I just cleaned my bike with low pressure water but I don't have any lubricant. I left it to dry in my basement with the window left open.

Is there any chance my bike will malfunction or rust before tomorrow when I buy some lubricant?

  • Just don't forget. Its easy for weeks to go by and then the bike will be unhappy if left unprotected
    – Criggie
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 19:35
  • I lube my commute bike a couple times a year (except for the chain, which I lubricate every couple weeks with a wax based lube), and never re-lube anything after riding in the rain. I've been riding it for 6 years without a problem.
    – Johnny
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 3:44

4 Answers 4


No, of course not. Having your bike wet and unlibricated for one day won't damage it in any way. Washing it and letting it unlubricated for long period of time will cause you some issues. But one day is not a problem...

  • 1
    That's right... It would be a good idea to at least dry it off with a rag though.
    – BSO rider
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 23:35

Spraying a bike with water doesn't actually remove all grease that exists on the chain and similar otherwise unprotected surfaces. So letting it dry off for a day is fine. Even letting it stand for weeks is fine, if it is stored in a dry place with no condensation.

However the situation is different if you actually do remove all lubrication from an unpainted surface (with a solvent or perhaps even abrasive, for example to prepare for a paint job or heavy maintenance). Then you need to dry it off immediately or apply rust protection to prevent it flash rusting.

  • Yeah, I've seen that with various types of Shimano chains after degreasing, even a 105 chain stands no chance against that, so use a cloth after the procedure to dry it off or you'll get surface rust.
    – DoNuT
    Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 13:47

As any others have said, nope, nothing will reeeaaallllyyy happen. The only thing you need to worry about is if the water sits for too long on parts such as your chain. Just make sure you buy proper lubricants, and NOT WD40's spray can!!!! ;)

Also, if you plan to do that often, it's best to just get a cheap rag and wipe the bike down to dry off most of the water first. Stops the water sitting in places that it probably shouldn't be in!

  • 1
    WD40 now makes a bike line and their lubes are awesome. Use it on my Pivot Mach 5
    – Nate W
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 21:30
  • 1
    I suggest you edit an explanation of what you mean by proper lubricants into your answer.
    – andy256
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 22:43
  • 1
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with using WD40 on a bicycle chain. Plus WD40 will cut through the water in a way that oils cannot! WD stands for water displacement, while oils on the other hand are displaced by water. WD40 is an excellent lube.
    – Octopus
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 5:14
  • 1
    Oh, dear, NO. WD40 IS NOT A LUBRICANT. The only time it is a lubricant is when it specifically says it's a lubricant. The only lubricant from WD40 as it currently stands is the bike range of lubricants. Directly taken from the website.... "Myth: WD-40® Multi-Use Product is not really a lubricant. bicycletutor.com/no-wd40-bike-chain is another website to look at. Again, don't use WD40. And by proper lubricants, as I had already said, was a dedicated lubricant. It also works wonders as a light lubricant on small items like hinges, locks, and toys. But not for bikes or cars.
    – yollooool
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 7:57
  • 2
    @yollooool, dude you just quoted, "Myth: WD-40® Multi-Use Product is not really a lubricant." That means that it is a myth! In other words WD40 is indeed a lubricant.
    – Octopus
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 16:37

An easy way to get excess water off it is drop it a few times, the height obviously depends on the type of bike it is. Full suspension mountain bike you can give it a good old drop from a couple of feet, but a couple of inches should get most of the excess off.

  • 1
    The question wasn't about how to dry a bike it was about leaving it unlubed.
    – Octopus
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 5:17

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