Electric bikes are a great, low-pollution way to get from point A to point B without using fossil fuels and not churning up a sweat. However, as you ride it more and more, it will start to collect dirt and mud. As such, many electric bike owners might wonder if their electric bikes can be washed. But could washing the bike have a negative effect on all those electronics?
You can wash your electric bike. Most e-bikes are water-resistant, a quick spray down with a hose is just fine. Avoid pressure washers and consider re-lubricating your chain after. You should keep the cleaning to the exterior and avoid disassembling any of the components before cleaning.
Washing an electric bike isn’t hard, but it’s not the easiest task either. Electric bikes are robust but also have sensitive components that may be damaged if not treated properly. So how do you properly clean an electric bike?
Will Washing My Bike Damage the Electronics?
Washing your electric bike won’t damage the electronics. Much like a car, electric bicycles are designed to be water-resistant, bordering on waterproof. And just like a car, you shouldn’t submerge it or pressure wash it, because the higher pressure may penetrate some of the equipment’s seals.
Submersion will damage the battery and other electronics, but washing it down with a regular garden hose and a wet rag is perfectly fine.
When you wash the electric bike, don’t open up the battery compartment and spray inside there. Keep it closed and sealed. You can wash your electric bike as often as you wish as long as you use the proper cleaning materials and cleaning procedures.
How Should You Clean An Electric Bike?
Cleaning an electric bike is relatively easy! In fact, it is not much of a different process than cleaning a regular road bike or mountain bike. If you are a new owner of an electric bike, you might have noticed a fine layer of dust and dirt building up on the frame. Perhaps you even have some layers of mud caked on if you’ve driven through a puddle.
This level of dirt on your new bike might get you thinking that your pressure washer would be the perfect, quick method to clean the bike. But let me stop you right there– put the pressure washer down. High pressure can and will damage your bike.
For one, it can cut right through the rubber tires. Additionally, it can force water into cracks and crevices where it doesn’t belong, like the battery housing. As you probably suspect, water getting into the battery isn’t good and could ultimately destroy it.
Instead of using high-pressure water, sprinkler water over the top of the electric bike with a standard garden hose. Next, you can use a soft cleaning cloth to wipe down your bike’s frame with gentle motions to remove the week’s worth of dirt and grime.
You can use a degreaser such as a mild dish soap mixed with water for dirt and mud that is really stuck on. A soft-bristled brush with the diluted dish soap mixture should be enough to release even the most hardened blemishes.
Lubricate Your Chain After Washing
Anytime you wash your electric bike, you should also lubricate the chain. Apply small blots of chain lube directly to each and every roller of the chain, not the outside of the chain. You can use a lubricant like Finish Line E-Bike Chain Lube (on Amazon).
Lubricating the outside of the chain will attract and collect dirt while you ride. Once you’ve lubricated between each roller of the chain, wipe off the excess with a clean cloth.
How to Clean Your Chain
Ensuring your chain has proper lubrication is one of the best methods to maximize your drive train’s lifespan. It will help your bike shift smoothly and prevent any unexpected breakdowns – like your train dislodging or breaking.
Cleaning your chain isn’t difficult. However, it does take some time and elbow grease. It’s a task all electric bike owners should complete in between regular tune-ups. Plan to clean your chain every few hundred miles or whenever it’s visibly dirty. That dirt will decrease the performance of all the mechanisms that use the chain.
You should use degreasers explicitly designed for bicycle chains when cleaning the chain, like this WD-40 bike degreaser (on Amazon). Regular degreasers not designed for bicycle chains can damage your chain, so they are best to avoid.
The easiest way to clean your chain is with a chain cleaning tool, like this Finish Line Pro Chain Cleaner Kit (on Amazon). All you have to do is fill the chain cleaner reservoir with the degreaser, wrap it around your chain, and run your whole chain through it by backpedaling.
The cleaner kit has brushes that get into all of the small pieces of the chain, entirely removing dirt. Once your chain is sufficiently cleaned, wash it down with warm, soapy water and rinse it off to entirely remove all of the degreaser before relubricating your chain.
Can You Use a Pressure/Jet Washer On an E-Bike?
No, you should never use a high-pressure washer, jet washer, or fire hose to clean your electric bike. High-pressure water can force its way into the battery compartment and the button control of your electric bike.
The presence of water in these areas can short out electronics and disable your bike’s “electric” portion altogether. Until you repair it, you’ll be biking under only your own power after using high-pressure water to clean it.
Electric Bike Cleaning Tips
How often you should clean your electric bike depends on how often you use it and the conditions you ride it in. Invariably, you may have weeks where only a tiny amount of dirt is added to your bike. On the flip side, you’ll experience weeks where your bike will get blasted with mud multiple days.
Whatever your case may be, your bike should clean it when it is dirty. Pay special attention to the chain – clean and lube it at least once a month for best health and operation.