Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by Matt
You can look at cleaning your electric scooter as a part of your maintenance routine. It will not only make you look cooler, but also help prolong the life of your scooter, and notice potential defects sooner and react timely.
In the time I’ve owned my scooter, I’ve developed a simple, fast, yet very efficient routine for cleaning it. This is a complete checklist with all the steps on how to clean your electric scooter (it takes about 15 minutes).
Step-by-step checklist of how to clean your electric scooter
- check your manual for specific cleaning instructions
- know your scooter, especially its IP rating and the materials it’s made of
- turn off your scooter
- if the motor or the battery is hot, wait for them to cool off
- if your battery is removable, remove it and clean it with a dry cloth, the same goes for any other removable part
- start with less aggressive methods, and only use harder movements and pressure if necessary
- remove any large debris stuck between parts or in holes
- after there’s no more hard and large pieces of debris, continue from the top and move your way down
- try to clean the screen by gently rubbing it with a dry microfiber cloth, otherwise damp the cloth in some distilled water or use a screen cleaner solution, be careful not to press too hard
- clean the small parts like cables, screws, springs, and calipers by scrubbing them with a toothbrush
- clean the aluminum and stainless steel parts by scrubbing them with a soft sponge or a dishcloth, and soapy water
- clean the plastic, silicone, rubber, and carbon fiber parts with a cloth and soapy water, and use lemon juice or vinegar for hard stains
- clean the wheels with a larger, hard cloth, using soapy water, and use a hard wheel brush if you have one handy
- remove grease, stains, or hardened patches of dirt by wiping them with a damp cloth, or a toothbrush with some toothpaste on it, using straight-line motions in one direction
- rinse any water left with a dry cloth, be careful not to push it towards the battery or any electronic parts
- use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner to dry off your scooter
- leave your scooter to dry off
About once a month, I do a more thorough cleaning routine instead of this one. It takes about 20-25 minutes, but it does a more refined job, and it makes my scooter shine in the end.
Let’s see how to move through the steps quickly and efficiently, but also how to avoid doing damage, since that can easily happen if you’re not careful.
Step-by-step checklist for cleaning your scooter quickly
If you clean your scooter regularly, this entire process will take you less than 15 minutes. If you skip it a few times, your scooter will be dirtier and you’ll have to devote more time to clean it.
The steps are in a logical order. Let’s go over them.
Check your manual for specific cleaning instructions
I’m kind of shocked by how many people skip this step.
There will never be a better set of instructions on how to clean your specific scooter, than the ones recommended by its manufacturer. Who could know this better than them?
To be fair, a lot of manuals come without these instructions. That’s a bad sign, to begin with. If a company can’t even make a decent manual, then what are the chances the company will make a decent scooter?
Anyway, those are usually exceptions. Good brands will provide you with detailed manuals.
If your scooter’s manual includes cleaning instructions, follow those above everything else.
Know your scooter, its IP rating, and its materials
Related to the point above, you should be familiar with the basics of your scooter.
When it comes to cleaning, the most important things you need to know about your scooter are its IP rating and the materials used in its production.
The IP rating is a standard way to measure how resistant a scooter is to external particles. It’s a two-digit value, looking like “IP53” or “IP67”. The second digit tells us how resistant the scooter is against liquids, especially water.
By knowing this value, you will make better decisions about how to clean your scooter. If you’re unfamiliar with the IP rating system, check out the guide on waterproof electric scooters.
Many scooters will not have an IP rating specified. In that case, assume that your scooter is not water-resistant at all, and take a lot of care when using water to clean it.
Using water hoses or high-pressure spray guns is not a good idea for cleaning a scooter, even if it has a strong IP rating. It is a vehicle based on electric components and circuitry, and subjecting it to strong water jets is asking for trouble.
Still, a lot of people do it.
If your mind is set on hosing down your scooter, at least make sure you know your IP rating.
An IP rating of 5 means that the scooter has protection against weak jets of water from any angle, and some ingress may have no damaging effects. So only use a water hose if your electric scooter has an IP rating with the second digit at 5 or more.
An IP rating of 6 means protection against strong jets. Only use high-pressure water spray guns if the second digit in the IP rating is 6 or above.
Keep in mind that electric scooters with these kinds of IP ratings are not very common. Therefore, using water hoses or spray guns is not advisable.
By knowing what materials your scooter is made of, you will be able to take better care of it and clean it more safely and thoroughly. Not all materials should be cleaned in the same way.
If you are careless, you can easily damage your scooter permanently.
Turn off your scooter
It’s common sense, but don’t forget it. We will be using water, so it’s best if your scooter is powered down.
Make sure the motor and the battery are cooled down
Just to be safe, make sure that your scooter is not running hot. If you’ve just ridden your scooter, or if it’s been under the sun, wait for a few minutes.
The heat can cause the water to evaporate and then get stuck in the inner parts. This can later cause corrosion.
For the same reason, it’s also best if you don’t perform the cleaning under the sun.
Remove the battery if possible, and other removable parts, and clean them separately
There are some electric scooters that come with removable batteries, with either their main battery being removable, being able to support an additional removable battery, or both.
When that is the case, it’s a good idea to remove the battery and clean it separately.
This will have a two-fold benefit
- you will clean the battery itself, which can even give you a performance boost
- you will not risk damaging your battery while cleaning the rest of your scooter
To clean your battery, simply wipe out any dust with a dry cloth. Don’t use water when cleaning it.
Don’t put your battery back in until your scooter has completely dried off.
Apply the same for any removable parts.
If, for example, your scooter has a removable seat, or you’ve installed some accessories, remove them, and clean them separately.
Start nice and easy, only go as hard as you need
Before you start with the actual cleaning process, keep this general principle in mind.
Most of the dirt and stains on your scooter will be easily removed by light scrubbing.
When you scrub harder, or use more powerful tools, like say sandpaper, you risk scratching the surface of your scooter. Often times, this kind of damage is expensive to fix, and sometimes even permanent.
Start with less aggressive methods of cleaning, like gentle uni-directional movements. Avoid circular movements, as they are both inefficient and more dangerous.
Move on to apply more pressure only if the dirt or stains are not coming out.
Remove large debris
It’s best to start by manually removing everything you can remove manually.
Pieces of junk, garbage, glass, grass, or wood will often get stuck in your wheels, between your wheels and fenders, or in any other part where they can get stuck.
Getting rid of them first is more methodical, and makes the rest of the cleaning easier.
Move from the top down
By using this simple principle, we will take advantage of gravity and make it do half the work for us.
To illustrate this point, imagine the opposite of this principle when cleaning your scooter. Say you clean your deck first. Then you move on the wash the stem with soapy water. Well, the soapy water drips down the stem and ends up on the deck again. Now you have to clean the deck one more time.
By moving from the top down, we only clean each part once.
Clean the screen and the controls
The screen and the controls are the most sensitive part of your electric scooter. They are all electronic parts, and you should avoid using too much water to clean them.
See if you can clean them with a dry microfiber cloth first.
If they still have stains, dampen the cloth with some distilled water, or get a special screen cleaning solution. Make sure to not leave any water on them when done.
Don’t press too hard against the screen, as that may scratch or damage it.
Clean the small parts
The small parts of your scooter will include:
- lights, reflectors, stickers, LED strips
Clean them by brushing them with an old toothbrush. If they have some stains or dirt that is hard to remove, use soap or toothpaste.
Clean the metal parts
Usually, the bulk of your scooter will be aluminum alloy. Sometimes it will include some stainless steel components as well, and possibly other metals.
Cleaning metals is best done with the old-school technique of scrubbing them with a soft sponge or a dishcloth, soaked in soapy water.
Use two buckets, one with soapy water, another one with clean water. Do the following:
- dunk the sponge in the soapy water and squeeze it until it’s almost dry
- rub the metal parts with long, uni-directional movements, over small distances
- dunk the sponge in the clean water bucket and dry it off there
- keep going back to step 1 until you are satisfied with how clean your scooter is
Wash, rinse, repeat, as the saying goes.
Clean the plastic, silicone, rubber, and carbon fiber parts
For the most part, you can clean any parts made from plastic, silicone, rubber, or carbon fiber, in the same way you clean the metal parts.
The only difference is the use of acidic cleaners.
You can sometimes use lemon juice or vinegar to thoroughly clean metal parts, but you must be very careful! Metals can oxidize and corrode from acids, so if you use those you must wash them away very soon. In general, using acidic cleaners is not recommended for metals.
For non-metallic parts, you can use lemon juice or vinegar to get rid of hard stains or hardened dirt patches more liberally.
You can also add some baking soda to the cleaning paste you’ve prepared. Use this solution for the hardest stains.
Lemon juice + baking soda = one of the most beloved mixes of DIY homemakers ever!
Clean the wheels
Cleaning the wheels will be probably the hardest part.
First, remove any visible pieces of debris manually.
Then, scrub the tires with either a larger, rougher cloth, or with a harder wheel brush. You can use soapy water, but some other stronger cleaning solution will work fine as well.
Finally, put your scooter on an elevated surface so that you can spin the wheels and clean them thoroughly. Turn them and clean sections of them with the cloth or the brush.
Clean grease, stains, or hardened patches of dirt
If you notice grease, stains, or some patches of dirt that have hardened, besides the damp sponge with soap water, you can use some toothpaste to clean them.
Put some toothpaste on the problem area, brush it with a toothbrush, and wipe it off with a damp cloth.
Make sure you don’t leave the toothpaste there for too long, and wipe it thoroughly. Toothpaste contains baking soda, and maybe some other substances, that may oxidize or damage metal parts if in contact with them for too long.
Rinse off the water
Make sure to use a dry cloth to rinse off any water that has remained on the surface of your scooter.
Be careful not to push the water in the direction of the battery, the lights, or other electronic parts.
Also, don’t push it anywhere near the holes, if it gets stuck in there it may cause oxidation and corrosion later.
Dry off your scooter with a wet-dry vacuum cleaner
This is one of my favorite tips about cleaning my scooter.
For some reason, it gives me great pleasure to perform it. It’s probably because it’s the last step in my cleaning routine, and I know that I’ve done a great job of cleaning my scooter.
Anyway, if you have a wet-dry vacuum cleaner, use it to dry off your scooter.
Be careful not to scratch your scooter with the plastic of the vacuum cleaner.
Slowly vacuum around the holes, the joints, the screws, and where surfaces meet. This will make sure you get all the water out of your scooter.
Use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner, not a regular one, as those shouldn’t be used to vacuum water.
Let your scooter dry off
Finally, let nature take its course. Leave your scooter to dry off for at least an hour, more if you live in a humid environment.
If your scooter has a removable battery and you removed it at the start, put it back in after it’s completely dry.
Put the other removable parts and accessories back as well.
Advanced tips for thoroughly cleaning your electric scooter
About once a month, I like to do a detailed job of cleaning my scooter. This will include the regular routine described above, but with a few extra steps.
Use lemon juice or vinegar with baking soda for hard stains and for polishing
Proceed with care. Whether you can use this tip will depend on your scooter specifically. If unsure, skip this step.
I already mentioned this common household solution for cleaning non-metallic parts.
The lemon juice and baking soda paste are some of the best cleaning solutions ever invented to this day.
The truth is, you can use it on metal surfaces as well, you just need to remove it quickly and thoroughly.
The problem is, acidic solutions like vinegar and lemon juice can make the metals rust if they’re left there for too long.
Also, some metals are more sensitive than others. They may also have some additional coatings that don’t tolerate acids very well. It is possible they change color when in contact.
Thus, proceed with care.
I shine my scooter once a month with this mix, and always make sure I remove the paste quickly. I haven’t seen any damage or change in color yet.
Polish your scooter
I shine the plastic parts by gently rubbing them with a fine cloth and toothpaste.
For the aluminum parts, I use an aluminum polish that I apply to the surface, rub gently in circular motions, and then remove with a clean, soft cloth.
If I feel like it, I use another clean, soft cloth to give my scooter that extra-shiny look. I just polish it again with gentle circular movements.
What should you never do when cleaning your scooter?
These are all the things you should never do when cleaning your scooter.
Don’t rub too hard
No matter how hard the stain looks, resist the temptation to dig in. This will frequently result in scratches.
Instead, give it some more time and some more gentle scrubbing. Use toothpaste, lemon juice, and baking soda paste, to remove harder stains.
Don’t hose your scooter, and don’t use high-pressure water spray guns
Well, technically, you can, and some people do.
But this is usually ill-advised. Especially for scooters with a weak or no IP rating.
Only models with an IP rating that has the second digit at 6 or higher can tolerate high-pressure water jets without getting damaged.
Don’t use blow dryers
It may sound like a good idea to use a blow dryer to dry off your scooter after cleaning it.
But keep in mind, this can easily cause several bad things to happen:
- heat up the components, maybe even damage some electronics
- push water inside the scooter
- make the water steam and thus end up in the insides of the scooter
Just use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner instead.
How often should you clean your scooter?
The best practice is to clean your scooter either once a week, or as soon as it needs to get cleaned.
Naturally, if you don’t ride don’t scooter that much, you don’t need to clean it as often. It’s still a good idea to check up on it every once in a while, even if you don’t ride it at all.
How to waterproof an electric scooter?
You probably noticed a common theme while going through this guide – water can be really bad for your scooter.
That’s why, it’s best to make your scooter as waterproof as possible.
These are some great tips for waterproofing your scooter:
- get a waterproof cover
- use duct-tape to tape over the gaps in the deck
- carry some duct-tape and tape over the charging port when caught in the rain
- put o-rings around non-sealed screws and holes with wires or cables
- use silicone and a silicone gun to waterproof non-functional holes
- use a plastic protection cover for your screen
- put adhesive tape over the buttons and controls
- grease the motor wheel axles
To learn exactly how to waterproof your scooter in depth, check out the waterproofing guide here.
How to store an electric scooter?
If you don’t ride your scooter for a longer period of time, make sure you store it properly to avoid any damage to it. Again, one of the biggest culprits here is water, and we need to make sure it doesn’t come in contact with it while stored.
These are the most efficient tips on how to store your scooter properly:
- find a dark, dry room
- store it somewhere as close to room temperature as possible
- charge the battery to at least 60%
- recharge it to that level once every month
- make sure your scooter is completely dry when storing it
- make sure your scooter is powered off
- if your scooter has a removable battery, take the battery out and keep it in another place
- fold everything that is foldable on your scooter
- remove any accessories and removable parts
- lock your scooter, both with its own and external mechanisms
- if you keep the box and protective cover it arrived in, put in in them, otherwise find some waterproof cover
- check on your scooter every now and then
If you want to learn more about how to store your scooter, read the full guide here.
How to extend the life of an electric scooter?
To get the most out of your scooter, take as good care of it as you can.
Follow the instructions that came in its manual. The manufacturers know everything about their scooters, and their advice is always the best.
Clean it regularly, and run through the maintenance routine as well.
Don’t let your battery get fully discharged, and follow the recommended scooter battery guidelines.
Try to avoid abusing it, such as riding at the top speed constantly, or pushing it over very steep hills.
By riding slowly and defensively, you will avoid accidents and collisions, that can easily damage or break your scooter.
Take it to a mechanic for a diagnostics check at least once every year.