Different types of bike wash explained

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Different types of bike wash
16 December 2023

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Long story short – Here we discuss the different types of bike wash in India and their pros and cons in detail.

Bike or motorcycle wash is a necessary aspect that comes under maintenance and care of a motorcycle. A motorcycle is a naked vehicle that can accumulate much dirt and debris compared to a car. Several methods and techniques exist to clean the bike, from plain water to advanced chemical wash. All are equally good but have their pros and cons. The big thing to consider is the amount of time, facilities, and types of equipment you have. So, we must consider all these factors before selecting a bike wash type.

The rising pollution and challenging environmental conditions will undoubtedly take a toll on your bike. Hence, the effort and time needed to care for our bike will increase exponentially. Basic knowledge related to motorcycle wash types is mandatory. Motorcycle companies try to incorporate the best exterior materials that stand the test of time; even then, our primary care is needed. Our purpose here is to guide and help you select the correct washing technique for your motorcycle. We will discuss each washing technique’s advantages and disadvantages in detail.

Different types of bike wash or motorcycle wash

Water wash

It is the most basic and affordable type of washing. All you need is a water hose or bucket with water. The only other equipment needed is a dry and wet microfiber cloth. The wet one is soaked in water to clean the dirt, while the dry one wipes water marks after drying.

Pros of water wash

  1. Cheap and affordable.
  2. Less equipment.
  3. Suitable for home.

Cons of water wash

  1. Water requirement is high.
  2. Tough to remove hard stains.
  3. Water can be acidic or alkaline, which is bad for the bike.

Diesel / Kerosene wash

Another method of motorcycle washing for home. It is very similar to water washing; the only difference is that diesel is used instead of water. It is best for oil and grease stains and prevents rust formation to some extent. Compared to water wash, the amount required is less. However, the main disadvantage is that it can reduce and damage paint quality on metal and plastic surfaces. Diesel wash can be considered for parts underneath the motorcycle.

Pros of diesel wash

  1. It can remove some hard stains.
  2. Best for washing underneath the bike.
  3. Prevents rust formation to some extent.
  4. Removes oil and grease stains effectively.

Cons of diesel wash

  1. It can damage paint permanently.
  2. Expensive compared to water washing.

Shampoo wash

Bike shampoo wash
Bike shampoo wash

One of the best methods to wash the motorcycle. There are a lot of dedicated automotive shampoos out there in the market to do the same. The major USP of shampoo wash is that it makes water pH neutral. Both acidic and alkaline water are not suitable for bikes. Accessories needed for shampoo washing are water, two buckets, two microfiber cloths, and shampoo. One thing to note here is to avoid getting mistaken by the regular shampoo we use for our hair with bike shampoo. Both are meant for different purposes, and detergents or household cleaning liquids should never be used. Shampoo wash can be done at home and by professional teams.

In-home, we can implement two bucket washing method for the shampoo wash, and the steps to do the same are

  1. Take water in two buckets, with one having slightly more water.
  2. Add bike shampoo to the bucket containing less water per quantity.
  3. Dip the microfiber cloth in shampoo water and start cleaning the bike from top to bottom, as bikes have more dirt in the lower area.
  4. Next, wash the dirty microfiber cloth in another bucket and remove the maximum dirt.
  5. Now repeat steps 3 and 4 for the entire bike. One thing to take care of is never wash dirty microfiber in shampoo water. The purpose here is to keep shampoo water as clean as possible.
  6. After cleaning the entire motorcycle from top to bottom, let the motorcycle dry for some time and then use a dry microfiber cloth to remove mild stains.
  7. Do not perform a wash when the motorcycle is hot or under direct sunlight.

Pros of shampoo wash

  1. Very effective cleaning method.
  2. It can remove hard stains.
  3. Protects paint and other surfaces.
  4. Makes water pH neutral.
  5. Simple and for home.
  6. Removes grease and oil stains.

Cons of shampoo wash

  1. Water requirement is high
  2. Time-consuming method
  3. Need more accessories.

Foam wash

Bike foam wash
Motorcycle foam wash

That is the best method to wash the motorcycle out there. It can remove stains and dirt in much less time than shampoo wash. But the downside is that the equipment needed for the same is high, and it is better to get it done by a professional cleaning team. Foam washing can be done at home, but you must buy several pieces of equipment, which requires enough area or space to do the job.

A pressure washer and foam sprayer cannon are required for foam wash. These are the primary tools and are pretty expensive. Now, let’s discuss the steps or process to do the foam wash for your bike.

  1. First, keep the bike on a centre stand or a paddock stand.
  2. Then, using water and a pressure washer, wash the motorcycle at an adequate distance between the pressure washer and the motorcycle so that parts are not damaged.
  3. Now fill the foam sprayer cannon with the mentioned shampoo and, using a pressure washer, apply it all over the bike at a safe distance.
  4. Wait 5-10 minutes to settle the foam over the motorcycle, then wash with water using a pressure washer.
  5. Now allow the motorcycle to dry. After 1-2 minutes, use a microfiber cloth or blower to clean and remove water or watermarks.
  6. One thing to care about is not washing from a single angle for a long, as water can get into critical components.
  7. Do not perform a wash when the motorcycle is hot or under direct sunlight.

Pros of foam wash

  1. Very practical and removes all types of stains and dirt.
  2. Short work duration.
  3. Protects paint and other surfaces.
  4. Removes grease and oil stains.

Cons of foam wash

  1. Water requirement is high
  2. Requires a lot of equipment
  3. Expensive
  4. Requires enough work area or space

Dry wash

Bike dry wash
Bike dry wash

This method is for motorcycle owners where water scarcity is high or it is a drought-affected area. For this, three accessories are required: a dry wash spray gun, a dry wash solution spray can and a microfiber cloth. This method has a lot of similarities to foam wash.

Now, let’s discuss the steps or process to do the dry wash for your bike.

  1. First, we need to prepare the solution. As the official instructions mention, mix minimal water with dry wash solution spray.
  2. Pour the new solution into the dry wash spray gun and keep the maintained pressure in the spray gun per the official instructions.
  3. Keep a 2-3 feet distance between the spray gun and the motorcycle and apply the foam evenly across all surfaces.
  4. Now clean the surface with a microfiber cloth, and do not use a regular cloth.
  5. An important note is do not allow the foam to dry and clean immediately after application.
  6. Do not perform a wash when the motorcycle is hot or under direct sunlight.

Pros of dry wash

  1. Very practical and removes all types of stains and dirt.
  2. Short work duration.
  3. Protects paint and other surfaces.
  4. Water requirement is very low.

Cons of dry wash

  1. Slightly expensive.
  2. The time taken to remove heavy dirt is high.
  3. Not suitable for a filthy bike.
Different types of bike wash comparison chart
Different types of bike wash comparison chart

As we discussed different types of bike washing, let’s answer some doubts and queries related to motorcycle washing.

Can we use ordinary clothes for bike wash?

No. Always use a microfiber cloth for washing, as it prevents scratches and removes dirt effectively.

Can we use regular soap and detergent for motorcycle wash?

No. Both contain chemicals that are harmful to paint and reduce quality. Always use automotive shampoo for the same.

Can we use pressure wash for the bike?

Yes. One thing to note is maintaining a 2-3 feet distance between the pressure washer and the motorcycle.

Is water pH a vital factor for bike wash?

Yes. Both acidic and alkaline water are not good for bike wash. Either use filtered water or a pH-neutral automotive shampoo that makes water pH-neutral.

When to have a professional wash for your bike?

If you have limited time and accessories, opt for a professional wash. Also, consider a professional wash if you have limited space or no garage area.

Is it okay to wash the bike with diesel?

No. Washing bikes with diesel results in a loss of paint quality and can also lose glossiness. But it can be used for cleaning underneath the motorcycle to remove hard stains.

How much distance should there be between the pressure washer and the motorcycle?

To prevent damage to paint and parts, keep a distance of around 2-3 feet.

Which is the best type of bike wash for water scarcity areas or drought areas?

Dry wash is the method if there is a water scarcity issue.

Which is the best type of bike wash at home?

Water or shampoo wash is best if you clean the bike at home, as the equipment required is low and the minimum work area is required.

Which bike wash removes hard stains and dirt best?

Foam and shampoo wash is the best one for hard stains and dirt.

Can we perform a bike wash in an open area?

Yes, but it must be under a sunshade. Washing under direct sunlight damages paint and exterior materials.

Should the bike be in the centre stand while washing?

Yes, It is for safety purposes, and if the centre stand is unavailable, use a paddock stand.

Conclusion

We have discussed different types of bike wash along with their pros and cons. The two-bucket washing method and steps for shampoo and foam wash are discussed in detail. Some FAQs related to motorcycle wash are also explained. Now, let’s summarize the different types of bike wash.

  1. Water wash
  2. Diesel / Kerosene wash
  3. Shampoo wash
  4. Foam wash
  5. Dry wash

If you have any other doubts or queries, email us at bikeleague2017@gmail.com. We are always eager to help and assist you. Also, here are several social media platforms of Bikeleague India to raise your suspicions.

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