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How to Clean Your Bike for Summertime

June 3, 2020

Do you consider yourself a biking fanatic? Or maybe you’re someone who wants to get back into riding after some time off. Whether your bike is a veteran trail master or its the first time it has been out in over a year, it’s important for you to maintain the health of your bike with proper cleaning. 

While there are specific steps to cleaning your bike properly, rest assured it’s not hard to do. Here are our tips for how to clean a bike:

Before You Start

how to clean a bike - bike rack - image 1Before doing anything, be sure to gather your supplies. You’ll need the following items: 

  • Soft towels or microfiber cloths.
  • A couple buckets of water.
  • Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser or Powder. (MORE Spray + Foam for easier to clean spots and final polishing.)
  • Brushes and a sponge. 

Next,  to make your cleaning process easier, we suggest mounting your bike on a repair stand. Pulling your bicycle off the ground makes it easier to get to the small areas that can otherwise be missed. Once you have your bike secure (and you’re comfortable, feel free to remove your wheels for more thorough cleaning.

Now, let’s actually get started!

Bike Chains

how to clean a bike - bike chains - image 2We recommend beginning with small features, like your bike’s chain. Keeping your bike chain clean and free of grime will make sure your bike is accelerating properly during your ride. If you happen to be restoring a bike that’s been sitting in your basement for a while, the chains might have rusted – in which case, you’ll need a little more elbow grease. 

Start by creating a paste using water and our BKF Powder Cleanser. Spread some of the paste onto the chains and leave on there for no more than five minutes. Once the five minutes is up, scrub with a sponge or cloth and rinse thoroughly with water.  By getting rid of lingering rust, you can keep your chains running smoothly.

Bike Frames

Bike frames can be crafted out of a plethora of materials. Most commonly, you’ll find that bike frames are made up of a combination of aluminum, steel, titanium, and carbon fiber. While the deterioration rates are different for all of these materials, they are all subject to environmental exposures, UV levels, and hot/dry to cold/wet weather cycles. It’s also important to know what the frame is made of so that you know what cleaning products you can safely use.

Ultimately, what product you end up using (and how much of it) will depend heavily on the severity of rust and grime on your frame. Bar Keepers Friend MORE Spray + Foam cleaner sprayed on and rinsed will easily clean daily mud, smudge and grime.However, if you’re going to tackle those harder to scrub messes, you’ll need our BKF Soft or Powdered Cleansers. Just be cautious of how much product you use and how long you decide to leave it on. When creating a paste, for example, you might want to add the paste to the frame and scrub immediately. This is opposed to leaving the paste on the frame for five minutes. 

Our Soft Cleanser might even be the better option, as it might apply smoother and be easier to remove when rinsing. For some, the Soft Cleanser might be easier to measure out. In addition to product considerations, you also might not want to use as much product since a little can go a long way with specific materials. 

As always, be sure to test our products on a small, inconspicuous section of your bike frame before you begin any cleaning project.

Pedals and Handlebars

The most important features of any method of transportation are the safety features. On bikes, the parts you use to hang on and stay on are arguably the most important. Pedals and handlebars should always be free of rust or caked on grease, grime, dirt, etc. A build up of any of these things could wear out the fluidity and reliability of your bike

With all the cracks and crevices many pedals and handlebars have, we recommend scrubbing your pedals and handlebars with our Soft Cleanser with a  cloth or brush to remove rust or other degradation of your bike. After scrubbing your pedals and handlebars, be sure to rinse thoroughly. This is particularly important as you don’t want the product to come in contact with your skin.

Cleaning your bike with Bar Keepers Friend will keep you on the roads, riding into the sunset. If taking care of you means taking care of your bike, Bar Keepers Friend is here for you! So, clean up that bike, hop on, and get moving… because –

“A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke”
Scott Stoll, a Community Professor who traveled around the world on his bicycle.

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