How to clean an e-bike safely

Knowing how to clean an e-bike without damaging the electrical components is essential to keep it in great condition. You don’t want to harm yourself by mixing water and electricity.

Proper cleaning can extend the lifespan and performance of your e-bike and keep it looking as good as new—this is useful to know since they’re an expensive piece of kit.

Here’s how to clean an e-bike properly to keep yourself safe and your bike looking great.

 

Essential supplies for cleaning your e-bike

Before you begin, ensure you have all the necessary supplies for cleaning your e-bike.

If you’re used to cleaning a regular road bike, hybrid, or MTB, you’ll want to revise your method—pressure washers are unsuitable for electric models, for example. They can damage your suspension or electrical components. 

Here’s our go-to list of cleaning supplies:

a bike stand—it’s easier to clean your bike while it’s secured upright within a stand
a sponge or soft brush—these are ideal for removing surface dirt
a bucket of soapy water—a small amount of dish or hand soap dissolved in warm water is great for gentle cleaning (you may have to refill this a few times)
bike cleaner—a specially designed bike cleaner such as Muc-Off or Fenwicks is best for deep cleaning once the surface dirt is removed
degreaser—Muc-Off and other brands have specially designed degreasers for cleaning the chain, drivetrain, gears and brakes

 

Preparing your e-bike for cleaning

You can dive right into cleaning traditional bikes, but there are a few steps to take beforehand when it comes to electric models:

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turn off the e-bike—ensure there is no power running to the e-bike and that it is fully turned off, as it’s unsafe to mix electricity directly with water
remove the battery—you’ll be able to safely clean the section of frame that the battery covers
remove any other electrical components—controllers or e-bike computers should be removed to avoid damage
ensure the bike is upright—the motor is only designed to dispel water when the bike is upright, so you could damage it if you turn the bike upside down

Related: 6 electric bike storage tips for winter

 

How to clean an e-bike: step-by-step

Start with the drivetrain

This is often the dirtiest part of the bike, so it’s better to target it first so it doesn’t dirty the frame or other components once you’ve cleaned them.

Using a degreaser, generously spray the moving parts—chain, cassette, chainrings, and rear derailleur—and leave it to work its way into the dirt for a few minutes.

Be careful not to get any product on the brake pads, as degreasers can cause contamination.

Once it’s had time to settle, use a soft brush to gently scrub the entire area and remove as much dirt and grime as possible.

Use a bowl of mild, soapy water to rinse away any remaining pieces of dirt or degreaser residue.

 

Give the frame a deep clean

Remove any surface dirt from the frame using a fresh bowl of mild, soapy water and a soft brush, or a gentle stream from a hose (not a pressure washer).

This prevents damage from any leftover pieces of grit, which can cause scratching if not removed before scrubbing the frame.

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Now, the frame may look much cleaner, but don’t stop yet. As mentioned earlier, a quality bike cleaner is the best way to give your frame a deep clean.

Spray or apply your chosen cleaner and leave it to sit for a few minutes. Then, depending on the product’s instructions, brush or wipe the solution away with a microfibre cloth or soft brush.

Give your bike a thorough rinse and ensure no dirt is in sight.

NOTE: Be extremely careful when cleaning any areas close to the brakes, as they are easily contaminated—be especially careful when applying bike cleaner or degreaser and avoid touching them.

Related: Complete guide to e-bike battery maintenance

 

Tips for safely cleaning the electric components

Since the electrical components and contact areas are highly delicate, you should be extremely careful when cleaning them.

Avoid getting too much water on contact areas when cleaning your bike frame, and consider an anti-rust agent such as GT85 to protect them once your bike is dry.

Gently dust electrical components like your battery or e-bike computers and controllers and keep them away from your bike during cleaning to prevent damage or injury.

 

The final touches

Once your bike is gleaming, use a clean towel to dry it off until there is no more excess water.

This stage is a good opportunity to lubricate your e-bike and prevent having to deep clean it again for a while.

When fully dry, apply lubricant to the moving parts to help reduce friction and maintain a smooth ride.

The type of lubricant you’ll use depends on the conditions you ride in. Generally, use dry lube on your chain if you’re riding in mostly dry conditions and wet lube on your chain if you’re riding in the rain or near the coast.

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Additionally, consider using a protective spray or wax on the frame to give it a nice finish and keep it guarded from the elements.

Related: 7 electric bike maintenance tips

 

Reassemble and perform a quick safety check

After cleaning your e-bike, it’s a good idea to ensure everything is securely in place and functioning correctly before taking it for a ride.

Reassemble any components you removed earlier, such as the battery or accessories, and perform a test ride either in your garden or on the pavement outside your home.

This will help you detect any issues and prevent them from holding you back or getting injured on the road.

Here’s a guide on how to do a pre-ride bike check in 8 easy steps.

 

How often should you clean your e-bike?

Cleaning your e-bike at least once per month should be often enough to protect it against dirt and the elements. Aside from this, ensure you give it a deep clean whenever it appears dirty.

It’s also a good idea to lube and degrease the moving parts during this time, as proper maintenance will protect them from damage and wear.

 

Cleaning your e-bike is important for keeping it in great condition, but accidents still happen no matter how well you take care of it. So, you may want to consider electric bike insurance for peace of mind.

With Cycleplan, specialist electric bike insurance protects your e-bike against loss, theft and accidental damage up to £30,000, meaning you can ride confidently. 

You’ll also have Public Liability cover up to £5m and protection against personal injuries, so it’s not only your bike that is covered. 

Click here to learn more about specialist electric bike insurance with Cycleplan, or get an online quote today.