How to Clean a Concept 2 Rowing Machine with Chain Oil

Chris at Rowing Machine Pro discussing rowing machine chain oil

Concept 2 indoor rowing machines require very little maintenance (which is why people buy them in the first place), but with minimal routine care (a few minutes), you can keep your rower sliding smoothly and operating at its best possible condition.

1. General Routine Care Tips for Indoor Rowers

By “routine care”, I mean cleaning and greasing the rollers and steel rail under the seat. As you can see in the video demonstration below, no tools, very few cleaning supplies and just a few minutes of time is required. It’s pretty painless, as far as fitness equipment maintenance goes. (and it’s cheap!)

In addition, the silicone lubricant that I recommend can be used for a variety of other purposes. For example, I use it on squeaky doors, to loosen bolts and even underneath my treadmill belt.

Essentially, you want to keep the rolling wheel underneath the seat as white as possible. A dark black or gray color along the ends means a build-up of worn materials and sometimes dust or dirt which can make your seat noisy and even slow down its movement. Check the video out here:


2. Lubricating the Rowing Machine Chain:

New Concept2 rowers will come with a container of chain oil. That said, if you have run out or your machine did not come with lube, you can use the options below.

Bicycle Chain Cleaning KitJust like a bicycle chain, you want to keep your rower chain well lubricated. In fact, you can use a bicycle chain cleaning kit to do this.

You can also buy rowing machine chain oil. However, you can save money by purchasing regular chain lubricant.

Many rowing machine owners advise against using products like WD40. Some people use plain mineral oil and say it works well.

Whichever lubricant you decide to use, just make sure that after you apply it, you wipe down the chain well. Therefore, no excess oil remains. Excess oil will attract, pick up and hold dust and dirt. You want to prevent this from happening.

3. Older Rowing Machines and Deep Cleaning

Now, if you have an older machine or purchased used equipment, your rower might have more stubborn marks or even rust on it and need to be cleaned aesthetically. Fitness Trainer PJ Glassey says that regular everyday cleaners like 409 or Windex can work well for regular cleaning of exterior parts of the machine.

For deep cleaning, he recommends products like Goof Off or Goo Gone. You can apply them to stubborn areas like residue from stickers and let them sit for several minutes to help them break down the mess, which makes removing it easier.

If there is any rust, he suggests a product called “The Must for Rust” made by Krud Kutter. It is designed to dissolve and remove rust, and it is bio-degradable as well. TIP: Use a copper brillo pad so that you don’t scratch the equipment. Watch below to see how he does it:


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