Your bike is a precious investment. You normally take it to the repair shop for regular maintenance. But do you take time to clean it properly after every use to ensure that everything runs smoothly?
It’s okay to give the bicycle a quick hose spray and towel swipe but you need to do more to keep the dirt and rust away.
In this post, we will show you how to clean your bike the right way at home and why you should do it as often as you use the bicycle.
How to Clean a Bicycle
Before we get into more details on how to clean your mountain bicycle, road bicycle, or dirt bicycle, it’s important to state that proper cleaning should be a major part of your bike maintenance routine.
By washing the bike regularly, you ensure that all the parts work properly and the bike serves you for a longer time. It doesn’t matter whether you ride a mountain, dirt, or road bike.
Washing the bike, especially movable parts such as the drivetrain should be a top priority in your list of bike maintenance tasks.
Before you start cleaning any type of bike, make sure that you have the following washing and lubing items ready:
- A bucket or any form of water container
- A hose and nozzle to send jets of pressurized water to those hard to reach places and give the bike a thorough wash. Be careful while using the hose and nozzle because high-pressure water jets can damage the bike’s bearing system.
- Clean rags for general cleaning, drying, and other grease or wax related tasks
- Different sizes and shapes of brushes to remove grime off those hard-to-reach places
- Plenty of water
- Pre-formulated bike wash cleaner or simply use diluted dishwashing soap
- A bike degreaser designed for cleaning gummy parts of your bike such as the bike chain. Don’t use turpentine, kerosene, or any other solvent that isn’t environmentally friendly.
- A chain lubricant or bicycle-specific lube oil to clean the chain and extend the life of your bike’s drivetrain.
- You can also get rubbing alcohol if your bike has disc brakes
- Bike polish to give the bike sparkly finish after cleaning
- A bike stand to keep the bike at a comfortable height off the ground while you are washing it.
To give your bike a thorough clean, follow these simple steps:
1. Cleaning the Drivetrain, Braking Surface, or Discs
The easiest way to clean your bike’s chain is by a chain cleaning device. However, if you don’t have a chain cleaning device, you can simply apply the degreaser and clean the chain with a brush.
The brush is very helpful in cleaning the derailleurs and cassette. Get a proper brush specific to your bike’s drivetrain.
Don’t use the brush on other parts such as the brakes as you might end up contaminating the braking surface with chain dirt and mess up with the brake’s performance. A brush with a hooked handle or a flat screwdriver will be useful in removing stubborn grime from jockey wheels.
The next step is to wipe down the bike’s rim brake surface and discs. Be careful while cleaning the bicycle chain to avoid smearing rotors with muck that can create issues with rim brakes. You can easily spray a little degreaser on a clean paper towel and use it to wipe around the rotors.
2. First Rinse and Cleaning
Wet the affordable cyclocross bike next using a hose or bucket. Use a sponge to remove mud and grime then give the whole bicycle a jet wash.
Make sure to turn the water pressure intensity down as you use the hose and nozzle to wet the bike.
Apply detergent on the main tubes and other areas that seem to have stubborn dirt spots. Use a soft brush to further clean the whole bike from either top to bottom or front to back or whichever way you want.
Brushes and detergent will help to remove all the dirt from your bike. You can use smaller brushes to clean narrow spaces.
3. Second Rinse and Drying
Use clean fresh water to rinse off the bicycle again and ensure that all the dirt has been removed. The next step is to dry the bike.
Place the bike on a work stand and use a piece of chamois leather or old dishcloth to dry off the bike. Give the bike and the bicycle basket a final drying up with a paper towel or dry soft cloth to make it shine. You can also spray the bike with a silicone or PTFE spray for the best results.
Remember to apply lube to the chain as you turn the pedals. Once the bike is dry, you can safely take it to storage and wait for the next ride.
How to Clean Your Road Bike
It’s recommended to degrease and regrease the drivetrain after every 100 miles.
This will ensure that the bike maintains optimal performance and lasts longer without needing new spare parts every so often.
How to Clean Your Mountain Bike
Even if you regularly use the mountain bike in dry climates, make sure to give it a thorough wash after every couple of weeks.
Contrary to what some people claim in their how to clean your bike guides, you can use a water hose to clean your bicycle and the DT Swiss hubs without fear of rust.
However, keep in mind that you could end up with wear and rust problems on your bike if you leave water, soap, or a degreaser sitting on the bike for a long period of time. You should always dry off the bicycle properly after cleaning and before you store it.
All in all, a bucket of soapy water and a hose are the most effective ways of washing your bicycle and keeping it sparkly clean after every use.
I hope this post has been of help to any bicycle owner who wants to keep their precious cycling machine in top-notch condition.
You can follow the same cleaning process if you want to know how to clean a dirt bike or any other type of bicycle.
Remember, cleaning your bike regularly keeps it in optimal working conditions and extends the life of your valuable investment.