Owning an electric bike can make commuting and everyday transit easier for you and the environment. But when you have an e-bike, you should keep it clean.
Regularly cleaning your e-bike helps keep the components working correctly and limits corrosion, enhancing the bike’s functionality and life span. Plus, regular cleanings keep your bike looking new!
But how do you clean your electric bike? We’ll break down the e-bike cleaning process into several easy steps.
What you’ll need to wash your e-bike
You’ll need a few simple products to clean your e-bike. Here are the essentials:
- Bike cleaner or gentle dish soap
- Buckets for clean and soapy water
- Wash mitt, washcloth, or sponge
- Dry towel or cloth
- Chain lube
Here are a few items that would be nice to have when washing your e-bike:
- Bike stand
- Garden hose
- Chain scrubber
- Chain degreaser spray
- Soft-bristled brush (such as a bottle brush)
- Lithium grease
Additionally, find your e-bike’s user manual before you start cleaning. Most manuals include a section on how to clean your e-bike. Read this section before cleaning your e-bike to learn about your bike’s special instructions.
What not to do when washing your e-bike
Before you clean your electric bike, you should know what not to do. First, never use a pressure washer or power washer on your e-bike. These types of washers are too harsh for e-bikes. Instead, you can use a garden hose in a low-pressure setting to spray your bike down.
Flipping your bike upside down might be tempting, but this can be harmful. E-bikes are designed to let water drain through them when they’re right-side up — the way you ride it. Water can pool in dangerous places when your e-bike is upside down. If you don’t have a bike stand, lean it against a fence or put the kickstand down.
Don’t use harsh chemicals, cleaners, or heavy degreasing soaps like car wash. These cleaners are too harsh for an e-bike. If you don’t have bike-specific soap, a little dish soap will work fine.
You don’t need to take the battery out of your e-bike before you wash it. However, you can remove the battery to wipe it down after washing the bike.
It’s also best to avoid getting soap on certain areas of your bike. A little soap might be hard to avoid, but try not to scrub these parts of the bike:
- Bottom bracket (where the pedals connect)
- Headset bearing (handlebars’ connection to the frame)
- Seatpost (seat’s connection to the frame)
- Brake pads and rotor or discs
Too much soap in these areas can damage the frame or make certain parts of your bike squeak.
How to clean your e-bike in 5 steps
Now that you know what not to do, here’s how to clean your electric bicycle in five steps.
Step 1: Rinse and wet your e-bike with water
If you’ve been riding your e-bike through muddy or dirty areas and there’s a considerable amount of buildup on the bike, use a gentle brush to start loosening and removing the dirt. Dirt usually builds up on the tires, spokes, rims, and pedals. Make sure to avoid the hub bearing, brake pads, and rotors.
If you don’t have access to a garden hose, you can use a wet rag to wipe down your e-bike with water — no soap yet. Otherwise, use a garden hose to spray down your e-bike. Leave it wet for the following step.
Step 2: Use a soapy wash mitt to wash the bike by hand
Put some soap into a water-filled bucket, such as a bike-specific cleaner or a gentle dish soap. Then, dunk a wash mitt into the bucket of soapy water. Using the wash mitt, gently wash the wet e-bike by hand.
You don’t need to be very aggressive with this step. Avoid the bottom bracket, headset bearing, and seat post. You can also use a damp cloth.
If you have a degreaser, apply this to the entire drivetrain (which contains the chainrings, chain, derailleurs, and cassette) before washing the rest of your bike. You can keep it on while using your mitt. Just make sure to leave it on for five minutes before rinsing.
Step 3: Rinse the soap off the bike
Next, rinse the dirty soap off the bike with more clean water. You can use the cloth and clean water bucket you used in the first step or use your garden hose to rinse it down. Use a gentle setting, such as the sprinkler setting, and never use a power washer.
Step 4: Carefully dry your e-bike with a towel
Once all the dirty soap is off the e-bike, it’s time to dry it off. Completely drying your e-bike is imperative because excess water can cause damage to the bike’s electrical components.
You can bounce your bike on its wheels several times to shake off some excess water. Then, use a dry cloth or towel to dry off the e-bike. Pay extra attention to areas like the headset bearing and seat post, as they probably got wet while hosing the bike down.
Dry off the tires and rims last, as they might still have dirt on them. It’s best to avoid spreading the dirt around the rest of the e-bike!
Step 5: Reapply lubricants as necessary
Once the bike is fully dry, it’s time to reapply lubricants to certain components. Keeping the chain and cables lubricated can help prevent them from rusting and ensure they function properly.
Apply chain oil to the e-bike chain following the product’s directions. A good rule of thumb is to use a wet lube in the winter and a dry lube in the summer. Then, you can use light spray oil to lubricate the cables.
E-bike wash FAQ
Do you still have some questions about how to clean your e-bike? We answer some of the most common e-bike cleaning FAQ below.
Can e-bikes get wet?
Yes, e-bikes like the Velotric Discover 1 and Nomad 1 are designed to get wet so that you can ride them in various weather conditions. Their water-resistant design also allows you to wash their components thoroughly.
Just make sure you don’t leave your e-bike wet in a contained space where it can’t dry.
Do I need to remove the e-bike battery before washing?
Removing the battery of your e-bike before you wash it is unnecessary, as e-bikes are designed to handle getting wet with the battery in place. However, you can remove the electric bike battery to clean the battery connectors, the space where it sits, and the bottom of the battery. You can wipe these parts down with a cloth rather than water.
Follow your e-bike’s instructions to remove the battery. Most bikes come with a key to disconnect the battery pack.
How often should I wash my e-bike?
How often you wash your e-bike depends on how much you use it and where you ride it. Ideally, you should clean it whenever it gets dirty.
If you’re mainly a road commuter, ride on bike paths, or use your e-bike occasionally, you might only need to clean it once a month. But if you ride an electric mountain bike off-road or regularly commute through rain, you should clean it closer to once a week.
Also, clean your e-bike after transporting it on a bike rack. Removing debris and dirt can help keep your e-bike in tiptop shape.
Discover the best e-bike options from Velotric
Occasionally cleaning an e-bike is an easy trade-off for accessing your own electric vehicle whenever you want.
Our bikes come with a toolkit, charger, reflectors, lights, a bell, and fenders — so you can get riding.