I'm the sort of person who doesn't have time to clean his bike after every ride in the rain. It occurred to me that there are probably 'bike wipes' like there are for everything else these days that can help me just give the bike a once over super-quick. There are, but then I started reading a lot of people use baby wipes to do the same thing.

Are baby wipes the way to go, or should I be buying de-greasing 'motorbike' wipes etc? I do plan to lubricate parts that need it afterwards.

Ideally, I'd like a wipe that's safe to use on the frame and that can remove grime from drivetrain too.

  • 1
    They don't come pre-moistened, but I've found heavy duty shop paper towels work fine for this (kitchen ones will be shredded to bits but shop paper towels are much stronger).
    – Jamie A
    Sep 14 '17 at 16:59
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    I cannot fathom how cleaning a bike with disposable moist wipes, not to mention baby wipes, could be any faster than an old rag and a garden hose or bucket of water.
    – gschenk
    Sep 14 '17 at 20:16
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    What is this "clean" thing? Sep 19 '17 at 21:54
  • Time spent cleaning is time you could be riding! Baby wipes often have moisturisery stuff in them (parabens maybe? I'm not a molecularologist so I can't tell you exactly) which would effectively mean you are lubricating the braking surface if you use them on the rims. Oct 20 '17 at 15:12

Of course you may use moist wipes. Although, it certainly is not faster than very quick and rough techniques, for example, simply pouring water over it.

Using wipes is certainly less effective than pouring water over the bike, flogging it dry with an old rag and wiping of the drive train with another one.

A thorough cleaning may be done in three-and-a-half minutes.

Finally, there is the amazing panacea to all our muck related problems, the jet wash!


Simply wipe the bike off with a rag, or disposable paper towels, taking care to give the chain a wipe (but not overdoing it). There is no need to wash the bike or get it perfectly clean.


The ideal for everyday washing is jetwash, it's relatively cheap (in France there are spots where you can do that for 50cts), it's ecological, it's quick and there is no problem for the machine.

For more drastic washing what I do is I go straight for acetone. You don't need much of it but it's great for the grease/brake dust deposits, even for wheels (you maybe want to remove the tires before doing the wheels but except for that no problem). It's less costly than wipes, less complicated (because wipes tend to shred on some parts which is tricky) and you don't need much of it so it's not that bad for the planet (since it's for yearly/bi-yearly cleaning)

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    Acetone can damage some paints, and jet washes can get water into the bearings. Neither is a good idea (though acetone might be ok for a few specific tasks)
    – Chris H
    Sep 19 '17 at 9:37
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    There is a certain contrast between "after every ride in the rain" and "since it's for yearly/bi-yearly cleaning"
    – ojs
    Sep 19 '17 at 10:39
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    @ojs I know some fair-weather cyclists for whom those are the same thing!
    – Chris H
    Sep 19 '17 at 11:44
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    A degreaser is much more effective for removing the typical dirt encountered on a bike than acetone, without the drawbacks of the latter. See here: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/9196/…
    – gschenk
    Sep 19 '17 at 15:36
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    Acetone is not something you want to expose yourself too continually without Protective Equipment. The fumes alone affect the central nervous system. There are also a lot of VOCs which have been linked to various health effects.
    – Rider_X
    Sep 19 '17 at 19:03

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