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How to properly wash your motorcycle?

It is very strange to see one single piece of advice like: take a pressure washer and do not suffer, you will beat off any dirt under pressure! Either such advisors are in a share with motorcycle chain manufacturers, or they have been driving a cardan drive all their lives. Because people do not always pay attention to the fact that a high pressure washer harms some parts of the motorcycle, and together with the dirt it breaks off the oil seals, sets the heat to the electrician.

I knew one combat “jikser” who, after a lethal pressure wash, damaged the fuel system hose and did not notice. And since the jikser was as old as my dreams, according to the law of worldwide meanness, a spark slipped along the road somewhere near the leaking flammable liquids. And then you guess … The route was truly fiery.

Washing a motorcycle is quite simple, as easy as ruining something in it by scrubbing away the dirt. It’s especially funny when aluminum parts are oxidized by alkaline chemicals and life has not prepared you for this. Yes, yes, if the chemistry for cleaning is too aggressive an alkaline environment, and you have a lot of aluminum parts, then surface oxidation may occur. As a result, the details will be covered with spots.

Let’s analyze the main points that need to be considered:

  • Conditions and sequence of washing
  • Chemicals
  • Tools
  • Drying the motorcycle

Conditions and sequence of washing a motorcycle

When cleaning your motorcycle quickly, you need less space and materials. In such cases, they really call in at special stations. But keep these basic points in mind, even when planning to simply wash your motorcycle over the top:

Never wash your motorcycle while it is hot! Never!

Cool down the motorcycle! If you have not skipped physics, then you understand that if cold water gets on a hot metal, negative consequences are possible. You are not trying to temper the sword in the end! If you pour cold water on a hot motorcycle, there is a risk of cracks in the metal or peeling of the top coat if the metal is treated with something.

Take off unnecessary

Meticulous motorcyclists with a full total wash even remove the plastic in order to thoroughly clean the dirt that has accumulated over the season. But when the sink is shallow, it is enough to remove the hanging bags. Someone is reinsured and takes out the battery just in case, additionally insulates the candles – suddenly it will flood. Attached electrical equipment is also removed. It’s one thing when your recorder gets wet in the rain – it’s another thing when you fill it with a karcher yourself.

Clean the chain first, then wash the motorcycle

The chain is such a thing that collects whole curtains of dirt on itself. The stars are also overgrown with fringes. After cleaning the chain, you do your best to bypass it if you are using a pressure washer. The point is chain lubrication and oil seals. The pressure washer adds +10 to the chain wear rate. Similar to other oil seals and bearings in motorcycles. Do not hit with a precision shot of water under pressure. If you are irritated by dirt in those places or oil leaks, treat them by hand.

Before lashing out at scrubbing the dirt, let it soak

If the dirt has already passed all the diffusion stages and is firmly embedded in the motorcycle body, wet it or leave it in place with a damp cloth. Once the dirt is wet, it will be easier to clean up the debris. Scuffs on plastic or chrome often give out inept cleaning of the bike.

Do not flood vulnerabilities

Bypass the electrician during the washing process, do not fill the radiator and air filters. Careful with carburetors! When cleaning the exhaust pipe, do not direct water under pressure into the pipe! You might say something like “thank you cap”, but you will be surprised how often this happens. One of the reasons many motorcyclists stay in the camp to manually clean a motorcycle with a regular hose or bucket is the consequences of a high pressure wash.

Observe the purpose of the chemicals

Let’s talk about this below.

Monitor the foam and cleanliness of the fabric / sponge

Rinse the cloth you wipe the motorcycle more often, do not let the foam dry on the body. The more you rinse the fabric, the less dirt it will carry around the body. And do not forget that the dirt that accumulates between the surface of the paintwork and the fabric will behave almost like an abrasive – it will start to scratch the varnish!

If you leave a patch of foam, you will get a stain after drying. Yes, you can remove it, but wouldn’t it be easier not to leave streaks right away?


It’s no secret that there are all kinds of chemistry options for any occasion. Woe to the one who buys one thing and hopes that it will wash the entire motorcycle in the same way. Not the same. The aggression of alkaline chemicals for aluminum parts has already been mentioned. Thanks to the manufacturers of car shampoos, which on some lines indicate “do not wash motorcycles”, but, as always, in small print on the back of the instructions. For total cleaning of a motorcycle, you should separate the chemistry for metal parts (which are not just dirty, but can still be in oil), separately choose a cleaner for the motorcycle body and carefully consider the seat cover. The seat is rarely remembered at all, and then only when it cracks or breaks.

Chromed parts like to build podlets no less than aluminum ones. Windshield and mirrors are ideally cleaned with glass cleaner.

Polishes are often used after cleaning. If the seat is leather or delicate fabric that requires attention, it is also treated.


Again, the division into a quick wash “I just shake off the dust” and a full-scale foam party. In the first case, you use the kit that is at hand, but observing the above rules. It is better to wash under pressure not point-blank, but at a distance. By the way, it is advised to apply foam from special nozzles from bottom to top, and wash from top to bottom with water. As you walk from below, the foam begins to work on the dirt, which is more precisely below.

For a complete cleaning, you should have a set of soft tissues, microfiber and a minimum of protruding pile so that it does not cling and leave no thread. Sponges are often recommended. But they have a weighty minus: until you wash the foam out of the sponge, it will leave stains on the body longer than a soft cloth. A suede cloth is used for drying.

For hard-to-reach places, it is recommended to prepare brushes of different sizes.


As mentioned above, suede fabric is suitable for drying. I love the air blow gun idea. It will not always be possible to crawl into a hard-to-reach place with a rag.

Pay attention to the lubrication of the moving parts of the motorcycle after washing (is there enough now?) And the water that has accumulated in the brake pads. Do not forget to remove excess water from the nooks and crannies of the bike, as well as excess lubricant from the motorcycle chain surface. Otherwise, on the first trip, it will splatter everything around!

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