How to Clean a Motorcycle
When you clean your motorcycle, you're giving it more than a cosmetic improvement. That dirt, grime, grease and bug buildup can damage your bike's paint, chrome and other metal parts.
Motorcycles have several sensitive components that can take a beating from airborne dust and dirt while they're roaring down the road. Road salts and various other grime can be ruinous to your motorcycle's inner workings, deteriorating the wiring connections, rubber gaskets and more. This is why you should clean your bike every two weeks, or more frequently depending on how often it's ridden. It'll keep your bike look great, in addition to a safer, longer-lasting motorcycle.
While cleaning your motorcycle can be a time-consuming process, a professional detailing job can cost several hundred dollars. With the right tools and cleaning product, you can save a good deal of money.
However, when cleaning your motorcycle it's important to use a non-corrosive cleaner which doesn't harm or degrade any paint, plastic or rubber pieces on the bike. You should avoid using vinegar, because the acetic acid makes metal susceptible to rust. Additionally, bleach should never be used, because sodium hypochlorite (bleach) will corrode metals such as steel and aluminum, and degrade rubberized seals.
A safer option to harsh chemicals, Simple Green Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner is non-corrosive, safe for cleaning chrome, aluminum, stainless steel and other metals. The professional-grade, engine-safe formula breaks down tough grease, oil, road grime and other automotive fluids, making it ideal for cleaning your motorcycle.
Washing your bike also gives you the chance to give your bike a regular visual inspection, a good practice for preventative maintenance. Check the tire tread thickness, check the chain for signs of wear, and leaks that might need attention.
Once you've finished cleaning your bike, you may find that braking is temporarily less responsive. To be safe, allow the wheels and brake padding to dry fully before riding, and give yourself a longer stopping distance to reduce the chance of an accident.
Here's what you'll need:
- Simple Green Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner
- Hose with an adjustable spray nozzle
- Brushes (stiff paintbrush or stiff-bristled nylon scrub brush is recommended)
- Microfiber cloth
- Chain lubricant
Directions For How To Clean A Motorcycle:
Check your Owner's Manual before cleaning your motorcycle. Always follow manufacturer's complete instructions for cleaning and maintenance. Make sure all parts of the motorcycle are cool to the touch before cleaning.
- Dilute cleaner. In a bucket or other large container, mix 1 part Simple Green Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner to 3 parts water.
- Prep your motorcycle. Park your bike where the washing and rinsing will fall on the ground and not run down the driveway into street and storm drain. Remove all leather casings, seat, saddlebags and straps where possible. Cover and secure the battery, all electrical connections, spark plug wires and other water-sensitive components. Prevent any excess water from getting into your exhaust system by using a rag to plug the hole on your exhaust pipe.
- Rinse. Use a garden hose to give your bike a light rinse, with pressurized focus on the wheels, spokes and fenders of the bike. Be mindful of any existing paint damage, as pressurized water can make matters worse.
- Apply cleaner. Beginning with the top and working down, sponge wash the least-dirty areas first such as painted surfaces, as these can scratch easily if dirt is transferred during any kind of scrubbing. Use a stiff paintbrush or nylon brush to scrub any hard-to-reach areas with the Simple Green Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner solution.
- Rinse. Use the hose to rinse down the entire bike, starting at the top. Take your time to make sure all cleaner is rinsed from the bike. Let he rinse hit the ground – not run into the storm drain.
- Dry. Use a microfiber cloth to dry your motorcycle entirely. Use care on painted surfaces, changing your cloth surface regularly to avoid wiping any remaining dirt on sensitive surfaces. Work your way to the exhaust, engine and wheels.
- Lubricate the chain. If your cleaner has done its job, your bike is now free of grease and grime. But that's less than ideal when it comes to your motorcycle chain. Make sure to apply chain lubricant to your bike chain after cleaning.
- Hit the road! The best way to get rid of unwanted remaining water or unseen pooling on your motorcycle is to hop on and take a ride. Enjoy your clean bike!
Tip: You can easily perform this cleaning at a DIY car wash if you don't have a home area to do this job without runoff making a mess or entering a storm drain. DIY car washes have drain systems to handle the dirty runoff.