Washing your motorcycle isn't just about keeping it looking great. If you don't wash it often and correctly, you risk damaging its appearance and parts. However, washing a dirty motorcycle only requires a few materials, such as water, a sponge, and detergent. Before finishing, polish the details of the motorcycle (such as the rims and any chrome pieces) to attract attention again.
Part 1 of 3: Pre-cleaning the motorcycle
Step 1. Let the motorcycle cool down
Spraying water on a hot motorcycle engine is a recipe for disaster, as sudden changes in temperature can crack the entire engine block. Even if you've just hit a wet country road and your motorcycle is completely covered in mud, let it cool down before you start cleaning it.
Step 2. Assemble your cleaning kit
While you wait for your motorcycle to cool down, get the supplies you will need to clean it. You can find all the items you will need for this purpose at an auto or motorcycle supply store. Make sure you get the following:
- a cube
- one or two clean sponges
- several clean, dry cloths (suede or microfiber)
- a degreaser or all-purpose lubricant from WD-40
- an old toothbrush (to clean tight spots)
- car or motorcycle wax (optional)
- bug remover and tar (if needed)
- chrome cleaner (if needed)
Step 3. Begin by cleaning the chain
If your motorcycle has a chain, the first thing you will have to do is remove the dirt and grease. This will prevent dirt from spreading over the rest of the motorcycle while you clean it. Use an approved chain degreaser if you can find one at your local store. Spray the product on the chain to dissolve any residue, then wipe it off with a clean cloth.
- The WD-40 brand product also works as a solvent that dissolves grease and dirt.
- When you have finished cleaning the motorcycle, be sure to apply lubricant to the chain again.
Step 4. Clean non-chrome engine parts with water and solvent
Before starting on the motorcycle body, take care to clean any corners or cracks around the engine area that need special attention. Dip an old toothbrush in cool, clean water and carefully scrub dirt and debris from the area. Then spray the WD-40 brand product on the grime if you need further help removing it.
However, in general, you will need to keep the product off the brake cables and bearings. Water ingress into these areas can cause corrosion and other problems
Part 2 of 3: Washing the Motorcycle Body
Step 1. Rinse the motorcycle with cold water
This will dissolve and rinse as much of the dirt as possible, making the cleaning process easier. Just make sure the stream of the hose you use is light. You should avoid using high-pressure sprayers, as they can damage the finish, paint, or other materials on your motorcycle.
Step 2. Rub the entire body with a sponge or soft cloth
At this point, with a little force, you can remove the extra dirt. Dip a sponge or soft cloth in a bucket of cold water and clean the entire body of the motorcycle.
If you are cleaning your motorcycle to remove salt (such as after riding on a snowy road), simply use water this way and turn it on. Using detergents or other cleaners could aggravate the salt problem
Step 3. Clean the plastic parts with mild soapy water
If your motorcycle has multiple plastic parts on its body, you can use an approved car wash. Pour some detergent into a bucket of cold water and clean the parts with a sponge soaked in foam.
Step 4. Rinse the entire motorcycle again
After you've cleaned all the mud and dirt off the motorcycle, use the hose again. Lightly spray the motorcycle to remove the last traces of dirt and any traces of foam. If there isn't much to clean, you can also dip a clean sponge in cool, clean water to rinse the motorcycle.
Step 5. Wipe off excess water and allow the motorcycle to dry
Take a dry chamois or microfiber cloth and carefully rub the motorcycle. In this way, the cloth will absorb the water residues so as not to leave water stains on the motorcycle while it dries.
Do not let the motorcycle dry out in direct sunlight, as doing so could also cause water spots
Step 6. Polish the motorcycle seat with an approved protector
Motorcycle seats can be made of various materials. The most common materials are vinyl and leather. Vinyl seats are very strong, although they can fade and crack over time. Use an approved vinyl protector to avoid these problems. Leather seats are more delicate, although you can protect them by using leather care creams.
- You can find vinyl and leather protectors at any motorcycle supply store.
- Do not use detergent on the leather.
Part 3 of 3: Clean Motorcycle Details
Step 1. Remove stubborn dirt from insects
Any motorcyclist knows that riding near a swarm of flies can leave a motorcycle looking like a disaster. If your motorcycle is too dirty with bug grime, clean it by generously applying a bug remover and tar on it. After the dirt has dissolved, use a sponge or soft cloth to clean it and another damp cloth to remove the residue.
Step 2. Clean the aluminum wheels with soapy water
Many modern motorcycles have lightweight aluminum wheels. If you want to clean the wheels of your motorcycle, just use soapy water and a soft cloth. Rinse them with water and wipe them with a dry cloth.
- Abrasive tools or cleaners can damage the finish or paint on your wheels, so avoid using them.
- If you have traditional chrome wheels, use a chrome cleaner.
Step 3. Use car or motorcycle wax for added protection
A quality wax can protect the finish of the motorcycle and prevent dirt from forming. Apply after cleaning the rest of the motorcycle thoroughly. Follow the directions on your commercial spray or scrub wax. Each product has slightly different instructions.
Step 4. Spray protector on the bearings
Bearings are one of the most important and delicate parts of a motorcycle. An approved spray protector will coat the bearings and prevent the formation of moisture and dirt. Check the packaging of the product you choose to read the exact application instructions.
- Before riding the motorcycle, test the brakes and lubricate the drive chain to make sure it is safe to use.
- Do not apply any spray protectant to the hand or foot controls, the seat, or the treads. Cleaning products can make these surfaces slippery, which could become a driving hazard.
- When cleaning your motorcycle, only use products approved for use on cars or motorcycles. Detergents and solvents not made specifically for cleaning vehicles could ruin the finish, paint, or parts of the motorcycle.