Motorcycle surfaces may be designed to withstand the elements; however, they may succumb to any number of harsh chemicals in a variety of household cleaners. You’ve already spent thousands of dollars on your bike, why not spend a little extra for motorcycle-focused cleaners and polishes? They will have the strength to cut through the road mung and bug guts without etching or scratching your bike’s painted surfaces.

  • Billy Jack

    Worked in a detail shop when I was in high school. One thing they always stressed was to start at the top and work down. That way you aren’t fighting gravity – i.e., bringing dirt that’s traveled down in the soapy water back up. (There also tends to be more dirt in areas close to the ground – and again, you don’t want to be bringing that dirt inadvertently up to softer finishes like the tank.)


    I use an air blaster to dry the bike. The air is heated and it does a great job expelling water from the nooks and crannies. I like Honda polish. It isn’t as good as the old stuff that had all the fluorocarbons but it still does the job.

  • TC

    All good advice, especially the pressure washer, which are also found at coin operated car washes. I use a cordless leaf blower to blow the water out of the nooks and crannies after washing my bike. Also, there are products made expressly for cleaning your plexiglass windshield, and giving them a nice clear shine.

  • Buzz

    I also have an electric leaf blower that helps blow water out of nooks and crannies.

    Another tip is soft water for the final rinse. I have soft water at my house but if you don’t, a 50 cent jug of distilled water from the market is a great way to do a final rinse especially if you have a shiny cruiser.

  • kenneth_moore

    I’m glad you mentioned getting the hidden water out with a ride. I also use a blower for that if a ride isn’t feasible. You mentioned using the right products; my current bike has a matte finish. I found a terrific wash fluid and a spray sealer for it from The Chemical Guys. Neither has wax which will eventually dull the finish. I’ve even used the sealer on my car, boots, etc.

  • Old MOron

    I use some spray-on cleaner once in a great while. Can’t be bothered to do anything more. My rear wheel always looks like shit from flung chain lube.

    • le racer

      For clearing chain lube try a little ,WD40 on a rag , That works quite well. I also spray WD40 on my chain before lubing it after a wash /wet ride to avoid sealing warter in with the oil

    • TC

      I bought a bike that had so much baked on brake dust on the front wheel, I spent hours getting it off with rubbing compound and a polishing wheel. A little ongoing cleaning saves a lot of work, in the long run. On the other hand, excessive cleaning can do more harm than good. Nothing wrong with a light ‘protective layer of dirt’.

  • RyYYZ

    Reasonably good tips. Click-bait article format, though. Does it really need to be on 11 separate pages?

  • Chuck

    Gotta agree with RyYYZ. Don’t have time/patience for clickbait.

  • Wes Janzen

    I thought the article was going to talk about measurable benefits, but no dice. I ride a 2004 Ducati, so there are measurable risks in washing it with water. I guess that’s what happens when you stick the barometer sensor in the gauge cluster and vent the gauges with an open vent. Eventually, when we decommission these outdoor access points at work, I’m pulling the Goretex vents off them to put on my gauge cluster. I figure that will be six months before I ultimately part the thing out.

  • Al Banta

    Don’t turn the hose up the exhaust pipe/pipes. High pressure water is going to go right the pipes into your engine. Duct tape over the exhaust ends before washing.

  • I wash and wax my bike twice a year, whether it needs it or not. The rest of the time I use car detailer to keep it clean. I also use Dawn dishwasher detergent as it cuts grease and grime without harming the finish. If it’s good enough for oily ducks, it’s good enough for my bike.

  • Henry Tate

    Number 3 is my favorite. Number 3 is the reason that I never wash my bikes. I usually get well over 100,000 miles from my bikes. Good maintenance, always wins over clean. My bikes have to earn their keep. H