How to Wash a Harley – Harley Davidson Cleaning Hacks


There is no doubt that your Harley Davidson motorcycle needs better care than any other type of bike. To enjoy the rides to the fullest and ensuring the beauty of Harley’s craft stays constant, you have to make a habit of cleaning the bike pretty regularly.

Yes, many try to wash their H-D motorcycles like any other bike but we would advise you to take a different strategy for yours. Especially when it comes to specific models of Harley.

Here are the guides for Harley Davidson quick wash for a few of the models. You can try out these same techniques for numerous other models that we won’t be able to mention in a single article.

Washing a Harley

Since different models of Harley Davidson have unique bodies, there are subtle differences in how people tend to wash them. A Sportster requires the basic type of cleaning that you can give to most high-quality bikes.

For Street Glide, getting water stuck in the bike is a concern, which brings the importance of blow-drying it. Here are the cleaning procedures of your beloved Harley Davidson:

Sportster Model

Get your Harley cleaning kit ready

For washing your Sportster, we strongly recommend not to use detergent for car washing. Make sure you have all the essential cleaning supplies for your Harley ready before starting to clean. The must-haves are:

  • Motorcycle cleaner
  • Rags
  • Brushes
  • Microfiber cleaning pad or cloth

You can find a lot of quality supplies from Harley’s official page. Make sure you also have a space ready for doing this, as drainage is necessary for the process. Lastly, you have to make sure no water or moisture gets inside the tailpipe. Plugging it with rubber is a good solution!


Use a hose at a medium-high pressure to start rinsing the entire motorcycle! You should be careful about the pressure not being too high that it may damage the outer layer of the bike.

If you are willing, you can also get spray cleaners that are specifically made for motorcycles – like the Fireman Style Hose Nozzle available at Harley’s site. The goal is to get rid of the layer of dirt and mud entirely before starting to use a cleaning solution.


Ready your bucket of cleaning solution and water and use a rag to start scrubbing your Sportster thoroughly. Do not scrub with a rough rag and be careful not to scrub too hard to ensure no damage. No need to worry if a little bit of water gets inside the inner parts. Scrub the entire body except for the chains.


When you are entirely done with scrubbing, give it a good rinse to ensure no soap particle stays on the bike. The remaining soap may leave marks and that is why it is important to get it all out.


Although many people do not put too much thought into this process, drying is incredibly important. It ensures there are no marks left and gives the Sportster a fantastic shine. First, do a little bit of dry patting with a microfiber cloth. Air-drying is a bad idea since it can leave streaks.

Finishing Touches

Finally, there are a few things you can do to make your bike look new and flawless. Polishing is the first thing that comes to mind and you can use a proper polishing kit that has a solution and cloth. Moreover lubricating the joints is also a great idea.

Street Glide

The basics of the cleaning mentioned above remain the same for all Harley Davidson models including the Street Glide. Nevertheless, getting an air compressor to properly dry the bike is a good idea when you have a Street Glide.

There are nooks and crannies where water can get stuck and having an air compressor helps. There are many motorcycle dryers available for Harley that you can get. With different attachments provided with said dryers, you can reach all of the small areas and dry them equally.

Road King

When it comes to Road King classics, aside from the normal cleaning process we mentioned, using a spray polish on the chrome is a good idea. For the bag, you can use leather conditioners. Many advise that you should use S100 polishing soap as it seems to be a very popular and effective soap for Road King.

Final Note

Again, remember that drying is a very important process that many overlook. A lot of Harley users dry off their bikes just by riding them or air-drying them. This leads to streaks and your Harley loses its shine over time.

Investing in a drying kit is a good idea since it will allow you to keep the bike as good as new. That is why many experts have recommended utilizing dryers for motorcycles.

Alston Seymour

A Harley-Davidson Motor Company certified Master Technician and avid biker, I love to write about everything and anything related to biking.

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