Bike cleaning - here is what its all about

By regular bike cleaning, you can keep its parts in good condition. Oil, degreaser, bubble bath, scrub, shampoo, Teflon lubricant - your bike has a more impressive beauty kit than yours. Additionally, it is sometimes difficult to know which product to use depending on the room.

Even if you are a bit at a loss when it comes to bike cleaning, this article is just what you need. Thanks to our advice and feedback, you will learn how to use the right tools at the right time to clean and maintain a bike and its components yourself.

Steps to properly clean and maintain your bike

• Which tools are essential for cleaning and bicycle care?
• In what order should you clean your bike?
• What things should you choose for transmission maintenance?
• How do you clean the gearbox of a bicycle?
• What equipment should I use to clean bike brakes?
• How do I clean my disc or pad brakes?
• ❌ What you shouldn't do when cleaning your bike ❌
• Where is the best place to clean my bike?

clean your bike at home or outside

Which tools are essential for bike care?

This is what you need
• Gloves
• A tarp or an old sheet
• A microfiber cloth
• A set of bicycle cleaning brushes
• A sponge
• Water (preferably hot)
• Cleaner (or dishwashing liquid)
• Disc brake cleaner
• A degreaser
• Lubricant (in spray or can)
• Grease for bearing care
• A chain support (not absolutely necessary)
• Spacers for disc brakes (also not absolutely necessary)

Although it's not essential, a bike stand makes life a lot easier when it comes to maintaining and repairing your bike. It allows easier access to corners for more precise cleaning without damaging the back.
We also recommend that you prefer biodegradable products or those packaged in recyclable or refillable packaging.

💡A tip: Instead of individual products, you can also purchase a complete set. Usually there is an instruction manual for it.

In what order should you clean your bike?

  1. We degrease
  2. We clean up
  3. We dry
  4. We lubricate

The wheels must be removed for thorough bicycle cleaning of the various parts. Block your disc brakes with a piece of cardboard, or better yet a spacer. Use a chain support.
Time required: 1 hour.

The most important steps when cleaning your bike

  1. Start by cleaning the transmission
  2. Then clean or remove the dirt from the bike
    We use a sponge and soapy water to care for the frame, handlebars, wheels, tires and saddle of your bike.
  3. Dry components
  4. Then lubricate the chain with a few drops of oil.
    Turn the cranks and also change gears a few times to distribute the fluid to the chainrings and sprockets of the cassette.

You can also add a few drops of oil to the input of the rear derailleur and brake housings.
We'll tell you more about the transmission in a moment.

Do you have to remove the battery when cleaning your e-bike?

Maintenance of an electrically assisted bicycle (VAE) is the same as a mountain bike or road bike. However, major manufacturer Bosch recommends removing the battery from your e-bike and washing it with a damp cloth. Do not use a high-pressure jet or direct it at the battery or electronic components.

Which products should you choose for transmission maintenance?

The following is necessary
• Bicycle cleaning brushes
• Cleaner (or dishwashing liquid)
• A degreaser
• Lubricant (in spray or can)

Cleaning your bike: How do you deal with the gearbox here?

A quick reminder: The drivetrain of a bicycle consists of the chain, the crankset, its cranks and chainrings, the pedals, the cassette and its sprockets, the front derailleur, the shifters, the cables and housings.

How does cleaning a bicycle gear shift work?

  1. Remove dirt from the trays with a brush
  2. Apply degreaser to the chain and other parts of the transmission
  3. Wait briefly until the product takes effect
  4. Rinse with warm water until everything is clean
  5. Drying the components
  6. Add a few drops of oil to lubricate the chain

Which components are important when cleaning the brakes of a bicycle?

You need that
• A cloth or sponge
• Cleaner (or dishwashing liquid)
• Disc brake cleaner _
• Spacers to block the pads (not mandatory)

How do I clean my disc or pad brakes?

  1. Remove the wheels. Place your chain on the right of the large chainring and small sprocket to easily swap out your rear wheel.
  2. Use regular detergent or soapy water on your pads. When cleaning a bicycle, you have to clean the discs with a special disc brake agent. Wipe them well with a clean cloth. Rinse your brake pads with hot water and use a special disc brake cleaner.

Take the opportunity to check the condition of your pads and linings and change them if necessary!
💡 Good to know: Use chain lubricant in a can instead of a spray. This reduces the risk of splashes on your discs and pads. It's also more ecological!

❌ What not to do when cleaning a bike ❌

• Applying grease or lubricant to disc brakes (rotors and pads) or brake pads
• Do not dry the chain: rust guaranteed!
• Using the wrong product for different components
• Lubricate the chain with grease: Use oil like you would with French fries! But be careful: do not use olive oil on the chain, use Teflon oil!
• Do not wear gloves
• Not protecting the floor
• Only clean the frame of the bike and neglect the maintenance of the gearbox
• Use a high-pressure water jet each time you wash

Where is the best place to clean your bike?

The courtyard of your building or an outdoor parking space
Bring a bucket of water or fill several cans or bottles. Stand next to the water drain and use a tarp to avoid stains.

The shower or bathtub
If possible, it is advisable to protect the shower walls or bathtub, for example with a tarpaulin. Some products stick to the coating.
There are airtight cleaning boxes for the chain that are equipped with brushes.

The gas station or automatic car wash
These locations have a garden hose or pressure washer. It's radical and devilishly effective. However, there are several stances on this issue that disagree. Therefore, some precautions are required

This should only be done if your bike is really very dirty (example: after a mountain bike tour in the forest in wet weather). These devices are not actually intended for cleaning bicycles, but are more suitable for cars. Using a high pressure jet too regularly is not recommended. It is better to choose the cleaning option with hot water and soap.

This is how cleaning a bicycle works with a high-pressure cleaner

• Do not aim the jet directly at your bearings (cassette, bottom bracket, hub), but rather stroke it over the frame
• For complete bike cleaning, position your chain on the far right (large chainring and smallest sprocket)
• Apply degreaser to the gearbox before running the water jet
• Don't get too close to your bike with the jet
• Don't forget to work on both sides of your bike

After your trip, you can also give your bike a rough rinse with bottled water to remove dirt before taking it home for a thorough cleaning.

For a thorough cleaning (bearings, bottom bracket, headset, cables and housing, etc.) you will need to disassemble the bike and reassemble the parts. To be on the safe side, complete bicycle maintenance should be left to a specialist. This is where flashfix comes into play 😊

The bike repair shop near you for your cargo bike, bicycle or e-bike!