A Complete Guide on How to Clean a Bike

Bike Being Washed Image from Muc Off

They say a clean bike is a happy bike, and today we're going to tell you all about how to clean your bike properly. Having a clean bike can not only make your bike look amazing, but it also improves performance, can prolong the life of your bike, and can show you if any issues need addressing. 

Before we start the bicycle wash though, it's worth checking out our huge selection of bike maintenance products, including bike chain cleaners and degreasers, and bike chain lubricants, to make sure you have everything you might want to help you in this process.

In this article, we’ll teach you about:

  • Bike Cleaning Supplies
  • Steps to Cleaning a Bike 
  • Bike Cleaning FAQs 

Bike Cleaning Supplies

It can be challenging to wash your bike with just your hands.  You will ideally need some supplies to get it done right. Below is a list the bike washing products we recommend and the links to where you can find them

  • A Bike Stand Having a bike stand makes cleaning your bike much easier. It’s not essential, but we highly recommend it.
  • Muc Off Bicycle Cleaner Duo Pack will clean your bike, get all that mud off, and protect it afterward.
  • Muc Off Drivetrain Cleaner  We're going to use this to remove all the grime from your chain and cassette.
  • Finish Line Easy Pro Brush Set  A set of decent brushes will get in all those pesky small gaps keeping your frame safe.
  • Foundation Bike Chain Scrubber  Chains can be very challenging to clean properly. We recommend using a chain cleaning tool.
  • A Fine Cloth  We will also need a fine cloth for this process. Anything will be fine as long as it won't scratch or damage your frame.
  • Park Tool CL-1 Chain Lube  A clean lubed chain is a happy chain, and Park Tools has the right stuff.

Steps to Cleaning a Bike

Now we are going to start talking about how to clean your bike. We will be doing a fairly deep clean today, including how to clean bike gears, and you don’t always need to do this. Sometimes you might just want to remove the mud instead of completely degreasing and greasing it. 

Step One: Organize Yourself

Before we start cleaning the bike, it’s essential to find a nice clear area where nothing is going to get damaged if it gets wet. Get the bike in the stand and have all your cleaning products and tools somewhere close and convenient.

Step Two: Get all the Mud Off

The first thing you need to do is rinse the bike with water to get all the gritty mud off. These are the big clumps that get stuck on your bike. You can use a hose, but ensure whatever you use isn’t too powerful. You are not going to want to use a sponge or a cloth at this point for the gritty mud as you don’t want to scratch your frame rubbing it off.  Just water from a hose or low power pressure washer should do the trick.

Step Three: Degrease

Once all the thick, gritty mud is off, you're now going to want to clean the drivetrain. Spray your Muc Off Chain Degreaser lightly onto the cassette and use a thick cassette brush to rub it in. You are going to now want to do the same with the chainrings. Then you're going to want to set up your chain cleaner with some more Muc Off Chain Degreaser and run the chain through until scrubbed. Rince the Drivetrain and the rest of the bike to get any more dirt off.

Step Four: Wipe and Clean the Bike

Now you'll want to use the sponge or a light cloth alongside your Muc Off Nano Tech cleaner to clean the bike. Focus on the frame, wheels, and finishing kit, and make sure all the mud is gone and nothing is hiding underneath. Rinse the bike, check it, and if there's any mud, repeat until nice and clean.  Be careful not to drag any remaining dirt or grit with the sponge or rag along the frame to avoid scratching it.

Step Five: Dry and Protect

It's now time to let your bike dry off, or if you are in a rush, you can use a cloth to dry it. Once dry, it’s time to check the frame and components for any issues. Look for any cracks, check that your wheels are true, and even assess the forks for any pitting or damage. We now need to protect the bike using the Muc Off Protect. This makes the bike shine beautifully. It will also help stop mud from gripping it. Spray it on, and then use a light soft dry cloth to rub it in lightly.

Step Six: Lube Your Chain

Before you start lubing your chain, it’s good practice to check it doesn’t need replacing beforehand. A worn chain wears your cassette and chainrings down quickly. Providing it's ok, you’ll need to lube your chain. Remember not to put too much on. Let it soak in for a few hours, and then you'll want to clean the excess oil off. We recommend using Park Tool CL-1 Synthetic Bike Chain Lube. 

Bike Cleaning and Maintenance FAQs

What supplies should I use to clean my bike?

The goods we list above in this article are perfect for washing your bike.

Is it bad to hose down your bike?

As long as it is not too powerful, it will be fine. You have to be very careful if you plan to use a pressure washers.

Can you use WD-40 on a bike chain?

We wouldn’t recommend it. You can use it to clean the chain, but you will need to use it a lot. There are better products on the market.

Can I clean my bike with dish soap?

Many people do, but they differ quite heavily in strength between brands. Sticking with a bike cleaner is a safer bet.

What can I use instead of bike degreaser?

You can make a homemade degreaser from distilled vinegar, soap, baking soda, water, and lemon juice.  Again, it’s safer, easier, and even more cost-effective to buy degreaser made specifically for bikes. 

How do you dry a bike chain after washing it?

You can either leave it out to dry or use a soft cloth. Running through the gears helps to get the majority of the water off.

How often should you clean your bike chain?

When it needs it, if you have been riding on light trails and it isn’t covered in mud and dirt, then maybe it’s not time yet. If you're struggling to find the chain under all the dirt, perhaps it’s time. Typically you can hear and see if the chain needs cleaning.

Follow Jensonusa