How to Care for Your Barbell

Barbell loaded on a power rack

It takes a ton of abuse. It bears a heavy burden and is thrown around, bumped and jerked, and then often put away filthy to forget about until tomorrow.

But barbells need love, too.

After investing in a quality barbell, you want it to last – and continue working well as long as you’re working. Taking care of your bar will keep its spin smooth, maintain the knurling, and keep it looking shiny and new. Here’s how to properly care for your barbell so it doesn’t rust and bust.

What you’ll need:

  • Snap-ring pilers
  • Three-in-one oil or gun oil
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Microfiber cloth


Barbells stored on a wall rack

Clean the shaft: Ideally, you should clean the debris out of the knurling after every use. Regardless of the bar type and bearings in the shaft, cleaning the shaft is the same. If there’s noticeable dirt, debris, or chalk in the knurling of the bar, brush it out with the stiff bristle brush. Simply swipe back and forth as you rotate the bar to clean it out. You need to remove leftover chalk because any chalk left on the bar can hold humidity; that ultimately can lead to rust.

Oil the shaft: Once all the dirt and debris are off, finish cleaning your barbell by applying a couple drops of oil on a microfiber cloth. Wipe the shaft clean with that. That should take off any remaining blood, dirt, grime, or dust. The oil helps protect your bar and helps prevent rust and corrosion.

Store it properly: Don’t store your barbell loaded with plates. Other than basic gym etiquette (unrack your weight, bruh), leaving weight on your bar over time can cause it to warp. It’s best to properly store your bar in a barbell holder (either horizontally or vertically). If you don’t have one, store it unloaded on your rack J-cups. Just propping a barbell in the corner risks it being bumped and falling.

Dropping an empty barbell on the ground can damage the hardware inside, which can affect the spin or sleeves, damage the bearings/bushing, and break your barbell. Only drop a bar if it has bumpers on it to help absorb the shock.


REP Barbell

Occasionally, you should take your barbell apart for a deeper cleaning. How frequently depends on your environment. If you’re in a pretty clean environment without a lot of dust and chalk floating around, you may only need to do this once or twice a year. If it’s a dirtier environment, like a garage or gym with a lot of dust or chalk floating around, you may want to take the sleeve apart quarterly (four times a year).

1. Clean the shaft.

2. Oil the shaft.

3. Disassemble the sleeve.

* Put pressure on the endcap and spin the sleeve clockwise until the cap pops off.
* Grab your snap-ring pliers. Use them to remove the two snap-rings.
* Next, pop out the pressure washer.
* Slide the sleeve back and remove the half-moon washers.
* Remove the final washer and slide the sleeve off the bar.

4. Oil the sleeve.
 Put some oil on your finger and apply it to the inside of the bearing. Flip the sleeve over and repeat on the other side.

5. Put it all back together.
 Replace all the parts in the opposite order as above.
* Slide on the sleeve.
* Put the washer in.
* Add the half-moon washers. Pull the sleeve up to help hold them in place.
* Add the pressure washer.
* Use the spring-clip piers to replace the spring clips.
* Screw the endcap back on counterclockwise.
* Give it a spin!


Check out a step-by-step video here.