How often you will need to clean your chain depends entirely on the type of terrain you ride in and how often you ride. That said, it is a smart idea to give your bike chain a quick cleaning and re-oiling after every ride, which helps it remain in top condition.
To start, thoroughly clean your bike chain using a rag. Be sure to get connected areas like the cassette, jockey wheels, and chainrings, using an old toothbrush to get any hard-to-reach places. Once your chain is clean, use your favorite bike chain oil to lubricate. All you need is a drop of oil on each connecting link, giving the oil time to work in to the chain as you go.
Use a clean rag to wipe off any excessive lube after you have given the oil at least five minutes to soak in. Leaving too much oil on your chain can actually attract dirt and decrease performance, so do not skip this crucial step. While you will still need to remove your chain occasionally and give it a deep cleaning, this quick method for maintenance will help keep your chain shining and your bike smoothly racing along.