6 Essential Tips for Cleaning Your Bike
Does your bike ever look like this? Then its time for a bath. Even if it is just a little dirty, keeping your bike clean and lubricated is the best way to ensure it has a long, healthy life. You will be shifting smoother, braking better, not to mention it will look pristine. Having a clean bike may even be incentive for you to get out and ride it more often.
- Bike Degreaser
- Chain Cleaning Tool or Toothbrush
- Dish Soap
- Clean Rags
- Chain Lubricant
- Isopropyl Alcohol (optional)
1) Wash with low pressure water
High pressure water systems can be damaging to your bike. The water can carry dirt into areas with seals and bearings causing your parts to wear out quickly. Instead, lightly spray your bike with a hose. It is best to spray your bike from the top to make sure dirt falls to the ground rather than on your components. Completely wet your bike down and remove as much dirt and mud as you can.
2) Thoroughly clean drivetrain with degreaser and brushes
Apply bike specific degreaser to your chain, chainrings, derailleurs and cassette. Use either an enclosed chain cleaning tool or a toothbrush to scrub down all of your metal parts. Rinse thoroughly, and if dirt and grime still remain, repeat the process. For in depth instructions on deep cleaning your drivetrain, see our article how to deep clean your chain/drivetrain
3) Wash the frame
After cleaning the drivetrain, the next step is to wash the frame. First wet the bike down with water. Using a sponge or clean rag, soap up the frame just like you would if you were cleaning a car. Most people use dish soap for this step. Clean every part of your bike, rinse, and thoroughly dry it.
4) Don’t forget the brakes
If you have disc brakes, try not to contaminate them with degreaser, lubricant, or any other cleaner. Instead clean the rotors and pads with isopropyl alcohol. This step can prevent squeaky brakes
5) Dry your bike
Bounce your bike up and down a little to shake off the water. Use a soft towel to dry off the frame and components. Keep it in a well-ventilated area to air dry.
6) Lubricate to protect
By far the most important step is applying lubricant to the chain and if necessary other drivetrain components. Lubrication protects your metal parts from water and dirt. It’s important to choose the right lube for different riding conditions. If you are unsure which lube to use, read our article on how to choose the correct chain lubricant.
You’re done! Touch up your bike after every ride, but you probably don’t need to do a full deep clean that frequently. Follow these guidelines as needed to keep your bike in top shape. Get out and ride!