Tips On Motorcycle Cleaning: How to Properly Clean your Motorcycle 

If you want motorcycle cleaning tips that will help you clean your motorcycle faster, easier, and without damaging it, here are some tips to help you...

You probably purchased your motorcycle, in part, because you liked the way it looks. The shiny chrome, beautiful paint, studded leather saddle bags or other accessories made that motorcycle stand out in the crowd and call your name. You may not know, however, that cleaning your bike improperly can actually damage your scoot and ruin those attractive features that made you choose it in the first place.

If you've just come in from a cruise, you must let the engine cool down before washing the bike. You can cause spotting, streaking, chrome damage and actually crack your engine! So give the engine and pipes time to cool down.

While waiting for the motorcycle to cool, you can give it a good "once over" looking for any leaks, wearing tires, loose hoses, and any other areas that may need your attention once everything is cool enough to handle. You can also gather your cleaning supplies.

What Motorcycle Cleaning Products You Will Need

  • Some soft, clean cloths. You'll need some for washing and some that you keep dry for drying and polishing. A dirty rag can scratch the bike. There are "wash mits" you can purchase and use, but only if they are kept clean.
  • Wheel cleaner made specifically for wheels
  • Leather conditioner for saddle and any accessories
  • Clean sponges - a dirty sponge can contain dirt which can scratch paint and chrome.
  • Cleaning solution made specifically for motorcycles. Because the cleaners will get on the paint, saddle and chrome, use products that are not going to cause problems with discoloring the finish or "blue" the chrome. When it comes to motorcycle cleaning, many bikers make a mistake of using the wrong motorcycle cleaning products, which can damage your motorcycle.
  • You may want a bucket for mixing solutions. Follow the mixing directions on any supplies. Be sure each product is used properly.
  • Of course, you need a water hose as well.

Motorcycle Cleaning Part 1:

Before you begin your motorcycle cleaning, remove your watch, rings and other jewelry which could scratch your bike. Take of any belts, jackets with metal, and any other object you think might cause scratches.

Now that the bike has cooled to the touch, you can begin the wash. Using the motorcycle cleaning product recommended by our motorcycle manufacturer, mixed properly following label instruction, prepare your cleaning solution.

If you have heavy dirt or have bugs on the fenders, hose down those areas gently from top to bottom first. This will allow them a kind of "pre-soak" to loosen them. Then hose once again to rinse off any debris that has loosened.

Beginning from the top to the bottom, wash gently, using a clean soft cloth or a wash mitt. If your cleaning cloth becomes soiled, do not take the chance of scratching the paint or chrome; change to a clean cloth. If you use a sponge, be absolutely certain no debris gathers in the sponge pores and causes scratches.

Motorcycle Cleaning Part 2:

Rinse the bike from top to bottom, paying special attention to any areas of extra heavy soil. If the heavily soiled areas do not come clean, you may need to do a little extra cleaning in those areas. Just remember to be gentle. It is far better to wash a spot three times than to rub the area hard and end up with no shine in the paint, dulled chrome or visible scratches.

Check every little place that dirt can hide to be certain you have the motorcycle completely clean. Then begin the final rinse process. Hose the motorcycle from the top down. Then rinse exactly the same way again. Leaving any trace of cleaning products is very bad for the finishes. While rinsing, watch how the water reacts and drains from the bike. If water beads, then a full polish is optional. If the water runs off in sheets and fails to bead at all, you probably need to take the time to perform a full polish job with manufacture-recommended polishes.

Use a wheel cleaner and soft rag to completely and thoroughly clean each wheel. Not only does dirt collect on the wheels, but as the brakes are used, dust from the brake pads can get on the wheel and actually cause corrosion because the metals react with one another. Rinse the wheel thoroughly.

Dry your motorcycle off with clean soft rags. This process can best be done in the shade rather than direct sunlight, if possible. This prevents streaking. Check for streaks and if you need to, dampen a spot and dry that area again. Just a few drops of water is all you need to moisten a streaked spot.

Motorcycle Cleaning Part 3:

When drying, look for spots that water tends to pool and take an extra bit of care to be sure those areas dry thoroughly. Never, ever use an air compressor to dry your motorcycle. It looks like it would work just fine, but compressed air can blow grit into the finish causing permanent damage. There are people use a lawn blower, purchased for blowing leaves off the drive or walk, and they have indicated this works quite well for drying motorcycles. Personally, I believe in the hand dry, hand polish.

Maintain your leather with the products your motorcycle maker recommends. Treat the saddle, and any leather accessories.

Motorcycle Cleaning Conclusion:

A clean bike is easier to maintain because any leaks can be spotted quickly, before trouble becomes serious. After you finish cleaning and everything has dried completely, treat your chain if that is recommended for your model and age of motorcycle. You can also clean and shine the tires with a tire treatment if you wish.

Now, with these motorcycle cleaning tips you will have a nice, shiny motorcycle to ride out on your next day on the road.

The time you take to care for your ride pays off in long life and beauty.

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