Is there a simple way to clear excess wax from between the links of freshly dipped chains?

When I pull my chain out there's a pretty decent coating I can wipe off. The interior stays full of wax even after a good wipe off.

I'm using 100% paraffin and removing the chain when the wax cools enough to form the beginning of a skin on the surface of the pot.

I've tried making an S-bend and running the chain up and down, brushing the chain with a short-bristled brush. The only thing I've found that works is manually clearing each link with small enough a blunt tool.

Is there something I could run the chain through quickly and get the wax between the links out without spreading it everywhere? Putting it on the bike and backpedalling makes a bit of a mess.

  • Why do you want to remove the wax? Aug 17, 2019 at 12:00
  • @DanielRHicks the wax is going to be pushed out of the gaps by the teeth of the gears when the chain is used. I'd prefer to not make a mess by getting chunks of wax everywhere, as well as conserving the wax for later use.
    – Scottmeup
    Oct 26, 2019 at 21:44

4 Answers 4


Typically when hot paraffin waxing I dip the chain for 15 min, then remove and hang. I typically hang the chain very very gentle as I don’t want to dislodge the liquefied wax from the rollers/bushing interface. I don’t wait for the pot of wax to cool. When hanging the excess wax immediately drips off, and rarely do I have more than a thin coating between the link plates. Only the last link has excessive wax which is quick to clean out manually, once the chain has cooled back to room temperature.

While excess wax does drains off, enough remains in the bushings and rollers as I typically get hundreds of KM before the chain makes the painful “no lube” sound. Chain longevity has also been good using this approach, about twice the mileage I get from running the same brand/model of chain with chain lubes.

About the only issue I find is breaking the frozen links after the chain has cooled as the solidified wax sticks the inner/outer link plates together. To get the links pivoting again I manually run the chain over a small diameter metal shaft. This forces the links to bend and quickly gets the links free so that the chain runs properly when I put it on the bike.

I would suggest the way you let the chain cool off, after being waxed, is contributing to the links becoming filled with wax.

  • I tried hanging but the wax tended to dribble down and make the ends thicker/waxier while the top was thinner. Now I let the chains cool lying flat on a piece of old cardboard which seems to help. One trick is to lay the chain in a straight line with one 180degree bend, which helps at reinstallation time vs a bundled up clog.
    – Criggie
    Feb 18 at 21:24

Using a paper towel to wipe the plates (not the rollers) rigth after the chain was removed from the hot wax gets rid of a lot of the excess wax.

  • 1
    Welcome to Bicycles SE. The paper towel wick should work well. One just needs to be careful to not wick too much wax from the rollers and between adjacent plates.
    – Ted Hohl
    Feb 18 at 19:56

You could fashion a cleaning tool from an old chainwheel or sprocket. A simple axle, such a wooden dowel, PVC or metal pipe, section of rebar, etc through the center and you could run the length of chain around it. One could mount this dewaxing tool many ways. A couple thoughts would be sticking an end of the tool's axle in a bench vise with the plane of the toothed wheel in a vertical position (like it would appear on an upright bike). Place a trash bag or something under the area of the wheel to catch the droppings. Another idea is to modify a pizza wheel, removing the smooth cut wheel and replace it with a sprocket: hand held wax remover when you wheel it down your chain.

  • 2
    Or you could buy a Park chain washer and use it dry. Aug 18, 2019 at 12:29
  • 1
    Just throwing a thought in there, if you don't have spare sprockets to use, you can get some inexpensive rear derailleur jockey pulleys online. Maybe attach 2 of them to a bench such that the chain wraps around both of them. The only thing is you'd have to fashion a handle for one of them so you could drive it. Or, since the wax would be dry anyway, just pull the chain with your hand.
    – user39927
    Aug 18, 2019 at 13:46

I don't bother.

Instead - I fit the cool waxxed chain to the bike which is in an axle stand or just leaning. When its all assembled I spin the cranks over ~10 times to make sure the chain goes around at least twice and that the quicklink is holding.

Once I've refitted all the chains, I simply sweep the concrete garage floor and use a brush and pan or a garage vaccuum to pick up all the sweepings.

Wax is cheap - I've used half of a 5 KG block in 5 years. Don't bother being overly careful saving it.

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