Place yourself in the driver’s seat of the car of your dreams. Your adrenaline is pumping and you can hear the engine roaring. After having your fun and exploring various terrains, your dream car is now coated in mud, bugs and grime. With the help of Turtle Wax, a simple wash and wax will restore the shine and add a deep level of protection, redefining the meaning “good as new”.
Now change gears and grab the handlebars of your favorite motorcycle. Now the ultimate question— “do I simply wash a bike like a car?” A motorcycle’s unique features and exposed components leave you with lot more to think about. A simple mistake may cause a big problem down the road.
Find a dry spot away from direct sunlight. A shady spot allows the motorcycle to stay cool as temperature variances may harm paint and allow water to leave spots. If you’ve just ridden your bike, allow time for it to cool down before beginning.
Get to Work
Begin by hosing your motorcycle down with clean water to free it from any debris. While your bike soaks, fill your first bucket with warm water. Then fill your second bucket with warm water and your desired amount of Turtle Wax® M.A.X-Power Car Wash Shampoo simultaneously. This process will create suds and bubbles. The two-bucket method helps to prevent any dirt or debris from getting back onto your paint creating minor scratches and swirl marks. Use one bucket for the wash solution and the other bucket to rinse your microfiber or wash mitt in-between sections. Here is a quick guide on how much to use.
Pour 3oz for Moderate cleaning, a pH-neutral dilution that removes every day dirt and grime without stripping previously applied wax.
Pour 6oz for Aggressive cleaning to increase the pH-level to remove bug splatter and salt stains
Pour 9oz for Xtreme cleaning to maximize the pH-cleaning power to safely remove tree sap. Great for removing brake dust from wheels!
It is critical that you don’t let any of your microfibers touch the ground either. The last thing you want is to transfer dirt from the ground back onto your paint creating microscopic scratches.
A nightmare for riders, are bugs and soot which stick onto the front of your bike. These pests are filled with acid which may be corrosive and damage paint over time. Before washing, use Turtle Wax® Bug and Tar Remover as a pre-soak to help remove any stuck-on bugs and tar. Simply spray the area and allow a moment to soak. Once the formula has had time to dwell, loosen and remove the bugs with a separate microfiber or sponge.
Now it’s time to wash your motorcycle. Rinse your bike by pouring a steady but gentle stream of water onto it removing any excess debris. Only use the recommended products as others may scratch the paint or surface. Begin from the top of your machine and go in a horizontal motion avoiding circular patterns; left to right or vice versa works best. Treat all chrome and polished metals like paint and gently go over them with your microfiber or sponge. Motorcycles are water resistant so when cleaning get the seat as well as the handlebars. Using the two-bucket method, be sure to consistently rinse your microfibers by dipping into the water-only bucket. Rinse the soapy residue off with a gentle stream of water from a hose. If your hose has the option of creating a mist, mist the surfaces for easier drying.
At this point your buckets are contaminated with dirt and it’s time to get fresh water. Rinse your buckets, change the water and add more car wash formula. Next, take both of your buckets and begin cleaning your wheels. Wheels may be somewhat difficult and tedious to clean but the results will be worth the time. Use a long-armed brush and scrub brake dust and dirt. Dip your brush into the soapy water then clean around the outer edge making your way towards the center. If your wheels have spokes, do the outer lip first then each spoke all the way to the bases. A microfiber may also work if your brush isn’t delicate on chrome or polished metals. Use the bucket with clean water to clean off any dirt on your brush. Rinse the wheels when you are finished. Keep in mind not to use any greasy products, like protectants, on tires as they may interfere with traction.
The Art of Drying
Hopefully by now you’ve gotten into the grove and your motorcycle is still out of direct sunlight. Take your microfiber towel and fold it over two times both in half. This allows for better control and once the towel is soaked up, flip it over to another side. IMPORTANT: Do not use a leaf blower, air compressor or hair dryer! This will move water into tight spaces and hot, steam may damage the bike. Microfiber towels or chamois will prevent streaks and spots from accumulating.
It’s in the Details
Now that your dream machine is clean and dry, it’s time to remove any blemishes in your finish. Compounding is an optional process and is more abrasive than waxing or polishing. ICE® Speed Compound is the one of the easiest compounds to use; you can even rinse it off. It’s not always necessary to compound your bike so check your paint and apply if necessary. ICE® Speed Compound removes paint transfer, oxidation, swirl marks and fine scratches to enhance the color & clarity of your motorcycle’s paint. On smaller surfaces like motorcycles, a hand application works best. Simply apply the product to a microfiber and rub into the paint. Once finished, you can rub the excess off with a clean microfiber or rinse it off with clean water.
Each motorcycle has its own character. Depending on your taste, your bike may be covered in polished metal or chrome. Turtle Wax® All Metal Polish creates a brilliant, mirror-like shine & protection. This is where the gloves come in to play. At the time of polishing, metals tend to leave a black residue which will stain hands, clothes, hats, etc. so stay clear. Apply the product on a microfiber towel and rub into the desired area. The exhaust pipes as well as all engine components can be polished with this. Brilliant, high gloss shine and clarity is what you should expect. Fortunately, even if you don’t know what your dream bike is made of Turtle Wax® All Metal Polish is made for all metal surfaces including chrome, billet, aluminum, brass, copper and stainless steel.
To maintain a brilliant shine and add a layer of protection, you’ll need to apply a coat of wax. Turtle Wax® ICE® Spray Wax is simple to use and doesn’t take much time to apply. Lightly mist the formula on one section at a time and massage into the finish with a clean microfiber towel. Turn the towel over and lightly wipe for a high-gloss shine. Repeat for the entire motorcycle. This product is safe to use on plastic, metal and glass – just make sure to avoid disc brakes.
I like using Turtle Wax® ICE® Interior Cleaner & Protectant to clean the seat because it removes dust, dirt, and stains and doesn’t create a glossy or greasy film. Shake well and spray evenly onto the surface or onto your microfiber. Gently wipe the applied area, turn your towel over and wipe it dry.
The final touches go a long way to preserving the shine you have worked hard to create. Spray Turtle Wax® Dash & Glass® onto the surface of your windshield, lights, and gauges. It is safe to spray over electronics and tech screens, so don’t be afraid of damaging your controls. Any overspray will be taken off with a simple wipe. Your helmet can be cleaned with the same steps.
Now your dream machine has received the Shine Squad stamp of approval and is ready for the open road. Check the other links on the Turtle Wax® page for more tips on car & motorcycle care. Stay up riders & ride safe.
Peter Kaczynski is an average guy with a not-so-average taste in cars. Restoring and driving vintage BMWs has become one of his favorite passions, yet he still regularly enjoys a muddy off-road adventure in his Jeep Wrangler. Learn more about @peterkaczynski here