Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean a Bike

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Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean a Bike:

October 16th, 2021

Bikes get dirty, it's a fact. This guide will help you clean up your ride. Ride clean with our step by step bike cleaning guide.

Category: Gear

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean a Bike

The Slightly Obsessive, But Totally Doable, Guide To Making Your Bike Shine

If you've come back from a particularly muddy ride on the trails, you know you'll need to give it a good scrub. But even if your bike isn't completely caked in mud and dirt, it needs some TLC every so often. We recommend cleaning your road bike monthly (or every 20 to 25 rides) and a mountain or 'cross bike more often.

If you need some guidance, watch the video for a demo on how to properly clean your bike, and keep reading for a few tips and tricks to make the cleaning process less of a hassle.

Wash Your Bike Like A Pro, What You Need

1. Clean shop rags or old cotton t-shirts

Simpli-Magic 79185 Blue Shop Towels 14"x12", 100 Pack

Blue Shop Towels, 100 Pack

Utopia Towels 100 Pack Commercial Shop Towels - Cleaning Rags, White

Cleaning Rags, White, 100 Pack

Simpli-Magic 79006-100PK White 100 Pack Commercial Grade 14”x12” Shop Towels, 100 Pack

Shop Towels Commercial
Grade, 100 Pack

2. Bottle Brushes

BasicForm Nylon Cleaning Brush Set of 10 for Bottle, Tube, Jar and Most Narrow Containers (3 Straw Cleaning Brushes Bonus)

Cleaning Brushes for
Bottles Tubes Jars

Anndason 8 Pieces Precision Bicycle Cleaning Brush Tool Including Bike Chain Scrubber, Suitable for Mountain, Road, City, Hybrid,BMX Bike and Folding Bike

8 Piece Bike Clean Kit

3. Scrub Brushes

Park Tool BCB-4.2 Bicycle Cleaning Brush Set

Park Tool Bike Cleaning
Brush Set

Dawn Dish Brush with Square Head

Dawn Dish Brush
with Square Head

4. Bucket

Rubbermaid Square Bucket, 15-Quart

Rubbermaid Square Bucket,

Rubbermaid 10 Qt Heavy-Duty Round Bucket

Rubbermaid 10 Qt Heavy-
Duty Round Bucket

Ettore 3 Gallon Compact Super Bucket

Ettore 3 Gallon Compact
Super Bucket

5. Soft, Square-Head brush for wheels

Dawn Dish Brush with Square Head

Dawn Dish Brush
with Square Head

6. Garden hose with trigger-style spray head

Dramm Spray Nozzle

Dramm Spray Nozzle, Orange

7. Sponges

QEP 70005Q-3VP XL Grouting Super Sponge, 3 Pack

XL Super Sponge, 3 Pack

8. Dish Soap

Dawn Liquid Soap + Sponge

Dawn Liquid Soap + Sponge

Optional, but Recommended Tools

1. Bike Stand

Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand

Feedback Sports Pro
Elite Repair Stand

Park Tool PCS-10.2 Home Mechanic Bicycle Repair Stand

Park Tool PCS-10.2
Bicycle Repair Stand

RAD Cycle Pro Bicycle Repair Stand

RAD Cycle Pro
Bicycle Repair Stand

Park Tool PRS-2.2-1 Deluxe Double Arm Repair Stand

Park Tool PRS-2.2-1
Deluxe Double
Arm Repair Stand

2. Chain Keeper

Pedro's Chain Keeper Bicycle Chain Tool

Pedro's Chain Keeper Tool

3. Degreaser

Pedro's Oranj Peelz Citrus Bicycle Degreaser (16-Ounce Drip)

Pedro's Oranj Peelz
Degreaser (16-Ounce Drip)

4. Lubricant

BOESHIELD T-9 Rust & Corrosion Protection/Inhibitor and Waterproof Lubrication, 12 oz.

Waterproof Lubrication, 12 oz.

Do's and Dont's


  • Recycle your dish sponges. You'll get another couple of months out of them on bike-wash duty.
  • Floss with a clean rag between chainrings, cogs, and other hard-to-reach places.
  • Be committed. A clean bike rides better and lasts longer.


  • Mix your buckets, tools, and rags. You don't want to cover your frame with drivetrain grease.
  • Use an abrasive sponge or brush on your frame.
  • Blast your bike with a high-pressure hose. Water will get into and degrade your bearings.

The Wash

Step 1 Chain

Use a degreaser and turn the cranks backward so that it gets on every link. After about five to 10 minutes, rinse with a gentle stream of water from the hose. If the chain is still grimy, apply small drops of dish soap like you would a lube, grip the chain in the rough side of your sponge, then turn the cranks for several rotations. Rinse.

Step 2 Drivetrain

Dip a stiff-bristled brush into one of your pre-filled buckets and scrub the chainrings. We recommend using a bottle brush or toothbrush to get into crevices around the teeth, pulleys, and rings. Then rinse with a gentle stream of water and repeat if you still see any lingering crud. Next, grab your rear wheel and drip dish soap onto the cassette, scrub, then rinse. Repeat if necessary.

Step 3 Frame

Dip a clean, soft sponge into your second (fresh) bucket. Soap up the frame, working your way from front to back, then rinse. If you have caliper brakes, clean the pads with the abrasive side of the sponge.

Step 4 Wheels

We recommend using softer, bigger brushes for tires and rims so you can get into every nook and cranny with minimal effort. Dunk your brush into the bucket you used for your frame. Starting at the valve, scrub all the way around the wheel, hit the spokes and hub, then flip the wheel to get the opposite side. Repeat on the other wheel, then rinse. (If you have disc brakes, use the soft side of a clean sponge with soap and water on rotors.)

The Finish

Reattach the wheels and spin the cranks to make sure the drivetrain runs smoothly. Wipe everything down with a dry cloth or let it air-dry in the sun. Lube your chain.

If your serious about taking your skills to the next level, you should seriously consider setting yourself up with a proper setup for maintaining your investment in your equipment.

Hazard County Shuttle
About The Author:

Hazard County Shuttle is the only shuttle company in Moab that offers mountain bike trailhead departures for Mag-7, Porcupine Rim Classic, Raptor Route, and the Whole Enchilada Lower Section.

Contributing since February 17th, 2022.

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