How To Wash Your Dirt Bike

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Dirt bike on a muddy track with the lower part of the dirt bike and riding boots covered in mud

One thing that is certain when you hop on the dirt bike and hit a trail: both you and your bike will get dirty. There’s no way around it. And at the end of the day, you need to wash your dirt bike.

Here are our tips for how to wash your dirt bike the right way without damaging your bike.

5 Steps for Washing a Dirt Bike

With a proper maintenance and cleaning, modern dirt bikes will last a long time. Washing the dirt bike will help to prevent excessive wear and tear. In the process, you will also you notice any worn out and damaged parts.

The best way to wash a dirt bike is to do it in steps. When you follow these step-by-step instructions, washing your dirt bike will be a breeze and you will not leave any important parts dirty, or worse, damaged.

1. Prepare the Dirt Bike for Washing

Depending on how dirty and muddy the dirt bike is, consider removing few parts to make cleaning easier.

Sometimes it is necessary to remove some parts of the bike, such as the pipe guard, skid plate, and seat, so that you will be able to access and clean the dirt bike better.

We advise removing the seat at the least, since you don’t want to soak the inner foam material each time you wash the dirt bike. This also allows you to clean the underside and remove dust and debris under the seat.

Always remember to remove the air filter and replace it with an airbox wash cover. It will prevent dirt and water from getting into the airbox and air intake. If you don’t have one yet, we recommend this Airbox Wash Cover (click to check the current price on MotoSport.com).

Also, remember to plug the exhaust with a muffler plug to prevent water from getting inside the exhaust silencer. Our choice is this FMF Muffler Plug (click to check the current price on MotoSport.com).

Dirt bike being washed with a pressure washer

2. Rinse Off Excessive Dirt and Debris

Before placing the dirt bike on the center stand, rinse off excessive mud and dirt with a hose. The goal is to soak the sand and mud and let most of it drop off the dirt bike.

Use a power washer or a water hose to remove most of the thicker sand, mud, and debris. You want to remove most of the dirt before scrubbing and using soap.

You can also use a scraper or a stick to remove larger mud and sand lumps for quicker results.

It can make a mess, so pick a good location for where you wash the dirt bike. Grass will soak up the dirt and water better compared to washing the bike on tarmac or driveway.

Next, lift the bike on the center stand.

Start from the top of the dirt bike and rinse off the handlebar and seat areas as well as fairings and work your way to the engine area.

Rinse off dirt from fenders and under the dirt bike.

Dirt bike being scrubbed with a brush and soap

3. Scrub and Soap

Once most of the dirt has come off the dirt bike, you can spray it with some soap.

Soap and scrub a section at a time since you don’t want the soap to dry up before rinsing it off.

Use a mild detergent to wash your dirt bike. Typically, there is no need to use an expensive dirt bike specific soap. Most automotive soaps are good for dirt bikes.

Some areas are difficult to reach. You can use a small brush or a cloth to clean hard-to-reach places where dirt seems to get stuck.

Don’t try to cheat and blast things off with a power washer.

Dirt bike being rinsed off with a pressure washer

4. Rinse Off Carefully

Rinse off any soap and investigate results. Sometimes you need to scrub again.

Don’t leave soapy residue on the dirt bike, since it can speed up the plastic and seal wear.

Dirt bike on a center stand wet from washing

5. Dry Off, Inspect and Lube Critical Parts

After drying off and finishing to wash your dirt bike, you have a great opportunity to inspect the dirt bike for any damage or wear.

It is also important to lube areas like the chain right after drying off.

Here’s a quick checklist for what to inspect and lube periodically:

  • Check and clean the front fork dust seal for leaks.
    • Inspect the dust seals and use a seal cleaner when needed.
  • Check the steering wheel bearing for tightness.
    • When the dirt bike is standing on the center stand, grab both fork legs near the wheel axle and push and pull back and forth. If you feel any play, inspect and regrease the steering axle bearings.
  • Inspect and lube the chain and sprockets.
    • Make sure the chain is clean and lube it to prevent rusting. It only takes few hours to see visible rust after washing.
  • Inspect the chain guides for wear and alignment.
    • Sometimes it’s difficult to notice debris lodged inside the rear chain guide so make sure you got it all out.
  • Inspect the clutch and brake fluid reservoirs for leaks and air bubbles.
    • Using a power washer and sometimes tilting the dirt bike can cause leaks or air in the reservoir or in the lines. Test them and if you feel squishiness, bleed them.
  • Lube the levers, kick start, rear brake pedal joints, foot pegs, and shifter.
    • This will prevent corrosion and make sure they function smoothly.

Read also: How To Align Dirt Bike Forks – aka Twisted Forks

A photo collage demonstrating with orange arrows what to avoid when washing a dirt bike
Some of the areas to avoid when washing the dirt bike: 1. front wheel bearings, 2. fork dust seals, 3. steering axle bearings, 4. swing arm and carburetor, 5. rear shock bearings, and 6. rear wheel bearings.

What to Avoid When Washing a Dirt Bike

Using a power washer is an easy and quick method to clean your dirt bike. But it can also cause a lot of damage to certain parts.

When you wash your dirt bike with a power washer, be extra careful in the following areas in order to minimize damage and wear:

  • Front and rear hydraulic brake covers and clutch cover
    • The covers/cap has a small breathing air holes and high water pressure will cause water to penetrate in and possibly mix with the brake fluid.
  • Throttle cam and throttle cable assembly areas
    • Direct water spray can push sand inside the throttle housing and cause wear and oxidation in the cable and throttle cam resulting into a sticky throttle.
  • Steering axle bearings
    • Avoid the top and bottom area.
  • Front fork dust seals
    • Do not spray upwards into the front fork dust seals as the pressure will push sand further into the oil seals.
  • Front and rear wheel bearings, swing arm, linkage and rear shock bearings
    • Avoid direct high water pressure into any bearings as it will quickly deteriorate the bearing lifespan.
  • Carburetor or throttle body area
    • High water pressure can force water into wiring and places where it will cause leaks or corrosion.
  • Under the seat
    • Avoid directly pointing water stream into the battery and wiring.
  • Avoid stripping decals and stickers
    • If you use an aggressive power washer nozzle, it can easily strip off stickers and decals and even damage the plastics.
  • Levers and rear brake pedal area
    • Avoid directly spraying into the levers and the rear brake pedal. The hydraulic piston seal can be damaged and you will also push out grease from the lever pins and cause corrosion. If you have a cable clutch, you should prevent water from getting inside the cable housing.

Read also: How To Replace Wheel Bearings On A Dirt Bike

Hand holding a dirty dirt bike air filter above a bucket filled with degreaser

Extra Dirt Bike Washing Tips

If you see any oil leaks in the front forks, clean them by following the instructions in our guide for How To Clean Leaking Fork Seals On a Dirt Bike.

Wash the air filter at the same time when you wash your dirt bike. Take the air filter out and drop it into a bucket filled with a degreaser and submerge the air filter in it for the duration of the wash. Rinse off and let the air filter dry before oiling it. Check our step-by-step instructions for how to clean a dirt bike air filter for more details and tips.

Lube the chain. The chain will rust easily and quickly after a wash, so lube the chain after drying it off with a towel.

Conclusions

Washing the dirt bike right after a ride day is a great way to keep the dirt bike looking good and performing like it should.

Using proper washing techniques when you wash your dirt bike will ensure that the parts will last and function well. It’s also a great opportunity to inspect the dirt bike for any damage and worn-out parts during the washing process.

We also recommend performing a deep clean every now and then to remove dirt and build up in hard to reach places.

Now that your bike is spotless, go and make it dirty again!

Last updated: May 10, 2022