Can You Use Washing Up Liquid To Clean Bike? | PedalChef

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There are various detergents, which you can use to clean your bike. But, can you use washing up liquid to clean bike? This article has all the answers.

Can you clean your bike using washing-up liquid? Can washing-up liquid cause damage to your bike?

You can use washing-up liquid to clean your bike. As much as washing up liquid may contain some salt, this salt is only available in negligible amounts. And when mixed with large amounts of water, this salt will be completely diluted, meaning it will not corrode or damage your bike.

In this guide, we will walk you through the importance of cleaning your bike regularly, as well as how to clean your bike. We will also discuss whether you can use washing-up liquid to clean a bike.

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Your bike features a collection of several moving parts. And, as you may expect, it will work more smoothly and efficiently, if you keep it clean. Consequently, you will find riding it more enjoyable, if it’s working efficiently and smoothly.

Also, keeping your bike clean will prevent premature wear and tear of its various components, thus saving you money in the long term. Furthermore, your bike will also look much better when it’s clean.

When to Wash Your Bike

While you may be tempted to simply toss your bike in the shed after using it the entire day, cleaning it regularly is highly advisable. It will boost your riding experience and increase your bike’s longevity.

So, how often should you clean or wash your bike? Well, this will depend on various factors such as the type of riding that you do as well as the conditions you encounter during your rides.

For instance, if you spend the majority of your time riding through muddy, wet or extremely dusty conditions, then you should be cleaning your bike at least weekly. Also, if you do a lot of riding, then you also need to be cleaning your bike as much as you can.

On the other hand, if you are the type that only takes their bike out over the weekend and you only ride over paved, clean surfaces, then a monthly or bi-monthly clean should do the job.

How to Wash Your Bike

Without a doubt, cleaning your bike regularly is important. As mentioned above, it will considerably enhance your riding experience. Also, cleaning your bike regularly will help to prevent the build-up of dirt and grime, which can cause premature wear and tear.

The good news is that cleaning a bike is not a complicated process. Besides, you don’t need expensive cleaning equipment or supplies. In this section, we will walk you through how to clean your bike to achieve a spotless look.

Gather the Necessary Supplies

Before you begin cleaning your bike, you first need to gather the supplies that you will use for the job. Fortunately, all the necessary supplies are readily available. In fact, you have most of them in your shed or garage. The supplies that you will need to clean your bike include:

  • Clean rags
  • Water
  • Brushes of various sizes
  • Soap or a general clean
  • Degreaser
  • Bike stand

Prepare for the Wash

First, you need to fill two buckets with clean water. If possible, you should use warm or hot water. But if warm water is not readily available, you can still use cold water. Once you’ve filled the buckets with water, you should then mix in your favorite bike wash or detergent. You can use washing-up liquid or car shampoo.

Second, position your bike on the bike stand. Placing it on the bike stand will help to raise it off the ground, making it easier to reach all the nooks and crannies. In case you don’t have a bike stand, you can simply hang it on a sturdy clothesline.

Third, you should proceed to remove the wheels. Removing the wheels will make your work easier when cleaning the chains. However, this process is quite complicated, especially for someone new to bikes. So, if you don’t know how to remove the wheels, you can simply skip this process.

Clean the Bike

At this point, your bike is now ready for the wash. And as mentioned earlier, cleaning your bike is not a complicated process. But, it’s advisable to do it systemically, meaning you should clean one area and then proceed to the next. Here’s how to go about it.


Apply a degreaser to the chain and then turn its cranks backward. This will allow the degreaser to spread to every link on the chain. You should then rinse the chain with a gentle stream of water using a hose or use a smaller container to pour water on the chain after around five to ten minutes.

If the chain is still greasy and grimy, you should apply some dish soap on the sponge or wet rag, grip the chain with the rag and then turn the cranks severally. After that, you should rinse and the chain should be clean by now.

Drive Train

After cleaning the chain, it’s now time to move to the drivetrain. At this point, the water in one of the buckets is likely looking dirty. And, you should consider discarding it and refilling it with clean water.

From there, you should then dip a hard-bristled brush into the water and begin scrubbing the chainrings. You will need to use a toothbrush or a bottlebrush to reach into the crevices around the rings, pulleys and teeth.

After cleaning all the areas of the drivetrain, you should rinse with clean water. You can repeat the rinse as many times as possible until all the grime or crud has disappeared. Also, don’t forget to clean the cassette.


The frame is arguably the easiest to clean since it doesn’t have as many moving components and parts as the others. For the frame, you should first dip a clean, soft rag or sponge into the second bucket of fresh water and soak it up. You should then clean it all through, working your way from the front to the rear. After that, you should then rinse it thoroughly. If your bike has caliper brakes, you also need to clean the pads with the rougher part of the sponge.


When it comes to cleaning the wheels, it’s recommended to use bigger but softer brushes to clean both the rims and tires. This type of brush will make it easier to get into all the crevices, with minimal effort.

As for the wheels, you will use the same approach as you did with the frame. You will dip the rag or sponge into the cleaner water and then start working on it. You should begin with the valve and then scrub the entire rim, making sure you don’t miss any spoke. You should then apply the same approach on the other wheel and then rinse properly.

Lubricate the Bike

Once you’ve finished cleaning the bike, you should wipe everything down and then leave it outside to dry. From there, you should reattach the wheels if you had removed them and then spin the cranks to ensure the drive train is running smoothly. From there, you should lubricate the brakes, derailleur levers, derailleur cables, derailleur assemblies, and other moving parts that need lubing.

Can You Use Washing Up Liquid to Clean Bike?

You can use washing-up liquid to clean your bike. As mentioned above, it’s one of the detergents that you can use. And while it may contain some salt, mixing the washing-up liquid with large amounts of water will dilute the tiny amounts of salt that may be present, meaning it will not corrode your bike.

In Summary

Proper and regular bike cleaning should be part of your bike’s maintenance routine. Cleaning your bike regularly will make it smoother and more enjoyable to ride. Also, you will prevent premature wear and tear, thus saving you money on maintenance costs. And as you can see, cleaning a bike is an easy process, which you can accomplish in less than an hour.