Cleaning your bike is enough to put some people off cycling. It’s dirty, time consuming and sometimes expensive (the amount of times we’ve cleaned away dirt to see cassette or groupset damage). If you’re not often cleaning your bike, it’s easy for grime to build up and cause catastrophic damage to your components. One thing to remember is that the bottom line is: A clean bike is a healthy bike. It seems simple, but the more you clean your bike, the harder it is for the components to attract dirt and the longer it will stay clean. Have you got a routine nailed in? If not, we’ve included a 30 minute bike wash guide below that you (hopefully) will be able to read in less than 5 minutes. It may be self explanatory, but we’ve got some expert tips from our seasoned mechanics to make your cleaning accelerated and efficient.

What you need: 

  • Bucket of hot water
  • Bike cleaner solution or washing up liquid
  • A clean sponge and a dirty sponge
  • A towel
  • Chain Lube (Muc-Off, Teflon, WD-40 etc)
  • Degreaser (optional depending on how dirty your bike is)
  • Old Toothbrush
  • Various Spare Rags

Step 1: Lean your bike up against a wall or in a workshop stand and spray a hefty amount of degreaser onto your chain and turn the back wheel to spread it evenly among the sprockets. Pay attention to the Mechs because these can attract a lot of dirt. The Jockey Wheel will need it’s own spray when you are done with the Mech parts. You can use a paintbrush or just spray it on. Some people put an open bottle of degreaser in the bottle cages for ease of access.

Step 2: While your chain is degreasing, put a hefty amount of water and soap all over your bike, including under the saddle, on the bar tape (provided it’s not white) and all over the frame to get most of the surface muck up. This should take you around 5 minutes depending on time of year. Cover your brake pads and give them a rub, releasing the cable tension. Pay attention to your wheels and rims and take time to squeeze and spin the wheel, removing all of the surface oil from the roads which accumulate on the rims.

Step 3: If you have a chain cleaning tool, now is the time to use it. If not, grab the dirty sponge in water and cling onto the chain whilst turning the pedal. You should a substantial amount of grease coming off onto the sponge. Keep washing until you see the Chain is almost silver. Have a look at the front and rear Mech and pay attention with the dirty sponge to all the small parts, giving pressure and more water to the dirtier parts. With persistence, you can start to see the dirt shifting.

Step 4: Get your old toothbrush and give the sprockets a really good rub. You can take off the backwheel and sit on a chair for ease and comfort. You want to be pushing the mech round whilst the toothbrush is wedged in between two sprockets to get the inner dirt out. You can also use a rag in a motion like teeth floss for amazing results.

Step 5: Now that your drivetrain is pretty much clean, it’s worth going for a grease or lube up. Some people prefer other lubes depending on weather conditions and where they live. In the past I have used Teflon and WD-40, both of which have worked well for me despite advice. Use your lube and apply a moderate amount to the rear mech, front mech and drive train. You will want to pay attention to the chain which will now be void of all grease. Turn the pedals and make sure there is no unnecessary clunking.

Step 6: Now is the chance to do any maintenance if you need to. Give a quick spray of lube to your Front and Rear brake mechanisms (but not the pads!) to keep things in working order. Finish off by taking your clean sponge and giving the frame a once over again before drying off with a towel.

Congratulations! Your bike should be now sparkly clean! 30 minutes can seem like a long time but whilst you’re doing it the time does fly quite quickly. You’d be amazed at the feeling a cleaned bike has over an old one, it can almost feel like a completely new shop bought bike. Leave your posts and comments in the sections below and let us know if you have any tips!

Pro Tip: For White Bar Tape, use baby wipes and elbow grease to get the tape looking new. It is worth washing to get the grime off the hoods and underneath the mechanisms!