March 22

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How to clean a bike with a pressure washer

bike, cleaning guide

It’s universally known that cleaning a bike with a pressure washer can be bad for the Bike, especially the seals. But if you are going to clean a bike with a pressure washer, there are tips and tricks on doing it to avoid any damage to your bike.

Firstly, spray from the front or the rear of the bike, never from the side as it gets into the seals and the drive train. Keep your distance and remove any accessories such as water bottle, bike computer, pump, etc,

Make sure you focus on areas like the wheel and the rims. Use a brush and a cloth to do your seals and your chain. Once you have got the hard parts with a brush and a cloth apply some degreaser to the Bike with a cloth or brush and clean the hard parts.

Now with your pressure washer on the lowest setting. Clean the rest of your Bike and get in the hard to reach places. Check over the Bike for small or large pools of water.

When you’re finished, take the Bike for a slow ride to fully dry off.

Considerations when buying a Pressure washer to clean a bike

Knowing what you need up front for a pressure washer is going to save a lot of problems in the long run. You’ll need to consider the following

  • Gas or Electric – We would recommend electric for cleaning a bike
  • Power – You won’t need more than 1400PSI
  • Size – How portable do you need your pressure washer to be
  • Storage – Where will you store your pressure washer? A garage or shed is best
  • Water supply – Well water is not suitable for pressure washers. You’ll need access to hose

Tips for cleaning your Bike with a pressure washer

First of all, start by rinsing the home whole of your frame down. Spraying from the front or the back, never from the side.

Secondly clean the rims and brake pads making sure to leave anything on there that can rust or erode your Bike.

Thirdly apply degreaser to your chain set, sprockets and derailleur. You can use chain cleaner if the chain is really bad. Scrub them softly but well then with your pressure washer on the lowest setting go over the parts making sure you thoroughly rinse everything.

Lastly rinse and dry your frame off and apply lubricant to the chain and pivot points on the derailleur and take the Bike for a ride to dry it off properly

Remember

  • Always spray from front or back, never from the side
  • Start by rinsing the frame
  • Clean rims and brake pads carefully
  • Apply degreaser to chain, sprockets and derailleur
  • Rinse well and then apply lubricants
  • Dry the bike with a gentle ride

What pressure washer nozzle should you use to clean a bike?

The yellow, white and black nozzles are best to use for cleaning a bike.

There are 5 types of pressure washer nozzle, There is red, green, yellow, white and black.

  • Red nozzle - a zero degrees nozzle and is used for getting off tough stains and maybe too tough for the paint on your Bike.
  • Yellow nozzle - a 15 degree nozzle and is used for Surface preparation like removing dirt and can be used on most surfaces
  • Green nozzle - a 25 degree nozzle and is typically used for sweeping away areas but can be useful for the bottom of your wheels.
  • White nozzle - a 40 degree nozzle and is typically used for most surfaces.

What PSI is best when cleaning a bike with a pressure washer?

When cleaning a bike with a pressure washer you’ll want no more than 1400PSI.

When it comes to pressure, the lower end of the spectrum is more than enough to clean a bike. When looking to choose a pressure washer, you want to choose one with a max pressure of around 1400 PSI or 100 bar of pressure.

That way you will have more than enough to clean your Bike with. Most pressure washers create around 1300-1700 psi so you will have a wide selection to choose from.

Things to be careful of when using a pressure washer to clean a bike

  • Avoid using the pressure washers at pay car washes to clean your bike. The soaps can be corrosive and the high pressure forces water into your bearings and tubes.   
  • Always use the lowest PSI possible and never use more than 1400 PSI
  • Spray your bike from the front or the back
  • Try the pressure washer on an inconspicuous part of the bike to check you paint can take it
  • Avoid the red nozzle
  • Use white, black and yellow nozzles

Can a pressure washers damage Bike paint?

In short yes, but as long as you don’t put red nozzles on or use a high PSI (over 1400) then you should be ok.

Keep your distance too as using any pressure washer at point blank range can strip the paint off your bike and potentially damage the bearings.

Is it safe to wash your bike with a pressure washer?

Yes, it is safe to wash your Bike with a pressure washer as long as you get one that can be used at a PSI of 1400 or less. Anything more than that can damage your bike.

Make sure to use the right colour nozzles Black white and yellow.

Always make sure you wear safety equipment before you wash your Bike. People don’t realise that pressure washers can be very dangerous when not used in the correct manner.

Always read the manual front to back before you wash you use a new pressure washer for the very first time.

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