Wash a Motorcycle

After you've ridden your motorcycle cross country or on a dirt road, you should wash it well to keep it in good working order. Washing a motorcycle requires a bit more care than washing a car, since there are a lot of little parts that need to be carefully cleaned. Using degreaser on the dirtiest areas will have your bike looking squeaky clean. Once it's dry, you can polish and buff it to get your bike looking like new again.


  1. Squirt the required amount of cleaning agent into the bucket. Fill with warm water until the foam reaches the top of the bucket.(Avoid using washing up / pot wash detergents as these often contain salts which hasten corrosion)
  2. Apply degreaser to very dirty areas of the bike. These tend to be areas like the wheels, engine area and chain area.
  3. Wipe all of the areas you have applied the degreaser to with a rag so that it is all loosened off and easier to clean with the soap and water.
  4. Spray/soak more degreaser in a rag and (if possible, with the rear wheel off the ground) wipe the chain as hard as you can and rotate the wheel so that all of the chain is clean. If you can, get into the swing-arm and rear suspension area and give that a good scrubbing, too. Real stubborn dirt and grease may take a while.
  5. Get the bike very wet with the sponge and bucket and wash the bike all over, just as if you were washing yourself. Spend more time on the wheels and the difficult areas such as rear suspension forks and number plate areas.
  6. Wash off the degreaser as well as you can.
  7. Throw a clean bucket of warm water over the bike, taking care of any electrical parts (you may wish to spray WD40 before this part). Repeat as many times as required. If you have a hose, use this instead.
  8. Leave for 5 minutes for the water to drain away and then move the bike to a dry spot.
  9. Take a chamois leather and wipe over the entire surfaces to dry any remaining moisture.
  10. Use the wax spray or chain lube and coat the chain of the bike by following the instructions on the can.
  11. With the WD40, cover the swing-arm, being careful not to get over the rear brake disc. With the rag you can wipe the WD40 over.
  12. Put bike polish on a clean rag and apply to the bodywork.
  13. When dry, buff off the wax with a lint free cloth.
  14. Apply Autosol/Brasso to another rag and clean the foot-pegs, brake and clutch leavers as well as forks, etc.
  15. Buff off once dry.


  • Make sure you have plenty of rags as you always use them.
  • Warm water always cleans better than cold.
  • WD40 helps keep metal clean and shiny and also prevents corrosion.
  • Get some gloves from your local garage to help keep your hands clean.
  • Use a chamois to finish drying. This prevents water spots.


  • Never have the engine running to help clean the chain on a bike. You may lose a finger or ten.
  • Keep WD40 and degreaser away from your eyes and always spray from the brake disc side to help prevent contamination.
  • Do not run the engine to help dry the engine or end can area, as this can burn un-rinsed cleaner or soap into the finish and make it difficult to remove later.

Things You'll Need

  • A bucket and large sponge
  • Washing liquid or car shampoo
  • degreaser
  • WD40 or similar spray oil
  • Chain wax or similar lube
  • lots of old rags.
  • Polish/wax
  • Autosol or sim metal polish.

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