How to Clean a Bicycle
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. 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.
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'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)
- 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 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.
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.
Available at these and other local stores: