Hey, can dirt stop you from riding?
Not at all. No matter what happens, you will ride and get grimy. Especially dirt cyclists, never mind wrapping with dirt.
They will enjoy the ride and bathe with the mud. However, it’s alright (actually fun) for you to get dirty with cycling. But, it’s not OK for your bike to stay grimy.
Mud or dust can block the wheel and drivetrain. Besides, the essential bike parts like wheel or groupset can get rusty.
Thus the efficiency of your bike falls a lot. That’s why you need a bike wash and cleaning.
It’s the only way to get a clean and shiny bike for your next ride. Besides, a clean bike’s efficiency will be more than a dirt bike’s efficiency.
Essential Supplies For Bike Wash
Before your start washing the bike, get some basic supplies ready. You can’t do anything with that equipment. So know about them before learning the steps.
The first thing you will need is a water source. Any kind of cleaning or washing needs a lot of water. So, look for a water source. However, don’t use salty water. Because soap doesn’t dissolve with it well.
Get some soaps or detergents with water. As they help to decrease the grime and lube, they are a must. Don’t take any hassle in choosing cleaning agents.
Regular soap or dish is alright for the bike wash job. If you still hesitate, get the bike-specific cleaner.
Sometimes, soap is not enough to degrease the chain lube, especially when it is dry lube. In that case, you can use a degreaser too.
Don’t use an industrial degreaser as it is too harsh and can damage the chain or drivetrain.
Look for a bucket where you can mix water and soap and make a solvent. Don’t need to search on the market; you may find one at your home.
A piece of sponge may cost almost nothing to you. But, it can help you to apply soapy water to the bike’s frame easily.
Brushes are one of the most essential pieces of equipment you need for the job. Because it’s difficult to wash away the grime without rubbing it with brushes.
You can do it with a toothbrush and toilet brush. But, I suggest getting the bike-specific ones as they are stiffer than regular brushes, so they cause no damage to bike parts.
A hosepipe is a watering pipe where a nozzle is installed on the head. With the nozzle, you can adjust the water pressure. It is essential for rinsing the bike after washing.
A clean rag is necessary for drying the bike instantly after wash. However, a cotton towel will be best for the job.
Lubrication is essential to do after cleaning the bike. It keeps the bike smooth and efficient. However, you can find 2 types of lubricants on the market.
One is wet, and another is dry. Wet lube doesn’t wash away easily but attracts more dirt and dust.
Dry lube attracts less dirt but is washed away by rain. Choose one according to the weather of your riding arena.
Optional Supplies For Bike Wash
There is some other stuff that is good to have but not compulsory. They are a bit pricy. So, do consider them if you agree to spend huge bucks.
Chain Cleaning Device
It’s an easy-to-use device that helps you to clean the chain efficiently. If you don’t like the hassle of rubbing with the brush, it’s a beneficial tool to get.
If you feel it annoying to gather all the necessary supplies get an all-in-one solution. The bike cleaner package contains almost everything essential for bike wash.
If you agree to spend some money, then get it. Otherwise, just use home accessories to do the job.
Work stand helps you to hang the bike during a bike wash. It offers a steady position, so the bike doesn’t move while cleaning.
How to clean a bike exact 5 steps (In detail cleaning process)
Step 1: Setting the bike
The first thing you have to do is to set up the bike and all accessories ready.
Take a bucket full of water and mix dish wash with it. After preparing the solvent, get the brushes ready.
Set the work stand on the ground and place the bike on it. If you don’t own a work stand, hang the bike above ground with a hanger.
Next stuff–removing the wheel. It’s better to remove the front wheel from the bike and wash it separately. Loosen the quick-release and unmount the wheel.
If your bike doesn’t have a quick release, take a wrench and loosen the bolts. You can also unmount the rear wheel.
But, better, you let it stay on the bike. Because the chain’s tension decrease after you unmount the rear wheel.
Read Also: bike wheel truing
Step 2: Applying Soap and Scrubbing
After it’s all set, time to apply soap and brush. Don’t rush. Go step by step to do it efficiently. The best practice is to clean each part separately. Let’s do it.
The chain is one of the most vital parts of your bike. So it needs extra care while cleaning. Use a toothbrush or small brush to wash it.
Now, dip the brush into the solvent and rub it through the chain. However, if you own a chain cleaner device, then it would be easier. Just to set it and run the chain backward.
Anyways, rinse the chain with water and check if any grime remains. You can also apply a degreaser if it’s not getting clean. However, repeat the process until you get a clean and dirt-free bike chain.
Check our detailed guide about bike chain cleaning
Cassette and crankset
A clean chain is of no use if the drivetrain remains uncleaned. So, take the bigger brush and start cleaning the cassette and crankset.
Read Also: crank arm keeps losing
Dip it into the solvent and rub the brush on the cogset. You can also use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush every corner of the cassettes.
However, shift the chain to the biggest cassette and scrub the remaining ones. Again, shift the chain to the smallest cog and scrub the remaining ones.
Then rinse them gently with water. Apply soap and scrub again and again until you get the cleanest cogset.
Anyways, apply the same formula for the chainring. But be careful about the teeth, or you may damage them while brushing.
Keep the brushes away now! Handle the frame with care!
You can use a sponge or lofa to apply soap to the frame. Do it thoroughly through the bike’s body. If you have rim brakes, use the sponge’s abrasive side to rub the brake shoes.
Wheels get dirty quickly as they contact the track/road most. Yet, they are the most sensitive parts of your bike. Tires or rims can get damage if you scrub harshly.
So take a bigger soft-bristled brush and rub gently with soapy water. Make sure the water doesn’t penetrate inside the tube.
Avoid the valve and rub around the rim. Wash the spokes and hub too. Repeat the process on the opposite side. If your bike has disc brakes clean them too with a sponge.
Step 3: Rinsing
After scrubbing, rinse the bike thoroughly with clean water. Use a hosepipe so that you can acquire optimal water pressure.
Don’t use high pressure, or water may enter inside the frame or bearing system and damage bike parts.
Also, be careful when rinsing the bike and make sure water doesn’t penetrate inside the valves or bottom bracket.
Anyways, rinse all the parts carefully and wash away all the grime. If your bike remains dirty yet, scrub again and rinse.
Step 4: Drying and Lubing
It’s not a good idea to keep your bike wet. Because there is a risk of getting a rusty bike if it remains wet for a long time.
So, get a clean rag and wipe the water as soon as possible after a wash. You can also use a dry sponge to soak away all the water from where hands don’t reach.
However, the bike can still remain wet. So, keep the bicycle in a warmer place. Wait for some time until all the water gets vaporized naturally.
Lubing is a crucial process after every bike wash. If you want a smooth running bike, you must apply lube to it. So, get a suitable lube for your bicycle.
Consider the weather of your arena and pick one from the wet or dry lubricant. Anyways, apply lube to the chain, bottom bracket, and bearing system.
But, don’t over lube as it can attract dirt/dust and make the bike dirty again easily.
90 percent of your bike’s consistency depends on your maintenance routine, and bike wash is a major one. Because properly washing the bike provide the highest performance and clean look.
Moreover, it ensures a rust-free frame and increases the bike’s lifetime a lot. Following the above steps can be the best practice of bike wash and cleaning.
If you can do it accordingly, you will get a shiny and smooth bike on every ride. Oppositely, doing it in the wrong way can cause damage and deficiency. So, follow our guide on bike wash and cleaning and do it like a pro.