I have a gearless bicycle. I ride it about thrice a week. Its spokes are rusted. Any suggestions to clean the rust? Also I need some good technique to clean the bicycle with rags and household material. Please help.

  • 1
    Rusty spokes are best cleaned with pan scouring pads and elbow grease! ;-) Use some wax or grease, thinly applied after that to prevent new rust.
    – Carel
    Oct 14, 2015 at 18:23
  • Something I realize in snowy country : Spokes doesn't rust, it just collect minerals oxide. You need to scrub them off with steel wool and slight acidic scrubbing agents.
    – mootmoot
    Jun 26, 2018 at 10:18

2 Answers 2


Spokes - a "steelo" or other brand of pot scrub. Use warm soapy water, because the dirt is generally dirt not oils. Its hard to get up in by the hub where the spokes cross - you might find a toothbrush useful. If its a rear wheel, remove the freewheel/cassette first, and for either wheel try to not flood the bearings. Use clean water to rinse. You may need to check the truing of your wheel after cleaning too, the flexing may move a nipple or two.

If the rust doesn't move, you can upgrade to a brass wire brush, similar to what is used to clean barbeques. Brass is softer than steel so it won't damage your spokes, but it may damage the alumunium rim or hub. Prevent rust returning by brushing on a rust-fixative solution and letting it reoxidise the rust to white/black iron oxide instead of red/brown rust. Then coat with some grey spray primer. All this is easier to do if the wheel is disassembled, but that's a massive undertaking on its own.

If the rust is anything deeper than a surface skim, you'd be better off with new spokes. Examine the bend at the hub for rust and wear too - that's a common place to break.

Remove anything electronic before cleaning, lights and computers etc.

For the rest of the bike, wash it with another bucket of warm soapy water. Use a rag for the big areas, and a 1 inch twist of rag to pull through tighter areas. That toothbrush can be used in fiddly areas like derailerus. An old dish scrubbing brush can be good for getting dirt out of tyre treads. Don't wash the brake pad surfaces directly, and do remember to rinse any soap off the braking rims.

If you have disk brakes, your last step should be to clean the rotors with Isopropyl Alcohol.

Finally for the pedantic, you can use tyre/tire black on the tyres (again mind the braking rims) and a suitable leather or "car interior" treatment on a saddle.

If you're still making it better, consider a paint touchup on any part that needs it. A flick of black spray paint on the handlebars does wonders for the look.

Put the bike to dry (both water and paint) and when its dried, re-lubricate your chain and any pivot points.

Do use the opportuinity to look for anything wrong on the bike - preventative maintance then follows.


To get rid of rust, use steel wool with some sort of acidic solvent. I have actually used vinegar on some rusty components before.

My biggest piece of advice for bike maintenance is do a little after every ride. Whether that is wiping the chain free of dust or just taking a cloth to the frame; when you do this, all the small things don't add up and become a big job which would take hours to clean.

On my bike I will generally just use Windex and a rag; starting at the top of the frame I will wipe it down. I will also make sure the chain is clean and lubed every 100 miles (160 km) or so. A lube like Pro Gold is great because it basically cleans your chain and lubes it at the same time. I also use shoe strings to clean my cogs and chain and such.

  • Welcome to SE Bicycles. Shoe laces - that's an excellent idea. I've edited your post a little for grammar and the colloquialism which may not be understood globally. If you disagree feel free to revert.
    – Criggie
    Oct 14, 2015 at 22:28

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