One of the best things about owning a motorcycle, next to actually riding it, of course, is simply taking care of it. However, motorcycles are magnets for dust, grime, and dirt, and a formerly spotless, gleaming machine can soon look grubby and dull if it’s not cleaned regularly. So, if you want to keep your bike looking pristine, you gotta do like Mr. Miyagi says and “wax on, wax off”. What are the best cleaning products for your motorcycle, though?
Review Summary: Best Motorcycle Cleaners
8 of the best motorcycle cleaners to keep your ride looking fresh!
Top Choice: Chemical Guys All Purpose Cleaner Degreaser
Adam’s Heavy Duty All Purpose Cleaner Degreaser is a powerful all purpose cleaner that cuts through just about any grit or grease that can accumulate on your bike.
|Product||Best For||Our Rating|
|1. Chemical Guys All-Purpose Cleaner||Best Motorcycle Cleaner Degreaser||⍟⍟⍟⍟⍟|
|2. Maxima Chain Wax Combo Kit, (Pack of 3)||Best Motorcycle Chain Cleaner||⍟⍟⍟⍟⍟|
|3. Slick Products Wash & Wax||Best Waterless Motorcycle Cleaner||⍟⍟⍟⍟|
|4. GUNK EDW75 Engine Degreasing Wipes||Best Motorcycle Engine Cleaner||⍟⍟⍟⍟|
|5. Chemical Guys Ceramic Coating HyperWax||Best Motorcycle Cleaner Wax||⍟⍟⍟⍟|
|6. Ultimate Wheel Brush Set and Cleaning Kit||Best Motorcycle Wheel Cleaning Kit||⍟⍟⍟⍟|
|7. Chemical Guys Motorcycle Care Kit||Best Motorcycle Cleaner Kit||⍟⍟⍟|
|8. Armor All Ultra Shine Car Wash Wipes||Best Motorcycle Cleaning Wipes||⍟⍟⍟|
An Array of Choices
There are more motorcycling products around today than at any other point in history, and sometimes the sheer volume of options can be overwhelming, leaving us with a number of questions. A few questions I’ve asked myself are below. If you’ve found yourself wondering about something similar, click the links and find out.
The Basic Necessities for Cleaning A Motorcycle
There are a few basic products that used to form the foundation of twentieth-century motorcycle (and car) cleaning and care. These were a bucket and a rag, some sort of vehicle shampoo, a cloth to dry it off with, and then a can of wax and a cloth to buff the wax. These will still do a decent job of keeping your bike clean and shiny, of course. However, in the twenty-first century, though, we have way more choices available to us.
Now, in the same way that biker gals ask themselves whether they should wear a leather jacket or a summer jacket when they ride, you have to ask yourself just how far you’re willing to go down the motorcycle cleaning product road, and whether you want to use a cleaning spray or waterless cleaner, cleaning wipes or engine degreaser. Read on to find out which of these choices will be best for you.
How Often Should I Wash My Motorcycle?
As often as you want! The real answer to this question, though, is however often you need to wash it in order to keep it looking clean and sparkly. This will depend a lot on where you live, the climate of your area, and where you park your bike, and whether you use a motorcycle cover.
In areas that get a lot of wind and dust blown around, you’re going to need to wash your bike more, especially if it’s regularly parked outside. If you commute a long way on your bike, it’s going to pick up dirt and muck from the road a lot more regularly than the bike of a weekend rider, so it’ll also need to be washed more often.
Can Cleaning Damage My Motorcycle?
The obvious assumption with regard to cleaning a motorcycle is the more often, the better. However, using subpar products to clean your bike, and doing this on a regular basis, can actually damage your motorcycle’s paint and metal.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t regularly clean your bike, though; if you don’t clean it, the grit and grime it picks up from the road (not to mention salt in winter) will wreck the paintwork and metalwork over time. The key to keeping your paint, metal, plastic and rubber parts looking as good as new is to make sure you use high quality, motorcycle-specific products. As long as you use the right products, you’ll definitely be protecting and preserving your motorcycle’s good looks rather than damaging them.
How to Clean A Motorcycle Gas Tank?
On many motorcycles, the gas tank is almost like a centerpiece, and many owners (yourself included, perhaps, dear reader?) spend a disproportionate amount of time cleaning and shining it. It’s often (depending on the style of motorcycle) the only painted metal part, and as such, its paintwork is rich and lustrous, and the clear coat that covers it is often especially glossy.
Also, however, it’s one of the areas in which paint fade is most readily and obviously noticeable, and it’s a part of the bike prone to getting damaged with stone chips, and from your legs rubbing against it. To keep it looking brilliant and shiny, care needs to be taken when cleaning and shining your bike’s gas tank.
If your bike’s gas tank has become a bit weathered and faded, you can use a motorcycle-specific paint restorer to get that beautiful mirror finish gloss back – but you do need to be careful and only use such products when necessary, as paint restorers are abrasive and can damage healthy paint and clearcoat (source).
Can I Use A Pressure Washer On A Motorcycle?
This is a trickier topic to tackle. While many motorcyclists do use pressure washers to clean their bikes, and (anecdotally) have done for years without supposedly damaging their bikes, there is a risk involved, particularly if you’re not very careful about where you’re aiming that jet of high pressure water.
While a pressure washer is definitely handy when it comes to cleaning stubborn dirt and grime off places like your wheel rims, you definitely don’t want to let the jet of water hit your chain. While normal water spray from the road won’t penetrate your bike’s chain link O rings, the high pressure jet from a pressure washer can, and will wreck your chain.
Also, it’d be a very bad idea to use your pressure washer near any areas where there are electrical connectors, or rubber seals. Again, while rain and road spray won’t get into these, high pressure jets of water will, and getting water into such areas will wreak havoc on your bike’s electrical system. It’s far safer, if you have areas of stubborn dirt on your bike, to soak the dirt for a few minutes before you start washing it. It should slide right off.
Reviews: Best Motorcycle Cleaners
As a devoted motorcycle enthusiast, I find it imperative to treat my machine with the utmost care. The Slick Products Wash & Wax Extra Thick Foaming Cleaning Solution offers a comprehensive cleaning solution that caters precisely to this need.
Let's dig into the specifics.
The cleaning solution is designed to foam up significantly, providing a thick layer of suds that covers the entirety of your motorcycle. It did an exceptional job of loosening up and removing tough dirt, grime, and road film that had clung onto my Harley. After just one wash, I noticed a visible difference in the shine and overall look of my motorcycle.
It's not only for motorcycles but also safe for ATVs, UTVs, and dirt bikes. Plus, its biodegradable formulation is a conscientious choice, showing regard for the environment while delivering outstanding results. It offers superior quality and yields a professional finish, which in my book, makes it worth every penny.
I found its foaming action and waxing effects of Slick Products to be superior.
- High foaming formula for deep cleaning
- Leaves a glossy finish post-wash
- Safe on all surfaces
- Biodegradable formulation
- May require multiple applications for heavily soiled bikes
The Chemical Guys WAC22916 HydroSlick Intense Gloss Sio2 Ceramic Coating Hyperwax caught my attention with its promise of next-level shine and protection.
Not only does it just deliver on its promise, but it also goes above and beyond. My first application resulted in an incredibly glossy finish. The high-performance hyper wax has a hydrophobic effect, which means it repels water, a feature that is not commonly seen in regular waxes. After application and during subsequent washes, I could see water beading up and rolling off my bike, indicating a protective layer.
The standout feature of this product is undeniably its ceramic coating technology. Unlike traditional wax products, HydroSlick uses SiO2 ceramic technology to provide a far superior level of shine and protection. It forms a crystalline lattice that imparts a deeper shine while also repelling dirt and water more effectively.
Chemical Guys has a track record of continuous improvement, with each release outdoing the last. The HydroSlick is no exception, as it represents a significant step forward from traditional wax products, employing cutting-edge ceramic technology. Despite its slightly higher price point, the quality and durability it offers make it a worthwhile investment for any motorcycle enthusiast who values aesthetics and protection.
- Exceptional level of gloss
- Hydrophobic properties repel water and dirt
- Easy application compared to many ceramic coatings
- Long-lasting protection
- Higher price point
- Requires thorough preparation of the surface for best results
The Maxima Chain Care Combo kit provides pretty much everything you need to clean and care for your bike’s chain. It doesn’t come with a chain brush, though.
A motorcycle chain is often one of the dirtiest parts of a motorcycle. It’s also one of the most important components and, unfortunately, one of the most frequently neglected in terms of cleaning and maintenance. The Maxima Ultimate Chain Care Kit comes with a chain cleaning spray, multipurpose penetrating lube, and chain wax. The only thing it doesn’t have, unfortunately, is a chain cleaning brush. However, using all three of the kit’s products will keep your chain clean and greatly extend its life.
- Provides everything you need to clean and protect your chain
- Aerosol bottles mean it’s easy to use
- Doesn’t come with a chain cleaning brush
There's joy in keeping a motorcycle pristine, and it often begins with the selection of the right cleaning tools. Chemical Guys HOL126 14-Piece Arsenal Builder Motorcycle Wash Kit is a product that I have used to maintain the high gloss and showroom shine of my ride.
The Chemical Guys HOL126 wash kit is a complete, methodical approach to motorcycle care. I've been able to effectively tackle every area of my motorcycle, from wheels and spokes to the fuel tank and fenders. The Mr. Pink Super Suds car wash soap provided in the kit removes grime without stripping existing wax or sealant, while the Signature Series Wheel Cleaner brings a gleam to the wheels without inducing any corrosion.
Among the many features that set this kit apart, the standout for me is the inclusion of the Torq Foam Blaster. By aerating the car wash soap, it covers the motorcycle in a thick, luxurious foam that lifts dirt away. Also, with 14 pieces in total, the kit covers more areas than most of its competitors, ensuring a comprehensive clean.
There are few kits that rival this in terms of comprehensiveness. The Meguiar's Motorcycle Care Kit comes close with its quality products, but with fewer tools and cleaning solutions, it doesn't offer the same level of versatility.
- Comprehensive kit: covers all motorcycle cleaning needs.
- The Torq Foam Blaster provides a thorough and effective clean.
- Specialized tools for specific tasks, enhancing cleaning results.
- The quantity of some products, such as the wheel cleaner, could be more generous.
GUNK Degreasing Wipes offer an easy, hassle-free way to get gunk and grime off your bike’s motor.
GUNK Degreasing Wipes are very handy and easy to use when it comes to cleaning your bike’s motor. All you do is wipe, either using the smooth side or the more scrubby side of the wipe, and the wipe will take off grease and grime. You can also use these in your kitchen or on your oily hands when you’ve been wrenching on your bike. One downside, though, is that they do tend to dry out quickly. They’re relatively cheap, however, so you don’t need to worry about using a couple.
- Very easy to use
- Removes pretty much any kind of grime and grit that can accumulate on your bike’s motor
- Can dry out quickly, meaning you use a lot in one application
In terms of cleaning effectiveness, Mr. Pink stands out. This soap forms a dense foam that effortlessly lifts dirt and grime from the motorcycle's surfaces. In my usage, it has consistently reduced the visible dirt by around 90%, even with some of the tougher road grime.
It ensures a thorough clean, even on hard-to-reach spots on the motorcycle. Furthermore, despite its powerful cleaning action, it's gentle on wax and sealant layers, a balance that many products struggle to achieve.
Compared to other soaps like Meguiar's Foam Wash, Mr. Pink stands out due to its foaming action. While Meguiar's product does a great job in cleaning, the additional foaming capability of Mr. Pink can make the cleaning process even more effective, especially in removing stubborn dirt.
Chemical Guys' Mr. Pink soap has improved from its original formula, with an enhanced foaming capability for better grime lifting and a milder composition that's kinder to protective coatings.
For a motorcyclist who values efficiency, effectiveness, and surface protection, Chemical Guys' Mr. Pink Foaming Car Wash Soap is a reliable choice
- Exceptional foaming action: Ideal for lifting heavy grime.
- Gentle formula: Protects wax and sealants on the motorcycle.
- Versatile: Suitable for use with foam guns, foam cannons, or simple bucket wash.
- Dilution ratio: Requires accurate dilution to ensure optimal performance.
- Not the best for heavy grease: Struggles slightly with very heavy grease, which might require a specialized cleaner.
Armor All Ultra Shine Car Wash Wipes allow you to wash your bike with just a quick swipe of a wipe.
When it comes to convenience and ease of use, cleaning your bike doesn’t get any faster than when you’re using Armor All Ultra Shine Car Wash Wipes. All you do is take out a wipe, wipe it a few times and then voila, you’re done. They’re a shade short of $5 too, so they won’t make your wallet much lighter. They do a decent job of cleaning, but they won’t provide the kind of shine and protection that wax does, though.
- Very convenient, just wipe and go
- Very cheap
- Doesn’t provide the same kind of protection as wax
- Wipes can dry out quickly
I decided to bring this product into my own cleaning routine, testing it on my trusty Harley-Davidson Softail Standard.
The first thing you notice about the Drill Brush kit is its versatility. It comes with several different brush heads, each designed to tackle a different cleaning task. From my testing, the Drill Brush kit truly does a remarkable job at deep cleaning. Whether it was the chrome exhaust pipes or the tough-to-reach areas like the engine fins, each brush head performed exceptionally, removing grime that would typically require a significant amount of elbow grease.
What sets the Drill Brush apart is its innovative design. By using the torque of a drill, it provides a level of cleaning power that manual brushes can't match. The bristles are also well-constructed; they are sturdy enough to deal with hard-to-remove dirt, yet soft enough to ensure they don't scratch or damage the motorcycle's surfaces.
Comparing the Drill Brush with other cleaning brushes like the Mothers Wheel Brush, it's clear that the Drill Brush provides a more thorough clean thanks to its powered mechanism. The Mothers Wheel Brush is effective, but it can't compete with the Drill Brush when it comes to tackling stubborn dirt and grime. It combines the strength of a drill with the precision of well-designed brush heads, offering a comprehensive and efficient way to keep your motorcycle wheels looking pretty clean.
- Excellent cleaning power thanks to the drill attachment.
- A variety of brush heads for different surfaces and areas.
- Reduces the physical effort required in cleaning.
- Durable construction ensures longevity.
- Larger brush heads might struggle with very tight spaces
Clean Bike, Happy Rider
While cleaning your bike can often seem like one of those chores you’d rather avoid, with the range of motorcycle cleaning products available these days – just like the vast array of jackets available to keep us riders safe – you’re not only spoiled for choice, it’s actually really easy to clean your bike, so there’s no excuse to ride around on a grubby machine. It’s never been easier or more convenient to keep your bike looking spotless and shiny, and with the kind of products that are now available to keep your bike clean, with a little bit of elbow grease and a couple dollars you’ll be keeping your ride looking pristine for years to come.