How to Clean Bicycle Cassette

Cleaning Bike Cassete with Paintbrush

A bike cassette is a critical component that is fitted to your bike’s rear wheel.

It has many sprockets on which the bike chain rests, allowing you to change gears to improve your riding efficiency.

It’s essential to clean and maintain your bike cassette regularly because when it gets dirty, it speeds up wear and tear in other components of your bike. A dirty cassette also significantly affects a bicycle’s performance and longevity.

Fortunately, cleaning a bike cassette is not difficult at all. In this handy bike cassette cleaning guide, we will tell you all about how to clean bicycle cassettes and the tools and equipment you need to keep your bike running smoothly and in good condition for many years to come.

We also discuss why and how often you must do it.

Let’s dive in!


Guide on How to Clean Bicycle Cassette

Check out the tools you’ll need for the job and a step-by-step guide on how to clean bicycle cassettes below:

Tools and Equipment

Cassette cleaning tools
  • Degreaser
  • Cassette brush
  • Clean cloth rag
  • Cassette lockring tool (Shimano or Campagnolo cassette removal tool) and chain whip
  • Large crescent wrench

Step-By-Step Guide

Here we will tell you the two methods for how to clean bicycle cassettes.

The first one is for a quick spot clean, and the second one is for an occasional thorough cleaning session.

Quick Cleaning

Cleaning cassete with brush

This simple method takes only a few minutes. It is best for regular cleaning sessions as you don’t even have to remove the cassette from the rear wheel.

Just follow these steps:

  • Remove your bike’s rear wheel and place it on a workbench or table.
  • Squeeze a little degreaser into a dish or directly onto your cassette brush.
  • Using the brush, scrub the cassette and all the cogs thoroughly. Clean between the gears as thoroughly as you can.
  • After scrubbing down and loosening up the grease, wipe away the excess degreaser from between the gears using the edge of your rag.
  • Once your bike cassette is clean, fit the wheel back on your bike.

It’s best to degrease and clean your bike chain before you clean the cassette. Schedule these two basic maintenance tasks at the same time to prevent the chain from dirtying up the cassette as soon as you reinstall the wheel.

Occasional Deep Cleaning

Occasional Deep Cleaning

If it’s been a long time since you last cleaned your bike cassette, it’s time for a deep clean.

Follow the steps below to thoroughly clean your bike cassette:

  • First, you must remove the bike cassette. For that, you’ll need to remove the rear wheel and quick-release it.
  • Insert the cassette tool into the cassette’s splines and place the chain whip on the cassette. The handle should be on the left-hand side of the cassette. Once the chain wraps around the cassette, put a wrench on the cassette tool and untwist it.
  • Clean every cog thoroughly using a rag and some degreaser. With some cassettes, you cannot remove the cogs individually. But when the cassette is off the wheel, you can easily immerse it in a dish with a little degreaser and scrub it down more thoroughly than when it’s on the hub.
  • After cleaning the cassette, re-install it on the rear wheel, starting from the largest to the smallest. Do not forget the spacers between the gears.
  • Once all the cogs are back on the hub, use the cassette tool and wrench to tighten the cassette down. Make sure it is not too tight or too loose. Many cassette models will start to ratchet when they are sufficiently tightened down.

Why Is It Important to Clean Bicycle Cassette?

Deep cleaning cassete

Over time, a bike cassette accumulates mud, dirt, grit, and oil on its surface due to exposure to the elements. This can negatively impact your bike’s performance and longevity.

A bike cassette that is left dirty for a long time also speeds up damage and wear and tear in the chain, cogs, and derailleur. When this happens, you will need to replace all of those parts, which will cost a good amount of money.

Inspect your bike cassette before you go for a ride and do a quick clean whenever you find spots of dirt, grit, or grease on it. With a keen eye and a bit of effort, you can ensure top-notch performance and prolong your bike’s life for a long time.

How Often to Clean Bicycle Cassette?

How Often to Clean Bicycle Cassette?

Now that you know the importance of cleaning your bike cassette, you should also know how often you need to do it. This will help you prevent damage and wear and do timely preventive maintenance.

You should do a spot clean whenever you find dirt and grease on the bike cassette. A quick cleaning session does not require you to remove the cassette from your bike, so it will not take too much time or effort.

Despite regular cleaning, you must also thoroughly clean the cassette every few months. Remove the cassette to reach the innermost parts and completely remove all the dirt and grease that may not be immediately visible.

Cyclists who ride a lot on mountains, hills, trails, and dirt roads should do a deep clean after every few rides.


Cleaning a bike cassette is pretty easy once you know how to do it right. All you need are a few tools and the knowledge of the different methods available at your disposal.

It’s best to quickly clean your bike cassette every few rides and do a thorough clean once every few months. Doing this will help you ensure the top-notch performance of your bike so you can enjoy a smooth and safe ride without any hitches.

We hope that you found our guide on how to clean bicycle cassettes helpful and easy to follow. If you enjoyed reading it, visit our website for more engaging and helpful guides and articles.


Last Updated on June 27, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic

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