Published May 11, 2023
Every cyclist knows: you need to clean your bike regularly to increase its life and get the most out of it on every ride. There is no shortage of videos on the subject and we have quickly covered it all. Yes but... almost all the maintenance tips require access to an outdoor space (a yard or a garden) as well as specific equipment: brushes, products for each component, karcher...
So how to do when, like most of the French, you live in an apartment? How to clean your bike efficiently with a sponge and a simple cloth?
The Cyclist House is here to answer all these questions! In this article, we share with you all our tips and tricks to clean your bike in apartment and with the means at hand.
How often should I clean my bike?
We can't tell you enough: a bicycle is a complex machine that requires regular maintenance to limit wear and tear on its components. A clean bike is also a bike that allows you to optimize your performance and ride safely.
For those who have all the professional cleaning equipment and/or a place to wash their bike with water, our article article on maintenance tips outlines all the steps you need to take for effective regular maintenance.
For the rest of us who don't have the necessary equipment and improvise a cleaning with what's lying around and who don't have the proper outdoor space, this is where it happens 👇
What is the best room in your apartment to wash your bike?
If you don't have a garden or yard that is easily accessible, you are left with the following options:
- shower or bathtub
- a balcony
- washing stations
- in a room of his apartment, preferably where there are tiles (easier to clean) ⚠️ protect the floor with a blanket as below
What is the basic equipment to clean his bike?
Unfortunately there is no secret, you will still need a minimum of equipment to effectively clean your mount :
- a plastic cover or tarp to protect the ground
- a workshop stand: it's optional but it's much easier to tinker with your bike. Your back won't say otherwise ;) You can find them at reasonable prices in some department stores
- a sponge : an old kitchen sponge is perfect (be careful, avoid sponges that scratch your bike)
- a rag : an old cloth or t-shirt that you don't wear anymore will also do the trick
- a toothbrush : preferably one that you will not use again 😅
- a soft bristle brush: also optional but if you have one, it will help you to wash everything that is wheel, spokes, crankset
- some glass cleaner
- chain oil
- a chain drift
The maintenance of the bike is not to be neglected and should be done regularly, so if you decide to invest in cleaning equipment, there are kits like this one
that will allow you to save time and to get out of the "resourceful" team.
What are the different steps to clean your bike like a pro in an apartment
1. Remove the chain
If you have the time and want to clean your bike like a pro, we advise you to dismantle the chain to clean it properly.
Before disassembling it, check that it is still in good condition. If not, take the opportunity to disassemble it and change it completely.
The best way to check the condition of your chain is to use the chain tester tool and see how much wear your chain has.
If you don't have this tool, here is how to check the wear with the naked eye: when the chain is on the big chainring you pull it a little and if the chain comes off more than 3mm and you can see the whole tooth it means that your chain is worn or that your chainring is already well used. This technique should be taken with a pinch of salt because it is not an exact science, but it allows you to determine if it is urgent to change the chain or not.
2. Disassemble the wheels
To clean your frame in every corner, it is better to remove the wheels. This will make it easier to clean them as well.
3. Cleaning the frame
In an apartment, you can't put too much water on the frame without risking water damage. We offer you a useful alternative: the product for windows.
Spray your frame and the greasiest parts: derailleur, chainring, brakes.
Then rub the frame with a sponge, not forgetting any centimeters: fork, under the frame, seatstay.
For the more "technical" parts like the brake calipers, you can use a toothbrush.
If you have a soft-bristled sponge, go over the chainrings, cranks, etc.
Also, don't hesitate to rinse your sponge several times so as not to smear the dirt you are trying to remove.
When you're done cleaning, reapply glass cleaner all over and dry with a dry cloth.
4. Clean the wheels
Ideally, use the soft bristle brush to scrub the rims and spokes. If you don't have a brush, a sponge or rag can do the trick.
Reassemble the wheels and wipe down the wheel with glass cleaner and a rag. Cassette.
5. Washing the chain
Use brake cleaner or WD40 and a rag to clean your chain. You can wash it in a basin to give it a good shine.
6. Oil the chain
Once your chain is back on the bike, lubricate it with a little chain oil. You don't need to use too much: put a few drops at the bottom of the chain, turn the pedals 3 times and you're done. Then go up and down the gears so that the oil greases the whole mechanism.
Tips for cleaning your bike indoors
If your bike is too dirty, for example with a lot of mud, dirt, gravel, it is better to spray it at the car wash or on your balcony so as not to dirty your apartment (too much) or clog the pipes if you wash it in the bathtub.
If it is moderately dirty, you can fill a can of water and spray it on the sidewalk before bringing it up to your apartment so as not to get mud everywhere.
If you don't have time to clean your bike completely, but it's dirty enough, it's a good idea to at least clean the transmissions (chains), Cassette) by degreasing them regularly.
Our article on how to preserve the value of your bike explains why it is important to take care of your bike.
But luckily, our bikes are inspected and Certified Pre-Owned with real pro equipment.