Chain Waxing Tutorial

If you’re taking it off, just use boiling water - rather better for the environment!

Don’t do what I did and try and shortcut, using hot water to clean it when it’s still on the freehub…bearings failed fairly soon after :smiley:

Personally I don’t clean the cassette, et. al. Why? Just for appearances? That wax film is terrific lubricant, and doesn’t retain grit or get greasy. I’d just leave it.

One of the main benefits of waxing is the fact that you just don’t have to clean your drivetrain often (if at all).


is it ok to mix MSW with the gulf wax? should I clean my MSW chain before using gulf?

sorry for the dumb questions…

Yes. Obviously it would be slower in theory but will still be like 95% like the msw


I hit the cassette with garden hose when i’m washing bike just to wash off any loose debris, but the rare time i’ve the cassette off i use boiling water and a rag… not had any issues at all.

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After a short 90 min ride with a new and freshly waxed chain, it rusted very quickly.
I didn’t ride in the rain, no stream crossings, but I did ride through very very wet tall grass and the terrain was wet. I did notice a bit of dry-chain sounds on my way back.
A couple hours after the ride I noticed there was rust coming out of almost every single roller. It is now in boiling water with some citric acid and will be throwing it in the slow cooker.
My guess is I need to tweak my process. Maybe the chain was not clean enough. I think I pulled it out of the slow cooker before the wax had melted fully so maybe leave it in hotter wax for a while. (?) Not giving up waxing mtb’s chains yet, but I can tell wet off road conditions are a bit of a challenge for this method.
Guidance and recommendations are welcome.

My latest cleaning method (after Rebecca’s Private Idaho) is

  1. throw chains in the ultrasonic cleaner with boiling water, set the temp to 75c and run it for 20 minutes.
  2. pull a chain out. Dry it with a towel, then blast each roller with compressed air via blower attachment.
  3. throw them in the wax pot, agitate after 15 min to get air bubbles out, then every 5 until no more bubbles come up.
  4. wipe side plates and hang to cool.

The ultrasonic does remove some wax but after RPI threw a lot of dirt into the water as well.

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As I understand it the real benefit of hot wax chains is that the wax occupies the space between between each link. Filling this space with wax helps the chain to not load up with dirt and dust. If this is true I can’t see that dripping hot wax into each link will fully occupy each space.

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I don’t even wipe side plates… I just hang the chain and let it drip dry/cool…

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I don’t think so, the waxing is to get the wax right into the rollers. Having wax anywhere else is a bonus.

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Tried the new ZFC factory grease removal method on a new chain:

From the Instructions pull down on the website.

You can find the Chain Prep concise and guide v2 on the website

10 minutes later it was clean. Hung it up to dry, grabbed a hair dryer, and 5 minutes later it was ready to wax.



Yikes, UFO Clean is pricey stuff. I think I’ll stick with simple green in the ultrasonic x3, and taking a bit more time for the chain to be done.

You shouldn’t even need to blowdry. You can drop in hot wax

$30 for a bottle I bought a year ago, have cleaned 2 chains of factory grease, and twice a month minor chain cleanup of wax/gunk. And I still have a quarter to a third of the original bottle left.

Next time I remove factory grease I’ll use the same amount and clean 3 or 4 chains as per ZFC.

That’s fair. For a single chain, not so much though.

I used maybe 10% of the bottle to clean that chain yesterday. I could have used less.

I ran out of time and simply used UFO lube drip wax. After cleaning the chain I hung up the chain in the sun, washed the bike, and then 3 hours later used the blow dryer just to be sure.

The reason why I ran out of time (rant time) - after washing the bike I removed the rear tire to put on a new tubeless tire. And then I discovered the 6 day old tape job was as awful as I was telling Kevin it might be when he did it on his shoes instead of a wheel stand. Last week I was like “hey Kev, aren’t you going to use the wheel stand? I want that tape deep in the center channel to leave room for tight tubeless tire installs” and Kev blew me off and said “this isn’t my first taping rodeo.” And then “hey Kev, why so many air bubbles?” and he replies “well look here, watch me get them out with my thumbs” and I left with two wheels with enough air bubbles to make me nervous. Whatever, I’ll give it a whirl.

Back to yesterday at 4:30pm, 6 days later, and I discover the tape in 2 spots is off the shoulder and into the center channel. So I call the buckaroo at his shop, and “Bill” answers and explains Kevin has left for the day. So I had to haul ass in afternoon traffic to the place I should have gone to last week, where they actually do things right instead of bullshitting me and saying it with conviction and swagger.

Sorry I had to get that off my chest before calling Kevin and demanding something for the crappy $15/wheel tape job. The shop 11 miles away only charges $10/wheel and the tape looks perfect like it was machine rolled onto the rim.

By the way, when I removed some chain links on the new chain, the exposed chain was squeaky clean :+1:



There is some film as mentioned in the ZFC cleaning guide.

And one more with the rollers removed:


So it leaves no residue - no need to use alcohol etc? Impressive

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Yup. The instructions on Zero Friction call for 100ml of CeramicSpeed Clean drivetrain solution. It comes in a 1 Litre bottle so that’s 10% of the bottle.

After cleaning you rinse chain in hot water. Then dry.