What is The Best Way To Clean A Motorcycle?

A squeaky clean bike will waken your love for motorcycle rides again. Thus, you want to get rid of all the stains on the outside and whatever is dirtying the inside of it. Is there any quick and efficient way to do this? Yes, and it lies in our article! Below is the best way to clean a motorcycle.

Best Way To Clean A Motorcycle with 4 Steps

1. Preparing

Cleaning Tools

The best way to clean a motorcycle begins with ensuring all the tools needed to do the task are readily available. When it comes to finding tools for this task, you don’t have to worry about lacking certain things while cleaning the bike. Motorbike cleaners come in a wide variety, from detailing spray to wheel cleaners; you can find everything you’re looking for. Thus, always choose the right tool to serve your purpose.

Best Way To Clean A Motorcycle


One tip to have a perfect bike after cleaning is to touch it as little as possible (we’ll go into detail below). However, you still have to touch the vehicle at some points to get the job done. In that case, use the following materials:

  • Sponge: ideal for getting rid of grimes that are ingrained on the vehicle’s surface without harming its finishes. Beware of the dirt that gets stuck on the sponge in the cleaning process, as it can ruin the smooth finishes you’re protecting.
  • Brushes: specializes in dealing with tricky areas like spoked wheels. You should not overuse brushes and must handle them properly as they can scratch the paint. Only when other tools fall short can you use these brushes.
  • Clothes and flannels: After detailing the bike, use flannels or clothes to wipe the vehicle dry gently.
  • Chamois: This is another material to dry the vehicle post wash. Chamois leather is non-abrasive and has absorbent properties, making it a great choice for drying bike finishes. 
  • Microfiber: Microfiber has a diameter of fewer than ten micrometers, which is even shorter than one-fifth of the diameter of human hair. This feature allows the material to trap organic matters like dirt, oil, or grease.

Working Area

The best way to clean a motorcycle is to give your vehicle time to cool down as a hot engine, and cold water will make a terrible combination, leading to a thermal shock. The principle behind this phenomenon is when the temperature rises, metal expands. If you pour cool water on the heated metal, it will cause the metal to contract suddenly, which can result in damage.

Areas with direct sunlight are not a good option for washing your vehicle. The heat will make the soap evaporate faster, leaving water spots or streaks on the bike’s surfaces. This will take you more time to wipe the vehicle unblemished. 

While you’re at it, the water can splash, and the soap can get everywhere. Thus, don’t forget to choose a place with enough room to detail the car comfortably. 

Plugging The Exhaust Holes

Generally, it’s okay for your motorbike to work with water. However, it’s still safer to plug the exhaust holes. Just stuff a rag or a rubber glove, and the water won’t get into the holes. 

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Dirt bike riders are probably more familiar with this step as they do it more often. This doesn’t mean that you should skip this step. Plugging the holes benefits dirt motorcycles and protects bikes with exhaust holes angling in a water-easy-to-get-in way. 

2. Cleaning The Bike 

Quickly Spritzing

While you scrub the bike with a sponge, the longer you’re at it, the likelier for the sponge to trap the dirt from the stains and grimes. As you scrub the vehicle, those dirt particles will press on the delicate finish and scratch it. To avoid this mistake, cover the whole bike with a mixture of motorbike cleaner and water before rubbing it with the washing tools. Plus, this mixture also helps soften the gunk attached to the bike surfaces, making it easier to wipe them away.

The first tool to work with the motorcycle is the spray cleaner. Spray the cleaner on the dry vehicle prior to rinsing. This layer of cleaner will loosen up any grit, grime, or stubborn remnants from the streets.

Next, rinse the bike. After giving the cleaner enough time to take effect (read the instructions carefully to know this information), wash this layer away with a hose at standard pressure. 

Some might think that a power washer will get the job done quicker and more efficiently, but it’s not the case here. Motorbikes have many intricate parts and delicate finishes that are prone to blemish and scratch. A strong water flow will easily damage those things, so avoid it!

Sudding Up

After the quick rinse with the water hose, continue to get to the main part of cleaning the vehicle. Don’t forget to apply a sensible amount of force to rub and scrub in this step.

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  • To make the task easier for you, we’ve prepared some following tips.
  • Clean the motorbike from the top and down to the other parts. 
  • Ensure that the cleaners and tools you use are safe for the surfaces they touch.
  • Pay attention to the sponge. When you see any hard particles get stuck in the sponge, stop rubbing and get it out before they can damage your bike surface. Also, change the water bucket after a while as the hard grit, and dirty remnants tend to sink down onto the bucket’s bottom. Otherwise, you’ll be cleaning with greasy water, and the sponge will likely pick up more dirt.
  • While washing, water, and soap will inevitably wet the motorcycle’s chains and brakes. However, don’t scrub these two. If you do, you’ll remove the coating, which is necessary to make the bike function smoothly.

Rinsing And Drying 

After your bike is thoroughly scrubbed and covered with foam and soap, quickly move to the step: rinsing it. As mentioned above, stubborn streaks will be on its surface if you let the lather sit for too long. Plus, don’t rush this process. You need to ensure all corners and angles are clean of lather, so rinse carefully.

Similarly, you should wipe the vehicle dry meticulously. If there’s any water left on it, the wet surface will corrode over time. Normally, when you use rags or clothes to dry the motorbike, it’s very easy to leave swirls on it. 

To avoid this, go for an air blower. This way, you won’t have to touch the surfaces while saving time and energy simultaneously. 

Some people choose to take their motorbike for a ride to dry them. However, notice that if your vehicle has fairings, there will be areas that the air can’t reach. On top of that, the water will need a long ride to evaporate completely, so this is not for those who are short on time. 

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At the first ride post wash, you will notice the difference in the performance of the brakes. This is because the brakes are removing any water remnants from the cleaning. Riding the bike carefully and starting at a low speed would be best.

3. Lubing The Chain Again

Where the water splash is not something, you can control while detailing the car. Thus, the chain can’t get away from getting wet with water and soap. Once that happens, you should lube the chains again.

When the motorbike chains are covered in lather, rinse them to wash all the suds away. Then wait for them to dry and relube them. While this step is not really a part of the washing process, you mustn’t skip it after every cleaning session. 

4. Waxing

By this point, your vehicle’s surfaces are probably spotless. However, this is not the end of your cleaning session. You should equip your buddy with an extra layer of protection. Yes, it’s waxing we’re talking about. 

Waxing the paint will cover your vehicle with a shiny look and improve the life of the paint. Especially these days when most motorbikes use pearl-essence paint, waxing can impressively level up the look of your buddy. 

However, it’s not as easy as applying a layer of wax on the bike’s surface. Before getting to the waxing step, there are many things you have to do. Besides making the vehicle clean, you’ll need to polish it and eliminate any gunks or small scratches without burning the paint. A good polishing machine will meet these requirements.

After preparing the bike, you can start waxing it. Spread the wax evenly to avoid streaks or thick patches. Finally, remove the wax thoroughly.

Tips When Cleaning A Motorbike

1. What To Do

Here we’ll go into detail as to why you use a microfiber cloth to wash the vehicle. Besides being able to pick up hard particles with incredibly thin threads, this material is also very soft. This softness contributes to cleaning the surfaces without ruining the paint job. On top of that, these clothes can absorb water really well. They can hold water up to eight times their weight, making drying the bike significantly faster.

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Having two buckets of water ready while cleaning the bike is another thing on the list of what you should do.

 As you wipe the motorbike, the rags pick up the filth, oil, and dirt. Then, when you wash and wring those rugs in the water bucket, all of the dirty matters transfer into the clean water. After a while, if you keep using the same water bucket, all you do is just attach the filth back to the bike. 

From here, there are two solutions. You can either change the water as we advised above. Another way is preparing two buckets from the beginning: one with motorcycle cleaner and water, the other with pure water. While wiping the bike, rinse the rags in the pure water bucket first before dipping them back in the other bucket. 

2. What To Avoid

Don’t use car shampoo or household soap on your motorbike. There is a reason why we mentioned the popularity of motorcycle products earlier, which is to make you use the right products. 

Some of you don’t know how delicate the paint job on motorbikes is. Applying the products designed for cars to your buddy will bring you damage instead of removing the filth. 

You should also avoid scrubbing the gunks and dead bugs too violently. Dead bugs can easily get stuck on your bike after a country ride, which often gets on bike lovers’ nerves. However, no matter how quick you want to get rid of them, don’t remove them vigorously. That will destroy the paint job. 

Follow our instructions on spritzing to deal with these dirty matters properly.

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Washing a motorcycle seems simple enough to the untrained eye. However, doing it until there are no flaws inside out while not harming the vehicle is not as easy as many think. 

We hope you enjoyed our article about the best way to clean a motorcycle. Just apply the tips provided above to your bike and see how the miracles happen!

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