How to Properly Clean Your Motorcycle and Gear

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Motorcycle and Gear
Source: Kzenon/Shutterstock.com

With the COVID-19 pandemic on everyone’s mind, many people are looking for the most effective ways to clean the things they touch the most Motorcycle and Gear. At the same time, many motorcyclists have been celebrating the start of the riding season. Though this will be a somewhat strange riding season without the bike rallies and festivals that we all love, there has been a newfound appreciation for proper cleaning techniques. 

When it’s time to clean your bike, there are some widely accepted best practices that will help you get your machine sparkling. These easy steps will allow you to get both your bike, your gear and your helmet properly sanitized and ready to ride. 

Cleaning Your Motorcycle

There’s nothing that looks quite as good as a squeaky-clean motorcycle. In addition, thoroughly cleaning your bike will help remove viruses and bacteria that may accumulate. A good cleaning will also protect its paint job. Follow these basic instructions, making sure that you also take note of any special procedures that your owner’s manual specifies. 

  • Get your supplies together and your work area ready. 

First, you want to ensure that you’ve got the right tools for the job. A typical kit for cleaning a motorcycle includes:

  • Motorcycle cleaning spray
  • Motorcycle wax or polish
  • Sponges
  • Brushes
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Hose

The best place to clean a motorcycle is inside a garage, but if you have to clean it outside, choose a spot that’s out of direct sunlight. You also want to clean your bike only when the engine is completely cold, as engine parts can stay hot for a longer time than you might expect after a ride. 

Choose cleaning products that are specifically made for Motorcycle and Gear , as other products may have a pH that negatively affects motorcycle paint. If your manufacturer recommends a specific product, use that one. 

  • Plug your exhaust if necessary. 

If there’s any risk of water pooling inside your exhaust, you want to ensure that the pipe is plugged. Bikes with straighter pipes may be able to skip this step, but any kind of angled pipes (particularly on dirt bikes and sportbikes) will need to be covered. 

  • Use a pre-treatment spritz to reduce friction. 

Before you start cleaning your bike in earnest, you can begin to loosen up dirt and grime by spraying everything lightly with a mixture of water and Motorcycle and Gear cleaner. The idea is to make it easier to clean the gunk off using a lighter touch, rather than having to scrub and scrub like you’re trying to get burned eggs out of a frying pan. Rinse the bike gently with a low-pressure hose after this step. 

  • Get your lather on. 
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Now it’s time to lay on the suds. Start at the top of the bike and work down, getting into every nook and cranny and using a brush where appropriate. Make sure to rinse out your sponge in a bucket of clean water periodically so that you don’t grind dirt and grime into the bike’s finish. In general, you want to use the lightest touch possible to protect your paint job. 

  • Get your lather off. 

Immediately after soaping up your bike, you want to rinse it thoroughly. Soap dries quickly on motorcycles (especially if you’re outside and it’s warm) and will leave unattractive streak marks in the finish if it’s allowed to dry completely. In keeping with the light-touch philosophy, don’t use a high-pressure hose setting or, even worse, a power washer. Both can cause finish damage. 

  • Dry the bike.

Use a soft microfiber cloth to gently rub your motorcycle dry. Water left to dry in the crevices of a motorcycle will cause rust, so you want to make sure you get it out thoroughly. Use a can of compressed air to blast those hard-to-reach spots. 

  • Re-lube your chain. 

Soapy water isn’t good for the lube on your motorcycle chain, so make sure you’ve dried your chain thoroughly after washing and applied a new coat of chain lube. Read up on how to correctly lube a motorcycle chain to avoid potential damage. 

  • Wax your bike. 

Waxing your bike will help keep it looking great by improving its resistance to dirt and grime. Waxing techniques, however, deserve an entire article of their own. Seek out one of the many motorcycle waxing guides available online to learn about the best wax for your paint type and how to apply it safely and effectively. 

Motorcycle and Gear
Source: Dragon Images/Shutterstock.com

Cleaning Your Gear

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Your riding gear, such as your helmet, jacket and boots, needs attention just like your bike does. When cleaning your Motorcycle and Gear, the cardinal rule is to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer, but here are some general tips for each item. 

Helmet

The correct way to clean your motorcycle helmet depends on whether or not it has a removable lining. If it does have one, your job is relatively simple—just remove the lining and wash with warm and soapy water, noting where the pads attach the lining to the helmet. Then, let the lining air dry. Gently scrub the helmet outside and inside with soap and water. 

If the lining is built-in, you’ll need to let the whole helmet soak in a tub of water mixed with a mild soap. Give it a gentle scrubbing with a microfiber cloth, using a toothbrush to nab hard-to-reach places such as the face shield and vents. Then, let it air dry. If you have a device attached to your helmet, such as a Bluetooth motorcycle headset, check the owner’s manual to learn how to safely remove and clean it. 

Jacket

Textile gear is sometimes machine washable, but leather jackets shouldn’t go into a washing machine. Many leather cleaners and polishes are available, but the simplest method is to use a solution of water and mild soap to gently sponge-clean your jacket. 

Next, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the soap away, then pat dry. Don’t hang your jacket in direct sunlight to dry, as this can damage leather. Instead, let it air dry on a hanger in your home. When it’s dry, apply a leather conditioner. 

Boots

Cleaning Motorcycle and Gear boots is similar to cleaning other leather boots. First, remove caked-on dirt with a stiff bristle brush, then give the boots a good wipe with leather cleaner on a dry cloth. Finally, apply boot oil, let it sit overnight and buff to a shine. 

Motorcycle and Gear
Source: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com

By properly maintaining your bike and gear, you’ll help give them a longer life and keep them in top condition. Well-cared-for equipment performs and looks better on the road—and that’s something that almost everyone wants. 

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