How To Properly Clean and Lube Your Bike

How To Properly Clean and Lube Your Bike

Published by BigCommerce on Oct 29th 2021

We hear it all the time, "a clean bike is a happy bike" but exactly how do you clean the bike? Well we're going to demystify some of the lesser known ways to get your ride back to that show room shine all while keeping it easy and fun.

You will need the following:

WD-40 BIKE Foaming Bike Wash
WD-40 BIKE Degreaser
White Lightning Lube
Paint brush (3 inch wide or less)
Large sponge or rag
An old water bottle (cut in half)
Dry towel
Garden hose
Repair stand (optional)

*Pro-Tip: Store all of this in a hardware store bucket for easy access, mobility and storage.

Let's get started

Start off by getting the bike in a sturdy position to wash and spray off. Locate a wall or fixture where the rear wheel is held sturdy enough to back pedal the bike with your hands, or simply clamp your bike by the seat post to your repair stand. Turn your hose on and spray the entire bike with water, getting off the loose dirt and grime. Make sure if you're using a strong sprayer that you steer clear or spray lightly around the headset, bottom bracket, and any other bearings on the bicycle. After the bicycle is sprayed we can start cleaning the drive train. Take the cut in half water bottle and fill it about an inch high with WD-40 BIKE Degreaser. *Pro-Tip: If you have a water bottle cage on your bike it is easiest to put the half water bottle in the seat tube cage for easy use.

Next, use the paint brush and "paint" the degreaser on the drive train (chain, rear-derailleur, front derailleur, cassette and crankset) while pedaling backwards. WD-40 BIKE degreaser will start to foam getting a deep clean. Get all the cogs on the cassette and pulley wheels on the rear derailleur. Let the degreaser sit and get time to soak in while you clean the other parts of the bike. Using the WD-40 BIKE foaming bike wash, spray down the frame, wheels, and other components of the bicycle. No need to be exact, get the general region. Locate your large sponge and start scrubbing, be easy on frame and brakes, but really go for it on the brake track and wheels. Wheels can accumulate with brake dust over time and can cause premature wear on the braking surface and squealing.

After you are satisfied with your scrubbing use the hose and rinse the entire bike off, drive train and all. Back pedal the bike to get all the degreaser off of the chain and chain set. After the bicycle is free of cleaners use your dry towel to dry the frame and around the wheels, getting any dirt or residue left over. Next choose your lube for the chain. Will it be a dry week? If so, use the WD-40 BIKE DRY lube, if rain is in the forecast use the WD-40 BIKE WET lube. The wet lube is thicker and will stay on your chain longer when rain, snow, or mud is an issue. Apply the lube to the rollers (the middle part of the chain) while back pedaling the bike to ensure coverage on the entire chain. Next, use a towel to cover the chain and back pedal the bike again to remove the excess lube from the chain. Now your bike should be clean, happily lubed, and ready for the streets or trail. Washing your bike makes it easier to see potential issues and solve them quickly. So strive to clean you bicycle weekly, because you love it!

Mountain Bike Maintenance 

Sometimes a mountain bike can require a little extra cleaning. Dirt and mud can really do a number on some not so easy to reach areas on the bike (rear suspension and bottom bracket). Areas that pivot will need regular maintenance; cleaning and re-greasing. Learning how to clean these parts can save you time and money. Please note – do not use WD-40 All Purpose Lube on these parts (or anywhere else on your bike).   For rear suspension, remove the pivot bolts and bearing seals. Bearing seals can be pried out gently by using a razor blade knife or something thin. Use your degreaser to clean out the old grease. After the old grease is cleaned out, use some compressed air to dry out the degreaser. When repacking the bearings with grease, we like to use Park Tools High Performance Grease. Replace the seal caps and then the pivot bolts. When replacing the pivot bolts we like to put a little grease on them before installation, and use some thread-locker blue on the threads, and always torque to the manufacture’s specs. It’s a similar process for the bottom bracket; however, you’ll need the appropriate bottom bracket removal tool for your bike.

WD 40 Degreaser

WD-40 Degreaser

WD-40 Bike Wash

WD-40 Bike Wash

White Lightning Lube