Hey, you reading this WD40 is a DEGREASER, that is the opposite of what you want. This is the most common issue we see, somebody spray degreaser in a bar. If this is you - you need to strip it down and regrease. Silly goose.
How to actually maintain a barbell
You have three enemies
1. Chalk or impurities in your knurling
2. Water or moisture in your sleeves
3. Overall surface rust
Australia is humid at times and apparently is under constant rain these days. You would be surprised when you strip down a barbell how the grease has been affected.
Level one maintenance
What you need
1. Cheap heat gun / hairdryer + patience.
2. Spray lubricant (a Silicone based lubricant is best, we like the waterproof ones)
You can buy all the above for around $50, and its the easiest way to maintain barbells without a strip down.
Basically - the chalk/dirt will come off the knurling when dry with a little elbow grease - and if you give the sleeves a little heat up - you can deal with low levels of moisture in there. Give a spray down each sleeve, give them a spin and leave overnight.
Back in the day, everyone would use sewing machine oil - but that is thin and water messes it up. The smallest amount of rust inside sleeves ruin it.
Know your coating
3 coatings we have in our range are:
- Black Zinc
- Hard Chrome
Not to brag, but all of these are corrosion resistant, and require 'less' faff around. Cerakote is highly resistant, and needs almost no maintenance.
We do not recommend hard or abusive brushing of that fancy Cerakote finish.
Hard chrome would take a very long time to have corrosion, just keep it clean.
Zinc might get corroded if you leave it out for a long time, and may require the next level of maintenance below.
Level two maintenance
The ole grease and shine. If you aren't going to use the bar for a few days, complete the above first to get all the bigger chunks of chalk etc out, then use something like a disinfectant to get bits of human out of the knurling (your skin is gross and in there).
Once that is dry - use a small amount of the above lubricant into a rag and wipe it across the bar. You are trying to get a level of clean/waterproofing done, without leaving the bar a soppy mess.
People use WAY to much oil here - and do this way too often.
Level three maintenance
The tear down and regrease. This is not hard to do, its kind of fun, but its not necessary very often unless you neglect the bar (ie, leave upright in the rain like the person who wrote this article).
Our bars are quite easy - take out the c-lip - slide it all off, clean, dry, regrease, reassemble, spin and admire.