Pressure Washing Motorbikes? Read this first (Motorcycle Safety)
No matter how you use your motorbike, it’s going to get dirty, whether you’re a full-on trials racer or a town based commuter, your motorbike will get dirty at some point. If like most people you have a limited amount of free time, then you’ll be looking for the fastest way to clean your motorbike. In our opinion, the fastest and best way to clean a motorbike is with a pressure washer.
We have compiled this guide for your convenience, to give you the best chance of cleaning your motorbike quickly and safely. Follow these tips and you’ll not only have a clean motorbike, but you’ll also have plenty of free time left to do anything you want to do.
Pressure Washing Motorbikes Basic Tips
The first thing is also one of the most important things, choosing your pressure washer. The pressure washer you choose for washing your motorbike should always be the one most suited to the task. For many reasons, an electric-powered pressure washer is the best choice when it comes to motorbike cleaning. Why? Because electric-powered pressure washers are:
- Smaller in design – This makes them easier to handle and control.
- Easier to maintain – There’s much less to check before using an electric-powered pressure washer, compared to a gas-powered pressure washer
- Less likely to damage your motorbike – Electric-powered pressure washers tend to not be as high-powered as petrol-powered pressure washers, the top pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure in an electric-powered model is around 2,200psi. A gas-powered model can have a top psi of 4,000. The higher the water pressure the more likely it is to damage your motorbike, either by ripping mirrors or other fittings off or by actually damaging the paintwork.
- Cheaper to buy – A decent electric-powered pressure washer can cost less than half the price of a gas-powered model.
- Incur no extra running costs – Electric models need no fuel or oil top-ups to keep them running just electricity.
- Lighter – As they don’t carry any fuel, electric-powered washers are lighter to move.
Safely Pressure Washing Your Motorcycle
Remember motorbikes are water-resistant, not waterproof, never aim the pressure washer at electrics, grease-points, seats, electric connectors, engine, radiator, ignition system, electric instruments like the speedometer etc, and any GPS or similar.
It’s always best to use the lowest power nozzle you can for washing motorbikes. Use the black nozzle for applying detergents and the white nozzle for rinsing. Never use the red, yellow or green nozzles on any part of a motorbike.
Also, personal care is important too, don’t wear opened toe shoes for example and consider some sort of eye protector and gloves, especially if you have any detergent allergies.
How To Wash A Motorbike With A Pressure Washer
It’s all about timing and control really, to make it easier to follow here’s a list to keep you and your bike safe.
- Never wash your motorbike immediately after it’s been running. Washing a hot motorbike can cause engine damage, and due to the heat of the engine, you run the risk of getting burnt too.
- Never wash your motorbike on hot, sunny days, or if you have to, find a shady spot. If you wash your motorbike in the hot sun, the detergents can dry on the paintwork and cause stains and streaks to appear. Also, chemicals and minerals in the water can damage the metal parts of the bike, causing rust, and corrosion.
- Always use cold water and motorbike approved detergents and use in a cool shady area.
- Be mindful when using the pressure washer, there are certain areas and parts on the bike that won’t be strong enough to withstand the power of the pressurised water. For those parts, we suggest using a soft cloth. Other parts might be too dirty and need a soft brush to remove dried on mud for instance.
- Always keep a fair distance away from the motorbike when using a pressure washer to prevent any damage due to the power of the pressurised water. It’s probably safe to stand around 3 – 4 feet away from the motorbike but no closer.
- Move-in closer for some parts like the wheels that can take the pressure, but remember to move back again when moving onto other bits of the bike.
- Work from the top down for best results.
- Never pressure wash your motorbike on gravel. If the water splashes the gravel it could spring up and damage your bike.
- Always remember to keep brushes, cloths or sponges dirt and gravel free as these can easily scratch your paintwork.
- Remember to wipe your motorbike over with a dry cloth or even better a chamois leather after rinsing to prevent any streaks or drying stains.
- Wipe all wires and cables dry with a dry cloth to prevent any electrical faults developing on your motorbike.
- If you can’t access the underside with a cloth think about using an air compressor to dry the hard to reach places.
By following these guidelines you can achieve a clean motorbike safely and easily within a short time span.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is ok to use a pressure washer on a motorbike, but be careful around the engine and electronics, and take care not to damage the seat.
As long as you are careful, and use the correct nozzle using a pressure washer to clean a dirt bike is the fastest way to get it done.
The best pressure washer for cleaning motorbikes is any reliable electric powered model as they’re less likely to damage your bike and cheaper to buy. To see a list of our recommended models, click here.