How To Wax A Bike Chain- A Complete Waxing Guide

With all that rough riding going on, it is important that you know how to take proper care of your bike chain. Your chain may be a small component of your bike, but it plays a crucial role in its performance. So join us on this journey as we teach you the proper method to wax your chain.
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An essential part of taking care of your bike is keeping the chain in good shape. Waxing your bicycle chain may seem like a small step but it has many benefits. It helps your bike run smoothly, reduces wear and tear, and keeps it from getting rusty or corroded. It’s an easy process that will only take a few minutes of your time and will help your bike function well for years to come. In this article, we’ll show you how to apply chain wax the right way to keep it running smoothly so don’t miss out on this essential knowledge for any biking enthusiast!

Tools Required For Chain Waxing

Chain Link Pliers

For a smooth-running bike chain, it’s essential to have the proper tools to wax it effectively. With the right brush and lubricant, you can get rid of any dirt and grime that has built up, and the right wax will protect the chain and extend the chain’s life. Having the right tools at your disposal is important to make chain waxing easy and guarantee optimal results. You will need an array of items, such as lubricants, brushes, gloves, safety glasses, waxes, and degreasers. Some of the Tools that you are going to need are:

Slow Cooker

You’ll need a slow cooker for melting the wax as you cannot melt the wax in a rice cooker, and it is very important to remember this. Although, you don’t have to stress about buying anything fancy as you can use a small crock-pot too.

Swisher Tool

Swisher is a tool used to hold the chain in the slow cooker. Alternatively, you can use an open-ended steel hanger or cable ties.

Chain link pliers, like Park Tool’s, that can take off and put on quick links. These pliers are specially designed to assist in breaking the chain, which is necessary for cleaning.

How To Wax A Bike Chain

The right tools are useless if you don’t know the proper method. Immersion chain wax is not very time-consuming and has some simple steps. In the end, I have shared my personal experience of waxing my bike’s chain with hot dip chain waxing and my views on it, so continue reading if you want to find out everything there is to know about this topic.

So let’s break down the steps that you need to follow.

Bicycle Chain

So let’s break down the steps that you need to follow.

1. Removing Your Bike’s Chain

First, you will need to remove your bike’s chain by using the pliers that we mentioned earlier. It is a good idea to place all the chain links in a box to make sure that you don’t lose any one of them.

2. Cleaning The Chain

Before you start waxing, you need to make sure that your chain is clean and does not have any external debris, dirt, or dust. Even if you are waxing your new chain, it is important to remember that it will have factory grease on it which you need to remove in order to wax your chain.

In order to clean your old chain, you can put it in boiled water. This will remove the old wax. Then clean and dry it with a cloth to make sure that there are no particles left on it and that it is completely dry before putting on the new wax.

3. Heating Up Your Cooker

It will take some time for the wax, so one way to be efficient can be to switch on the cooker before you take off the chain. It will save some time as by the time you are done cleaning, the wax will also be ready for use.

4. Preparing The Chain

Before dipping the chain into the hot wax, you should hang it using a metal hanger or a Swisher tool. The Swisher tool is a better option as it makes it easier to hang the chain so that you can easily put it in the slow cooker.

After the wax is melted and is ready to use, dip the chain completely into it and leave it in for at least an hour, or even overnight.

5. Removing The Chain

After keeping your chain in the cooker for at least an hour, slowly take it and shake it so the wax drops drip down slowly. Keep in mind to shake it gently so that the chain links don’t fall apart. Then hang it somewhere to let it cool down. Do not touch it with your bare hands.

After the chain has cooled down, remove the freshly waxed chain from the swisher tool and straighten it out. Don’t worry if the chain is hard because that’s normal.

6. Install The Chain

The next step is to make sure that you install the chain in the right direction. After that, you have to break the wax bond on your chain. In order to do this,  lift the back wheel, and for 30 seconds at least, you need to manually advance the pedals to break in the wax. Another way to break the wax bond is by running it up and down on a pipe before you install the chain.

7. Ride The Bike

Your bike is now as good as new and ready to ride. The chain might feel stiff at first, but it will loosen up over time. Don’t shift too many gears for the first few rides or at least until your chain loosens up

How I Waxed My Chain- Icebike Edition

Close Up Chain Of The Mountain Bike

At Icebike, we believe that hot dip chain waxing is one of the most effective bike maintenance techniques. With this method, you can go up to 25,000 kilometers before needing to change the cassette. By then, it is pretty much the time to upgrade your whole bike so it’s not much of a hassle. You can use paraffin wax or any other type of wax that works for you.

The most challenging part of waxing for me is cleaning the chain thoroughly before starting the waxing process. This process is an important one and it took me about 2 hours. Step one was 15 minutes long during which I dipped my chain in the bath at 65 degrees Celsius. In order to make sure that the chain was thoroughly clean I dipped it in the ceramic cleaner too. I had to repeat this process twice, but that depends on your chain’s quality. I did this with a 30-minute interval so it serves as an ultrasonic wash. The third step was to dip the chain in methylated spirits or mineral spirits to remove any previous cleaners.

Once the chain was clean, I used a dryer to dry it thoroughly. You can use any cloth or a towel to make sure your chain is dry. It’s essential to apply a wax coating as soon as possible to prevent rust since a clean chain is more prone to rusting.

I used Silka’s Secret Chain blend wax, which comes in a packed palette format but once you heat it up it liquefies. It takes some time for the wax to reach the right temperature, so I hung it on a metal hanger until it was ready to be dipped in the wax. When I dipped the chain into the melted wax and agitated it, bubbles appeared on the surface. That is how you know you have correctly impregnated the chain. After removing the chain, I placed it in another bucket to collect any wax drops for recycling for re-dips.

Many riders use multiple chains, making it cost-effective to re-wax using recycled wax. For virgin chains, it’s best to use virgin wax. I prefer to brush my chain with PTFE and Molybdenum as an additional step

What Wax Can You Use?

Here are a few options for you to check out other than the one that I used:

Molten Speed Wax

Molten wax can be used to wax your bike chain. It keeps the chain lubricated and protected and its purpose is to increase the lifespan of the chain by reducing wear and friction. Additionally, this special mixture also prevents grime and dust from settling on the chain.

Hot Wax

A  lubricant called hot wax can be used to reduce wear and friction. Typically, this hot wax is made from natural waxes such as paraffin, carnauba, or beeswax. It is melted before being applied to the chain. By hot waxing the chain, it can be kept clean, dry, and working efficiently, while also being protected from environmental factors.

Melted Wax

The melted wax is one of a kind chain lubricant for bicycles. The procedure for making it involves melting a unique wax mixture, then coating the chain with liquid wax. Melted wax permeates the chain and offers long-lasting lubrication. It is also waterproof, which makes it the best choice for rainy weather.

Paraffin Wax

Lubricating bicycle chains with paraffin wax is a well-known practice that lowers the amount of friction and wears on the bike chain. It results in quieter and smoother rides. The wax is put directly on the chain and removed with a towel after a short while. This process forms a thin protective layer that reduces chain wear.

Is It Really Worth It?

Dirty Mountain Bike Derailleur

The dust and debris easily stick to your chain and the oil-based lubricants cause it to turn black by working like a magnet for dust particles. These dust particles form a thick paste that wicks away the lubricants from the very depth of your bike chain. This dries out the areas that need the lubricant the most.

What’s even worse is that this mixture causes the industrial-style grinding paste to develop which is the most harmful for your chain as well as your groupset. The grinding paste reduces the life of your chain and even causes it to break. Corrosion of the gears and derailleur can also make shifting gears difficult or even impossible. Cleaning and lubricating your chain and other bike parts on a regular basis is the best way to prevent this kind of wear and tear.

Taking care of your bike is important and if you wax your bike chain, you can enjoy many benefits. It will help your chain last longer and require less maintenance by keeping it clean and debris free.

Benefits of Chain Waxing 

Waxing the chain of your bike can increase its mileage. It is a simple maintenance task that can reduce the wear and tear on the chain, enhance the smoothness of the gear system, and minimize the friction between the bike’s moving components. As a result, it can help you save money in the long term and reduce the energy required to pedal by decreasing friction.

This can help you go longer and faster on your rides. Waxing your chain also keeps it clean and protects it from grime, rust, and other contaminants that can reduce its efficiency. Waxing your chain is a useful way to protect it from environmental factors and extend its life.

Clean Bike Chain

Increased Efficiency

Waxing your bike chain will make it run more smoothly and efficiently, allowing you to ride with less effort and also make your riding more speed and time efficient.

Reduced Wear

Another benefit of regularly waxing your bike chain is that it can lessen the amount of wear and tear on the chain. Which eventually results in saving money as the chain won’t need to be replaced as often.

Improved Lubrication

Waxing your bike chain will enhance the lubrication between the chain and the sprocket, which in turn will reduce friction which will keep your bike operating smoothly.

Easier Cleaning

Bicycle chains that have been waxed are less likely to attract dirt and debris, making regular cleaning easy. Keep your bike looking great and tidy with this helpful technique!

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Conclusion

Waxing a bike chain involves wiping it down with denatured alcohol, applying a wax-based drip lube, and then rubbing it into the chain links with another cloth. Using wax as a lubricant for your bike chain is an excellent preventative maintenance strategy. Melted wax and hot wax are some of the preferred ways of waxing!

If you use the appropriate kind of wax and apply it regularly, you will extend the life of your bike chain and improve its performance. It is an easy investment as bicycle chains can be easily waxed with a few inexpensive items and a few minutes of your time. Without properly waxed chains, you may have to pedal twice as hard to go the same distance. What I have learned from personal experience is that to maintain your bike operating smoothly, all it takes is a little time to check the chain.


This article was crafted by Luke Ameen, Associate Editor, a seasoned expert, bringing 8 years of experience and knowledge about all types of bikes. Our goal is to provide you with accurate, reliable, and valuable insights to help you make informed decisions and enhance your biking experience.

Should you have any questions or require further clarification on the topic, please feel free to connect with our expert author Luke Ameen by leaving a comment below. We value your engagement and are here to assist you.

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Luke Ameen

Luke Ameen

For many years, I've journeyed the world as an ardent cyclist, feeling the pulse of the road beneath two wheels. Even though competitive mountain trails might not be my battleground now, my zeal for cycling remains undiminished, pushing me to chase new escapades every chance I get.

My heart beats for everything related to cycling. Over the years, I've immersed myself in extensive research and hands-on tests of cycling equipment and enhancements, aiming to guide fellow cyclists in amplifying their riding experience. My mission is clear: deliver trustworthy insights and reliable guidance that readers can lean on. My vision is to kindle the same fervor for cycling in others, whether they're seasoned veterans or just embarking on this journey. Rest assured, I'm here to equip you with the freshest updates, advice, and perspectives to enrich every ride.

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