Motorcycles

Wash Your Motorcycle [15 Easy to Follow Steps]

Have you taken your motorbike on a cross-country tour or over grimy roads?  Then your bike must be dirty and may have oily grim around the engine and chain. This is a good time for a motorcycle wash.

Washing your motorcycle is not the same as washing your car. Care is needed to protect parts on the bike and to ensure a thorough cleaning. All you need is a bucket with soap and water, rags that can get dirty and some that stay clean, and some degreasing product(s).  

When I owned a motorcycle I didn't go in the mud, so mine was fairly easy to clean off. I just needed to ensure that I kept the chain in good condition and that I thoroughly cleaned all the water off when I finished with washing. 

Here are the steps you can take to easily clean your motorcycle.

1. Preparation

Place the bike on a center stand if you have one. Make sure it is on stable level ground. Washing in a shaded area will help the washing process.

During the preparation stage, the bucket should be filled with lukewarm water. Then, add the stipulated amount of soap concentrate for a foamy mixture. Avoid the use of detergents that contain coarse salts because they result in corrosion.

Ideally, get a soap made for washing cars or motorcycles. Some soaps may be too acidic or alkaline and cause damage to the paint.

Furthermore, avoid using vinyl-based detergents on the seat because it could become slippery. 

It may be worthwhile to use hand gloves when cleaning up greasy areas of the motorcycle.

One recommendation for some people is to use WD40 on the electrical parts, such as the battery terminal, to prevent the water from sticking to it. 

2. Applying Degreaser

Applying Degreaser

Some portions of the bike tend to get extremely dirty such as engine, wheels, and chains; they should be treated with degreaser for facilitating removal of the stains.

Make sure to use rags that can get dirty and then don't use them on anything else besides cleaning grease again.

Never wash a greasy rag in the washing machine. The grease can transfer to other clothes and transfer to the washer. 

The same applies to the dryer. Don't place greasy rags in the dryer. Grease may burn at higher temperatures.  

3. Wipe-off the Degreaser

With the help of a rag cloth, the areas covered with degreaser should be wiped off. This helps to remove particles and will allow the soap and water to help clean the bike.


4. Use Degreaser on the Chain

Follow the directions for the type of degreaser and chain cleaner you use.

It may be helpful to rotate the wheel or put the motorcycle on a center stand or a motorcycle jack. 

Also, try to reach areas such as the rear suspension and swing arm for giving the motorbike a thorough cleaning.

5. Remove the Degreaser

The following stage necessitates the degreaser to be wiped off properly. Microfiber cloths should be used for wiping the wheel hubs, engine casings, and cables for effective removal of the greasy substances.

6. Soap and water

washing your motorcycle

Photo Credit: http://www.kacasni.com/3-things-avoid-washing-motorcycles/

Use a hose to spray a low pressure stream of water on the bike to rinse off dirt and particles. 

Then you can use a mircofiber towel in the soap and water bucket to wipe down the bike everywhere except the greasy areas. 

You can also use a foam sprayer instead of a bucket and microfiber cloth; ensure it becomes completely wet. 

Give the motorbike a good wash; concentrate on areas that may be hard to get to for a thorough clean. 


The usage of microfiber cloths, fine steel wool, sponges, toothbrush, scourers or brushes are recommended for scouring wheels, exhaust pipes, and radiators

Decide which is best for each area to effectively remove grime. However, test to ensure that they do not scratch any areas, especially if they are painted. 

Waiting a couple minutes will help the water and soap penetrate the dirt and grime on your motorcycle 

7. Washing Off

The next step entails squirting water over the bike. Take the hose and rinse off the bike with low pressure. Repeat the process until all of the soap is removed. If you don't have a hose, try rinsing the bike by pouring water over the soapy areas.

8. Draining the Water

If you want you can wait for 5-10 minutes for the water to drain. It may also be helpful to move the motorcycle to a sunny area. But it's a good idea to dry painted areas right after the rinse.

9. Drying

With the use of chamois or a microfiber cloth remove as much moisture as possible. All water needs to be removed so that corrosion or rust will not occur.

10. Chain Lube

When the chain is fairly dry, lubricate the chain with the a chain lubricant.

Make sure the entire chain is coated with the lubricant. Make sure to adhere to the instructions given on the package. 

Some chain lubes are more wet and other are more dry. Check this article for more information (How Do You Choose the Best Motorcycle Chain Lube?)

11. Use WD40 if Needed

Apply WD40 to exposed metal areas that may not be able to remain dry. It is helpful for getting rid of water. Do not apply it to moving parts, paint, plastic, etc. Here's an article that tells you where you can use it.

12. Bike Polish

washing your motorcycle

Photo Credit: http://www.uniquebike.com/features/2015/04/cleaning-your-bike-top-tips.aspx

Take another rag and apply a little amount of polish to the paint. It is advisable to use good quality wax.

It provides protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun and keeps the paint protected.

Paste wax helps add a layer of protection to protect the clear coat and whether it is a spay or a paste, you can help you motorcycle stay looking great for a while.

Follow the directions for the type of product you choose. Some paint jobs may look better if you know how to apply the wax properly. See this article for more information.

13. Buffing the Wax

After application of the body polish, let the wax dry. Later, use a lint-free cloth to continue buffing off the wax.

14. Polish the Metal

If your interested in polishing the shiny metal parts on your bike, try using a metal polishing product.

Apply some polish on a rag and you can clean the forks, clutch levers, and metal foot pegs.

Use it on aluminum and other metal parts you want to shine. 

15. Finishing Touches

Let the motorcycle dry and then clean with a soft cloth any spots you missed.

You should also take the bike for a ride for about 5 minutes. Squeeze the brakes to remove excess water. If you can go for a longer ride at fast speed, this can help flushing water from areas you may not be able to reach.

Some parts face the risk of corrosion if water is allowed to remain on them for a couple days. A leaf blower can also be useful for removing water.

After returning home, you can use a microfiber cloth to give the bike a final wipe down to get rid of streaks that may appear as a result of the water drainage.


Some Tips

  • Choose the lukewarm water over cold water for a higher effectiveness in cleaning.
  • Turn off the engine before while wiping the chain or doing any cleaning.
  • Take care that grease, soaps, waxes, and degreasers are kept away from your eyes. Wearing protective eye wear to prevent any problems.
  • The usage of WD40 is suggested for keeping some areas water free and clean; it helps in preventing corrosion.

Remember to follow safety guideline and take any necessary precautions when cleaning your motorcycle. It is important to clean the bike regularly so it can serve you well over the years.

Conclusion

The use of degreasers on the soiled portions can help in adding a sparkle to your vehicle. Polishing and buffing the bike make it look as good as new.

Maintaining the motorcycle is important for its effective functioning; washing your vehicle on a regular basis is an integral part of the maintenance measures and should be given priority. Take it one step at a time and in no time you'll be finished washing your motorcycle.

Remember you'll need a bucket, soap, microfiber rags, degreaser, a chamois if wanted, wax paste or spray, WD40, a spray lubricant, bike polish, sponges if wanted, and metal polish. Good luck and send a photo of your cleaned motorcycle to someone, and they may be inspired to do the same.

If you can send a link of this article to someone I would appreciate it!

Extra Tips

Get organized during your wash and remove any accessories from the bike that should not get wet including the GPS. 

Changing your oil can keep your bike running smooth for a long time. Is it time for an oil change?  (How Often to Change Motorcycle Oil: What You Need to Know)