A Guide to Cleaning Your Bike

If you’re searching for a guide to clean your bike, then there’s a good chance you know that a dirty bike can affect performance, and even put you in danger. Giving your bike a good clean isn’t difficult, but there are great benefits to doing it. This guide will show you the four key steps to turning your dirt bike into a shiny, clean one.

What You Need to Clean Your Bike


Before you can start cleaning your bike, you need to gather together the tools and materials that you will use for cleaning. These are what you’ll need for cleaning your bike:

• A sponge or a cleaning brush.
• Clean rags. These can be old clothes or sheets that you’re happy to get filthy.
• A drying cloth. Preferably a chamois leather or a vegan alternative.
• A degreaser. A spray degreaser is easier to apply than a fluid degreaser, but both do the job.
Chain lubricant or oil.
• Bike polish
• A bucket full of warm water mixed with liquid soap or bike wash fluid.
• A hosepipe.

What You Must Do Before You Can Start Cleaning

Now that you’ve got everything you need for cleaning your bike, you’ve got to get yourself ready too. There’s a good chance you’re going to get dirty, as the muck from the bike is going to end up somewhere. Put on some old clothes and clear your schedule for thirty minutes. Now you’re ready to go.

How to Clean Your Bike

Man cleaning a bike

It’s time to clean your bike. Follow these steps in order and your bike will be shimmering in no time at all:

• If you have a stand for your bicycle, then now is the time to use it. If you don’t, then just find a way of propping the bike up, perhaps against a wall. The most important thing is that the bike is stable.

• Apply the degreaser to the chain, chainrings, cogs, gear cassette, and also to the jockey wheels, if you have them on your bicycle. You might need to use your brush to get into all the crevices if you’re using a liquid degreaser. Also, if your bike has gears, then you should change them while you are applying the degreaser, as this will allow you access to different elements of the cogs, so you can clean them too.

• Once the degreaser has been applied, check if the packaging recommends an amount of time to leave it to work. If so, then wait until this time has passed.

• Rinse off the degreaser using the hosepipe. You should now find that the dirtiest parts of the bicycle are much cleaner. But you’re not done yet.

• Take the sponge, dunk it into the water that’s been mixed with either soap or bike wash, and start going at the frame of your bike with the sponge. Make sure you really put your elbow into it, so that there is no trace of dirt left on the frame of the bike.

• If you’re satisfied you’ve got rid of all the muck on the frame, then get the hosepipe, and start rinsing off all the soapy water.

• A warning: When you’re rinsing your bike, try to make sure that the water doesn’t get into the brakes or gears too much, as this may damage their functionality, as they only require a little bit of grease.

• Give the bike a bit of a bounce to remove some of the water that has lodged itself in certain crevices.

• Time to get the drying cloth and get to work on removing all the water from the bicycle. You might want to use the rags first, then move onto the drying cloth, as sometimes chamois leathers work best when there is only minimal fluid that needs to be dried.

• When you’re drying off your bike, it is an ideal opportunity to check that everything is in order with it. Do your brake pads need changing? Are your tires looking worn and in need of replacement?

• If you’ve got some bike polish, then now is the time to apply it. This is a great product that will really get your bicycle gleaming and looking like it did when you bought it.

What to Do Once You’ve Cleaned Your Bike

Your bike is clean. Well done! But you’re not finished yet. Before you can get on the sparkly bike, there are a few more steps you need to follow. Here they are:

• Oil the chain. You should carefully apply the lubricant or bike oil that you have purchased to the bike chain. To do this, as you start to oil the chain, you should turn the wheel, so that the chain goes around, and then when you’ve reached the spot you started with, you can stop. You should make sure that the oil doesn’t get onto your brake pads or the rims of your wheels. If there is any excess lubricant or oil, then use one of the rags to wipe it away.

• The chainrings, cogs, gear cassette, and jockey wheels should also be carefully lubricated. Once again, make sure that you don’t get the oil on the brake pads, as it could ruin them.

That’s it. You’re all done. If you have followed this guide to cleaning your bike, then there’s a good chance your bike looks as pristine and shiny as it did on the day you bought it. Try to clean your bike as often as possible to keep it in working order.

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