How to Deep Clean a Bicycle
How to Deep Clean a Bicycle
Is your bicycle getting a bit more difficult to ride these days? If so, it may be overdue for a simple cleaning job rather than a need for a mechanical fix.
Regular bike cleaning and washing does more than keep your bicycle looking good – it prevents accelerated damage or corrosion from dirt and grease build-up that can chew into your drivetrain and other mechanical parts. This can help prolong the lifespan of your bike, while more reliably maintained components keep you safer when riding.
Cleaning on a schedule can also help you find wear and tear at the start, and as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Or, in this case, some costly repairs.
No matter the quality of bike, it is a machine, and various parts are inevitably subject to corrosion, deterioration, and eventual breakage. Particularly wet or dry, dusty conditions are likely to accelerate this process, which amplifies the need to keep a consistent schedule of bike maintenance.
Cleaning a road bike monthly is advised, while a mountain bike will require more frequent upkeep. Cleaning is also advised any time you ride in muddy or wet conditions.
What You Need
What you'll need:
If you have a bike stand, this is helpful as you'll need to access the entirety of the bike for cleaning, including pedal motion for cleaning your bike. Otherwise, lay down a towel to protect your seat and handlebars, and turn your bicycle upside-down.
- Clean cloth or sponge: For grease, oil and wax-related tasks and for general cleaning and drying.
- Brushes: Small enough to get into hard-to-reach places where dirt & grime can collect. Old toothbrushes work great.
- Hose or bucket of water: Careless water use can cause damage to sensitive bearing systems on your bicycle. Avoid using pressure washers for this reason.
- Soap / general cleaner: Use Simple Green Bike Cleaner & Degreaser, a non-toxic & biodegradable* formula free of alcohol, ammonia or other harsh chemicals.
- Chain lubricant: Properly lubricating your chain helps extend the life of your drivetrain. Always apply bicycle-specific lube oil to a clean chain.
- Container: For soaking bike chain (optional)
Directions for How To Clean A Bicycle
- Rinse down your bike with hose, sponge or wet cloth - Use a hose or bucket of water and a sponge or cloth to wet the entire surface of your bike.
- Clean the drivetrain - Spray Simple Green Bike Cleaner & Degreaser directly into your drivetrain, use a toothbrush to work into smaller areas and penetrate tough grime, dirt & grease.
- Clean the chain – You can soak your chain in Simple Green, or hand-clean it directly.
- For soaking: Remove the chain from your bike, and submerge it in a 50/50 mix of Simple Green and ambient water in a bucket or other container. Soak the chain for 5-7 minutes before rinsing with water and thoroughly drying. Re-lubricate the chain prior to putting it back on your bike
- For hand cleaning. Use a cloth soaked in Simple Green to loosely wrap around the chain, and run the pedal so the chain moves through the cloth. For dirtier chains, you’ll need to use a scrub brush or toothbrush to work out the grime, being careful to work out any buildup between the gears.
- Rinse - Rinse the bike with fresh water, then check to make sure you’ve shifted all the grime off the bike, gently brushing again before rinsing where necessary.
- Lube the chain – Slowly pedal the bike, dripping the lubricant onto the links as they move. Wipe off any excess lubricant.
Bonus tip: Use Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner as a laundry pre-treat to remove grime and grease from your cleaning cloths. Dampen the cloths with water, apply full-strength Simple Green and rub in gently. Wash as usual.
* Orally non-toxic formula per the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification & Labelling of Chemicals. Readily biodegradable per OECD 301D testing.