​​How to wash a motorcycle

The first time I saw my husband wash his motorcycle I thought he was about to perform quadruple bypass surgery! I mean it was a major event. I thought we would grab a bucket, sponges, and a hose and go for it I couldn’t have been more wrong. Looking back, I admit I was a little put-off, but over the years I have come to appreciate the gleam of a well-washed motorcycle as much as the next guy. Just don’t tell my husband I said that!


Taking the time to properly wash your motorcycle will help prevent corrosion, protect your chrome, and paint job, and more importantly, make your bike look more amazing than it already is!

Things not to do

Do not at any circumstance:

  • Take your bike to a commercial washing facility- high-pressure hoses can damage exposed bike parts.
  • Leave your bike in the sun to dry-the extreme heat can harm paint, always wash, and dry your bike in the shade.

Supplies you will need

Here are the few things you will need to wash your motorcycle.

  • Bucket of soapy water
  • Gloves
  • Bug and tar remover
  • Degreaser
  • WD40
  • Toothbrush/Brush/Cotton sponges/towels and chamois

Prewash To-Do

before we get to the fun part, make sure you do these 4 steps:

  1. Make sure the bike is cool, never wash a hot motorcycle
  2. Make sure you choose a spot in the shade
  3. Make sure you have all your supplies ready *Do not lay any of the sponges/chamois/towels on the ground, you may pick up a loose pebble and scratch the paint
  4. Plug the exhaust holes to keep the water out

Washing Your Bike

First things first, gently spray your bike down with water to loosen up dirt and gunk. Start at the top of your motorcycle and work down.

Use the bug and tar remover if needed, always use a separate sponge, WD40 works well for some of the harder spots. Do not scrub too hard, just enough to lift the grime.

Use a degreaser for the hard areas like the swingarm, chrome exhaust pipes, etc. A toothbrush and brush are perfect for smaller parts and tires.

Rinse your bike off, you don’t want to let the soap dry on your bike. Be thorough and take your time.

Dry your bike off right after rinsing it, use a chamois or quality towel to hand dry, or (pro tip) you can use a leaf blower or shop vac to make sure you have dried all the crevices and save you some hard work.

Lastly, re-lube the motorcycle chain. Shine and wax to your preference.

Your motorcycle is now clean and ready to ride! But before you head out the door, be sure to check out VOOM Pay-Per-Mile motorcycle insurance to see how much you could be saving!

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