How to Clean A Mountain Bike: A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Clean Mountain Bike
Table of Contents

Do you want to have and ride on a clean mountain bike? Bike maintenance might not be the most frightening part of your mountain biking, however, knowing how to clean mountain bike properly after a mud-covered ride is essential.

Cleaning your bike will not simply keep your gear riding smoother for longer, it can also save you a lot of bucks in the process. Cleaning mountain bike doesn’t have to be difficult. With proper knowledge, rest assured you will be able to retain your bike’s original look even if you used it hundreds of times.

Either way, if you’re looking for a content or guide that can help you in cleaning your mountain bike, then you have come to the perfect place. Here, you will not only learn how to clean a mountain bike properly and because we will also cover other important things that will surely help you a lot in maintaining your mountain bike’s overall appearance and performance.

Why Do You Need To ​Clean Mountain Bike?

Man with bike in mountain

Without a doubt, mountain biking is considered one of the messiest and dirtiest sports or leisure out there. There is nothing as redeeming as flying downhill over a pond or getting drenched in a rain shower.

However, the fun will never end until you get back home and face the reality that you need to clean your bike.

​Whether you’re mountain biking, road biking, or bicycle touring, the reasons behind why do you need to clean your bike are very simple. Some of the reasons are as follows:

  • Dried-up water and mud may have a destructive effect on your bike’s gears, frame, and bike chain.
  • Getting mud, water, and dirt off your mountain bike helps to keep everything working longer.
  • Cleaning your gear every after your drive can give your mountain bike a longer life.
  •  It would be an embarrassment to purchase brand new bike parts simple because you do not want to clean your bike.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that a thorough clean improves bike’s performance.

How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Bike?

If you’re using your bike on a regular basis especially in harsh conditions, it’s best to clean it regularly or every after your ride.

However, if you’re only using it for getting your weekly shop or short commute, then you can clean it infrequently.

​Actually, the only thing that needs regular lubricating and cleaning is your bike’s chain. But if you are not planning on cleaning your chain often, make sure to ask experts of bike shops regarding a chain lubricant that will last long.

What Tools And Materials You Need To Clean Your Bike?

Prepare the following tools to clean your bike:

  • Bucket of water or garden hose
  • Clean cloth
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Sponge or brush with soft bristles
  • Brush with hard bristles
  • Bicycle lubricant
  • Bicycle Stand

Note: If you don’t have a bike stand, that’s okay. Simply lean your bicycle against a wall or tree instead.

How to Clean Your Mountain Bike Properly?

​​Here’s a step-by-step guide on cleaning your bike properly.

Step 1. Look For A Perfect Area Where You Can Clean Your Bike

It’s essential to look for a perfect place to clean your mountain bike. Better yet, look for a spot with good water drainage. And make sure that you have adequate space to use to work.

It is also beneficial to use a bike stand so that your bicycle is off the ground. In this way, the dirt will not splash back on your bike.

​Aforementioned if don’t have a bike stand, lean it against a wall or bike’s kickstand down. However, you need to be sure that it is upright and won’t fall over.

Step 2. Watering

Watering to Clean Mountain Bike

After looking for a nice spot, take your bucket or hose and then rinse your bike completely. If you’re utilizing a garden hose make sure to use a low pressure because high pressure may damage your bike’s delicate parts and seals.

Also, the pressure washer step will loosen up the dirt and dried mud on your bicycle.

​Watering, on the other hand, is just the thing your bike tires need. In fact, after rinsing them with water thoroughly, they will be fine.

Step 3. Spraying & Brushing

Spraying and Brushing to Clean Mountain Bike

Get your all-purpose cleaner, then spray it to your bike thoroughly. This type of cleaner removes lubricant, dirt, mud, and grease from your bicycle.

When it is spayed down, wipe your bike using a sponge or brush (soft bristles). Do not rub too hard.

After which, all the mud and dirt must come off without difficulty. Also, make sure to wipe even the narrowest crannies and even the concealed corners.

​When you are finished, rinse your bike with water again. Nevertheless, steps two and three take care of your bicycle’s frame. So your bike frame should be washed by now.

Step 4. Clean the Suspension, Chain, and Gears

Clean the Suspension, Chain, and Gears

The drivetrain is one of the significant parts of mountain bikes. This part comprises all the parts which allow you to pedal your bicycle, form derailleurs and to cranks as well as chainrings.

However, cleaning the gear sets carefully is very important since this part accumulates plenty of dirt, grease, and grime.

To perform this, grab the all-purpose cleaner or a quality bike wash then spray down all part of the drivetrain. After that, get the brush with hard bristles, don’t forget the jockey wheels and the suspension seals.

At this moment, you need to spin your bike’s pedals backward so that the gear sets and chain will rotate. Hold the hard brush beside the gear sets then maneuver your brush from left to right and up and down to make sure that you get in the middle of the chain rings. You can use a chain cleaning device for ease of use.

​Also, ensure to get the pedals and derailleurs as well. Complete this step by washing everything off using your water.

Step 5. Drying

Drying to Clean Mountain Bike

By now, your bicycle should be spotless. Nevertheless, dry your bicycle with a clean cloth.  Make sure to dry every part of your bike especially the frame.

​Although your bike is pretty spotless now, the rag will still become dirty as it absorbs the water as well as the spray.

Step 6. Lubricate the Suspension

If your bike has a rear or/and back suspension, it is essential to ensure it is lubricated.

To do this, lube up your bike’s suspension with some wet lube and then pump it down several times. At this instant, you can see some dirt that emerges from your suspension.

​However, make sure to remove the excess lube. Most importantly don’t use too much lubricant since excessive amount any possibly attract dirt and dust on your next ride.

Step 7. Oiling and Lubricating the Chain and Gears 

Oiling and Lubricating the Chain and Gears

​After lubricating your bike’s suspension, it is now the time to do the same thing for the drive train.

Check if all the liquid is removed by pedaling back several times. Place lubricant on the chain and then continue to run it back.

However, if you want to make sure that you didn’t put too much lubricant, grab another clean rag and run the chain over it. Also, do not forget to put some grease on the chainrings and derailleurs.

Finally, if your bike has disc brakes and brake pads, make sure to avoid putting lubricant on them. Why? Because disc brakes with oil need fixing.

​To clean your these rinse them with water, brush them, and dry using a clean cloth.

Tips for Easy and More Professional Cleaning

  1. Don’t rinse your gears as well as brakes excessively as they only need a little amount of grease.
  2. Use the right cleaner
  3. After cleaning, drip or spray lubricant on your bicycle and all degreased components, make sure to wipe off the leftover.
  4. Avoid using pressure washers because some of them can remove the grease and put water to parts.
  5.  Apply a bike polish so that your bike will look like brand new.​​


Having enough knowledge on how to clean mountain bike properly is very important especially if you want your bike and most importantly your wallet remains in better condition as you won’t have to visit a car wash shop everytime it gets dirty..

​However, cleaning a mountain bike is not a difficult task. The seven steps we have included in this guide only last for a couple of minutes. Also if you have performed the steps for a couple of times and follow the tips for bike cleaning trust us you will find it a simple and enjoying task.

About The Author

daniel in queenstown with mountain bike

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