by Jesse Peterson, Bike Technician at The Path Bike Shop.
Pictured here is a seatpost from a customer's bike that has been routinely cleaned with a pressure washer. We recommend NEVER using a pressure washer on your bike...because this could happen to you. Never spray water into the insides of your bike!
Here's how to clean your bike safely:
Heat up some distilled water and mix it with Simple Green, then put it in a commercial spray bottle and shoot the crud off with precision. The heat of the liquid will evaporate quickly, and being that it's distilled, you won't get corrosion like you will with a water hose. Precision is the key. Don't shoot directly at the moving parts.
Another way to prolong the life of your components is to not ride in the mud. If it rains, wait a couple of days and go ride when there isn't mud or dust! You avoid both mud and dust, and you avoid damaging the trails!
Personally, I don't clean my bike very often, but when I do its quickly and usually with a damp rag. I use the spray bottle too. And I'll go the distance when I want to really start fresh, disassembling everything to the frame and going through it all. That's the real way to clean a bike!
But for "everyday" cleaning- DON'T! Don't clean your bike after every ride. If you really feel you need to, just DON'T! Your bike will thank you and you can continue to LOVE THE BIKE YOU RIDE!