How to Clean a Mountain Bike


You know you had a good mountain bike ride when you and your bike are unrecognizable due to the amount of dirt, dust, and even mud you have covered all over you and your bike.

You had fun, that’s a check. But how to clean a mountain bike after a ride? It’s fairly simple – but there are a couple of things you should look out for.

Of course, I know that you don’t want to damage your precious MTB so washing your bike methodically is exactly what you’ll learn how to do in the post below!

How to Clean a Mountain Bike

Rinse Down your MTB


No matter how dirty your MTB is – you will have to rinse it down before doing anything further. You simply need to wash it.

But how?

I highly recommend using a hose if you have access to it – or do it the old way – sponge and a bucket of mildly soapy water.

Do you need to worry about any parts? You shouldn’t. Why?

Because you are taking the first step to clean your MTB so not only it will shine, but it will also run better.

Therefore, don’t worry about getting water down your drivetrain, wheels, or chain – just rinse it the best you can so you can pay attention to a couple of components individually and ensure your MTB runs the best it can.

Take Care of the Drivetrain


Once you’ve washed your MTB for the first time to get rid of the dirt, dust, mud, and debris – it’s the time to get the brushes out.

Even though your MTB might look clean at this point – your drivetrain is probably not. How come?

Even though you can’t see it, your drivetrain is probably greasy at this point. Ideally, you would want to use a bike degreaser to easily degrease your drivetrain – but if you don’t have one, you can always rely on the soapy warm water.

Cleaning your drivetrain can be exhausting, but I highly recommend using a toothbrush as it can help you work smaller areas easily but also penetrate dust and grime that can get stuck in the drivetrain after a crazy MTB ride.

Clean the Chain


Once you do a great job at cleaning your drivetrain, you can’t end up the wash without cleaning your chain as well.

If you have a removable chain, this could make things easier for you as you would get to soak the chain before cleaning it.

However, you can also clean the chain by hand without removing it off your bike.

If you decide to remove & soak your chain – you could use an all-purpose cleaner such as Simple Green and mix it with water 50-50.

For hand cleaning, I’d recommend getting a cloth you could soak in the all-purpose cleaner. Then all you have to do it loosely wrap the cloth around the chain and run the pedal a couple of times until you can no longer see any grease or dirt on the chain.

Rinse Your MTB Again


Once you rinsed your MTB and took care of drivetrain and chain – it’s the time to rinse your MTB again. You can think of this as the final rinse where you want to achieve maximum cleanliness.

As you cleaned drivetrain and chain, you ensured that your mountain bike runs efficiently. And now is the time when you get to rinse your MTB again with fresh water.

But keep in mind, even though you took care of drivetrain and chain, you should still rinse it again, run the pedals and shift the chain through gears. I always keep a toothbrush handy so you can still clear any debris if you spot any when you rinse the bike again.

When you are satisfied with how clean your MTB is – it’s not over yet. There’s one more thing left to do!

Things to Do After Cleaning Your MTB


Now when your bike is clean, you’re halfway there. The last thing you want to do is ensure that your bike runs smoothly.

This means that you will need to lube your chain and run it through the gears so your drivetrain and cassette are lubed well.

I highly recommend using a specialized bike lube of your choice, but you should also keep the type of lube in mind as well. There is a dry and wet lube – and depending on the weather conditions in your area, you would want to choose a type of lube that will benefit you more.

Wet lube is ideal for rainy weather as it won’t wash out easily in rain. Dry lube is a great option for hot weather since it won’t start to melt under high temperatures.

I am a big fan of dry lube because it leaves less mess and there are fewer chances you will get your leg or shoes dirty.

When applying lube, you should know that you don’t need a lot of lube at all. Adding a dot of lube every two or three links in your chain while running the pedals is a good way to ensure you don’t apply too much lube.

And lastly, one thing most riders forget is to wipe down any excess lube. Even though you might not spot it – there might be excess lube. Simply take a clean cloth and loosely wrap it around the chain as you move the pedals.

This way, you won’t remove lube from your chain, yet you will ensure that the lube doesn’t drip off the chain during your ride.

How Often Should You Clean a Mountain Bike?


Now that you’ve successfully cleaned your MTB – you’re ready to take it for another round of awesome trails.

But how often should you clean a mountain bike? You don’t have to worry about wearing down your chain by cleaning it often.

However, you don’t need to degrease and clean your drivetrain and chain after every ride. If you’re a very active rider and you ride on trails – I recommend doing a complete bike cleaning every week or every two weeks.

But if you don’t get your MTB too dirty and you don’t ride as often – doing a complete clean once in two weeks, or even once a month is good enough!


When was the last time you cleaned your MTB? Was it the end of the last riding season?

It’s very simple to clean an MTB and no matter how muddy you get your MTB – it won’t take long to clean it.

Most MTB riders forget that drivetrain and chain are important as much as the hydraulic forks, brakes, and shifters are, as they can improve the smoothness of your rides.

How do you clean your mountain bike? Did you need help learning how to clean a mountain bike?

Feel free to leave your questions, comments, or suggestions in the comments down below! I’d love to hear from you and I’d love to help everyone further!

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