How to Clean ATV Chain at Home (Dirt Bike Included)

Whether we are talking dirt bikes or ATVs, it’s important to keep the chain clean. There’s nothing more fun than riding your four-wheeler at fast speeds through mud or on dirt roads. However, this will get the chain dirty really quickly. Fortunately, cleaning an ATV chain at home is not too complicated. All you need is the right set of tools and the know-how. Don’t worry, we will help you with both!

You will only need an ATV (or dirt bike) chain lubricant and a cloth to clean the ATV chain. The ATV needs to be placed on a stand (or jacked up) so that the rear wheels are off the ground. This is necessary because you will spin the ATV’s sprocket to ensure that the entire length of the chain is sprayed with the professional lube. After spraying the chain, the next step is to wipe any excess lube. If the ATV is muddy, you will need to use a brush to get the annoying dry dirt off.

Today I will show you my favorite way to clean an ATV chain. I will explain the process step-by-step so that anyone can do it from the comfort of their homes. It’s important to highlight that the same process can be used to clean motorcycle chains.

infographic explaining how to clean ATV chain at home

How to Clean ATV Chain at Home

Muddy ATV

Cleaning your ATV’s chain regularly is one of the most important steps in maintenance. If the chain is not cleaned, you will end up damaging it.  On the bright side of things, you don’t have to pay a visit to the mechanic’s shop every time the chain gets dirty. You can easily clean it in your garage or lawn.

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The tools you need

In order to properly clean the chain of your ATV, you will first need to get a chain lubricant. Don’t worry, you will not have to break the bank on this product. ATV chain lubricants are not expensive and they will last you for a long while. I love using the STA-BIL chain cleaner because it’s easy to use and it contains all the substances needed for proper chain maintenance. You can check out the STA-BIL chain cleaner on Amazon.

If you really want to get dry mud and all other debris off your ATV chain, you will need a special brush. While you can use a regular brush, it’s probably not going to get all debris off and it’s going to get damaged. The folks at WEFOO make motorcycle chain brushes that you can get for less than ten bucks. Even though the WEFOO chain cleaner is designed for motorcycles, it also works really well with quads. You can get the WEFOO chain brush from Amazon.

Steps to clean ATV chain at home:

  1. Get the ATV into position;

You should use an ATV stand or a jack stand to lift the four-wheeler so that the rear wheels are in thei air. This is required because you will spin the chain and the wheels will move simultaneously.

  1. Clean the dry mud;

The next step is to take a cloth or regular rag that you might have around the garage and clean the dry mud off the chain. If you have a WEFOO chain brush, you will remove the dirt in no time.

  1. Use ATV chain cleaner

After removing the excess dirt, you should use the STA-BIL chain cleaner (or any other chain cleaner that you have) to lubricate the chain.  Make sure to spin the ATV sprocket so that you lubricate the entire length of the chain.

  1. Use a cloth or rag to remove excess lubricant.

Since you are spraying the ATV cleaner all over the chain, it’s highly likely that you will end up with excess lubricant. It’s always advised to remove it with a cloth or rag in order to avoid making a mess in your garage.

Sidenote: As you can see, cleaning an ATV chain at home is pretty straightforward. Anyone can do it and you don’t need to pay a visit to the mechanic’s shop anytime the four-wheeler gets muddy. It’s important to highlight that the same procedure is used to clean dirt bike chains as well. In addition, do you have an easier time learning from videos? If yes, you can click here and access a YouTube guide that shows exactly what you.

Does WD-40 Clean ATV Chain?

You should not use WD-40 to clean ATV chains. In fact, WD-40 should not be used to clean or lubricate dirt bike chains as well. WD-40 is not a lubricant. The “WD” stands for water dissolver, which means that it removes contaminates in order to keep parts clean. However, WD-40 will remove any existing lubricant. This is why using it on an ATV or dirt bike chain is a big no-no. You are always better off spending a couple of bucks on a cleaner that is dedicated to chain maintenance.

How Often Should You Clean ATV Chain? (dirt bike included)

You should clean the chain of your ATV or dirt bike after every ride. Off-road adventures, whether they take you through mud, snow, or dusty trails, almost guarantee that the chain of your vehicle will collect debris. This accumulated grime can significantly affect the chain’s performance and lifespan. By making a habit of cleaning the chain after each outing, you help ensure the optimal operation of your ATV or dirt bike and prolong the chain’s serviceable life. This frequent attention not only helps your vehicle run smoothly but also provides you with an opportunity to inspect the chain and sprockets for wear and tear, allowing you to address small issues before they become significant problems.

Final Words

Let’s face it, maintenance is not fun, especially after finishing a long and challenging ride. However, cleaning your ATV’s chain after every ride is necessary if you want the four-wheeler to run smooth for as long as possible. That’s not all. Cleaning the ATV chain is essential to prevent accidents that can cost you a fortune, such as a chain link breaking. Considering that cleaning the ATV chain takes less than 10 minutes, you should try and do it every time you can. Believe me, it’s worth the time!

Bob Kelly

Hey there, my name is Bob and I've been riding ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs for most of my life. Going on outdoor adventures has always been my passion. I love sharing tips and tricks with beginners who are getting ready to join the world of outdoor enthusiasts. You can reach me at if you want to get in touch.

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