Keeping a bicycle clean can be hard if you’re riding in wet weather or on dirt trails. Accumulated muck can be difficult to get off. Keeping a bike clean will also help prevent rust and premature wear, and keep your bike running closer to new.
One of the best ways to clean a bicycle is to wipe it down with a clean wet or dry cloth. If the mud is caked on thick, you can carefully hose it down or let it dry and brush it off.
If you choose to use the hose, follow a few simple tips to get it done right. Only use the hose without the sprayer attached. Even putting your thumb on the end to create pressure can be too much for the seals on your bike. You don’t want to get water inside your bicycles bearings, cables and chain bushings, because that can lead to costly repairs later on.
Turn the water on about 1/4 of the way. Once the bike is wet, wipe it off with a damp rag. Having a bucket of warm water to frequently dip the rag into will make the job easier (and keep your hands nice and warm!). When you are done, rinse it off again with the hose. If you don’t have a handy hose, just fill a bucket of water and pour it over your bike.
It is best to only use water. Some soaps and solvents can cause damage to bicycles. It’s also more environmentally friendly to only have water and dirt going down the drain.
A clean bicycle doesn’t just look nicer; it can help your bike function better, too. Keeping the brake pads and rims of your bicycle free of grit helps extend the life of both the brake pad and the braking surface since grit can get caught and grind down both. Keeping your chain clean and lubricated will keep it running longer and shifting better.