How To Clean A Bicycle? [A Step-by-step Guide]

How To Clean A Bicycle

The bicycle riding experience becomes the best when the bicycle is clean and runs smoothly. For a smooth and comfortable ride, a washed and cleaned bicycle is mandatory. When the wheels are clean, the friction is balanced, and the interruption is less. Similarly, the cycle chain functions the best when it is not greasy or dirty. 

However, many people panic to clean their bicycles. Either they are reluctant to do the task or they don’t know the right way to do it. Lack of knowledge becomes a huge issue here. This is why you need to learn the correct way of cleaning a bicycle

Don’t worry. I am here to explain to you the proper ways and steps of how to clean a bicycle. Hence, stay with me if you want to learn the best way of bicycle cleaning: 

8 Simple Steps To Clean A Bicycle: The Best Way To Do That

Let me explain to you the 8 simple steps of cleaning a bicycle with the description:

Step 1: Clean The Chain And Drivetrain:

The most affected areas by pollution and grease are the chain and its drivetrain. As these are the dirtiest areas, let us start with them first. 

The best way to clean the chain is to use a chain cleaning kit or device that is designed for cleaning cycle chains. First, let the cycle stand on the work stand properly. Then, apply a degreaser all over the chain so that the stuck dirt comes out easily. Either use a chain cleaner or you may use a toothbrush to clean the holes in the chain and the tiny sprockets. 

Similarly, clean the entire drivetrain thoroughly by spraying some degreaser and rubbing each corner with a toothbrush. Rub harshly to let the dirt loosen out. However, for the best result, you can apply the degreaser and leave it there for a few minutes so that the filth can come out. Afterward, when you brush the drivetrain, the filth would be cleaned easily. 

Remember not to use the brush used for cleaning the drivetrain for cleaning any other parts of the bicycle. Your brush would be greasy and dirty after cleaning the drivetrain. This dirt would contaminate the other parts if you use the same one for other bicycle parts.

Step 2: Clean The Brake In The Front Wheel:

Cleaning the brake is essential as it would reduce the risk of accidents and make the ride more easy and smooth. Now, how to clean the brake place in the front wheel? 

You have to apply degreaser on a paper towel or a microfiber cloth, whichever you prefer. Then use the cloth or towel to slowly but strongly wipe off the brake and rotors. Try hard not to contaminate the grease on the wheels. Be careful during the procedure. 

This is why using small paper towels is the most effective way. You would take small paper towels, clean each portion of the rotor and brake, and throw them immediately and then start with a new piece of towel. You can surely use a microfiber cloth too. 

Done with cleaning the brake and the rotors? Let’s move to the next step.

Step 3: Wash Off And Apply Cleaner:

Now is the turn to rinse off the areas that you have cleaned. So far, you have rubbed the drivetrain, chain, rotors, and front brake. 

You can either use a hose or a bucket full of water. Using a hose is the best idea as the water comes out in a particular manner and the water pressure is minimal. Thoroughly wash off the grease and dirt that have remained in the areas. 

After you rinse off the areas, you have to now clean the cycle frame. For that, you have to spray bike washing liquid all over the cycle body. If you don’t have the bike washing liquid, you can use a dishwashing liquid or liquid soap. Make a foam with the liquid soap and spray the solution all over the cycle. Spray a little more to the dirtiest areas. 

Step 4: Scrub With A Brush:

After applying the cleaner all over the bicycle, you have to use a dustpan brush to gently rub over the cycle body. A dustpan brush has soft bristles that won’t leave any scratch. This is why I prefer using it for cleaning the cycle body and tires.

You must use a bottle brush for cleaning the areas below the seat and the wheels. These are the areas that can’t be cleaned fully with a dustpan brush. To clean the tiny corners and parts, you can use a toothbrush too. 

You may use an old rag for cleaning conveniently. However, using a brush always gives the best results. 

Step 5: Wash Off The Cycle Body:

After cleaning the cycle body thoroughly, you can expect that all the dirt and pollution have come out effectively.  When you are done, rinse off the cycle body carefully with plain water. Use a hose or a bucket of water. Avoid using jet wash as the water pressure is high and can damage tires. 

Use a hose or mugs of water to let the remaining dirt and soapy water go away from the cycle body. This step is important as all dirt and grease should go away by now. 

Step 6: Wipe Off And Dry The Cycle:

Now is the turn to wipe off the water from the cycle body. For this, you can use a soft microfiber cloth to gently wipe off the entire cycle. The best material to wipe the cycle body is chamois leather. It is very soft on the body and helps the cycle to dry out quickly. You can use a dishcloth as well. 

Remember to keep the cycle on the work stand so that the wheels and tires can dry out too. 

Step 7: Polish The Cycle Body:

Polishing the cycle body is necessary to bring back the shine and finish as well as to improve the condition and longevity of the cycle. You can use silicone spray and a soft cloth to polish the entire cycle body effectively. You may find other cycle polishing solutions in the market too. 

The benefit is not only the look but also the protection of the bike. Your cycle attracts less grease and muck when it stays polished and shiny. 

Step 8: Lube The Chain:

Lubing the chain is necessary so that the chain can move smoothly. Use a moisture dispersant lube or any other lube that matches your chain. But be cautious that the lube doesn’t spread over the brake or tires. It would damage the tires and brakes and can be risky. 

Choose the lube carefully and decide the portion to be applied. After applying, run the chain over the sprockets to evenly spread the lube all over the chain. 

Related Questions:

Tools You Require To Clean A Bicycle: 

Before you learn how to clean a bicycle, you must gather all the materials you need. Here is a list of those tools that you require to clean a bicycle properly:

  • A hose or bucket for water,
  • A work stand,
  • Bottle brush,
  • Dustpan brush,
  • Toothbrush,
  • Degreaser,
  • Liquid soap/ Dishwashing liquid/ Bike washing liquid (whichever available),
  • Chain lube or lubricant,
  • Rag/ microfiber cloth/ Paper towel,
  • Chamois Leather,
  • Chain cleaning device (optional).

If you don’t have a chain cleaner, you can use the brushes mentioned above. So, if you have accumulated all the materials, it’s time to work on bicycle cleaning. 

How To Clean A Bicycle Tire? 

You may not be able to clean the entire cycle every day or after a rainy ride. But it is important that you clean your bicycle tires regularly especially when they become muddy and soiled. Otherwise, the friction is hampered and you won’t get a smooth ride. It is risky as well. 

But, how can you clean the bicycle tires everyday? It may sound troublesome but it is not so difficult to do if you keep a hose or a water source where you park your bicycles. 

It is better if you have a hose as it makes it easier to clean the tires. Otherwise, make soapy water in a bucket by mixing liquid soap or dishwashing liquid and water. It is better if you use warm water to let stubborn mud or dirt come out fast. 

Spread the soapy water over the tires and use a dustpan brush to scrub the tires and wheels. You can also use a toothbrush to clean the tires deeply. After rubbing and scrubbing the tires, simply rinse off the tires with plain water. Let the mud and dirt go away and dry them well before using. 

Remember that this cleaning procedure should not affect the chain or brake. Try not to spread the soapy water on the chain. If you see any, immediately clean the chain to avoid rusting. 

How To Clean A Bicycle Chain? (2 Easy Methods)

Cleaning bicycle chains is necessary as it catches dust and pollution quickly due to the lubricant and grease on the chains. When dust and pollution settle on the chain, the chain won’t move uninterruptedly over the sprockets. It would get stuck or the chain would frequently fall off the path. It makes your ride risky and threatening and comfortable. 

Now, how can you clean a bicycle chain? It is quite easy to clean bicycle chains. You need to know the correct procedure to clean the bicycle chains. I would like to mention two methods of cleaning bicycle chains. You can use whichever is easier for you.

1. Use Dishwashing Liquid:

Using dishwashing soap is a home remedy that you may do anytime you feel your bicycle chains have become filthy. If you require an immediate solution, this can be a good option. 

Take a bucket full of warm water. Mix some drops of dishwashing soap or liquid soap to make a soft foam. Spread the foam all over the chain. Now use a microfiber cloth to clean the chain with your hands. However, this may not give you the best results. 

You should use a toothbrush or chain cleaning brush to deeply clean the dirt and grease out of the chain. Make sure to clean each corner of the chain along with the sprockets. 

After cleaning the chain, rinse off the chain thoroughly. After rinsing off the soapy water, you need to wipe off the chain with a microfiber cloth or rag. Dry out the chain completely and then apply a high-quality lube all over the chain. Move the chain over the path so that the lube spreads all over the chain. 

And you are all ready to start cycling again!

2. Use Degreaser:

The easiest way to clean a bicycle chain is to spray degreaser even all over the chain. Degreaser easily takes the dirt and pollution out of the chain. You don’t need to struggle much to clean the chains. 

Simply spray the degreaser and then use a toothbrush to scrub all over the chain. After you see that all the oil and pollution have come out, thoroughly rinse off the chain with plain water. 

Afterward, you have to dry the chain with a soft microfiber cloth or rag. After drying out the chain, don’t forget to apply a lube all over the chain so that it can move smoothly over the path. 

And it is done! You can use any method of cleaning and lubing the chain, whichever you like. 

How Often Should You Clean A Bicycle?

You have learned how to clean a bicycle. But how frequently should you clean a bicycle? It is a legitimate question. If you don’t wash your bicycle regularly, you would struggle further to clean the bicycle and your bicycle condition would deteriorate. This is why cleaning after a certain period is necessary. 

Ideally, you should clean your bicycle after 20 to 25 rides. It is enough if you are in a dry weather condition or during winter. You can simply wash your bicycle with water after 10 rides. After 25 rides, you should thoroughly clean your bicycle. 

But during the monsoon, your tires would be muddy and soiled frequently. In that case, you should clean after 4-6 rides to keep the bicycle tires and chains clean and smooth. 


I have mentioned ways to clean a bicycle at home conveniently. You should have certain equipment and agents to effectively clean your entire bicycle and restore the shine and condition of the bicycle. Thus you must clean your bicycle to maintain the quality, enhance the riding experience, and increase longevity. 

So, when are you going to wash your bicycle?

You may also want to read:

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How To Clean Cycling Gloves?
How To Clean Bicycle Helmet?
How To Wash Leather Cycling Gloves?
How To Wear Bicycle Helmet?
How To Dress For Cycling?
Bicycle Helmet: Know Before You Go
Bicycle Helmet Size Chart: Know Your Size And Fit
How To Do Cycling To Increase Height?

Shamim Ahmed

My journey with cycling started in 2011 and I have been cycling since then. I am a self-taught bicycle enthusiast who has collected a lot of knowledge about it through the years. On this blog, I share my passion and experiences with cycling, as well as insights and recommendations. This blog is also useful for any riders out there who want to improve their cycling skills and techniques.

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