Washing your road or mountain bike after riding can be a pain. It's important to do it regularly though, to keep it in good working order, make components last longer and save you money. Let's look at how to clean your bike quickly.
Cleaning your bike regularly helps prevent build-up of dirt and grease that would otherwise chew through your moving mechanical parts – especially your drive train. Washing your bike after riding in muddy or wet conditions is even more important. Check out our step-by-step guide below, with video.
How to clean your bike
What you’ll need to wash your bike
- Bucket and sponge or hose
- Bike wash fluid (preferably biodegradable)
- Paper cloth
- Chain cleaning device
If you’re in a real hurry following a wet ride, you can just spray your drivetrain with water-displacing lube to purge water from your chain and avoid rustiness before a thorough wash.
1. Clean the chain
Use a chain cleaning device along with degreaser to remove built up grime, mud and oil from the chain. If you don’t have a chain cleaning tool, aerosol degreaser and a brush will work with a bit of extra effort.
If there’s loads of oily grime on the cassette and jockey wheels, use degreaser and scrub these before continuing.
2. Clean the discs (if you have them)
If you have disc brakes, now’s a good time to spray some degreaser onto paper towels and give them a wipe down to remove any drivetrain grease.
3. Wet your bike and spray on some bike wash
Wet the bike with a hose or a bucket and sponge. If you’re using a pressure washer, be sure to stay well back to avoid ruining your bearings. Spray the whole bike with bike wash and leave it to settle according to the manufacturer's instructions.
4. Brush it down
Start at the top of your bike and agitate any remaining muck from the bike with brushes. Pay special attention to moving parts such as gears and brakes.
5. Rinse it all off
Rinse the bike with fresh water, then check to make sure you’ve shifted all the grime off the bike, brushing again before rinsing where necessary.
6. Buff up your bike
Use a leather chamois to soak up excess water then shine up the bike’s frame with PTFE spray or silicone bike polish, being sure to avoid braking surfaces like rims and disc brake rotors. Buff your bike with a paper towel or soft cloth. This will also help prevent mud sticking when next out riding.
7. Lube the chain
Finally lube the chain by holding the bottle and steadily dripping it onto the chain while turning the pedals backwards. Wipe off any excess, and spray any steel components with PTFE lube, again avoiding braking surfaces.