What to do When Washing your Motorcycle

washing your motorcycle, motorcycle engineLet’s be honest.  You don’t like washing the dishes or your clothes.  You haven’t washed the windows… ever?  But washing your bike brings joy and zen!  We get it, we’re right there with you!  Riding your bike is obviously the best, but cleaning up your dirt bike after a great trail ride or some hot laps at your local motocross park is the right thing to do, and if you’re honest washing your motorcycle is enjoyable and maybe even a little therapeutic.

Whether you ride a dirt bike, street bike, or dual sport, keeping it clean not only helps keep it running right but helps keep the value up and of course, makes you look good!  Unlike a car, motorcycles have lots of different surfaces that need to be cleaned properly to keep things in good shape.  Here are a few quick tips:

Washing Your Motorcycle

  1. Let your bike cool down completely before you wash it
  2. Use a mild detergent like car wash soap on any plastic or painted surfaces
  3. Clean any metal with the appropriate strong cleaners but be careful!
  4. Be careful of petroleum-based cleaners on rubber, vinyl and plastic surfaces
  5. Keep water and cleaner away from the intake, exhaust, fuel cap and electronics
  6. Be careful of the chain and hubs, don’t clean them too well unless you’re ready to re-lubricate them


Washing a hot bike can cause thermal shock to components like your exhaust or brakes.  This can weaken the metal over time or quickly cause warping of brake components.  If you can, its best to wash out of the sun as well.

The right cleaner for the right surface is the best way to keep things looking like new for a long time.  On painted surfaces or dirt bike plastics, anything that is safe for a car’s painted finish will work for your bike.  On oily metal surfaces consider using PJ1 Spray and Wash Degreaser to remove any oily residue or dirt.  This is a strong degreaser that leaves surfaces sparkling clean and can be washed off with water.  On plastic, vinyl, leather, and rubber surfaces use PJ1 Renew and Protect to revitalize and moisturize the material to keep it from fading or cracking.

While applying any of these cleaners make sure to minimize contact with other surfaces.  For example, PJ1 Spray and Wash Degreaser, as well as Pro Brake Cleaner, will remove the wax from painted surfaces and may discolor plastic.  Similarly, when rising with water be sure you don’t accidentally get any in your intake, exhaust or fuel and it’s best to avoid wetting electrical components even though they are designed to be water-resistant.

Lastly, be careful when cleaning around your chain and hubs.  You don’t want to blast all the grease out of your bearings and you don’t want to decrease your chain unless you’re ready to lubricate it.  If you are ready to clean and lubricate your chain, check out our chain cleaning and lubrication guide.

Now that your bike is all clean, get out and ride!

Photo by Andre Medvedev on Unsplash