So the other day I rode some pretty soggy trails in S. Carolina. Good fun, and ended up with a reddish-brown bike (and myself, truth be told). Carolina mud is VERY slippery, and very sticky.
I get home, and wanted to wash my bike before the stuff dried like concrete. I saw a bottle of Meguire’s ‘Gold Classic’ car wash soap and thought “Why not?”. So I grabbed a bucket, added a few squirts and some water, and did a quick and dirty wash with a rag and garden hose. Muc-Off be damned, my ride looks sweet!!
Anyone else use car wash soap on their bike? Any long-term issues or is it all good?
I try to wash my bike as seldom as possible and I avoid using soap or a high pressure spray. Usually I just wash off the mud with a gentle spray of water and a wet rag and I only wash it if it is truly dirty. A few minor mud splatters or some dust doesn’t require a cleaning. You can get a bike pretty clean with just water and a rag. I only use soap if the bike is oily or greasey. What you don’t want want to do is drive soap into bearings with a high presssure spray. If you do that your just washing away the bearing grease. Washing your bike frequently with lots of soap will likely lead to early bearing failure. Keeping your bike spotless might look great but it might not be what’s best for your bike.
P.S. I would avoid riding in mud. It trashes out your bike and it trashes out the trails.
I’ve used car wash soap in the past. No issues. But my go to soap is Dawn. No issues with it over many, many years. I use dawn in my chain cleaner as well (with a little water), and it works as good as Park’s Chain Bright. Its ability to clean greasy dishes seems to work as well on greasy/oily bike parts. Heck, I even use Dawn mixed with water to wet my tires to set the beads, which also serves to show if any air is leaking right after setting.
But to be honest, I don’t go for a shiny new look wash every time. After all, it’s only super clean until the next ride, which is usually the same or next day. I focus on the moving parts and spend most of my time on the chain. And since I use “dry” lube (wax for the chain) that tends to crust up better than “wet” lubes, between full washes I’ve gotten into a routine of using dry (no water or soap) soft bristle brushes to get mud splatter, dust, and old oil off the important parts before oiling them up. On occasion, I’ll use Spin Doctor’s Degreaser.
But, yeah, car soap won’t hurt a bike. But when my bike gets a real bath, it’s Dawn.