How to Remove Rust From Bike Handlebars

How to Remove Rust From Bike Handlebars

How to Remove Rust From Bike Handlebars

When was the last time you went on a ride using your bike? If you haven’t been using your bike for a while, have you checked whether it’s still in condition or has it already accumulated rust? 

Check it and determine what your bike has gone through while on standby. Rust might have occupied your bike frame, bike chain, bike spokes and even your bike’s handlebars. If you see even just a bit of rust spot or some rust stains, immediately list down bike rust removal into your to-do list. 

How to Remove Rust from Handlebars

A bike has several parts, and the bike handlebar is one of them. The handle is the part that is used for maneuvering and it is where most bike accessories are installed, such as the camera, speedometer, and front light. 

Bikes that are composed of iron-based alloy materials are more prone to rust. Iron, when chemically combined with water and oxygen, produces rust, and it can develop on alloy surfaces containing a reasonable amount of iron. 

However, this is not really a serious problem as long as you know how to remove rust from bike handlebars. Stubborn rust can be resolved simply by using baking soda solution, chemical rust cleaners, and acid cleaners. All these are inexpensive and are often readily available in your own home. 

If your bike’s handlebar has been harshly attacked by rust, you may need to do the rust removal process over and over until it disappears. If your bike has paint on it, it’s safe to test the chemical rust remover first. If the color begins to tarnish, cut-off your mission. 

Steps in Using the Baking Soda Solution to Remove Rust in Bike Handlebars

Most of us think that baking soda is just for cooking, but, believe it or not, it is also actually lined up among the most effective cleaning ingredients. Baking soda’s versatility is superb. You can use it to clean different bike parts like your rusty bike chain, bike rim, and not to mention your brake lever. 

But for this article, I will exclusively be discussing the steps on how you can free your bike’s handlebars from rust. 

Things Needed: 

  • Baking soda
  • Clean water
  • Soap 
  • Toothbrush or sponge
  • Bowl
  • Gloves

STEP 1: Clean the Bike‘s Handlebars

Using a sponge, soap and water, wipe off dust and dirt that have piled up on your bike’s handlebar. This shall expose rust stains and will make it easier for you to apply the baking solution on the affected part.

STEP 2: Prepare the Baking Soda Paste

The baking soda paste basically has a ratio of 1:1, which means you combine 1 part baking soda and 1 part water. If you aren’t sure how much mixture to make, just start with 2 cups of baking soda and 2 cups of water. Then simply make another batch whenever needed. 

Make sure that the consistency of the baking soda paste allows it to stick to the surface rust of the bike’s handlebars. If the solution turns out too runny, add more baking soda until you reach the right consistency. 

STEP 3: Apply the Baking Soda Solution

Get the sponge, dip it on the baking soda solution, and apply it evenly to the rusty part or parts of the bike’s handlebars. Make use of a paintbrush to even out the mixture on the bike rust, and leave it for at least 15 minutes. 

STEP 4: Scrub Off the Baking Soda Solution

Using a toothbrush or a wet sponge, scrub the mixture off from the rusty spot of the handlebars. By doing this, you shall see the rust easily coming off and make your handlebars rust-free. If you still see petty rust, simply brush it off with a toothbrush. 

But if after brushing and you still find some remaining rust spot, try doing the steps over again. Leave the baking soda solution for another 10 minutes, then scrub it using a toothbrush, a sponge, or a scrub pad for that matter. 

Cleaning Materials Available at Home

You do not have to buy a rust remover for your bicycle. Save your money! The cleaning materials that will free your bike from rust are maybe just around the four corners of your home.

1. Aluminum Foil Method

Things Needed:

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Saltwater
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Soap
  • Clean Cloth

Before working on your rusty bike, just like when cleaning with the baking soda mixture, you first need to clean the handlebars. The handlebars have to be dirt-free so the aluminum foil can efficiently remove the bike rust. 

  1. First, get a 4in. x 4in. of aluminum foil, or you may just crumple a foil and form it into a ball. 
  2. Get the foil, dip it into the saltwater.
  3. Rub the foil against the handlebar’s rust stains. Use pressure to completely eliminate even the stubborn rust. 
  4. The aluminum shall be responsible for pulling the rust off, while the saltwater makes the process of scrubbing the rust much easier. 
  5. After scrubbing, it’s time to rinse the bicycle’s handlebars using clean water as well as clean cloth or a dry rag. 

2. Acid Cleaners

Things Needed: 

  • Lime or lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Cloth
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Wax

Again, before proceeding to the rust removal process, clean the handlebars of your bicycle. This is the SOP in removing rust from your rusty chain, bicycle spokes and other bike parts. 

  1. Apply the lime, lemon juice or white vinegar, whichever is available, onto the surface where rust is evident. Leave it for at least 15 minutes. 
  2. Once 15 minutes is over, scrub off the rust using a cloth or a sponge. 
  3. If there’s still stubborn rust that won’t come off, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice or lime over it. 
  4. Rinse the handlebars with soap and water, then dry it off using a dry cloth. 
  5. Get the wax and apply it over the handlebars so rust won’t occupy it again. 

3. Table Salt

Things Needed:

  • Table salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Sponge or brush
  1. Mix 6 tablespoons of table salt with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. It must have a paste-like consistency to allow it to stick to the bike’s handlebars. 
  2. By using a brush or a sponge, apply the mixture onto the part where rust has accumulated. Leave it for 10 minutes. 
  3. Scrub the treated part with a cloth or sponge allowing the rust to come off. 
  4. Rinse with soap and water, and wipe it with cloth to dry. Apply wax afterwards. 

Chemicals that Can Eliminate Rust

If you’ve done and used every natural ingredient to ward off the rust from your bicycle and yet to no avail, then this is the time for you to buy a chemical rust remover. Even though you’ll get to spend a few dollars for this one, at least you’ll be guaranteed to have a rust-free bike sooner or later. 

One of the most effective chemical rust remover and trusted by millions of people all over the world is the WD-40 Specialist Rust Remover Soak. The W-40 is not only capable of removing rust from handlebars, but also from other things that are prone to having surface rust. 

The WD-40 is very simple to use. Just apply a small amount on the affected parts and then wipe them off. This is truly an amazing product.

Further maintenance on your bike can extend the life, tighten the chain when you notice a sag, and keep the chain lubed especially if you are an off-roader.

Conclusion

As a biker, you don’t just ride on your bike – you also need to take care of it. If you stopped biking for a while, you should still take it upon yourself to examine it. If ever you find rust accumulating in the different parts of your bike, then maybe one of the above-mentioned rust remover methods might help. 

You can use the baking soda solution, the lime or vinegar technique, or the aluminum foil method. But if you want an effortless method, then get hold of a WD-40 Specialist Rust Remover Soak. 

When you have successfully eliminated rust from your handlebars, you might also want to proceed with the other bike parts. This way, you will have a 100% rust-free bicycle!

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By Paul P.

Paul Panha is an avid cyclist and sports performance enthusiast. Regularly on the road testing (and buying) new bikes. Paul is a co-owner of GetBike.fit and is the head resident author here.