How to remove rust from a bike

Read on for our easy step-by-step guide to understanding how to get rid of rust on a bike.

18 July 2019

How to remove rust on a bike: A clean bike leaning by a yellow house
Out of home

Key steps

  • Make a baking soda and water paste for minor rust.
  • Spray vinegar on more stubborn rust.
  • Leave your paste or vinegar to soak for 15 minutes.
  • For removable parts such as a rusty bike chain, soak them in a bowl of vinegar.
  • If natural choices don’t work, try a chemical rust remover.

Your bike might be working perfectly well; but signs of rust on bike chain or any other part left unattended can result in harder-to-remove rust, and worse yet, safety hazards. Follow below our handy step-by-step guide on how to get rid of rust on a bike and how to remove rust from your bike chain. When you’re all done, complete the job and give your bike a general clean!

Removing rust from a bike is only half of the story. Prevention is key. Always use quality products when cleaning and ensure that your is thoroughly dry.

1. Remove rust from your bike chain with a paste of baking soda and water

Mix the baking soda and water in a 1:1 ratio. To make the paste stronger, add a few drops of lemon juice.

  • Spread the paste over the rusted area.
  • Leave to soak for 15 minutes.
  • Use steel wool or an old toothbrush to scrub away the paste.
  • As you clean the paste away, you should see the rust come off from the metal of your bike.
  • Repeat the process if there are areas which have not been fully cleared of rust. Leaving for 10 minutes longer should do the trick for more stubborn rust spots.
  • This method will only work on small areas of minor rust.

2. Vinegar is a good home remedy for how to get rid of rust on your bike in large areas

Apply the vinegar with a spray bottle.

  • Add a spoon of baking soda to your vinegar spray to strengthen your mix.
  • Spray the vinegar over the rusted area.
  • For removable parts such as the bike chain, take them off and soak them in a bucket of vinegar.
  • Leave to soak for 15 minutes.
  • Using your garden hose, ensure you thoroughly rinse off the vinegar and scrape off the loose rust.
  • N.B. Vinegar can continue to corrode the metal of your bike if not properly rinsed off.
  • After rinsing the vinegar from your bike, ensure you dry all areas of your bike. Any sitting water can cause further damage or allow rust to return.
If you’re using a chemical rust remover, always wear protective clothing. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and work in a well-ventilated area.

3. If natural alternatives don’t work, try using a chemical rust remover

  • Always wear protective clothing including gloves and eye goggles.
  • Always use chemical rust removers in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using any chemicals.