How to Clean Your Motorcycle Exhausts

a black Motorcycle
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 35-75
What You'll Need
Motorcycle-specific or car shampoo
Terry cloth rags
Small bucket
Chrome/metal cleaner
Chrome polish or equivalent polish
Garden hose and water outlet
Plastic bag
Rubber band

Motorcycle exhausts are most often neglected when it comes to cleaning and detailing. This delicate part deserves special attention, as it is subject to a lot of harmful elements on the road. Motorcycle exhausts are also subject to extreme heat, as it deals with hot gasses coming from the combustion chamber. Special care must be given to your motorcycle exhaust, but remember that cleaning procedures will vary by the type of finish. Take precaution when purchasing and using products to clean your motorcycle exhaust and remember to follow the instructions provided on the bottle or can.

Step 1 - Prepare

Put the motorcycle on a stand and park away from direct sunlight. Remember not to wash your motorcycle when surfaces are hot to touch. Let the motorcycle cool before spraying with water. This procedure is applicable to all parts of the motorcycle and not just the exhaust.

Step 2 - Hose Down

Remove excess dirt and dust by spraying the muffler with water using a garden hose. Be careful not to spray water inside the exhaust. Wipe the tip of the exhaust with a terry cloth towel.

Step 3 - Cover the Exhaust Tip

motorcycle exhaust

Use a small plastic bag to cover the tip of your exhaust and protect against excess water spray. Secure with a rubber band.

Step 4 - Shampoo

Work shampoo into a lather. Dip the terry cloth into the solution and wipe onto the exhaust. This will remove mud, grime, and stubborn dirt on the surface. This will also serve as a preparation for waxing or polishing.

Step 5 - Rinse

Thoroughly rinse the exhaust with water. Make sure no shampoo residue is left on the surface. Remove the cover from the tip.

Step 6 - Let Dry

motorcycle exhaust

Wipe the exhaust with a clean, dry terry cloth towel. You may use other rags for this procedure, but terry cloth is best to avoid scratches on most chrome and polished surfaces.

Step 7 - Apply Chrome Cleaner

Now would be a good time to apply chrome or other metal cleaner to your exhaust. Chrome surfaces will benefit most from an appropriate chrome cleaner to remove stubborn dirt such as asphalt. Follow the instructions provided in the product. Let the cleaner stand for a few minutes before wiping or rinsing with water. Let the exhaust dry and wipe again with a terry cloth towel.

Step 8 - Apply Chrome or Metal Polish

Apply chrome or metal polish using a soft, dry towel and rub in a circular motion on the entire surface of the exhaust. Let dry and buff lightly with a soft towel until shiny. Repeat if desired. You may use a chrome pad to remove stains on the finish. Other metal surfaces generally follow the same procedure in applying polish. Remember to use a polish that is appropriate for the type of finish.

This procedure is best undertaken at least once a week to protect and preserve the finish of your exhaust. Remove any stains as soon as possible and never apply polish when the surface is hot to the touch.