After a winter riding grimy roads or muddy trails, your garage full of n+1 bikes could definitely use a spring cleaning. You don’t need to spend all weekend on this project–a quick clean is easy and a great way to keep your bike running smoothly as you start to ramp up the miles again. Here are some tips for a quick spring clean of your bike (note: this is meant to be a quick and basic clean, not a major, full bike once over and tune up that you should most definitely do at some point in time).
What you need:
- Citrus degreaser
- Sturdy shop cloths
- Bucket of hot water
- Dish soap (or purpose-built bike wash)
- Sponge or soft bristled brush
- Cog brush
- Chain Scrubber (Park Tool offers a great all-in-one kit including scrubber, cog brush, and degreaser)
- Chain lube
1. Start with your drivetrain. Pour some citrus degreaser on a cloth or spray some degreaser on the rear cassette (go easy here) and wipe away as much dirt and grime as you can. Go over the cassette with your cog brush to get the grime out from in between the cogs.
To clean the chain rings in the front, spray some degreaser on a shop cloth and with the chain out of the way, grab and pull down on the rings to scrape off any dirt and grime.
To deep clean your chain, the more OCD of the group have the option of completely removing the chain and throwing it into an ultrasonic cleaner.But to make things easier on yourself and ensure the integrity of your chain, you can simply use an all in one chain-cleaning system like Park Tool’s Chain Scrubber. Simply pour the citrus degreaser in the system, attach to your chain, and cycle the chain through for multiple revolutions.
2. Next up is the frame. Give your bike an initial all over rinse with the hose to get off the chunks and surface dirt. Don’t skip this step otherwise you will simply be scraping mud and grime over your frame’s finish. Use only the gentle shower setting on your hose though–if you go too powerful, you could force water and grit deep into components where they don’t belong and blast all the lube out–these components are expensive to replace.
Working from top to bottom and front to back, use a bucket of warm, soapy water and a soft-bristled handheld brush or sponge to clean your bike. Make sure you remove any degreaser left on your bike or drivetrain. Rinse thoroughly then dry with a clean cloth.
3. Lube your chain. Wipe off the excess with a clean cloth.
4. Hop on your beautifully clean bike and ride!