Top tips – cleaning your cycle 

Cleaning your cycle not only keeps it looking good, it also means it will ride better and last for longer. 

February 28, 2023

Top tips

We’ve teamed up with Muc-Off to bring you our top tips for keeping your cycle in tip top condition. 

There are three main steps to looking after your cycle – cleaning, protecting and lubing it. If you follow all of these steps you will make sure your cycle is not only clean but also protected from the weather and road conditions.  

Cleaning your cycle

You will need: 

  • A bucket of water, pressure washer or hose 
  • A bike cleaner like Muc-Off’s Nano Tech Bike Cleaner 
  • A degreaser like Bio Chain Cleaner 
  • Brushes – you can get cycle cleaning brushes, or sponges, dustpan brushes and old toothbrushes will work
  • Clean cloths for drying and removing extra cleaners and lubricant – microfibre cloths are good as they won’t leave bits behind 

Close up of a hand spraying chain cleaner onto a cycle chain cassette

Step 1
Give your cycle a pre-rinse to get rid of surface grime and wash off any big lumps of dirt.  

Step 2
Clean your chain. You can use Muc-Off’s Bio Chain Cleaner onto the chain and the cassette (the part the chain moves up and down on) or another degreaser and a small brush – an old toothbrush works well. Spray the degreaser on, making sure you don’t get any on your brakes, while moving the pedals backwards so it covers the whole chain. Use a brush or sponge to clean off the dirt. Rinse the whole chain area with clean water – including the cassette and other parts the chain runs through. 

Step 3
Spray the cycle all over with cleaner and rub any especially dirty bits with a soft brush. If you’re using Muc-Off’s Bike Cleaner, leave it for 3-5 minutes to work.  

Step 4
Rinse the cleaner off using clean water. If you are using a pressure washer or a hose, make sure you keep the pressure low, as otherwise it can damage some of the delicate cycle parts. 

Step 5
Clean your brakes and pads very carefully and make sure you wipe away any soap and water left so they are completely dry.  

Step 6
Dry your cycle off with a clean cloth. 

Protecting your cycle

You will need: 

  • Muc-Off’s MO-94 Bike Spray or other spray that gets rid of water 
  • A clean cloth 

Close up of a hand spraying degreaser onto a cycle

Step 1
Cover your brakes to make sure none of the spray gets on your brakes. 

Step 2
Spray all over the chain, cassette and cycle frame. The spray will get rid of any water or other moisture, if you use MO-94 it will also add a layer of protection and lubrication – this will stop your cycle getting as dirty next time you’re out for a ride. 

Step 3
Use a clean cloth to remove any extra spray from the cycle, including the chain, cassette and frame. 

Lubricating your cycle

You will need: 

  • Lubricant – Muc-Off do wet or dry versions, one for use in wet weather, the other for dry weather 
  • A clean cloth 

Close of a hand applying lubricant to a cycle chain

Step 1
Move your pedals so they are going backwards and apply your lubricant. This will help to spread it over all the links in the chain. Do it slowly so you don’t use too much lubricant. 

Step 2
Wipe off any extra lubricant, you can move the pedals backwards and hold your cloth in one place so the chain moves between the cloth and is wiped off this way. 

Step 3
Wait before riding your cycle for at least 15 minutes, but overnight is even better as the lubricant will have worked into all the parts of the chain so it will be better protected. 

Giving your cycle a good regular clean and keeping it protected and lubricated will stop you having as many problems. Plus, if you get into a routine it will be a lot easier than an annual clean that takes hours to get through a year’s worth of dirt, grease and grime! 

Got the Spring cleaning bug? Take your sparkling cycle to the streets and join the Great British Spring Clean 2023. The project by Keep Britain Tidy is the nation’s biggest mass-action environmental campaign, and asks #LitterHeroes to take pride in their local community.

The Great British Spring Clean and Great Big School Clean 2023 will take place from 17 March to 2 April, and you can pledge to pick up a bag of litter – or more – here.

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