How to clean your mountain bike

Regularly cleaning your mountain bike is essential at keeping it in excellent running order. We can't pretend that you're not going to get dirty when cleaning your mountain bike, but with the right products, some time and a bit of elbow grease you can have it looking and riding great.

How often should I clean my mountain bike?

Some riders enjoy washing their mountain bike after every ride, but it's not necessary. A little surface mud won't do much damage your bike or its components.

If you want to give your bike's frame a quick wipe down, use a damp cloth, and the mud should fall away.

Over time mud, dirt, grease and grime can build up on your mountain bike, and it needs to be removed. How frequently you clean your mountain bike depends on how often you use it, where you use it and how dirty it gets!

As a rule of thumb, we recommend you wash your bike every month if you are riding regularly. We also recommend cleaning your mountain bike before storing it away or transporting it on a bike trailer or roof rack.

Should I buy a mountain bike cleaning kit?

We recommend that you purchase a mountain bike cleaning kit. The best mountain bike cleaning kits contain all of the sprays, brushes and lubricants you need all in one place.

You can build up your own cleaning kit over time, but a cleaning kit will contain everything you need to get this dirty job done in one go.

5 steps to clean your mountain bike

1. Hose down your bike

Use a hose or a bucket of water and a soft cloth to remove as much of the surface dirt you can from the frame and wheels.

Be gentle with the bike and gently work away at the mud. The water from your hose or bucket will loosen big clumps of mud, making them easy to remove. Work from the top down, so the dirt falls to the floor.

A garden hose is fine, but don't be tempted to use a pressure washer as this can damage the components on your bike, forcing water into bearings and other areas it shouldn't be.

Give your tyres a wash too and check for any splits, cracks or damage that could lead to punctures. There's no need to scrub your tyres (they're only going to get dirty after all), but while cleaning, you have the perfect opportunity to check everything is OK.

2. Use a cleaner and brushes to get hard to reach dirt

You can use soapy water to clean your bike, but for the best finish, we recommend using a specialist mountain bike cleaner. The best mountain bike cleaners will effortlessly remove mud, grease and grime from the frame, gears and wheels.

To get the best clean, you should use mountain bike cleaning brushes. Mountain bike cleaning brushes come in various shapes and sizes and are designed to help you remove mud from those hard-to-reach parts of your bike - including the wheels.

We advise you purchase specialist bike brushes as the soft bristles won't damage your paintwork, wheels and frame. Avoid using metal scourers or abrasive pads.

3. Degrease the chain and drivetrain

We're about to get down and dirty now as we degrease the chain. Cleaning your chain will remove excess lubricant and any nasties that have stuck to it.

Spray the chain with degreaser and leave it for five minutes, then remove the grease with a cloth or specialist chain cleaning tool.

Once the chain is clean, remove the grease, dirt and debris from the rest of your drivetrain.

4. Re-lubricate

Be sure to apply a suitable chain lubricant once the chain and drivetrain are de-greased. If you leave it for any length of time, the chain can stiffen up. Any water on the chain could cause corrosion.

5. Clean disc brakes

If your mountain bike has disc brakes, be sure to give these a clean too. You should use a specialist disc brake cleaner that's specially designed to keep them running smoothly.

After you've applied the brake cleaner to the disc, turn the wheel and remove any dirt or grime. This will ensure your brakes are not only clean, they'll work when you need them.

Finishing touches.

Your bike should now be clean and ready for off-road adventures (or being safely stored in your garage, depending on your plans!).

If you want to keep your mountain looking cleaner for longer, a specialist bike spray will provide a protective layer to your bike's frame. The spray has a high oil content, which drives out moisture and creates a sparkly protective layer on the frame. It doesn't just look good, it makes cleaning in the future easier too.