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How To Wash Your Bike

In just 10 minutes you can have a clean bike. This quick wash is perfect after rainy road rides or muddy mountain bike rides. It won't pass a white glove inspection, but it will be clean, lubed and ready for the next ride.

Ready? 10 minutes. Start the clock now. Break out a bucket of warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Time for a good bath. Washing your bike doesn't need to take a lot of time or make a huge mess. You will need the following:

  • Bucket with warm soapy water (dish soap works well as most have a grease cutting agent which is effective but not so strong as to degrease bearings or totally strip off everything).
  • Bucket with clean water
  • Large brush with soft bristles
  • A few dry, clean rags
  • Chain lube of your preference. If you use a dry lube for the chain, you will need something for the cables like Tri-Flow®

Dip your brush and load it up with soapy water. Start with the handlebars. Slop on the soapy water, wash quickly across the bar, then move downward and rearward. No worries if the dirt is still there, just let the soapy water do its work while you keep going. Hit the stem, top of headset, top tube and seat post.

Load up the brush again and go back to the head and down tubes. Brush the lower headset, fork crown, front brake and down the fork blades (don't forget the opposite side) to the front axle.

Load up the brush again. Back to the lower headset. Brush down the down tube and hit the area around the bottom bracket shell. Don't do the cranks and chain rings yet.

Load up the brush again. Start at the base of the seat post and brush down, get the area around the chainstay bridge, then go back up to the base of the seat post. Now down the seatstays (don't forget the opposite side). Be sure to get the rear brake, down to the rear axle and the non-drive side chainstay.

Load up the brush again. Slop soapy water on the rear derailleur, then the front derailleur.

Load up the brush again. Now hit the drive side chainstay, chain rings, cranks and cogset. Toss the brush in the clean water bucket.

Using the clean water, follow the same pattern with your brush. Once again making sure to get everything, and rinsing your brush frequently.

Now grab your rags and wipe the bike dry in the same order as the soaping. Change the rag around frequently to ensure you're wiping with a clean rag rather than a dirty one.

Lube up your chain thoroughly, floating all the pivots with lube. Break out the Tri-Flow® or cable lube of your choice and lube the derailleur pivot points and brake pivot points on caliper, cantilever, and V-brakes (be careful not to get any on the brake pads).

A drop of oil or 2 on exposed runs of cables can work wonders as well. If you have Teflon lined cable housing, there is no need to lube under the cable housing. If not, drip some Tri-Flow® down there too. Go back and move all these parts back and forth a few times to work in the lube, then wipe off any excess with a rag. DONE.