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Easy 5-minute drivetrain cleaning including mechs, chain and crankset

Sometimes you just don’t want to do a 2-hour long drivetrain cleaning. Sometimes you just want to ride your bike.

But especially in wet conditions on a bike with no mud guards, you basically have to clean your bike after every ride.

In my maintenance arsenal I’ve a 5-minute drivetrain cleaning which ensures a smooth ride and is something you can do before you hop on the saddle.

If you’re looking for my tutorial for a full drivetrain cleaning read the article “How to get a perfectly clean drivetrain in 4 easy steps“.

Let’s get started.

Video Tutorial

Tools to perform the drivetrain cleaning

park tool cm-5.3 chain scrubber

There are a number of tools you’re going to need for the job. The most important is a chain scrubber and white spirits. You’ll also need a sock and towel.

Cleaning the chain

place chain scrubber on chain

Fill the chain scrubber with an inch of white spirits and place it around the bottom part of the chain. I do around a 100 rotations of the crankset, which pulls the chain through the scrubber and lets the white spirits do their job.

cleaning chain

The white spirit acts as a strong decreasing agent. I usually place a towel underneath the scrubber and on the rim, because some of the stuff may come out of the scrubber.

reusing white spirit

After the 100 rotations you can rest assured the chain is clean. I put what’s left of the white spirit back into the bottle.

Chain, mechs and chainring

drying chain

Next up is removing the white spirit from the chain by holding it in your hand with a towel and rotating the crankset.

cleaning jockey wheel

I also clean both jockey wheels with the towel. With this 9-speed Deore XT rear derailleur that’s pretty easy considering the fact the wheels are quite big and access is simple.

cleaning chainring

With an old sock around my hand I press on the hard to reach sides of the middle and big chainring (I don’t use the small one). The sock prevents you from getting caught in between the chain and teeth.

brush mech

I use a brush to get rid of most of the dried up sand and mud on the front mech.

For a 5-minute drivetrain cleaning the result is pretty astounding. And the most important thing is your ride quality will prove to be unhampered by dirty components.

sewing machine oil

A little sewing machine oil, which easily slides in between the rollers of your chain and enjoy the sound of a smoothly operating drivetrain.

And that’s how you perform a drivetrain cleaning in under 5 minutes!

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