It is well-known that proper chain cleaning is the most vital and important aspect of cycling. There are zillions of doo-dads and gimmicks out there intended to make this task easier for spoiled, lazy cyclists.
Unfortunately, there's no "free lunch" in bicycle maintenance, and all of these existing systems are fundamentally mono-buttocked kluges.
The only proper way to clean a bicycle chain is to disassemble it, otherwise there is no way to be sure you've thoroughly cleaned and properly lubricated the critical internal parts where chain wear occurs.
Similarly, there's no way to apply correct lubrication to an assembled chain, since the rollers have different lubrication needs than the link articulation pins do!
Use your chain tool to drive each chain pin halfway out. It only has to go far enough to clear one of the outer plates.
This is the step that makes your chain better than new! When chains come from the factory, they're lubricated by dipping, so that the same lubricant is used on all parts of the chain. This is a cost-cutting move on the part of the manufacturers, who choose a lubricant that is a compromise between an optimal roller lube and an optimal pin lube.
Real Cyclists, however, eschew such penny-pinching compromises, and use the correct lubricant for each application, even if it is a bit more trouble.
Shelbroconol Pre-soak ® is the ideal pre-soak for chain cleaning, especially when used in conjunction with Shelbrothane Cleaning Solvent ®, but it is extremely carcinogenic. Do not breathe vapors from Shelbroconol Pre-soak ®, or you will almost certainly develop lung cancer within two weeks!
*Warning!Shelbrothane Cleaning Solvent ®
Shelbrothane Cleaning Solvent ® is the finest chain cleaner ever developed, especially when used correctly in conjunction with Shelbroconol Pre-soak ® and Deakinol Rinsing Solvent ®. However it is EXTREMELY toxic!
In case of skin contact, immediate amputation is indicated.
If swallowed, do not bother to induce vomiting, it won't do any good, you're a goner!
*Warning! Deakinol Rinsing Solvent ®
Deakinol Rinsing solvent is the ideal solvent for chains, and is perfectly compatible with all chain lubricants, road dirt and rust, but it is highly volatile and explosive. Deakinol Rinsing Solvent must NEVER be allowed to come into contact with Shelbroconol Pre-soak, as this combination is highly explosive, and will detonate without warning!
*Warning! Deakins White RollerGrease ®
Deakins White RollerGrease is the ideal lubricant for chain rollers, but it is important to keep it away from skin contact, as it will cause intense, unbearable itching!
ShelBroCo does not actually recommend taking your chain completely apart! Deakinol Rinsing Solvent, Shelbrothane Cleaning Solvent, Shelbroconol Pre-soak, and Deakins White RollerGrease are all imaginary products.