Make sure you have the correct cleaning equipment:
- Specialized motorcycle cleaner
- Bike degreaser and lubricant
- Chamois leather cloth
- Medium-hard bristle brush
There are two very good reasons why motorcycle cleaning should be a priority for all bike owners: not only does regular maintenance ensure that the motorcycle or moped continues to run smoothly and reduces the risk of damage, but it also keeps the bike looking its best. Motorcycle cleaning does take a bit of time and effort, but you can really cut down the amount of time it takes by doing small amounts of cleaning on a regular basis, as part of your normal cleaning schedule. It’s much easier than tackling months worth of caked-on dirt and grime all in one go.
Motorcycle Cleaning in 8 Steps
You can find tips on which products to use to clean your motorcycle below, but one of the big questions in terms of motorcycle cleaning is how that motorcycle cleaner should be applied: brush or sponge? Of course, everyone has their own preferred method as to how to clean a motorcycle, but the best way is to actually use both of these items. Each is appropriate for a different part of the motorcycle or moped that you’re cleaning. Here’s how to clean a motorcycle using both a brush and sponge:
Sponges should be used for the large areas of the motorcycle that aren’t particularly vulnerable to caked-in dirt and that are especially hard wearing.
Brushes should be used on all other areas of the motorcycle or moped. Not only do they make motorcycle cleaning easier, as they can get into nooks and crannies, brushes can also protect the delicate parts of the bike from vigorous scrubbing.
- Shocks and brake calipers can be cleaned using a brush. Use a dedicated motorcycle cleaning brush, or any other type of medium-hard bristled brush, such as an old toothbrush, a washing up brush, or even a small paintbrush.
3 Final Touches for Motorcycle Cleaning
Once the motorcycle has been cleaned, allow it to dry completely before giving it a few finishing touches:
- Use a chamois leather cloth to gently buff the main body of the motorcycle. This will get rid of any watermarks that have been left from the rinse, and will add a shine and sparkle to dull paintwork.
- Use an ordinary household polish to bring a shine to the wheels and help them move more freely. Never spray polish directly onto the wheels – spray onto the cloth instead – and be careful to avoid touching the brakes.
- Apply a lubricant to any moving parts, like the chain, as this will ensure that any oils that were washed out from the rinse are reapplied to the bike.
What Motorcycle Cleaner Should I Use?
It’s so tempting to simply get the pressure washer out and blast all the dirt and dust off your motorcycle, or to mix up some washing-up liquid with warm water and give it a quick sponge down, but neither of these actually make for a very good motorcycle cleaner. Pressure washers are too powerful to deal with the delicate parts of the bike, especially areas such as the radiators and coolers, chains, and wheel bearings. Dishwashing soap, or regular laundry detergent, often contains salts that can damage the paintwork and contribute to corrosion of the metal frame. It’s always best to use a dedicated motorcycle cleaner that can be purchased from any automotive store.
You’ll also want a good degreaser to act as a motorcycle chain cleaner. A good quality degreaser can be used to get rid of build-ups and oily residues on chains, allowing them to move more freely without getting caught on dirt and grime. After degreasing chains, use a lubricant to re-oil them, so they can continue to move smoothly.
There you have it: now you know which products and methods to use to clean your motorcycle quickly and effectively, you’re ready to get your vehicle gleaming in no time.
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