How to Wash a Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson Softail Slim Parked

Like any Harley owner, you want to keep your bike looking sharp with regular maintenance and cleaning. But before you haul out the soapy water and sponges, you should know that there’s more to cleaning a Harley than you might think. You need to be certain that your cleaning supplies won’t damage your bike’s paint or cause rust, issues that could have wider ramifications if left unchecked. This guide from our service team covers how to wash a Harley properly in a few simple steps!

Preparation: What To Do Before Cleaning a Motorcycle

Before you pull your Harley-Davidson out for a good wash, be sure you have the right supplies on hand. You’ll also need to be certain that your bike is properly prepared for a wash. That’s right: it’s not always a good time or place for cleaning a Harley! We recommend cleaning a motorcycle in shade, rather than in direct sunlight. Even more importantly, wait until the engine is fully cool before you begin.

Now that your bike is ready to go, here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • Wash mitt
  • Microfiber detailing cloth
  • Softstrips
  • Softcloth
  • Soft drying towel
  • 2 Water buckets
  • Soft detailing pad
  • Wheel & spoke brush
  • HOG Blaster motorcycle dryer
  • Harley-Davidson Bug Remover
  • Harley-Davidson Wheel & Tire Cleaner
  • Harley-Davidson Sunwash Bike Soap
  • Harley-Davidson Glaze Polish & Sealant

How to Wash a Harley: Step By Step

  1. Pre-wash your bike and then rinse from the bottom up
  2. Spray Wheel & Tire cleaner and allow it to sit for one minute
  3. Use your soft detailing pad or wheel and spoke brush to scrub the wheels and tires
  4. Rinse off Wheel & Tire cleaner
  5. Add the Sunwash concentrate into one water bucket
  6. Fill up the second water bucket with clean water
  7. Place your wash mitt in the bucket of concentrate, then clean from top to bottom
  8. Use the bug remover if needed
  9. Rinse once more
  10. Use the soft drying towel to dry all surfaces (or HOG Blaster for faster results)
  11. Wring the towel out often, continuing to wipe until dry
  12. Add the Harley-Davidson Glaze Polish & Sealant to your microfiber cloth and follow the bottle’s directions for perfect buffing

Shop Riding Essentials at Timber Town Harley-Davidson!

Questions about how to wash a Harley or other DIY motorcycle maintenance? Looking for genuine H-D replacement parts? Be sure to contact us!

More from Timber Town Harley-Davidson

  • What Does CC Mean in a Motorcycle?

    The cc meaning for engines refers to the size of the compression chamber. The larger the chamber, the more room there is for air and fuel to be compressed. Thus, a higher-cc engine generates more power and speed than a lower-cc engine. What is a “good” cc for a motorcycle? It depends on what you’re…

  • 2021 Tri Glide Ultra Overview & Specs

    The Harley-Davidson Tri Glide is a 3-wheel touring bike that lets you feel the freedom of the open road while riding in maximum comfort. Premium touring features like an injection-molded Tour-Pak® luggage carrier and 6.8 cubic feet of cargo space allow you to take everything you need along for the ride, while bold styling and…

  • Harley-Davidson Pan America Configurations

    Salem Harley-Davidson fans are excited about the highly capable and sharp-looking 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America. As one of the top Adventure Touring models in the world, it has quickly made a name for itself. If you need a motorcycle that is as diverse as you are and can handle anything from cruising through downtown Portland to weekend…

Timber Town Harley-Davidson 44.9691181, -122.9884335.