How to Remove Rust from a Bike

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We have done a thorough research on how to remove rust from a bike and also carried out the same by ourselves multiple times. Not all bikes can be saved but majority can be.

Unless you store your bike inside and wipe it down after every ride, especially after riding in the rain, you probably have rust or discoloration on the metal. Any item with metal will begin to rust if it is not cared for diligently.

That’s not to say you don’t take care of your bike. Sometimes it is easier to hang the bike up on a bike hook or tuck it away without tending to the water sitting on the chain. On the plus side, rust is often superficial and is not all that tricky to remove. So fear not, there is a way to get your bike back to its previous glory, or at least a little less rusty.

Rust can ruin your bike as it breaks down some metals. Rust occurs when a chemical breakdown of the metal due to exposure to eroding materials and oxygen. Often, rainwater, street salt, and other materials cause rust to form on exposed metal.

Rust spreads quickly. It may begin as a small spot but then spread rapidly and ca. Early detection of rust will enable you to remove it quickly and help prevent irreversible damage.

Rusted Bike

Proceed with Caution

Your bike has gotten you to many places, held your weight, and leaned into sharp corners with you; now, you need to treat it with the kindness it showed you.

Maybe it goes too far to say be kind to your bike, but you do have to be careful not to damage the bike’s paint or use any products that will erode or damage the chain. And be sure not to scrape off the corrosion with a sharp object, or you will irreparably damage the bike’s paint, which will expose the metal and lead to – you guessed it – more rust.

Here are various ways that you can ride your bike off the rust that has formed over time. And remember, all parts should not be treated equally. Some parts of the bike will be more challenging to clean and require smaller instruments.

Index

  1. How To Remove Rust From:
    1. Chains
    2. Bike Spokes
    3. Bike Rims
    4. Bike Frame
  2. How To Prevent Rusting Of Bike
  3. Conclusion
Bike chain with Rust

Chains

The chain is often the first thing to decay, and it can affect more than just the aesthetic. Rust can inhibit the way your bike moves and lead to the chain weakening and eventually breaking. For a bike chain, stick with chain lube, such as WD-40. If you are looking for detailed article on How to Remove rust from Bike chain

Supplies:

  • WD-40
  • Wire brush
  • Clean cloth

What to Do:

Cleaning the rust from your bike chain isn’t as difficult as it seems, but it does take a bit of patience. Depending on the severity of the rust, you may have to repeat the process.

  1. Apply WD-40 directly on the rusty area of the chain
  2. Let the oil sit on the are for ten minutes
  3. Take a wire brush and gently scrub away at the rust
  4. Take a clean rag and wipe off the oil
  5. Repeat if the rust does not come off entirely

A word of advice; once your chain is free of rust, keep it in good condition by applying WD-40 chain lube. This lube will help to protect your bike chain in all weather and prevent corrosion and rust.

If the chain on your bike is the only part that has rust forming on it, you can try to oil it before going through the process of letting WD-40 sit. Take your time and wipe each line with a clean rag, and you may see the majority of the rust come off.

Place a drop of lube on each chain link and rubbing it with the cloth. You may find that is all you have to do. You will remove the rust and protect the chain at the same time. Applying WD-40 may work if there is not a large amount of corrosion to remove.

Use chain lube on the bike after using the WD-40 to ensure its longevity.

Bike Spokes

It’s a bit of a hassle to remove rust from bike spokes, but it is doable. And when you finish, they will look great!

To remove rust from your bike spokes, you will need:

  • Steel wool
  • Dry cloth
  • Was

Step 1: Take some steel wool and begin to rub each spoke on the wheels individually. Pinch the steel wool around the spokes and move it along each spoke from top to bottom, paying particular attention to the excessive rust.

Step 2: It helps to have more than one steel wool pad with you to change over once one begins to fall apart. After a lot of hard work, you will notice the rust will start to break free from the spokes.

Step 3: Use a clean, dry rage to remove all of the loose stain and any steel wool on the spokes. Once the spokes are rust-free, apply wax on them and wipe the excess wax off.

Bike Rims

The rims of bikes are the closest metal to the ground and the most affected by any inclement weather. They are built to take a lot of wear and grind, support your weight, and allow you to ride with stability. They also bear the brunt of bad weather. Cleaning rust off bike rims is a delicate procedure. To clean rust off bike rims, you will need the following material:

  • Degreaser
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clean, dry rag

Step 1: First, you want to separate the tire, tubing, and spokes from the bike’s wheels. All that will be remaining on the bicycle are the rims.

Step 2: Dip the aluminum foil in the degreaser and let it soak for a short time. Take the wet foil and scrub the bike rims. Be sure not to miss any spots and repeat the steps until the rust is removed from the rims.

Step 3: Take a clean, dry rag and wipe the rims before applying wax to help prevent the rust from returning.

Removing Rust from the Bike Frame

If the rust is on multiple parts of the bike, and not just the chain, you need to consider some other options. There are a few different ways that you can remove the rust without ruining the paint or causing harm to the frame.

WD-40

WD-40 to the rescue again! This miracle oil provides relief from annoying creaks, helps hinges and chains move swiftly, and, as we know, removes rust. As we know, this works well with removing rust off of a bike chain, and it will also work on other metal parts on the bike.

Apply drops of the lube to the metal and use a clean cloth to remove the rust gently. As with the chain, leave for about 10 minutes and see how much old you can remove from your bike.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the most renowned ingredients in so many homemade products and can do anything from easing the pain of a bite or adding a sparkling white hue to your laundry. In this case, you will add the baking soda to get the desired effect.

Mix the baking soda and water by doing the following:

  1. Mix equal parts of water and baking soda in a container or bowl. There is no need to measure the ratio of ingredients, but you should note that the more rust there is, the more baking soda you will need.
  2. You want to make sure that the baking soda has been thoroughly dissolved in the water and forms a thick paste.
  3. You will want to have extra baking soda and water close by if you need to mix more.
  4. Adding lemon to the mixture will help strengthen the mix if the rust is extensive.
  5. Add the paste to the affected areas.

Apply the paste to the rusty areas with a brush or spatula directly on the rusted areas. Allow the paste to sit for 15 minutes for optimal effectiveness. Do not remove the mixture prematurely. Allow the baking soda paste to sit and work its magic.

Next, you can scrub the area with scouring pads or a sponge but again, make sure you don’t damage the paint. If you are worried about damaging the paint or if the area is in a hard-to-reach location, use a paintbrush or another small scrubber. You will begin to see the brilliance of your bike coming through.

If the effect is not as you desire, add more baking soda and some lemon to seal the deal. Once the oxidation is gone, wipe the bike dry and make sure there is no more liquid. After all your hard work, you may want to store it in a secure and dry location to prevent the corrosion from reappearing.

Coca Cola or Vinegar

It turns out that Cola-Cola does more than rot the teeth and creates sugar-induced hyperactivity in children. It works as far as removing corrosion from metal, as does vinegar. Both liquids work to remove decay because they have a high level of acidic property to break down corrosion and remove it.

Make sure you wear some plastic gloves and a spray bottle filled with vinegar and cola mixed. Spray the concoction on the rust (there is no specific amount to use) and use a tool like a toothbrush wrapped in tinfoil and scrub away.

These two liquids should remove the rust well, but if it isn’t entirely gone after the first use, apply again and scrub while making sure you do not scratch the paint on your bike. If the decay is still on the bike, add the fix-all known as baking soda.

Add baking soda (not too much) into the vinegar and Cola mixture in your spray bottle and mix well. Repeat the step of spray onto the bike and try to rub it off. Adding the baking soda should work pretty well, as this is the trinity of ingredients for homemade remedies.

Steel Wool

Steel wool is for several things around the house, but the extent of its ability stretches to all aspects of the garage, yard, and other jobs that need a tough hand. Steel wool is inexpensive and can is available for purchase at several stores.

Scrub the rusted area of the bike carefully, and you will see firsthand how exceedingly effective it is. Steel wool can do more than remove rust, such as shine the surface of the bike. You can also purchase steel wool that is extra fine for the harder to reach and smaller areas on the bicycle.

Chemical Options

The final and most drastic option is to use a chemical product to remove the rust. The good old homemade remedies will work for many people, but sometimes there is too much rust to remove without harsh chemicals. While this option isn’t ideal, it is sometimes the only way.

If you use a chemical option, do not mix with any of the other ingredients mentioned above. If you were conducting a school science experiment, that would be one thing, but we are not hoping for an explosion in this case.

When you work with chemicals, make sure you wear safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and skin from burn or irritation. Read the instructions carefully and make sure you know the steps to take if there is exposure to the chemical on the skin or in the eyes. You will also want to make sure you are applying the chemical in a well-ventilated or outdoor area.

Apply the chemical to the rust on your bike and leave for the recommended time. Depending on the cleaner, you will want to leave on for minutes versus overnight. Once the allotted time is up, wipe the rust remover off using a clean cloth. Keep the gloves and goggles on until you are done, and then dispose of them properly.

Whip the bike thoroughly with warm water and make sure it is dried completely. Store it away in a clean, dry location to avoid further exposure to the elements.

How to Prevent Rust

No matter what method you use to remove rust, every process is unpleasant, and you could use your time doing something else – like bike riding.

When it comes to preventing rust, you need to take several precautions. It may be a lot of work or at least diligence, but it’s well worth it. Here’s what you are going to do:

Keep Bike Indoors

If you have a hallway or another area of the house to keep your bike in (perhaps on a bike hook on the wall), you will have much less to worry about with rust forming. You at least want to keep the bicycle in the garage or a shed where it is away from moisture. A small amount of precipitation will allow rust to form in no time.

Wipe Down Your Bike

If your bike has faced any elements that will result in rusting, such as riding through mud, rain, puddles, or if you left out overnight and it faced dew accumulation, you need to wipe down the bike. Pay special attention to the chain, brakes, and other parts that move, such as the handlebar.

Use a clean, dry rag to thoroughly wipe down your bike and make sure that no moisture remains. Prevention is the best cure for rust.

Use Bike Oil

Don’t forget to oil your bike chain and other moving parts regularly with bike lube using a clean, dry cloth. Keeping your bicycle in good shape will ensure you can count on your bike’s support for years to come.

Paint Touch-Up

Another preventative measure to rust from spreading is to apply nail polish to the area where there is rust if it has removed the paint. The nail polish will help to prevent exposure to air and stop oxidation that will end in rust.

Nailpolish will also give the illusion that the paint is not imperfect, or it may look good enough to leave well enough alone.

Final Word

You want to keep your bike in good condition. The better you care for your bike, the longer it will serve you well and gets you around safely. Just remember, as it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, it is easier to prevent rust than cure it.

Taking care of a bicycle is no different than taking care of a car. It requires oil, protection from the elements, and frequent use.

Keep your bike in a suitably enclosed area where it isn’t going to be affected by moisture. Taking the time to wipe down your bike and removing any precipitation, debris, mud, or other condensation that will cause ruin will save you from hard work down the road.