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How to Clean a Bike Cassette with a Lasting Sparkle?

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

how to clean a bike cassette

Maintaining a clean bike drivetrain system takes time unless you know “how to clean a bike cassette” thoroughly and fast. We review here simple ways in cleaning bicycle cassette that are doable like how a pro does.

The proper way of cleaning bicycle cassettes gets rid of grime and dirt that affects shifting performance and lifespan. A clean bike chain and cassette satisfy a safe chain running and trustworthy gear-shift performance.

Ensure desirable clean bike gears by performing effective steps in removing grime and dirt away from them. Continue reading this review to do-it-yourself the proper way and quickly.

Simple Ways to Clean a Bike Cassette


What To Prepare


Here are a few bicycle cassette cleaner materials you need:

  • Rags, cloth, and mat
  • Elbow grease (water-soluble)
  • Chain-lube spray (i.e. WD40 on bike cassette)
  • Buckets with water, paintbrush, sponge, and soap
  • Safety gears (i.e. goggles and gloves)
  • Basic bicycle toolkit
  • White spirit or kerosene.

Step 1: Knowing How The Bicycle Cassettes Work

These types of bicycle sprockets or drivetrain essentials are critical for a simple and effective bicycle cassette cleaning. Look into these primary essentials about bike drivetrains or cassettes, and how they work for specific biking or cycling purposes.

To go about cleaning them, check whether your bike has a “freehub” or “freewheel.”

  • A cassette hub uses a freehub clutch ratcheting mechanism that runs counterclockwise for coasting and locks clockwise for driving.
  • While a freewheel system has threaded large sprockets machined onto the hub common to older bikes.

It’s vital to have specific sets of bike tools, including chain tools for each drivetrain. Each cassette type depends on the type of bike used for mountain biking, road biking, gravel, or offroad biking.

The gear-shifter system, a “derailleur” or a cassette is used in the front or rear hub of a bicycle. These hub gears or sprockets commonly called cassettes vary from smallest to large cog sizes. Most drivetrain types have 9 to 32 teeth (t) fit for road bikes and 10 to 52t for mountain bikes.

Understand how each cassette type works so you’ll know what tool to use and how to better clean them.

Step 2: Bring out Primary Bicycle Toolkit Essentials

A lot of small tools for each bicycle’s specifications including a cassette toolkit are available online and at maintenance depots or stores near you. Take a look at these primary bicycle tools to ease your search and save you time and money before buying them.

  • All bicycle cassettes require a lockring removal tool for easy removal, cleaning, installation, and replacement of worn-out parts.
  • A “Chain Whip“ for holding the cassette in place while adjusting the lockring, lockring removal tool, and tightening the lockring.
  • An “Adjustable Wrench“ is one of the most useful tools a handyman and every car or bike owner should have.
  • A Cone Hub Spanner Kit for leading bike brands. It comprises bicycle cone hub nut spanner, installer, remover, and wrench set for 13 to 16 teeth.

Step 3: Preparations & Cautions For Bike Cassette Cleaning

Get your bike cassette easily cleaned and restored with a lasting spark by preparing everything you need for the job. This will ensure a better look, and desirable results and leave your bike to last for more adventures and mileage.

  • Take precautions whenever doing any repair or maintenance works to prevent injuries
  • Wear your safety devices and use only the proper tools for each application.
  • Wash your bike chain and cassette when needed and ensure to place a mat beneath for a thorough wipe and dry.
  • Use only cassette parts and components following the design specifications of your bicycle.

Step 4: Removing The Grime and Dirt Off The Bike Cassette

Ensure to remove all the accessories from the bike that need no cleaning and washing before performing the removal procedure.

  • You can wash and clean the cassette without removing it from your bike to get rid of the grime and dirt. However, you may overlook spraying the degreaser through the hub which will deteriorate the bearing over time.
  • Make use of easy quick-release parts or wheels so removing the wheel with the cassette on it would not be an issue. Removing a bike cassette off the wheel to protect the other parts of the bike from the effect of cleaning materials.
  • Use appropriate small tools should you need to remove the wheel (without quick-release) for easy washing and cleaning. You can also use
  • Ensure to consider placing washed parts, cassettes, or wheels on a large mat for a secure and convenient cleaning process.
  • Once in a while, it is good to completely clean and removes the cassette or drivetrain of your bicycle for thorough preventive maintenance. It will help maintain the lifespan of your bike especially when you frequently traverse the coast, muddy trails, and offroad.

Step 5: Cleaning the Bike Cassette For Sparkling Results

Here are a few simple ways of cleaning the cassette cog and sprockets of your bike.

  1. Clean it with white spirit, kerosene, or another degreaser especially when it’s not frequently used offroad. Otherwise, a complete wash is a good thing to do.
  2. Apply a degreaser with a paintbrush instead of scrubbing it hard. Let it set for a few seconds for thorough cleaning of each cog and sprocket.
  3. Follow it through with a clean wipe using the rag and a thin cloth with white spirit (or kerosene).
  4. Wash and sponge out the degreased grime and dirt with soapy hot water. Remove excess dirt or grease from the chain and cassette.
  5. Do the chain and cassette washing every week or every month depending on your biking usage.
  6. Repeat degreasing and washing to completely blast off grime and dirt. Rinse them with a sponge and clean water. Ensure to place them on a mat to easily wipe dry the cassette. Soak a rag in the degreaser and run the cloth through each cog and sprocket to remove old grease.
  7. Thoroughly wipe off the cassette cogs and sprockets with dry thin cloth or rags.

Step 6: Mounting Back The Cassette

Check the cogs are free from old grease or dirt residues after letting them dry for a few minutes. Should you have completely removed it for easy washing, cleaning and lubrication, follow these steps to mount back the individual sprockets.

  1. Spray WD40 chain lube on the clean bike cassette and it’s good to assemble and mount it back to your bike.
  2. Look at the matching pattern of the largest cog to install them from the largest to the smallest cog.
  3. Line up the sprockets and check that the numbers are facing outward for easy identification. Each of the numbers indicates the number of teeth.
  4. Easily slide the cassette onto the hub and ensure the spacers are in the right order until you place the lock ring. Screw the threads outside the cassette’s body and the quick-release nut to the skewer with an adjustable spanner or lock-ring removal nut.
  5. Hold the wheel firmly and screw the spanner thread of the lock ring with an adjustable wrench to lock it tight. Unscrew the nut and spanner then replace it with the conical spring and quick-release nut.

Best Practices in Cleaning a Bike Cassette

Consider these best practices towards a better shifting and lasting use of your bicycle cassette.

  • Timely maintenance of your bike cassette makes more miles and adventures for you.
  • The best way to maintain your bicycle cassette is to ensure they are always lubricated and ease effective shifting performance.
  • Ensure you degrease and grease your cassette drivetrain the right way and with deep cleaning results. Degreasing your bike cassette components should not pose damage to other parts of your bicycle, and use only water-soluble grease.
  • Polish your cassette cogs as frequently as you can with buffing machines to make them shine and prevent adhering to grime or dirt formation.
  • Washing your bicycle cassette helps bring a perfectly clean result and readiness for any time biking and all-season trips. You can use a pressurized water washer and dishwashing soap to blast off all the grime and dirt.
  • Make use of cleaning materials at home such as dishwashing soap for efficient bike cassette cleaning.
  • Search for other best cleaning methods available online and from industry experts near you. The trendsetter practices would not harm you but can make a jewelry-shined look to your bike cassette.


Use these practical tips on how to clean a bike cassette” that is easy to do yourself like a pro.

Getting the right cleaning of a bike cassette cogs and chain system is what this review is all about. Performing these expert tips will lead to a longer lifespan of your bike and smooth shifting function to your advantage.

Choose the freehub type that fits your biking purpose for efficient and safe trips while securing a glowing cleaning result. Start saving your time and maintenance supplies with less downtime and unanticipated cassette repairs.

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