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Can You Use Diesel To Clean The Motorcycle Chain? (Or Petrol?)

Can You Use Diesel To Clean The Motorcycle Chain? (Or Petrol?)

If your motorcycle uses a chain as the final drive method, you have to keep inspecting this component just as regularly as other key components. That essential metallic string-like structure connecting the front and rear sprockets will affect how your bike performs as well as your safety on the road.

If your motorbike has to keep registering top performance every time you hit the road, keep its chain in the best condition. Ensure that it is clean and well-lubricated before every trip.

So yes, you have trained yourself to inspect your bike’s chain regularly – well done! However, this time, you noticed that the chain needs cleaning. It’s the first time you have to clean it.

You aren’t sure what to use and what not to. You’ve heard several claims that diesel works perfectly for cleaning the motorcycle chain. But can it suffice? Is it the ideal product? What other product can you use? Well, we are here to find out!

Can I Clean The Motorcycle Chain With Diesel?

To start out, cleaning your motorcycle chain is an essential part of ensuring a well-functioning bike. Your motorcycle chain picks up dirt, dust, and other elements on the road. With time, all this stuff builds up and can affect how your machine performs. That’s why occasional cleaning is necessary.

Fortunately, cleaning your motorcycle chain isn’t a complex thing. You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to do it perfectly. You neither need to be an automotive engineer. It’s something you can do perfectly yourself.

However, before you can get right into the affair, you need at least two things. The first is some bit of common sense. The second is the right product for the job. And yes, that’s now where our question comes in.

So, can you use diesel for the job?

Yes, using diesel for cleaning your motorcycle chain is absolutely fine. In fact, it’s one of the best chain cleaners we have. So yes, if you were contemplating using it, then you were on the right path.

Is Diesel Good For Chain Cleaning?

Yes, diesel is a good chain cleaner. And just so you know, it’s not because it’s cheaper and more readily available than most types of fuel. No, not at all. It’s all about the properties. Diesel has some attributes that make it a better candidate for chain cleaning applications.

So, what exactly makes diesel your best friend when it’s time to clean your motorbike chain? Well, some a little basics about diesel will help us understand better why it makes a decent cleaner for motorbike chains.

You see, diesel is a product of direct distillation between kerosene and lubricating oil. It’s heavier than gasoline and kerosene, with a boiling point between 170 and 360 degrees Celsius.

In addition, diesel is a solution that dissolves. It’s also just as strong as gasoline, and that’s why it works ideally for cleaning engine parts. In fact, it even burns less readily than gasoline.

Now, all these properties make diesel a more reliable motorcycle cleaner. So yes, unlike some products, this type of fuel won’t damage your motorcycle chain when you use it for cleaning purposes.

Diesel will effectively remove dirt, stone, and any other form of grime you are likely to find in your motorbike chain. Of course, it does that without damaging the components of the chain.

But is it the only product you can use for the job? Don’t we have any alternative options that will work just as well? Well, that’s what we are about to examine. Let’s first begin with its closely-related cousins.

Can You Clean a Motorcycle Chain With Petrol?

Before answering that, it’s undoubtedly clear that petrol and diesel are similar in many ways. For instance, they are both an outcome of fractional distillation. They are also the common types of fuels.

With this and other similarities not mentioned, one may think it’s okay to use one in place of the other. Sure, that can apply. However, that’s not always the case. There are some areas you can use one where the other can’t suffice. And yes, cleaning your motorcycle chain is a case in point.

As much as diesel will give you decent results in this kind of work, petrol won’t. You see, it all takes us back to the differences in the chemical properties between these two products.

Petrol is thinner and more volatile than diesel. As such, when used on the chain, you simply will be risking life and limb. So yes, don’t think about using petrol/gasoline for your motorbike cleaning.

In addition, petrol is way too strong, damages latex gloves, and will attack the O-rings of your bike’s chain. And when these essential elements of the chain begin to deteriorate, you will be on your way to getting a new chain.

Lastly, petroleum is expensive. As much as it doesn’t do the work perfectly, it will cost you much. So yes, you pay more for something that endangers your life and that of your motorbike chain! It just doesn’t make sense. In other words, never use petrol to clean your motorbike chain.

Is Kerosene Good For Cleaning Motorcycle Chain?

Unlike petrol, you can use kerosene for cleaning your motorcycle chain. Sure, kerosene may not work as well as diesel for the work. But it will still register impressive results. It also won’t deteriorate the o-rings and other parts of the chain as petrol would do.

Cleaning a motorcycle chain is also easy – dip a piece of cloth in kerosene and use it to wipe over your chain – and there you have your revived chain – looking all new again! Incidentally, kerosene is readily available. In fact, you can hardly walk from one departmental store to another.

“But kerosene also has lots of similarities with petrol…!” Well, that’s true. However, there are a few grounds where the two differ. That’s what makes one more suitable for chain cleaning work.

Unlike petrol, kerosene is miscible with most industrial liquids. That means you can use it as a solvent as well as a lubricator. The solvent part helps remove petroleum products like chain grease. What’s even more, kerosene catches fire less readily than petrol.

Can You Use Kerosene To Clean an Engine?

Yes, you can use kerosene for cleaning an engine. Kerosene will dissolve any accumulated gunk in the engine. So yes, kerosene can make a reliable go-to product the next time you are flushing your engine.

You see, perhaps you weren’t expecting kerosene could be ideal for cleaning motorcycle chains. It could also have come as a surprise that it can also work in cleaning engines. But take it from me – it works ideally for both of these tasks.

In fact, if you were to examine most of the engine oil flush additives, you’d notice that they are basically kerosene. Sure, they may contain a few other components. But kerosene remains the primary ingredient in most of them.

Will Kerosene Damage a Gas Engine?

We don’t have a straight answer to that. But to start off, we haven’t seen any case of engine damage resulting from using kerosene. In fact, we have lots of people who use kerosene as a cleaner for their gasoline engines.

On the other side, we won’t recommend that you try anything different from what the manufacturer tells you. It could work, but we believe there’s a reason your manufacturer may not have recommended it for your car engine.

So, should you use kerosene or not? Well, if you can, just stick to the product the manufacturer recommends for your engine. No one knows your car’s engine better than the manufacturer.

But generally, kerosene won’t do any harm to your gas engine. It’s an age-old technique that people have been using to get rid of the sludge in their gasoline engines. You could also opt for a diesel. But again, kerosene is safer to use than its highly combustible counterpart.

Which Household Products Can You Use To Clean The Motorcycle Chain?

We’ve seen that you can use kerosene and diesel but never petrol for cleaning your motorcycle chain. Perhaps you also need to know whether we have other household products that work just as well as the two. So, are there any?

Well, to start off, you can use soap and water. You might not have expected that. But believe it or not, this simple method is an effective way to clean your motorcycle chain. It will do the work just as effectively as other products.

However, that comes with a caveat. You should only use soap and water as a temporary solution. In the long term, it will wear down your bike’s chain.

Again, after you use this method, dry out the chain. One area you will need to be careful with is the links of the chain. Undried, these areas will make motorcycle chains to rust with time. That’s not what you want. So yes, make sure that you dry the chain completely.

Another product that you can also use is paraffin. It works just as well as diesel and kerosene. It will wash down the grime and any other form of dirt in your chain. And unlike petrol, it isn’t very volatile or risky.


Your motorcycle chain goes a long way to determine how smoothly every ride feels when you get to the road. It will also have a say in your safety, and that’s why you should always give it the best of your attention.

And yes, one surefire way to keep it healthy is by cleaning it when necessary. Products such as kerosene, diesel, and paraffin will suffice. Only ensure that you don’t use petrol. Gasoline will hurt some components of the chain.