Cleaning your motorcycle or motorbike after a muddy or dusty off-road adventure is a necessity. Corrosive elements in dirt could ruin your motorcycle if not properly and timely removed.

Frequent cleaning of your machine will enhance its appearance, maintain its overall performance, and extend the life of many components. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Before washing the bike, block off the end of the exhaust pipe to prevent water from entering. A plastic bag secured with a rubber band may be used for this purpose.
  2. If the engine is excessively greasy, apply some degreaser to it with a paintbrush. Do not apply degreaser to the chain, sprockets, or wheel axles.
  3. Rinse the dirt and degreaser off with a garden hose; only use enough pressure to do the job.*
  4. After the majority of the dirt and degreaser have been hosed off, wash all surfaces with warm water and a mild detergent. Use an old toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach places.
  5. Rinse the machine off immediately with clean water, and dry all surfaces with a soft towel or cloth.
  6. Immediately after washing, remove excess water from the chain with a paper towel and lubricate the chain to prevent rust.
  7. Clean the seat with vinyl upholstery cleaner to keep the cover pliable and glossy, but be careful not not make the seat too slippery.
  8. Automotive wax may be applied to all painted or chromed surfaces. Avoid combination cleaner-waxes, as they may contain abrasives.
  9. After completing the above, start the engine and allow it to idle for several minutes to evaporate the excess water.

*Note: Excessive hose pressure may cause water seepage and contamination of wheel bearings, front forks, brakes and transmission seals. Many expensive repair bills have resulted from improper high-pressure detergent applications such as those available in coin-operated car wash facilities.

Photo: Brett Jordan

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  • Amanda Weil @motorcycle cover

    Thanks for the great info! The upkeep of a motorcycle is a must to ensure its lifespan and appearance.