Can You Use wd40 On A Bike Chain? (Explained)

Yes, You can use WD40 on a bike chain or pinch occasionally . This water-based lubricant cleaner will free your bike’s chain from rust or corrosion. WD40 is also proven to reduce surface friction. As a result, it can allow your bike’s chain to function more smoothly and efficiently without any grinding.

However, be careful with how much WD40 you put on. Using WD40 in the wrong amount can have adverse effects on the chain. WD40 is also best used for specific situations.

So, using outside a favorable scenario can provide more long-term harm than good for the bike’s chain.

Therefore, to truly understand if WD40 is safe for our bike, let’s take a closer look at the chemical.

We will also cover WD40’s effective use case scenarios and how you can extract the most benefit from this chemical.

Come, let’s begin.

What is WD40, and why is it so Popular?

Can You Use wd40 On A Bike Chain

Often called an engineer’s half toolkit. The WD40 is a chemical formula invented in 1953. The primary function of WD40 is to act as a lubricant, rust preventer, penetrant, and moisture displacer.

After 40 clinical trials, the formula that we love and adore today came into existence.

Have you ever felt intrigued by why it was named WD40?

The name was chosen because WD stands for water displacement, which is the primary function of WD40. While the 40 signifies the number of trials, the scientist had to go through to bring this creation to the world.

WD40 earns its popularity due to it being a jack-of-all-trades. It can work on almost 90% of different surfaces and solve most of the pain points of a DIY mechanic or a hardware enthusiast.

The chemical is also cheap and readily available. Hence, making it the default choice for many garages and workshops.

Related Article : Top 10 Best Chain Lube For Mountain Bikes

Can Use WD40 Harm the Bike’s Chain?

Bike's Chain

If you are afraid of damaging your bike’s chain, I have some good news. WD40 will not harm your bike’s chain or make it worn out.

However, WD40 is only effective if you use it for the right purposes on the bike.

I have seen many instances where bike owners use WD40 incorrectly and then complain that the chemical is harmful.

But, of course, you don’t want to harm your bike, do you? So, let’s dive into when it is the proper method of using WD40 on your bike’s chain.

The Proper Way of Using WD40 on Your Bike’s Chain?

The WD40 is not a great lubricant for your bike due to its water displacement characteristics. However, it is a great chain cleaner. Using it will make your bike’s chain shiny and new.

It also provides thorough cleaning so you can forget it for the next week or two. To ensure you use WD40 effectively, the following is a 5-step checklist :

1. Degreasing the Bike’s Chain of old Lubricant

The WD40 is a water displacement chemical. Its prominent role is to prevent the accumulation of any grease or grime.

So if you have an old lubricant on your bike’s chain which needs removal, WD40 is the chemical you need.

Traditional cleaning methods such as scrubbing, elbow grease, water, and rag combination are ineffective. They also have a high probability of damaging the chain, especially if you aren’t careful with them.

WD40 can degrease the bike’s chain of an old lubricant quickly and effectively. Using WD40, you won’t need to get your hands dirty or waste time cleaning the bike’s chain.

Simply rinse the chain with water. Then spray WD40 and let the chemical settle for about 10-15 minutes.

The chemical will take care of the rest. So have patience and let WD40 settle and bite into the grime.

2. Clean the Grime and Grease from the Bike’s Chain

After the chemical has gotten into the pores of the chain, it will soften the grime, grease, and other rigid particles like mud or dirt. To thoroughly loosen the grime and grease, you need to do the following.

Use a soft bristle cleaning brush to scrub the chain gently. Ensure you are not using excessive force because that loosens the chain from its bracket.

After scrubbing, all the grime, dirt, grease, and mud will be free and ready to be washed.

3. Washing the Bike’s Chain

Now, you need to wash the chain. It would be best to wash the chain with a microfiber mitt or a clean sponge. You don’t want anything hard and brittle touching the chain.

Always have a bucket of water at your disposal because you will need to rinse the sponge or wash the mitt quite a lot.

To wash your bike’s chain, simply rinse the chain with water to remove excess particles. Then rinse your wash mitt or sponge into clean water and wipe off the remaining grime and dirt particles.

After you are done with the cleaning, let the bike rest. Preferably in the sun for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

4. Removing Rust Spots on the Bike

After you thoroughly check the bike, inspect it for rust spots. Before applying the lubricant, we need to eliminate all the rust spots. WD40 is a specialized rust remover.

To remove the rust, simply spray WD40 on the spot. Be liberal on the trigger. Using a 400 grit sandpaper or a wire brush, scrub the rust until the spot is clean.

5. Lubricate the Bike’s Chain

The last step is to lubricate the bike’s chain. For this, you need the WD40 specialized bike chain lubricant because the normal WD40 does not work as a good lubricant.

Simply spray the chain down with the lubricant to seal the surface and make your bike ride smoother and hassle-free.

Why is WD40 not a good Lubricant?

The regular blue bottle formula of WD40 is not effective as a lubricant. It is because it is primarily made for water displacement and rust removal.

Hence, it does not have the functionality for lubricating chains and other metal parts.

Is it Possible to Use WD40 in Combination with Other Lubricants?

No, if you want to use the original WD40 with other lubricants, it won’t work. Part of WD40’s functionality involves it being a cleaner and degreaser.

Using it with any other lubricant will only result in WD40 reacting with the lubricant and removing it.

However, you can use the specialized version of WD40 that is made for bike chain lubrication with other lubricants.


WD40 is a versatile chemical used on your bike’s chain for cleaning, degreasing, and washing purposes. However, it does not work well as a lubricant, and you will need the specialized version of WD40 that is made for bike chains.

To recap, there are three main specialized WD40 variations, and they all have their own functions.

  • WD-40 wet lube – makes the bike’s chain waterproof.
  • WD-40 dry lube – keeps the bike’s chain free from dirt, mud, dust, and grime.
  • WD-40 chain lube – all-around excellent lubricant for a bike’s chain that works in wet or dry conditions.

If you ask me, I recommend getting your bike the WD-40 chain lube. It not only is a great, high-performing lubricant but also acts as a cleaner. It is also not costly and lasts a long time.

5/5 - (1 vote)

I’ve been riding (bicycles) my entire life and am passionate about everything that comes along with it. I wouldn’t call myself a true “roadie”. I’m just a guy that loves riding because of the pure joy it brings.

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