There’s a special feeling associated with having your bike look all nice and clean.
It kind of reminds me of the first bike I got on my 5th birthday from my grandfather. It was just so…pink…and shiny! To reclaim that feeling, I’m going to share with you my secret weapon to get bikes shiny and sparkly again. (Hint: you already have it under your kitchen sink).
If you rely upon your trusted two wheeler be it for getting to work, on weekends with family or on long-distance trips, they get greasy, muddy, dusty and just kind of gross. Like anything, if you can keep your bike clean, you’ll have it for years and years and be the hottest thing on two wheels. I promise!
Before you get going, remove bells, streamers and baskets.
The very first thing you should do is rinse off the extra dirt and grit – give yourself a clean slate once you’re ready to get scrubbing. Station your bike in a location where you’re not overly concerned about it getting soaked (perhaps your garage or driveway) and word to the wise, you MAY want to put on some old clothes for this – just a thought ☺. Set your hose so only a gentle stream of water comes out. A heavy stream of water could ruin the paint or shoot water into the bearings (which support the wheels). Clearly we don’t want that because it could make them and the bike not safe! You can also pour a bucket of clean water over it instead. You catch my drift – get the bike wet!
This is where my awesome secret weapon I was talking about comes in. Dawn is usually used to wash dishes, yes, but it’s useful outside the kitchen also. All you need to clean your bike is something to tackle dirt and grease, and that’s exactly what it’s designed to do, so I am not going to suggest you go out and get a fancy, one-trick pony cleaning solution when I can recommend simple blue Dawn (brilliant, right?).
Create a bucket of soapy solution by using about a teaspoon of the blue stuff in a gallon of hot water. Wearing rubber gloves, use a soft sponge, dip it into the solution and squeeze out the extra water and suds. Start with the tires, rims and spokes and scrub away until there’s no grease or grime left. It should melt off fairly quickly and prepare to have one dirty, dirty sponge.
Use the same solution (a teaspoon of Dawn in a gallon of hot water) to clean the bike frame. I recommend that you replace the bucket for this section of the bike since the other bucket will undoubtedly be filthy and that’s not going to help your bike cleaning game.
With a new sponge (or, you can use the same one if it’s rinsed really well), dip it into the mixture and scrub the frame, pedals and brakes. Feel free to use your trusty cleaning toothbrush to get in to any nooks and crannies of the bike too. You can also clean the chain with the same toothbrush dipped in this solution, but only if you have a product to lubricate it after it’s dry, otherwise the chain will get rusty. If you don’t have lubricant already, skip this step until the next time. You can buy a bike lubricant at your local sport or hardware store and let the pros explain exactly how to lubricate your bike chain correctly.
Give the bike seat a quick wipedown with a cloth dipped in the soapy solution and rinse with fresh water. Feel free to gently agitate stains or marks with a little bit of baking soda on the damp cloth, and then rinse well. This should ‘scrape’ away any dirt marks on the vinyl seat.
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Finish and Dry
Now that the entire bike has been cleaned, gently hose it down with warm water either from the hose or with a new bucket of clean water and dry it off entirely with an old, soft towel. Don’t leave it to air dry, because that can and will lead to rust – so fully drying the bike is imperative!
With these simple steps, your bike will look just as nice as it did when you bought it ☺
Regular bike maintenance tips and tricks
- If hardcore biking is your thing, use the soapy mixture and above-mentioned routine on your bike after each ride.
- If you take your bike out once in a while you can get away with washing it once a month – or even less. A quick rinse and dry is fine in between cleaning it entirely.
- Clean and lubricate the chain once a month as describe above. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself you can take it to your local bike store. Price compare first!
- If you’re riding and get caught in the rain dry the bike off completely after. It’ll take five minutes and stop your bike from getting rusty.
- If parts of your bike are rusted try using vinegar and a soft cloth to rub away some rust stains. Test first on an inconspicuous section. Rinse everything super well after, because any vinegar left behind can damage certain metals. Dry with a soft towel or old rag and make sure there’s no moisture left.
- If the chain is rusty, inspect it super closely after cleaning. If it looks damaged, get it replaced or fixed before your next bike trip.
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To learn more quick and convenient uses for Dawn that you may not have thought of, visit Pinterest.com/Dawn!
This is part of a project I’ve been working on with Dawn to share some cool and unexpected uses for it with all of you. Enjoy!
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