How to clean your bike

Nik Cook explains exactly how to clean your bike so it keeps running smoothly

How to clean your bike

The bad news regarding winter bike maintenance is that you should ideally be giving your bike a wash after every ride. The main reason for this is that the salt and grit that’s liberally sprinkled on the road is a deadly corrosive mix for your bike and its components. Left on your bike for just 24hrs and you’ll be confronted with a rusty, orange horror!


Fitting mudguards really helps to keep this corrosive spray off your bike, significantly reduces the amount of maintenance you need to do and will make you more popular on group rides! The good news is that, by getting into a regular cleaning routine, it only needs to be a five-minute job and will ensure your bike keeps running smoothly and prolong the life of your components. Fora basic five-minute bike wash, you’ll need:

A bucket of hot and soapy water

Hose or bucket of plain water

Sponge or soft bristled brush

Chain-cleaning tool

Spray-on degreaser

Liquid degreaser

Stiff bristled brush

Water dispersant, e.g. GT85

Wet chain lube


Follow these steps to achieve the cleanest bike you’ve ever seen:

1: Spray degreaser onto your drivetrain, working it into the cassette and chainrings with the stiff brush.

2: Run the chain through liquid degreaser using the chain-cleaning device.

3: Give the rest of the bike a good going over with the soft brush or sponge and hot soapy water. Avoid the drivetrain as the degreaser is working its magic.

4: Rinse the whole bike, paying particular attention to the drivetrain, with clean water
or a hose.

5: Dry the frame with the rag.

6: Spray water dispersant on the drivetrain and run the chain through the rag to remove excess.

7: Apply lube to the chain, turn the pedals backwards for a few rotations so that it’s evenly dispersed and penetrates the links. Run the chain through the rag again to remove excess.


8: Finally, take the opportunity to check your tyres for damage or embedded glass or stones and you’re done!