A day of riding or racing your ATV doesn't end when you pack up and head home.

You've got to get your 4-wheeler ready for the next ride.

Cleaning your ATV is in many ways like washing the car but with a little bit more detail and a lot more grit. A good cleaning takes time - you can't just hose it down. It's always best to clean off the muck sooner rather than later. Not only is it easier before it dries and cements into place but dirt, grease and grime can wear down the vital parts of your bike, like the bearings, seals, chain and sprockets, among others, much faster. Cleaning is actually the first step in maintaining your ATV.

That AVT is getting dirty!

A variety of cleaners, degreasers and other equipment exist to make the cleaning process quicker, more thorough and bring back a showroom shine. The first step is spray down the major parts with a good quality cleaner. Spray down all plastics, the seat, tires, wheels, frame, and handlebars. Use a degreaser on the chain and sprockets and anywhere the chain lube cakes up and attracts dirt.

Note: Degreaser is not for use on plastic parts.

ATV Cleaners

Good ATV Cleaner

Better ATV Cleaner

Best ATV Cleaner

Liquid Performance Cycle Wash - 32 oz

Slick Cleaner Ready to Use - 32oz Spray

Maxima Bio Wash Cleaner

Price: $7.99

Price: $11.99

Price: $8.99

Features:

  • Surfactant-based formula lifts dirt from the surface
  • Leaves an unequaled shine
  • Safe for high-tech metal or plastic
  • Non-corrosive and biodegradable

Features:

  • Designed to penetrate and lift the toughest dirt, oil, grease and grime
  • Multi-purpose and biodegradable
  • Use on plastic, rubber, painted surfaces, and more
  • Ready-to-use formula

Features:

  • Fully biodegradable, Eco-friendly formula
  • Advanced micro chemistry
  • Special additives protect aluminum, magnesium and other alloys
  • Safe on paint, plastic, carbon fiber, rubber and alloys
 

ATV Degreasers

Good ATV Degreaser

Better ATV Degreaser

Best ATV Degreaser

Maxima Contact Cleaner

1.7 Cleaning Solutions Concentrated Wash/Degreaser

Maxima Clean Up Degreaser

Price: $6.99

Price: $12.99

Price: $10.99

Features:

  • Quickly removes oil and grease
  • Removes soft carbon deposits
  • Displaces moisture
  • Leaves no residue

Features:

  • Proprietary concentrate spray-on formula
  • Biodegradable, non toxic formula
  • Developed, tested and used by the top teams and riders
  • Will not harm your bike finish or graphics

Features:

  • Removes caking and build-up
  • Breaks down dirt
  • Dissolves grease and other contaminants
  • Do Not use on plastic or Lexan windshields
 

Before rinsing pop in a muffler plug. After everything you've put your ATV through you don't want to ruin the engine through inadvertent water down the exhaust pipe. An air box cover is also a good idea because you can wash out the air filter box without getting water or debris into your carburetor and engine.

Pre-ride Note: The airbox cover has a drain plug and it's worthwhile to remove this plug, if you're riding in water, to prevent water from puddling at the bottom of the air box and getting sucked into the engine.

ATV Muffler Plugs

BikeMaster Muffler Plugs

FMF Muffler Plugs

Acerbis Muffler Plugs

BikeMaster Rubber Muffler Plug

FMF Muffler Plug

Acerbis Muffler Plug 2T/4T

Price: $4.99-$5.99

Price: $4.99

Price: $7.99

Features:

  • Protects the exhaust system from water
  • Keeps humidity from entering pipe as it cools down or prevents condensation inside the pipe during storage
  • Formulated to be stiff enough to not fall out but soft enough to insert into the pipe without damage

Features:

  • Keeps water out of your exhaust system
  • Tapered rings spanning from 3/4" to 2-1/4"
  • Will not not fit exhaust outlets smaller than 3/4"
  • Keeps dirt and debris out of your exhaust while in storage or traveling

Features:

  • Seals the silencer
  • Keeps water and debris from entering the exhaust system during transportation and cleaning
  • Fits 4-stroke and 2-stroke exhaust systems
 

ATV Air Box Cover

Good Air Box Cover

Better Air Box Cover

Best Air Box Cover

Acerbis Uniko Airbox Wash Cover

No Toil Airbox Cover

Twin Air - Air Box Cover

Price: $19.99

Price: $24.99

Price: $32.99 - $33.99

Features:

  • Rubber NBR fuel-resistant material
  • Fits to every filter cage
  • 100% waterproof barrier
  • Easily and quickly applied to the original filter holder

Features:

  • Made out of a hard, composite material
  • Completely covers your air intake
  • Won't allow any liquids to penetrate to your intake
  • Contact point on cover has a strip of soft rubber to create impermeable seal

Features:

  • Prevents water and cleansers from entering your intake when cleaning
  • Manufactured from tough, durable ABS plastic
  • Rubber sealing ring ensures a perfect, leak-free fit
  • Easy install
 

Now that you've sprayed down your ATV with a cleaner and degreaser and prepped the bike for washing, it's time to break out the hose. Use a mild detergent soap and a mitt or rag. Brushes are fantastic tools to easily remove heavy dirt and grease build up in areas like the chain, sprockets, and wheels.

Pressure washers can be used with caution. Lots of riders use them to help speed up the cleaning process and get into hard to reach nooks and crannies, but be careful. A pressure washer can rip the graphics right off the plastic and tear a hole in the seat. Use the pressure washer on chains and sprockets but don't forget the degreaser. Break up thick mud and muck with a brush. Avoid spraying directly in areas with bearings and electrical components.

ATV Cleaning Brush

Good Cleaning Brush

Better Cleaning Brush

Best Cleaning Brush

BikeMaster Mini Wire Brush Set

Grunge Brush

1.7 Cleaning Solutions 6-Pack Brush Kit

Price: $6.99

Price: $14.99

Price: $69.99

Features:

  • Mid-sized 3-piece brush set
  • Stainless steel, brass and plastic bristles

Features:

  • Specifically designed to clean motorcycle and ATV chains
  • can be used on O-ring and non O-ring chains
  • Oil resistant
  • Attacks greasy chains from 3 angles

Features:

  • Soft nylon brush for bike washing
  • Hard nylon short scrub brush for parts and chain cleaning
  • Soft scrub brush with Scotchbrite panels
  • Two small wire brushes and one soft spoke brush
 

Aluminum Parts

Over time, especially without proper cleaning, the aluminum parts of your ATV tarnish. Nerf bars, bumpers and grab bars, but also your wheels, if made of aluminum, need proper cleaning after any ride. Skip the back-breaking work of rubbing compounds or steel wool and opt for a straight-up wheel cleaner. These products work so well all you really need to do is spray on and wipe off. You've probably got a can of it already for your car wheels. Simple Green is a good alternative but avoid avoid letting the cleaner sit on the aluminum for longer than a minute. Steer away from cleaners with acidic properties to avoid pitting your aluminum parts.

Once you're satisfied the mud, muck, dirt and grease is broken up, rinse everything off again. Don't forget to check underneath and on both sides of the tires and wheels.

Now it's time to dry the ATV.

Use a heavy towel to absorb excess water then switch to a microfiber cloth to wipe up the remaining dampness and residual dirt and grease. Microfiber cloths also leave your bike water spot and streak free. Compressed air is useful to dry in tight areas you can't reach like around the engine and to blow water from electrical components. But avoid spraying compressed air into bearings as it can actually push remaining dirt further into your bearings.

ATV Cleaning Accessories

Cleaning Mitt

Microfiber Cloth

1.7 Cleaning Solutions Wash Mitt

1.7 Cleaning Solutions Ultra Microfiber Cloth

Price: $9.99

Price: $6.99

Features:

  • Removes dirt and grime without scratching the surface or causing streaks
  • Elastic cuff keeps mitt snug
  • Thick, absorbent construction delivers superior results
  • Washable and reusable

Features:

  • 12" x 14" size
  • Leaves all surfaces with a streak free finish
  • Machine washable
  • Sold as a 4-pack
 

Once dry, use a silicone spray polish on all plastic, and follow-up with a microfiber cloth, to help keep dirt and debris from sticking - this makes it easier to wash after the next ride. The silicone spray also gives that brand new looking shine you're after. Finally, lube up your chain and put in a new air filter if needed.

ATV Spray Polish

Good Spray Polish

Better Spray Polish

Best Spray Polish

Pro Honda Spray Cleaner and Polish

Motul Shine & Go

Maxima SC1 Silicone Detailer

Price: $4.45

Price: $9.99

Price: $8.99

Features:

  • Exclusive Honda formula
  • Cuts through road grime, grease and bugs without water
  • Works on paint, chrome, glass, and clear plastic
  • Spray cleaner and polish

Features:

  • Silicone-based spray
  • Leaves a long-lasting non-sticky protective film
  • Dries evenly
  • Repels water and dirt

Features:

  • Restores the factory shine
  • Works as a polish, undercoat protector, and a light lubricant
  • Formulated to repel water and dry completely
  • Easy to use application
 

That's John Natalie's ride - the only problem with cleaning is you might never want to ride it!

Whether you enjoy cleaning or dread the thought of it, clean-up is an essential part of ATV ownership. Follow these steps after every ride to ensure not only the longevity of your 4-wheeler but so you're ready to roll out on the next ride.

Written By: AndrewT