How To Clean An Electric Bike [Quick, Simple Guide]

Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by Matt

how to clean an electric bike

Cleaning an electric bike is not something you should take lightly. If done thoroughly and correctly, cleaning your electric bike can extend its life span by a few years. After years of owning both my regular and electric bikes, I’ve perfected a simple, quick, and effective routine on how to clean an electric bike within 15-20 minutes.

This article is a step-by-step checklist you can follow to make sure you don’t miss anything when cleaning your electric bike.

Step-by-step checklist of how to clean your ebike

  • check your electric bike’s user manual for cleaning instructions and its IP rating
  • if you’ve just finished riding, let the electric bike cool down before cleaning it
  • turn your electric bike off
  • remove the battery and clean it separately
  • get rid of any large pieces of debris stuck in the bike and scrape off big chunks of hardened dirt
  • gently clean the LCD display, the handlebars, and the control buttons
  • clean the small parts of the electric bike, e.g., nuts, screws, springs, etc
  • degrease the drivetrain using a degreaser solution
  • wash the frame and other components of the electric bike with soap and water
  • scrub the tires clean of any dirt and gunk
  • clean around the brake pads
  • rinse the electric bike to get rid of any left soap
  • dry the bike using a dry rag or a wet-dry vacuum cleaner, then let it air dry
  • relubricate the drivetrain

What is the best way to wash an electric bike?

set of brushes for cleaning an electric bike

The best way to wash an electric bike starts with preparing a proper setup and gathering the right materials.

I recommend cleaning your e-bike outside your house for a more open workspace. This way, you will also avoid making a mess in your home or garage.

Having all the materials and cleaning products right in front of you will save you time and make the cleaning process more efficient.

First, you’ll need a sponge or rag to wipe down your bike’s frame with soap and water. Keep an extra dry rag to wipe the frame dry after you’re done washing it.

Get a set of different kinds of brushes to clean the components of your electric bike. You’ll need a soft-bristled brush for the sensitive components and a narrow brush to get into the nooks and crannies of your bike. A hard-bristled brush will work great for the tires and drivetrain.

You’ll also need two buckets of water, one with soapy water to clean the bike and the other with plain water to rinse it after. You can get specialized e-bike cleaning solutions from the store, but in my experience, dish soap works great as well.

To clean your bike’s drivetrain, get a degreaser solution, some gloves, rags, and brushes. Don’t use these brushes or rags for any other part than the drive train because they’ll be covered in grease and contaminate other parts of the bike.

Lastly, you’ll need lubricants to grease your electric bike’s drive train after it’s all clean and dry. With the number of lubricants available in the market, deciding which one to get can be confusing. Watch this video to learn what lubricants are suitable for different parts of your bike. Chris goes into detail on why certain lubricants are better for specific parts of the electric bike than others.

Some people prefer having an e-bike stand to keep their bike upright for easier cleaning, but this is optional. The electric bike’s kickstand will do the job too.

How to clean an electric bike?

Now that you have everything you need to clean your electric bike, let’s see each step in detail.

Check your electric bike’s user manual and IP rating

No one knows your electric bike better than its manufacturer. Dig up your bike’s user manual and look for any instructions on how to clean the bike. Depending on the material of your electric bike, the manufacturer may have even recommended specific cleaning products.

You should also check the manual for your electric bike’s IP (Ingress Protection) rating. It will tell you how waterproof and dirt resistant your bike is. 

An IP rating consists of two digits, e.g., IP 67. The first digit reflects how well protected the bike is against solid objects like dust, while the second denotes the level of protection against water. The higher the IP rating, the better protected your electric bike is.

The rating gives you an idea of how careful you need to be while using water to clean your bike.

If you’ve ridden the electric bike recently, let it cool down

If you’ve just finished riding or charging your electric bike, don’t start cleaning it immediately. Instead, let your bike cool down. Do the same if it’s been sitting in the sun for a while. Washing the bike while it’s hot can cause the water to evaporate quickly, leaving behind residue. 

The residue can be hard to clean, especially if stuck between tight places.

Another reason to let your bike cool down is to avoid thermal shock. Using cold water to clean a hot bike can damage the bike’s sensitive components that can’t handle extreme temperature changes.

Turn off your electric bike

Make sure you turn off your electric bike completely. We will be working with water, so we don’t want any electrical components running while performing the cleaning.

Remove the battery and clean it

If your bike has a removable battery, remove it to clean it separately. Do the same for any other removable parts, like accessories. This helps you clean the removable parts better, and it’s easier to clean the rest of the bike as well.

Fewer components attached means fewer tight spaces to clean.

Once you’ve removed the battery, clean it with a damp rag without any soap. Just use a soft-bristled brush to clean dust from the terminals and charging port. Attach the battery and other accessories back to the electric bike after the bike is all cleaned up and completely dry.

Remove large pieces of stuck debris and hardened dirt

Before you start cleaning your electric bike with water, it’s best to check for any large pieces of debris stuck in tight spaces. It’s common to find grass, gum, hardened dirt, or other junk stuck on the tires and bike accessories.

Remove the junk manually and scrape off anything stuck to the tires. 

Carefully clean the LCD display and buttons

It’s better not to get any water near the sensitive parts of the electric bike, like the display and control buttons. Instead, gently run a microfiber cloth over the screen and then around the buttons to get rid of any dust. If you see any stains, go ahead and wet the rag a little or use a small amount of screen cleaning solution.

While you’re at it, also clean the handlebars of your electric bike. Since they are pretty close to the display and most buttons, it’s better to clean them separately from the rest of the bike. After the upper portion of the electric bike is squeaky clean, you can move down.

Clean all the small parts

detailed cleaning of the smaller components of an electric bike

This is a step people often forget about when cleaning an electric bike. Cleaning the small parts of your electric bike, like nuts, screws, lights, springs, etc., is just as important as cleaning the other parts.

If you don’t focus on these parts, the accumulated dirt in them will survive the wash and create friction. To make things worse, the dirt may absorb water from the wash and cause corrosion. Since the parts are small, the damage will go unnoticed until it spreads and affects the performance of your bike.

Gently use a small soft-bristled brush to get all the dirt out of these parts. If you don’t have one, an old toothbrush will do the trick too.

Degrease the drivetrain

drivetrain of an electric bike

The drivetrain of an electric bike consists of a chain, chainrings, cassette, and derailleurs. With use, dirt and dust accumulate on the drivetrain of an electric bike which can cause increased friction. To clean the drivetrain, wear some gloves and apply a degreaser solution to the drivetrain parts. 

Use a stiff-bristled or chain brush to scrub off all the grease and dirt off the drivetrain parts. Once you’re done cleaning, rinse the drivetrain with water.

Clean the frame and other components of the electric bike 

Now it’s time to clean the other components. If your soap water has become too dirty to use, change it with clean water and add a few squirts of light liquid soap. Then use a rag to clean the frame of the bike. Start from the upper frame and work your way down, getting any hardened patches of dirt or grease. 

If the rag isn’t cutting it for the patches, try rubbing the patch with a soft-bristled brush until the frame is clean. Make sure you don’t scratch the bike by rubbing it too harshly. Similarly, clean the bike’s saddle, seat post, forks, cranks, and pedals.

Scrub the tires

scrubbing the tires of an electric bike

This is where the brushes really come in handy. Tires can be the toughest parts of the bike to clean because they make the most contact with dirt and debris.

A bike stand would be great to keep the bike elevated for this step. This way, you can easily turn the wheels and clean every part.

If your bike has hub-mounted motors on both wheels, be careful not to push any water in them. Most motors are pretty well-incased, but it’s still a good idea to be careful.

Clean the brake pads

I usually don’t recommend cleaning the brake pads yourself. Deep cleaning them requires some tools to remove the brake pads from the wheels, which isn’t the easiest task for everyone. Not to mention, you can also mess up their functionality.

Instead, try cleaning around them as best as you can. Use a soft-bristled brush with light soap to get rid of any visible dirt around the brake pad areas.

Rinse the electric bike 

Once you’re done cleaning all the parts with soap, it’s time to soak a clean rag in the plain water bucket and start rinsing your bike to get rid of all the soap residue. Start from the top of the bike and go down until everything is squeaky-clean.

Be careful not to push any water or soap residue near the electrical components.

Dry your electric bike

After rinsing the electric bike, take a dry rag and wipe down your whole bike. Don’t miss any spots, and make sure you dry around the screw and nuts. You can also use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner for extra measure.

Then, leave your bike for an hour or two to air dry. You can reattach the battery and accessiories you removed after the bike is completely dry. 

Relubricate the drive train

relubricating the drivetrain of an electric bike using a specialized device

Now that the bike is dry, it’s time to relubricate the drivetrain. This will help increase the bike’s performance by reducing friction, wear, and tear. The lubricants will also protect the drive train components from water and dirt.

This step can seem intimidating, but with the right tools, it can be a breeze in the park. In the video below, Chris shows the tools he uses to make the process easier. He mounts his bike upside down on a work stand, locks the crank, and uses a chain bath, my personal favorite tool, to grease the bike’s chain.

How to wash an ebike?

If you’re a beginner and it’s your first time washing your electric bike, you may question whether it’s right to use water with the electrical components so near. Most electric bikes are waterproof enough to be cleaned with water. 

That being said, still be careful not to push water near the electrical components. It’s also a good idea to try and waterproof the e-bike yourself as well. Better safe than sorry.

Here I’ve addressed some common questions that you may have about how to wash your electric bike.

Is it ok to hose down an ebike?

I believe using a rag and buckets of water is the safer option, but many electric bike owners do use a hose to clean their bikes. If you want to use your hose, make sure it’s on a light sprinkler setting. 

Using a pressure washer or hose at high pressure can easily damage the sensitive components of your electric bike and force water into the electrical components, which is why it is not recommended.

Can I spray my ebike with water?

Yes, you can use a spray bottle to clean your bike. Just avoid spraying too much directly onto the electrical components. Don’t use water on a surface that can easily be cleaned just using a microfiber cloth, e.g., the display.

Should I wash my e-bike with the battery attached?

This mainly depends on the bike model. Personally, removing the battery gives me more peace of mind when cleaning my bike, and it’s so much easier to clean the battery separately. 

However, some manufacturers explicitly state that removing the battery isn’t required when cleaning it and that the battery encasing is good enough to protect the battery from water.

What not to do when washing an ebike?

Here are some things you should be careful to avoid when cleaning your electric bike:

  • Don’t use high-pressure water to clean your electric bike. The water will seep into the electrical components and cause major damage.
  • Avoid hanging your bike upside down while washing it. Washing your bike upside down will cause water to pool in its two core components, the motor and the battery.
  • Don’t completely rely on air to dry your bike, especially if you live in a humid area. It’ll take too long, and the left water droplets will cause minor corrosion that will spread all over the bike over time.
  • Refrain from using any strong chemicals to clean your electric bike. Most strong chemicals will damage the material of your bike. This can especially become a problem if the chemical damages the plastic encasing of your bike’s battery and motors. 
  • No matter how tough the grease stain is, do not use a hard-bristled brush to rub it off. You’ll damage the material of the bike. Instead, trade in the soap water for a more specialized grease cleaner.
  • Don’t use a blow dryer to dry the bike. It can heat up the electrical components, push water inside them, or cause steam to build up inside.

How often should you clean your electric bike?

How often you should wash your electric bike depends on how much you ride it and the conditions you ride it in.

If you ride your electric bike every day on the road or bike path, wipe it down with a damp rag once a week and schedule a thorough wash once a month.

You can wash the bike once in two months if you ride it occasionally. Try to clean it with a microfiber cloth after every ride if possible. When I have the time, I do this even if the last ride was just a day before. 

If you ride your bike on muddy terrain or during the rain, you should clean it more frequently to avoid damage. Never let any visible dirt stay on the bike for too long. 

Want to get cool tips, exclusive discounts and promotions, and unseen scooter hacks? Join Scooter Secrets.

Liked this article? It really helps if you share it.

Follow @escooternerds on social media for more cool stuff

Matt standing next to his Xiaomi M365 Pro electric scooter and holding an electric scooter helmet
My name is Matt Trajkovski. I love electric scooters, and electric vehicles in general. I like doing a lot of testing, reviewing, and research on various electric scooter models and brands, looking for great value and performance, both through data and experience. All of the content published on this blog goes through a rigorous review and editorial process, and our product reviews not only include the hands-on experience of our own team members, but the experience of our audience members as well. My goal is to provide you with the best information about electric scooters possible. You can see all of my posts in my articles archive.

Leave a Comment