I plan on cleaning/re-greasing my rear derailleur this weekend, something I've never done before. I watched a video on youtube.. the guy wiped it clean first, then used a spray lube (dry I assume?!) to clean it.. I don't have a dry spray lube and wondered if I could just use WD40 to clean it, and then apply grease.

So two questions really:

  1. Should I use WD40 to clean the derailleur?
  2. After cleaning, should I apply dry lube then grease or just grease? If I apply dry lube won't the grease just slide off?

Cheers, John.

  • 1
    You might want to check out this question and its answers: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/14372/…
    – jimchristie
    Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 14:04
  • 1
    WD-40 is fine (though a hair un-ecological) for cleaning derailers. Lean the bike up against a wall with newspapers under it. Slide another newspaper up behind the derailer and draped over the wheel, to keep the stuff off the rim and tire. Blast away, assisted with an old toothbrush. (Be sure to let the papers air-dry well before discarding.) Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 16:31
  • 1
    @CareyGregory I have to disagree with you on two points, WD-40 is a good cleaner for many oil and grease based gunks and WD-40 as MR Hicks pointed out above. Furthermore, it does have lubricating value. A locksmith friend swears by it for cleaning and lubricating locks. I've used it to help oil penetrate and would use it on a dirty bike chain system in a flash. Followed of course by the proper chain oil.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 4:27
  • 1
    WD40 is not as good cleaner as engineer degrease, but as @Joe Daddy says - it works pretty well. I have also used WD40 as a carrier for thicker lubes in the past. I am sure there are products specifically designed to do that, but I don't have them on my workshop shelf...
    – mattnz
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 1:41
  • 1
    @JoeDaddy - Your locksmith just likes the callback fees when the WD40 has dried up in a month or two :) Seriously, I use it in locks myself - as corrosion is often a bigger problem than lubrication.
    – mattnz
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 1:43

1 Answer 1


I clean my stuff with Simple Green. Rinse. Simple Green. Rinse until clean.

I wouldn't use WD-40 if I were you though. I am not sure about the chemistry behind it but it is not a degreaser and there are plenty of other better options out there.

Don't use grease either. Use a light oil. And remove the excess. I keep an old toothbrush around to brush in all of the oil to make sure I have all the little pieces coated then wipe off any excess. Anything dripping or about to form drips is excess.

With grease and excess oil comes accumulation of dirt which is abrasive. By not using grease with is sticky and wiping excess oil you are effectively limiting the abrasives that stick to your chain.

I am not super sure of what you mean by 'Dry Lube' I think you mean either a Teflon based lube or lube that is meant for dry conditions. I have used Teflon-based stuff before and it was a pink, waxy mess. That could just be the brand though. All the bike shops around me use Tri-Flo. Thats what I use. I have a small bottle that has lasted for years.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.