The Best Way to Keep Your Harley Clean

Many Harley-Davidson owners affectionately refer to their motorcycles as “hogs.” Just because you might refer to your bike as a hog is no reason for it to look like a pig.

Whether you ride an 883 Sportster or a big touring bike, your Harley always is happiest when it looks its best. So are those with whom you might ride. Looking its best starts with knowing how to wash a Harley.

A dirty motorcycle has a variety of contamination from:

  • Dead bugs
  • Bird droppings
  • Road grime
  • Dust and dirt
  • Road tar

Many other things also could collect on your Harley and get into the tiny cracks and crevices where corrosion loves to get its start. Regularly washing your bike is the best way to keep it clean.

How To Wash a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

Many people make mistakes when they wash their motorcycles. They might use a high water pressure at a self-serve carwash instead of low flow from a hose, squirt bottle, or bucket of water. High water pressure could blast water into the air intake and electrical systems.

You should use a clean sponge or cloth, warm soapy water, and a lint-free towel to clean and dry off your bike’s painted, powder-coated, and chromed surfaces.

The idea is to remove any contaminants. Then you can make it shine with some simple detailing and waxing.

Detailing Can Fix Paint Imperfections

Once clean, you can use some Harley detailing tips to get the best results. The cleaning process will help you to locate small scratches, stone chips, and other paint imperfections.

You might be able to wet sand scratches that do not go through the clear coat or the paint. You also might need to apply touch-up paint to deep scratches and chipped paint.

The wheels might require a brush or even a toothbrush to clean thoroughly. Some Bar Keepers Friend can help to remove especially tough contamination, such as mineral deposits from rainy conditions that affect your wheels.

You can use a soft metal polish, like Mother’s, to clean the chrome. A soft and lint-free cloth will help you to work it into the corners, tight spaces, and dirty areas to clean the chrome and metal to a clean shine.

How To Keep Your Bike Clean

After your bike is clean and fully detailed, you can keep it looking great by applying wax to the painted and powder-coated surfaces. The wax will help to protect the paint and powder coat against harmful UV rays and commonly encountered contaminants.

You should keep it covered as much as possible to keep the weather, bird droppings, and tree sap off your bike. Even if you park it in a closed garage, a cover will help to keep dust from collecting on your bike. Occasional use of spray wax and cleaner can help to keep it looking great between rides.