This would seem to be an absurd question, but I would like to know (especially from the Dutch or people staying in Netherlands) where do they clean their bikes? I am talking about:

a) Cleaning bike that's badly covered in mud / sand.

In Netherlands there are not many trails, but there is a wonderful beach nearby. I would love to ride on the beach but won't because I am staying in an apartment that has an extremely small bathroom and there is no balcony / terrace that I can use. I would not like to choke the bathroom outlet with too much of dust and dirt.

b) During rainy season after a few rides where to rinse the bike with normal clean water?

My situation:
I do not have the facility to use a water spray / jet spray that I can for cleaning my bike on the pavement outside my apartment.

My bikes
I own an MTB currently and am soon planning to buy a nice road bike as well. Despite what bike I own I love it and would like to keep it in the best possible condition.

People in Netherlands are passionate about biking and often ride good road bikes, and I'm sure the enthusiastic riders would've also definitely have faced such situation while caring for their bikes.

I am looking for some useful ways of cleaning here.

  • 2
    Don't they have coin-operated self-serve carwashes in Holland?
    – Kaz
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 23:38
  • 2
    @Kaz - A self-serve car wash would need to be used with extreme care, as they typically have high-pressure water streams that can damage bearings if used even slightly carelessly. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 11:38
  • 1
    Yes, it sound ridiculous using the coin operated car wash. ;-) As long as your cover those bearing, they are safe from high water pressure attack.
    – mootmoot
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 16:14
  • In the nearest dike?
    – alex
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 13:56
  • @Kaz - I do not want to use a pressure wash as water might damage the bearings as Daniel and mootmoot mentioned. Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 20:24

4 Answers 4


I use a portable weed sprayer with warm water in it. Like one of these - Portable Pressure Sprayer. They aren't high enough pressure to cause problems to bearings and light enough to carry up and down stairs in an apartment building/small enough to store under a kitchen sink.

  • This is sorta water saver. The safety valve will release the pressure if you pump too much air into it. It is kinda kill joy sometime ;-) and you need to pump them frequently due to the low pressure
    – mootmoot
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 16:17
  • It is a pain, but it works okay. I will wet my bike, wash it with soapy water and a rag from a bucket, and a brush for the dirty drivetrain bits, and then use the sprayer again to rinse. Not optimal, but a low tech option that works. I've used this after cyclocross races and mtb rides as well to get the initial layer of still wet mud off before throwing the bike on my car to get home (where I do a more thorough job).
    – Benzo
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 18:02
  • @Mauro, this seems to be a good option and worth giving a try. thanks!! Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 20:37

Given the number of rainy days in the Netherlands, just keep your bike outside for a few days :)

No seriously, I lived several years in Amsterdam, and never ever washed my bikes. Dutch style would be to bring down a bucket from your flat and wash your bike with a cloth or a sponge and water from the nearest canal.

In my little experience washing too hard a bike is usually counter-productive. If the bike is correctly designed it will withstand lots of mud. Just keeping the chain clean from sand is usually sufficient.

  • I would not keep my dearly bike outside in the rain waiting to dry on its own :) Even if it's not monetarily expensive I'd never keep my bike on the street (becuase I live in a studio apartment with no garden or balcony of my own). Well, the one that I use for errands is always parked outside in all the weathers, but not the ones that I use for recreational activities. Taking water in bucket and sponging the bike seems to be the only viable option. :) Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 20:32

Another option is hand wipes, like baby wipes without the baby odor. Wet Ones Big Ones are my favorite. There are other (more expensive) brands made specifically for cleaning bikes. I use them to clean my bike when traveling in the Netherlands and other places where it's not easy to wash my bike with a bucket or hose.

  • 1
    Along the same lines, the Lysol/Clorox disinfectant wipes work really well at removing grease. You can try that out.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 17:44
  • I found the bike looks good while still damp, but as soon as they dry all the dirt shows up again in streaky marks. Similar to wiping down the bike with a turps rag to shift oil, still needs a proper wash afterward.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 20:12
  • 1
    @Criggie you may need to change wipes more often. I've done this with a white carbon frame many times including after 1400+k in 5 days in the rainy UK. The frame looked great after cleaning it with wipes. I start with bars and saddle and work down to grimier areas 'til a new wipe is required. I do feel like the drive train and brakes need a more thorough wash when available.
    – vlieg
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 23:41

when i am cleaning my bicycle i just use a rag with a little wd 40 on it.its a good idea to clean all the spokes as well as the rest of the bike as it will alert you to any problems that need to be fixed( e.g loose spokes)

  • 2
    I'm wondering what this "clean" thing is. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 22:06

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