How to Remove Rust from Bikes

If you’ve ever owned a bike, you’ll know how upsetting it is to see it rust away. Chances of rust developing are a lot more if you haven’t used your bike in ages nor adequately maintained it.

Rust develops on metallic parts of the cycle and leaves the bike looking discolored and brown. No one wants to see their old bike, one that looked gorgeous, turn into a rusty metal frame.

Thankfully, the rust is just on the surface level most of the time, and with the proper techniques and products, you can make your bike as good as new. There is a lot of maintenance you could do to keep your bike rust-free.

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You must take care of your bike and its parts because bikes are expensive and valuable items these days. So keeping it top-notch will retain its value in case you ever decide to resell it.

There are many ways to remove rust, and different parts of the bike require other techniques and methods. Fortunately, some of the items you can find and use in a typical household will help you remove rust and make your bike look brand new. 

This article will guide you through the rust removal process step by step to make it easier for those who haven’t done this before. Let’s go into them!

Rust-Removal Products You Can Use

Your bike has several metallic components that are susceptible to rust if exposed to moisture. Before we go right into the steps to remove this orange-brown deposit from bike parts, there are numerous cleaning agents you can use to do the job. 

  • Coke
  • Hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar, etc. 
  • Phosphoric/hydrochloric acid
  • Vinegar
  • WD40

Let’s look a closer look at ways to remove rust from bicycles, focusing on different parts in each point.

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How to Remove Rust from Bike Chain

With the right tools and products, you can remove rust from a bike chain. Before you start the procedure, make sure you have everything ticked off the checklist provided below.

Once you have all the things needed, the process is simple and easy to do, and in no time, your bike chain will be as good as new. 

  • Deep bowl
  • Dry rags
  • Lime juice
  • Scouring pad
  • Toothbrushes/ bristle brushes

PIKAMAO Multi-Function Bike Mechanic Repair Kit - Chain Breaker and Chain Checker Include 3 Pairs Bicycle Missing Link for 6, 7, 8 Speed Chain, Speed Bike Chain 1/2 x 3/32 Inch Links,Reusable

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Step 1: Look for Dirt, Grime, and Dust

Before you start scrubbing the rust off, examine the chain for any surface grime or dirt. You can do this by lifting the bike’s rear end and spinning the foot pedal in backward motion to look for dirt, grime, and rust between the chain links.

Be careful when you do this step, as spinning wheels can splash something to your eyes. Wear protective glasses to keep yourself safe.

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Step 2: Wipe It Out

The next step is to use dry rags to wipe the dirt off and use a toothbrush to brush the grime off. Use several different-sized brushes to reach every nook and cranny.

Once you’ve wiped off the dirt and grime, you will be able to see the rusted parts more clearly and work on them more effectively. 

Step 3: Use Lime Juice

Remove the chain and soak it into a bowl of lime juice for at least one to two hours.

Once you see the rust stains coming off, remove the chain from the lime juice and dry it with a rag. If you still see a few stain spots, use a scouring pad dipped in lime juice and scrub those stubborn stains.

Reattach the chain to the bicycle and use any lubricant available on the chain for smoothness and good performance when riding the bike. Bike oil works best as a lubricant. Invest in one as soon as you can!

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How to Remove Rust from Bike Frame

To remove rust on bike frame, you will need all the materials listed below:

  • Baking soda/vinegar
  • Bowl
  • Brush/sponge
  • Dry rag
  • Plastic/steel scrub pad

Step 1: Create the Mixture

To create the mixture that would take all that rust off of your bike frame, mix water and baking soda in a bowl in the ratio of 1:1, then stir the mixture until it turns into a thick paste.

Add a few drops of lemon juice into the baking soda and water mixture to make the mix more effective.

Step 2: Apply the Mixture

Use a brush or sponge to apply the paste to the whole length of the bike frame. Let the baking soda and lemon mixture sit on the surface for at least 10 to 15 minutes until it completely dries and sets.

This step is essential, and you need to patiently wait for it to dry because it takes time to break down the rust.

Step 3: Use Your Elbow Grease

Once the mixture dries onto the bike frame, use a plastic or steel scrub pad to scrub the baking soda paste off of it. As you scrub, you’ll see that brassy rust breaking down and flaking of the metal frame.

If you want all the rust off, apply the mixture again and use elbow grease to scrub to remove the rust off the bike completely. 

Step 4: Wipe It Off

Scrubbing would take off most of the rust; wait 10 minutes before you start wiping off the baking soda mixture along with the flakes of rust.

Use a dry rag and wipe it off until the bike frame is completely dry. Store your bike in a cool and dry place to prevent rusting again.

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How to Remove Rust from Handlebars

BW 100mm Riser Handlebar - Great for Mountain, Road, and Hybrid Bikes - Fits 25.4mm Stems

If you have rust on your bike’s handlebars, then to remove rust, you will need the following ingredients to help you;

  • Cup
  • Dry rag
  • Lime juice
  • Table salt
  • Tablespoon
  • Toothbrush

Step 1: Create the Mixture

This mixture uses lemon juice as well. It is an excellent hack on its own and also in blends. In a cup, mix 6 tablespoons of table salt and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, stir the mixture together until well-combined.

It should end up looking like a thick paste. Add more salt if the mixture becomes too liquid.

Step 2: Apply the Salt Mixture

Apply the mixture evenly onto the metal parts of the handlebar and the severely rusted areas. Allow the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes. Ensure the paste is thick enough to prevent dripping onto other parts of the bike.  

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Step 3: Scrub It

 Use an old toothbrush to scrub off the rust from the metallic handlebars. Keep brushing until you see rust flakes breaking off. Use a dry cloth to wipe the mixture and rust off.

Repeat the process until you are satisfied with the result and the handlebars look shiny and new. 

Step 4: Rinse It with Water

Once you remove all the rust using the method above, it is essential to wash the handlebars with clean water to take all the salt mixture off. Use a dry cloth to wipe the metal dry, so it doesn’t rust again.

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How to Remove Rust from Bike Spokes

If you’ve been noticing orange-brown spots appear on bike spokes, take action right away to limit the damage caused by rust. The deeper the rust goes, the more difficult it is to remove it.

SENQI 36pcs 14G J Bend Bicycle Steel Spokes 178mm W/Nipples

If the rust is at surface level, you will need the following things to remove it completely:

  • Dry cloth
  • Some elbow grease
  • Steel/brass wool
  • Wax

Step 1: Apply Some Elbow Grease

The first step is to take a fine steel/brass wool pad and apply elbow grease. Rub each spoke on your bike wheels. Take a pinch of steel wool and continuously run it up and down each spoke. Vigorously rub it and rotate it around the tricky spots on the spoke.

Step 2: Continue Rubbing

Continue rubbing the spokes until you see rust flaking off. This method is a little tricky as it requires a lot of force to scrub off the rust stains. If the steel wool gets dirty, use the fresher parts of the pad or a ball of new steel wool altogether. 

Step 3: Wipe It Off

Once all the rust stains are off, use a dry rag to wipe off all the remaining loose pieces of rust and steel wool on the bike spokes. Rub wax all over the bike spokes while wiping off the excess to prevent further rusting.

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How to Remove Rust from Bike Rims

Lastly, if you’re looking forward to cleaning that rust off of your bike’s rims, make sure you have the following materials:

Wheel Master Front Bicycle Wheel 26 x 1.75/2.125 36H, Steel, Bolt On, Black

  • Aluminum foil
  • Degreaser
  • Dry rag

Step 1: Separate Bike Wheels

Using tools, separate the tire, inner tubing, and spokes from the bike wheels so that you are only remaining with the bike rims.

Step 2: Take Off the Rust

This procedure requires you to take the aluminum foil and dip it in a bowl of degreaser. Let it soak for a few seconds before using it. Use the aluminum foil drenched in degreaser to scrub away the orange rust stains.

Carefully inspect the areas where the metal is showing signs of rusting. Repeat this process until all the rust falls off and you have shiny new bike wheels.

Step 3: Wipe It Clean

Use a dry rag to wipe off the bike rims clean before applying wax around to prevent the rust from developing again. You can also use bike oil regularly on your metal parts to keep them moving smoothly. 

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How to Prevent Rust on Bike

Vilano Shadow 3.0 Road Bike with Integrated Shifters

Rust can develop quickly, and it is really difficult and time-consuming to take off. If you’re someone who knows how hard work it is, you can use the following tips to prevent their bikes from rusting again and keep them rust-free.

These tips are also for people who have just got their new bikes and not looking forward to them rusting away.

1. Store Your Bike Indoors

It is essential to keep your bike where it is not constantly exposed to moisture and harsh weather. Keep your bike in an area where the climate is in control.

For example, in one of the rooms of your home or an HVAC-enabled garage. You can also keep it in a shed, but make sure there is no source of moisture there.

All it takes is a bit of water, and your bike will begin to rust again. Remember, if it rusts, you’ll have to go through the removal process again. 

2. Always Wipe Your Bike Down After Rain

You can’t always control the weather; if it starts raining while you’re out on a bike ride, get an old rag and wipe all the water off. Make sure your bike is completely dry in all places before you leave it in your garage. 

3. Keep Your Bike Oiled

Always have bike oil within reach, as it is crucial to lubricate your bike daily. Focus on components of the bike that move. For example, oiling the chain is essential for a smooth ride.

Apply the bike oil and then wipe it with an old rag. Trust me; there will still be enough oil on it after wiping down to keep the rust away.

4. Beware Of Your Sweat

Other than the rain, sweat dripping off of your body can cause your bike to rust. Sweat from your face is likely to dribble around the bike’s head, stem, and handlebar area. Wipe off these areas once you come home from your bike ride. 

5. Buy a Bike Cover

Invest in a good bike cover that can protect your bike from moisture, dust, and dirt while in the storage room. Covering it is a good and easy way to store your bike. After every ride, wipe your bike clean with an old rag and adequately keep it in a bike cover.

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Final Note

This article included a step-by-step guide for beginners to clean off that rust from their bikes. Use these tips so that your bike can return to its original shiny form, and soon, you can enjoy a smooth ride with your friends or bike buddies.