It is odd that most kids only know how not to wash their bikes. However, it is an important step when teaching kids about bike riding. Whether your kid rides on the turf, pavement, or muddy trains, cleaning a kid’s bike is inevitable.
Essentially, it is part of maintaining a kid’s bike. No one wants their store or garage to be messy and dirty. To some extent, cleaning the bikes can save you costly repairs due to dirt causing wear and tear. It only takes between 10 to 15 minutes to wash a kid’s bike thoroughly.
In this article, we cover some of the steps of washing a bike. The article intensively discusses the dos and don’ts, the materials needed, and the steps to follow when cleaning a bike.
Any responsible parent raising a responsible kid should read this piece.
Materials for cleaning a Kid’s Bike (Bike Washing Supplies)
Washing a bicycle is very easy when done as should. When it comes to cleaning a bike, you would need some tools including:
1. Cleaning rags. Applicable when wiping grease, wax, and oil or generally drying the frame.
2. Brushes. You need brushes including a square head brush, bottle brushes, old toothbrushes, and scrub brushes.
3. Bucket: You need different buckets to hold water and mix the washing detergents.
4. Degreaser. Avoid using turpentine, diesel, or kerosene for degreasing. Instead, use the bike recommended degreasers for the gummy parts like the drive train and the chains. Always dispose of the solvents carefully.
5. Water. Water is useful when washing the kid’s bike. However, it would help if you were extra careful not to spill too much of it on some parts. Remember, water is one of the requirements for rusting. Water should never reach the bearing systems. So, when using a garden hose with pressurized water, be extra careful.
6. Hose pipe-garden hosepipe. Even though this is not a must, some people prefer using it to clean the muddy tires, especially for kid’s mountain bikes.
7. Sponges: You can use the dishwashing sponge. However, there are special sponges for washing bikes.
8. Soap or bike washing fluid. “Can I clean my kid’s bike using dish soap?” Yes, you can use biodegradable dishwashing fluid or soap to wash your bike. Ensure that the soap you are using is diluted in water for cleaning the frame.
9. Bike stand. A bike stand is mandatory when cleaning the kids’ bicycles. It holds the bike in a better position and height. Besides, it also allows the turning of the pedals and comfortable removal of the wheels to expose and clean the hidden parts. It helps clean a bike without rusting it.
10. Chain Lubricant. The choice of a good lubricant defines the life span of the drive train of a bike. It is always advisable to use the bicycle-specific lube oil to clean the chain. You have the choice of either a dry or wet lube. Wet is the best for kids riding in wet conditions. It sticks to the drivetrain and rinses off less in the rain. On the other hand, the dry lube works magic on chains for bikes ridden in arid environments. You can alternate the lubes depending on the season.
The Do’s and Don’ts when Washing a Kids Bike
- Clean the bike regularly. There is no specific standard on how many times.
- Always floss the chainrings, hidden parts, and cogs using a clean and dry rag.
- Recycle the bike cleaning sponges to avoid spending too much.
- Use warm water when cleaning.
- Mix your rags, buckets, and washing tools. This only makes you cover the frame with grease. Have a bucket for every part.
- Apply diesel, turpentine, or kerosene to degrease the chain and drive train.
- Use a coarse brush or sponge on the bike frame. You do not want the paint to chip off.
- Apply carwash pressure washers or high-pressure hose water. It affects the bearings and shortens the span of your kids’ bikes.
- Keep off non-bicycle lubes.
11 Easy steps of Washing Kids’ Bike
It can be a good experience teaching a kid how to wash a bike.
1. Fill your buckets with warm water and mix with dish soap or bike washing liquid.
2. Mount the bike on a bike stand and secure it using the nuts and bolts.
3. Remove the wheels, both front and hind, and insert a chain keeper if you have one. If you do not have one, skip the step and leave the chain hanging.
4. Use the degreaser on the chain and turn the cranks so that each of the links has a degreaser. Leave to rest for 5 minutes and gently rinse with water. If the chain is grimy, use droplets of dish soap and swipe through with the sponge. Turn the cranks severally and rinse
5. To clean the drive train use a bristled brush and scrub. A bottle brush or an old toothbrush can also do the work. Ensure the brush reaches the crevices of each of the teeth, rings, and pulleys. Rinse gently using warm water.
6. Use the dish soap to wash the cassette in the rear wheel and rinse.
7. To clean the frame, use the sponge and the second bucket. Apply the foam and soapy water to the frame and rinse carefully. The caliper breaks should be cleaned using the rough side of the sponge and rinsed.
8. Use the softer and big brushes to clean the wheels. This applies to both rims and tires. Repeat until the wheel is clean and rinse then wipe with a dry rag.
9. Re-attach the wheels and spin the cranks to ensure the drivetrain falls into its place. Wipe the bike using a dry cloth and leave to air-dry in the sun.
10. Apply lube to the chain and wipe the excess.
11. Store the bike in a clean, moisture-free, and secure room: your garage or store.
A clean bike always portrays a good image of its rider. When you teach your kids how to wash their bikes, they carry on even without your presence. Such skills are transferable and useful for maintaining cleanliness.
Cleaning a bike is also part of its maintenance process. If the right materials are used, it reduces the chances of wear and tear. After every cleaning activity, always ensure that you lubricate the chain.
It is also useful to do a full checkup of the bike before releasing it for storage or to be ridden by the kids. Just like the bike, other accessories such as bike helmets for kids also need to be washed.
Do not clean the bike frequently, unless it is very dirty. However, a quick wipe with a cloth is just enough is you had previously cleaned the bike. Majorly, if the bike is made of steel, it can rust quickly. When cleaning chooses bike lube and degreasers, Remember, high-pressure water is dangerous to the bearings as it washes away the lubricants and grease exposing them to rust.
Interested in purchasing a good helmet for your little one? Check out our in-depth review of the best kids' helmets.