Fortunately, you don’t need to buy specific bike cleaning products and equipment to clean your bike.
Each bike should be cleaned at least once a month, and mountain bikes should be cleaned more regularly, which means you won’t have to spend much money on keeping up the maintenance of your bike.
You will need two buckets, a garden hose, sponges, old clothes or rags, and scrub brushes.
Make sure to not use an abrasive brush or sponge on the frame of your bike as this will scratch it. Fill the buckets with clean water and dish soap and use a sponge to clean the frame.
For the chain, you’re going to need a degreaser like this WD-40 Degreaser and a stiff-bristled brush.
Regular dish soap and a sponge won’t be enough to get into the chain’s crevices. You can always use an old toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies!
A garden hose is essential for providing water power to clean your bike. Not only will it rub off mud and dirt, but it will also help the degreaser to clean the chain.
Make sure not to use a high-pressure hose or power washer as this could damage your bearings.
Some people will use a bike stand to clean their bike, but if you’re on a budget or if you’re not a serious cyclist, you can lean the bike against a wall or hook the nozzle of the saddle over a tight piece of rope or clothesline.
This is to allow the water to drain properly.
Can I wash my bike chain in water?
Whilst you can technically wash your bike chain in water, this alone won’t clean it. Whether your chain has been washed recently or if you haven’t cleaned it in months, a bike chain should be cleaned with an appropriate degreaser.
Degreasers require warm, soapy water to clean a bike chain. You will need to use the degreaser on the chains for about 10 minutes, making sure to turn them to get into every crevice.
Then, rinse this with a gentle stream of water from the garden hose. If the chain needs it, you can scrub it lightly with dish soap and a sponge and rinse again.
You will then need to scrub the chainrings with a stiff-bristled brush (or a toothbrush) dipped into clean, soapy water to get into the crevices.
Make sure to rinse it afterward with another gentle stream of water.
Water alone is good for cleaning small amounts of dirt and mud, but it is not recommended to use excessive amounts of water when cleaning your bike.
This is because too much water can get into parts of the bike that are unsealed, such as the pedals or bearings, which can damage them in the long run.
However you plan on cleaning your bike chain, make sure to lubricate it again afterward!
How do I clean my fat bike in the winter?
Prevention is key when it comes to cleaning your fat bike in the winter. The best thing to do is to come up with a cleaning solution and method before you go biking on snow-covered trails and roads.
Also, you’re not going to want to clean your bike outside in the cold. Make sure to clear your garage space and make room for the drain for the water to disappear through.
When it comes to cleaning your fat bike in winter, the same rules apply for regular summertime cleaning.
The only difference is you should clean your bike more often than usual to prevent a buildup of mud, grit, snow, and ice.
If snow and ice get into your bike’s unsealed bearings and other parts, it can build up and damage them.
A great form of preventative maintenance is to spray your cleats and metal frame with cooking oil.
It basically acts as a repellent to ice and snow, plus you can find it in your kitchen. Likewise, you need to lube your bike more than usual to keep it running smoothly.
Bike chains aren’t designed to handle thick snow and mud, so you can use a bar and chain lube for serious conditions.
Make sure to detach your fat bikes and use a bike stand to clean your bike, as this will give you better control when it comes to scrubbing crevices.
How do I deep clean my bike?
The first thing you will need to do is to spray your bike with a garden hose or a bike-specific pressure washer.
Bike-specific pressure washers don’t produce high-pressured water like a standard pressure washer, which can be damaging to your bike.
Make sure to elevate your bike on a bike stand (or another DIY way) so you don’t have to constantly bend up and down.
You will need to degrease your drive chain. Do this by spraying your chosen degreasing product whilst turning the chain backwards - and try to spray the chain links, too.
Then, use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the drive chain as you continue to rotate the chain backwards.
A toothbrush should be used to get into the crevices, as a build-up of dirt will slow the bike down.
For the deepest clean, we recommend removing your chain. This will give you more access to the intricate parts of the chain that will be affected by dirt build-up, including the cassette and jockey wheels.
Then, you need to spray foam onto the bike and leave it for around 5-10 minutes. Rinse it off with water from your garden hose.
Make sure to wipe your bike down with a microfibre cloth (or old t-shirt) to dry the bike from water.
You can use regular WD-40 into the smaller crevices and holes to expel water.
You will need to lube your chain depending on the weather you intend to cycle in and the type of riding you intend to do.
Only apply it to your chain when it is dry and rotating backwards, and then make sure to clear the residue away with a cloth.
How do you dry a bike chain after washing it?
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to dry your bike chain after washing it. You should dry what you can with a dry rag, and then leave the rest to air dry.
You can also use compressed air to speed up the process, which is also good for getting into crevices.
After the chain has been washed and dried, you will need to lubricate it again so it can run smoothly when you next ride it.
The type of lubrication you use will depend on the type of riding you intend to do, and the weather you intend to cycle in (there are lubes for rain and snow, for example).
Once you have lubricated your chain, you need to wipe away the remaining lube with a cloth or paper towel.
To do this, hold the cloth on the underside of the chain links and rotate the chain backwards.
As the chain moves, you will gather residue lube in the cloth. This will prevent build-up.
Is it OK to wash your bicycle?
Not only is it OK to wash your bicycle, but it is recommended to clean it at least once a month!
If your bike is going to be stored for a while, you won’t need to wash it, but you should maintain a good cleaning routine if you use it regularly.
If anything, washing your bicycle will prevent it from damage in the long run.
A dirty bike not only looks gross, but can shorten the lifespan of your bike significantly as mud and water will get into and damage essential parts.
All you have to remember is to avoid a pressure washer, take the wheels off when cleaning, and use the right type of brushes.
Bikes are sturdy and hardy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t handle high-pressure water from a standard pressure washer.
You should use a garden hose to rinse and clean a bike as this won’t damage the grease.
Also, make sure to dry and lubricate your bike after washing it. The whole point of washing your bicycle is to set it back to its original state, which means it should be shiny and running smoothly.
Any lingering water will cause damage to unsealed parts of the bike, and an un-lubricated chain will create a slow and jolty journey.
What household items can I use to clean my bike?
Fortunately, you don’t always have to buy specific products to clean your bike. You can find most cleaning equipment in your house, including old t-shirts, toothbrushes, buckets, sponges, and a garden hose.
If you don’t have a bike stand, you can get creative. Bike stands are the best way to clean your bike as they will elevate the bike to eye level, and they will allow you to reach every crevice without a wall getting in the way.
You can precariously lean your bike against the wall to clean it, just make sure to remove the wheels so it won’t roll off!
You can also rest the nozzle of the saddle on a taut rope, string, or clothesline for elevation.
However, when it comes to properly cleaning your bike, you will need to buy a specific degreaser for the chain.
The chain will not clean with regular soapy water, so for the sake of keeping it running smoothly, a degreaser will clean it properly.
When it comes to drying your bike, you can leave it out to air dry or use an air compressor - though not everyone has one of these.
Always make sure to lubricate your chain after it has dried to allow it to run smoothly.