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How to Remove Rust from Bike Handlebars: 4 Methods

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

how to remove rust from bike handlebars

Bikes are meant for outdoor use. Therefore, it is inevitable that its parts would rust over time due to weather conditions. Especially in countries where it is relatively humid, the rusting of a bike is expected.

One of the many parts of a bike that easily rust is the handlebars. To break it down, since the handlebars of bikes are made up of metal that contains iron, the combination of oxygen and water would cause a chemical reaction that results in rusting.

This article will especially be helpful for bike users or the like in learning how to remove rust from bike handlebars.

Methods to Remove Rust from Bike Handlebars


It can be a source of irritation when the handlebars of a bike have rust. Our hands make close contact with the handlebars, which results in the rust transferring to our hands.

Also, rust on bike handlebars can be aesthetically painful to look at. Especially for those who care about maintaining their bikes, below are the safest methods for cleaning, polishing, and maintaining your bike’s handlebars.

Method #1: Use Carbonated Drinks


Carbonated drinks are effective when you want to get rust off bike handlebars because it contains phosphoric acid. Also, the benefit of using carbonated drinks when removing rust from bike handlebars is that the bike would look untouched after using this soda or with coke method.

Things to Prepare

  • Carbonated soda
  • Soap with water
  • Plastic bowl container
  • Towel for wiping

Step 1: Clean the Handlebars with Soap

If you prefer a faster and more efficient way to remove the rust, try soaping the handlebars first with a sponge and wiping with a towel.

Ultimately, this will save you time from scrubbing the handlebars clean with soda.

Step 2: Wipe the Handlebars with Soda

If you would prefer not to spend much on removing rust from bicycle handlebars, you can use carbonated drinks like Coke, Sprite, Pepsi, and the like. Go to your fridge and find any soda, and you are ready for this.

Pour the soda into a plastic bowl container. Then, dip the cloth in the soda and gently wipe the bike’s handlebars.

Step 3: Let It Sit for a Few Minutes, Then Wipe Off

You should let the soda sit on your handlebar for at least 20 minutes. If the rust is severe, 30-40 minutes will suffice.

Afterwards, make sure you use clean water to rinse off the soda from the handlebar.

Method #2: Wipe with Acid Cleaners


Vinegar is a common acid cleaner used as a cooking ingredient and easily found at home. With vinegar, it can be as potent as using agents formulated for rust removal and is a low-cost way to get rid of bike rust.

Things to Prepare:

  • Vinegar
  • Soap with water
  • Plastic bowl container
  • Sponge
  • Towel for wiping

Step 1: Clean the Handlebars with Soap

Like in the first method, before using vinegar, you should use soapy water to wipe the handlebars with a sponge and towel.

This will ensure that excess dirt and rust will be carried away and that the vinegar will reach the source of the rust.

Step 2: Wipe the Handlebars with Vinegar

Add vinegar to a plastic bowl container on your bike’s handlebars.

After the pre-wiping process, you may dip the cloth in vinegar and gently wipe the vinegar on the surface of the bike’s handlebars.

You may also use vinegar on other parts like the bike chain to fully restore a rusty bike.

Make sure to let the vinegar solution sit there for 30 – 45 minutes for it to break down the rust.

Step 3: Clean the Handlebars

Now, you should use soapy water and a clean cloth to wipe off the vinegar solution. Then, make sure you rinse it off with clean water and let the handlebar dry.

Method #3: Use WD40


The WD40 is an all-around agent used for removing rust on any surface. If you want to clean a rusty bike and don’t mind spending a bit more in order to save some time in removing rust, try the WD 40.

Things to Prepare:

  • WD40
  • Towel for wiping

Step 1: Assemble the WD40

If you have already tried the two methods above and still find it difficult to remove rust from bike parts such as the handlebars, try the WD40.

The WD40 includes a blue spray bottle with a red lid. You must attach the long connecting spray part to the hole on the red lid.

Step 2: Spray and Wipe WD40 on the Handlebars

Simply spray the WD40 on the areas with rust on the handlebars and wait for 10 minutes.

Let the WD40 formula soak onto the handlebars, so it is easier to remove the rust completely.

Step 3: Wipe Off the WD40 to Wipe Away the Rust

Then, gently wipe the WD40 agent off the handlebars with an old towel. You may choose to soak the WD40 again for another 10 minutes if there are still some areas with rust.

Method #4: Baking Soda and Water Combination


Things to Prepare:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Soap with water
  • Plastic bowl container
  • Paintbrush
  • Sponge
  • Toothbrush (optional)

Step 1: Clean the Handlebars with Soap

As part of the preparation, try cleaning the bike’s handlebars first with soap and a sponge. This will ensure that any dirt and debris won’t interfere with removing the rust.

Step 2: Create the Baking Soda Paste

Then, mix the baking soda with water with a 1:1 ratio in a plastic bowl container to make your cleaning solution.

A 1:1 ratio of water and soda is important because this will ensure that the solution won’t be too diluted nor too potent. This will avoid the metal part of the bike handlebars from getting eroded.

Step 3: Brush the Baking Soda Paste on the Handlebars

The baking soda to water solution should have a paste-like consistency as an end result. Then, once you have achieved this texture, use a brush and paint the baking soda paste on the bike’s handlebars.

This step is very important in that you are supposed to leave the paste for 10 minutes on the handlebars.

During this timeframe, the baking soda will chemically react with the rust, eventually making it easier for you to wipe off the rust.

Step 4: Scrub the Rust Off the Handlebars

After 10 minutes, scrub it off with a sponge, and your bike shines as good as new! Using a toothbrush to scrub the baking soda paste on the handlebars is optional after the ten-minute wait.

Helpful Tips


As a gentle reminder, there is an order which you should follow to remove rust from bike handlebars effectively. The potency and abrasiveness of the solution concerning the metal on the handlebar will affect which materials you should use and in which order.

  • Try using the soda method first, as it is one of the least potent out of all the ways above. If soda does not work, then use baking soda with water.
  • Usually, most of the rust should be gone at this point as baking soda is considered highly effective in removing rust due to its rust-removing chemical properties. If there is still some rust left after trying baking soda, try moving on to the vinegar method.
  • But, if you’re in search of a quick and easy rust remover for motorcycles, the WD40 won’t let you down. But, do note that the WD40 should be used as a last resort compared to its substitutes.

These are some helpful tips if you’re the type of person who would be patient enough to go through all the methods mentioned above until all the rust is gone.

In the long run, you will eventually prevent damage if a specific method negatively reacts with the metallic handlebars.


There is no one strict method when it comes to how to remove rust from bike handlebars. There are a variety of solutions to rusting handlebars by using household items like carbonated drinks, acid cleaners like vinegar, the WD40, and baking soda.

In addition, an essential preparation step before using these methods is to try cleaning the handlebars first with soap. Doing this saves you time and money in removing the rust.

Remember that removing rust from bike handlebars is a process of trial and error. You should try using the least concentrated solution first and then progress to more potent methods if one solution does not turn out 100% effective.

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