In this post, I’m going to show you how to properly clean and detail your bicycle

I’ll go beyond just cleaning because you can do that by just hosing off the bicycle but here I’m going to show you how to be more thorough in your cleaning, particularly the drivetrain which is really important to increase its longevity

I recommend this cleaning procedure after every time you ride in really wet muddy conditions. if you’re riding in dry conditions and I would say between 20 and 25 hours of riding.

These are the items you’ll need for this job.

A brush that looks like the following picture that you can pick up at a grocery store or even a hardware store

a toilet bowl brush and yes go buy a brand new one

a sponge

a bottle of dishwashing liquid

a bucket

a towel for drying off your bike when you’re done some biodegradable degreaser like simple green. I have a concentrated bottle and then I have some diluted simple green in a spray bottle

a bicycle chain cleaner like this one made from Park

and also a gear brush made from Park

Some chain lube

And some spray Lube like GT 85.

You’ll also want some rubbing alcohol and some paper towels

I’ll show a few optional items that make the job a little bit easier starting with this bicycle specific degreaser. I use this in place of the diluted simple green on the drivetrain.

This is made by pro gold but you can find some from other manufacturers as well

A bicycle work stand is helpful for this job but it’s not necessary if you don’t have one. You can just lean your bike up against something or you can flip it upside down

However, I don’t recommend doing that because it’s easy to get water in the headset. If you do flip it upside down just be careful that

And finally an air compressor is nice to dry off your bike again. It is not necessary but it does make it a little bit quicker

Let’s get started by putting some dishwashing liquid on your bucket so I recommend about a teaspoon and then put some water in your bucket

Since I have a work stand, I’m just going to go ahead and put it in the works and clamping it by the seat post

The first thing we want to do is hose off the entire bike and get as much dirt off as we can and then we’ll focus on the drivetrain

but before I start hosing it off I want to show you the few areas that you really don’t want to force water in. The three areas you don’t want to force water in.

One the head set which is this area right here at the front of the bicycle so there is a little gap here headsets are typically sealed today but if you really force water in there at the top or the bottom

You can get the bearings wet which you don’t want to do

The second area is the bottom bracket which houses the bearings that allow your cranks to spend and so you don’t want to force water in this area

and the third area you don’t want to force water in is the hub’s both front and rear so this is where the bearings are house that allows your wheels to spin

and so you don’t want to force water here on the side

Now when I get my hubs clean, I’ll let the water trickle down on top of the hubs but not forcing water in from the side

so now we’re just going to give the bike a good hosing off and I’m going to use the shower mode on this and you want to start from the top so by the saddle and just let the water trickle down and then we’ll get down at the lower areas

again just make sure you don’t force water in those areas that I showed you

so we’ve removed quite a bit of dirt from the bicycle just by hosing it off but we’ve spent too much money on our bike to stop there. We’re gonna go on to the detailing phase and give it some extra love and attention starting with the drivetrain

The first thing that we want to do is remove all that gunk that builds up on the jockey wheels of your rear derailleur and we’re going to use our flat blade screwdriver to do this

and as you can see in the picture, I have a trash can underneath to catch this because it is pretty nasty stuff. Before I scrape this stuff off, I’m gonna shift into the largest biggest cog and that really gives you access to your jockey wheels

just makes this easier so spend the pedals backwards and with your screwdriver in place just kind of scrape all this stuff off and you want to do this for both jockey wheels on both sides

again make sure you have something underneath to catch this.

Now it’s time to clean the chain, I’m gonna start by filling my chain cleaner up with half of my concentrated biodegradable degreaser which I use simple green and then I’ll fill the rest of it up with water

and there’s a line on your chain cleaner and just fill it up to the line there now let’s get the chain clean and typically I go about 30 revolutions so just put your chain cleaner on your chain , spend the pedal backwards about 30 revolutions

Now we’re going to get the chain rings clean. I’m going to do this by spraying my degreaser onto the chain rings and then I’m going to spray some on my brush

This is my gear brush and then just go around spend the cranks backwards and just scrub them off and you want to do both sides and obviously if you have more than one chain ring, do those as well

and now we’re going to do the cassette and by the way I’m leaving the chain cleaner on my chain and also on my front chainring while I do this so I can spray simple green on here but I love this stuff from Pro link this foaming citrus tree degreaser so I’m going to use this stuff

so whether you use your biodegradable degreaser or a bicycle specific degreaser take your gear brush and then just scrub them off.

The nice thing about these gear brushes is they have this side too that you can put between your teeth so if you have some stuff in there that’s really caked in there or some mud you can get clean between the teeth of your cogs with this

Now it’s time to hose off our drivetrain I’m gonna shift down just a few cogs kind of put it there in the middle and I’m going to clean the chain first, wash off the chain first and I’m using the jet mode on my nozzle also using the jet mode I’m going to get the cogs cleaned off so just spraying off all that degreaser that was on there

If you’re interested in this job, click here to read part 2

How to Clean and Detail a Bicycle – Part 1