Just as you wash and keep your car clean, washing your bike should be added to your list of to-do's every 4-6 weeks. Not only does keeping it clean make it look its best, it also helps keep it in safe working order, and will extend the life of your bike and its components. The simple steps below can be used for almost any bike needing a wash.
Quick Tip: Anytime after riding in the rain or water you should always give your bike a quick wash.
How to Wash a Bike
Here’s what you’ll need to wash your child’s bike:
- Bucket, warm water, and clean rags – The cleaning essentials.
- Bike cleaning brushes and sponges – You can even use old toothbrushes and soft kitchen sponges.
- Soap – Diluted dishwashing soap works, or you can use a bike wash.
- Degreaser — A bike-specific degreaser helps to clean the parts of the bike that can become gummy and grimy, like the bike chain.
- Chain lubricant – Chain lubricant keeps the bike’s drivetrain - the pedals, cranks, chainrings, chain, and cogs - nice and healthy. Depending on the climate of your area and your child’s biking habits, you may need to choose between wet or dry lubricant:
Once you’ve gotten your materials together, it’s time to grab your kiddo for some duo clean time. Here are the four main points of our cleaning process:
- The frame
- The wheels
- The drivetrain
Clean the Bike Frame
- Fill a bucket with warm water. Add a squirt of dishwashing soap to make it nice and soapy.
- Wet the bike to help loosen dirt and grime.
- Soap up a soft-bristled brush and gently scrub out any build-up around the bike’s cables or tubes.
- Using a sponge, soap up the brake pads and break up any mud build-up you might find.
- Run a soapy sponge along the rest of the frame, making sure you get the seat post and handlebars. Then rinse it all and wipe down with a clean towel.
Clean the Bike Wheels
- Using a large soapy brush, scrub around the tires, spokes, hub, and rims on both sides of the bike wheel.
- Repeat on the other wheel, then rinse off.
Wash the Drivetrain (and How to Clean Bike Chain)
- Using a wet rag, wipe down the crankset—that includes the crank arms and pedals.
- Dip a stiff-bristled brush or old toothbrush into your bucket of soapy water. Use it to scrub the front chainrings and rear sprockets.
- Rinse off the drivetrain.
- Spray the derailleurs and chain with a degreaser. Once sprayed, scrub using a brush or toothbrush.
- Wait for a few minutes, then rinse the chainset with water, or just sop up any excess degreaser with a clean rag.
Lubricating the Bike
- Once the degreaser has fully dried, add lube onto each link in the chain. You won’t need more than a dab on each link.
- Wait for the lubricant to dry, then wipe away any excess lube in the same order it was applied so that the lubricant can soak into the links evenly. Too much lube on a bike chain allows grit and other small abrasive particles to stick to the chain, damaging the drivetrain.
Now you are ready to ride!
Guardian Bikes: Your Team of Bike Maintenance Specialists
Bicycle maintenance helps your child enjoy every ride - and helps you enjoy peace of mind. The beauty of Guardian Bikes isn’t just lightweight design or SureStop brakes - it’s the team of bike maintenance experts that come with every bike!
Our Guardian Bikes mechanics are dedicated specialists - and they’re happy to answer all of your bike maintenance questions. If you want to talk about bike service repairs, your Guardian Bike team is just a call or email away.