- After a thorough water rinse, blow the chain dry with compressed air and dry with a clean rag.
- Place the chain in a clean, clear plastic container with denatured alcohol for 45 seconds, swish it, and then remove the chain and dry with a clean rag.
- Hang the chain for 15 minutes before waxing.