Your bike is your loyal companion out on the road or trail. When you return from a long day of pedaling, chances are you’ll toss your favorite bike shorts and windbreaker in the washing machine—but when’s the last time you washed your bike?
If your bike is looking a little worse for wear these days, but you’re not sure where to get started to make it look like new again, you’re in luck: SpongeOutlet is here today with a step-by-step guide to cleaning your bike. Read on, pick up the supplies you need, get started, and then get back to the trails!
Plus, cleaning your bike regularly will maintain its paint job and keep it looking as good as the first day you rode it out of the bike shop. If you don’t clean your bike regularly, the dirt and grime build up can start to impact some of its mechanical integrity.
Gather Your Cleaning Supplies
You’ll need a few things to properly clean your bike, so the first thing you should do is gather your supplies. Grab two buckets, bottle brushes if you have them, a soft microfiber cloth, regular sponges, eraser sponges, a garden hose, degreaser for the chain, and dish soap.
Depending on the type of bike you have, there may be specific cleaning instructions, so make sure you check the internet before you dive in with your scrub brush. If your bike company or brand recommends a certain type of soap, it’s probably a good idea to pick up a bottle. Your bike is made to last through tough conditions, but it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything you can to maintain its paint.
Step One: Clean Your Bike Wheels
The first thing you want to do is fill your buckets with dish soap and water and remove the wheels from your bike. Use a soft, plastic brush to gently remove grease and grime from your wheels. Don’t forget the valve, spokes and hub, and flip the wheel over when you finish one side.
One of the buckets will be the grimy bucket, and the other will be the finishing bucket. Use the cloth or sponge in the grimy bucket to do your first round of washing—give everything a good wipe down.
Once you give everything a good scrub, hose down the wheels. Then, swap to the finishing bucket, and re-scrub everything. This will ensure you loosen all of the fine dirt that might be stuck in your wheels’ nooks and crannies.
Once you’re done with the wheels, check the tires for air and set them aside to dry.
Step Two: Clean Your Bike Chain
Use a degreaser, and apply it to each of the links: Bicycling.com says turning the cranks backwards can make it easier to reach each and every link. If your chain is still a greasy mess after you use your degreaser, you can apply a little dish soap and run your eraser sponge around the chain.
A little grease left over is OK, as long as you remove the major build up. Rinse the chain, repeat if necessary, and move on to step three.
Step Three: Clean Your Bike Frame
Next up is the frame: use a soft sponge or microfiber cloth and start at the top and work your way down. Start by wetting the frame with a garden hose, and then using your cloth to scrub it. Tough spots can be tackled with eraser sponges, just be careful not to damage the paint with too much harsh scrubbing.
Rinse, repeat, and then buff with a dry microfiber cloth to make sure all areas of the frame have dried to a sparkling finish. Buffing your bike after you clean it with a microfiber cloth can actually prevent dirt from sticking to it while you’re out on your next ride!
Step Four: Clean the Smaller Parts of Your Bike
Use a toothbrush to get the grime and grease out of any hard-to-reach areas on your bike, and don’t forget to dry and buff those areas really well when you finish up. And, remember to wash things like handlebars, cup holders, and pedals. Some of these pieces may be easy to remove, so if you’re going for a deep clean, snap off the pieces and clean them before reattaching them to the bike.
Just like any pastime, riding a bike can be fun, relaxing and rewarding, but it’s important to take care of your equipment. After all, you spent a good deal of money on it! So, remember to regularly wash your bike, and if you’re not up for a weekly deep clean, a wipe down with a microfiber cloth and some soapy water after a ride in between deep cleans will do the trick.
For more tips on cleaning items around your car, office and home, check out our blog. Contact SpongeOutlet today if you have any questions about our products or how you can use them to keep your life sparkling clean!