After a muddy ride on my Mountain Bike I always clean it as I store it in my bedroom: I want to keep things tidy and not have my girlfriend on my back. I explain you how to clean your bike in 3 steps and keep your girlfriend happy whether you went in a forest with your MTB, a gravel ride in the country side, road cycling a 100 miles, or just to take care of your bike in general.
1. Degrease the transmission
I use degreaser, a brush, and a chain cleaner (I made a DIY chain cleaner with two toothbrushes and zip ties, you can do also with nail brushes, cheap trick).
I put the the degreaser in a recipient, then with the brush spread it generously on the transmission: the cassette, derailleur, chainring. After I use the chain cleaner on the chain and pedal backward to pass all over it. I let the degreaser works its magic on my transmission.
2. Full cleaning of the bike with water and shampoo
I use shampoo (there is specific bike shampoo: Muc-Off is a reference, I do personnally use Car Shampoo which works fine too), a sponge, brush and a water sprayer (good alternative if you can’t afford a pressure washer).
I spray the shampoo, then use the sponge and the brush to remove the dirt. After spray water on the bike and you can use a piece of cloth to dry your bike.
3. Lubricate the transmission
Once the bike is clean, it is important to lubricate the transmission for efficient shifting and keep it in good conditions. Just use lubricant (I use teflon lubricant for wet weather conditions).
I pedal backward and spray it on the chain, then I pass the gears to spray also on the different cogs.
That’s it! Your bike is clean and ready for the next ride!
A cyclist amateur.