ATV cleaning is important – it’s going to make your kids ATV last longer and be more enjoyable to ride for them. Plus it will keep your wallet healthy, because you won’t be needing to replace parts if it’s kept in good condition.
Putting an ATV away muddy means that parts have more time exposed to moisture and dirt, which allows them to rust and corrode quicker. Not to mention that the more crud you pack in, the easy it is for dirt to work its way into the bearings and other serviceable parts causing them to wear quicker.
This ATV cleaning guide gives you a step by step approach on how to look after your kids ATV. It’s easy to follow, so you can teach your kids the importance of ATV cleaning and a good exercise in looking after their things.
One thing to mention – in this tutorial, I don’t take the plastics off. What I recommend is that every other wash, take the plastics off and wash them separately in case there is any mud that has been missed that has got caught underneath them.
ATV Cleaning Step 1 - Quick Initial Wash (Hose Down After Riding)
This seems obvious, but ATV cleaning begins as soon as you finish riding.
If your kids have been riding heavily in mud and dirt (particularly on a wet day), the ATV will likely be covered in it.
As soon as they get off riding, you’ll want to hose it down, or if you have access to a pressure washer, even better. You want to go for the guts of the ATV first, so underneath hit up the break pads, the break line, the axels, callipers, coils, springs – anything that moves, rotates or compresses, you want to get that mud off immediately before it dries as this will make the rest of the ATV cleaning process more difficult later on if you leave it.
The plastics aren’t difficult to wash off, but you’ll want to do this too and hose them down at the same time.
The ATV will still be dirty – it’s impossible to get it perfectly clean with the initial spray down, but this first step of cleaning it straight after will get rid of most of the mud.
Ideally you’ll want to do this on site if you can, as it gets messy! If at home, do it outside near drainage so you can wash the excess mud and dirt away quickly.
ATV Cleaning Step 2 - Secondary Wash (Pressure Wash with Degreaser)
The next step in ATV cleaning is the secondary wash, which will be another wash, followed by a degreaser. This will be then followed by a further rinse off.
In the secondary wash you’re going to want to get a little bit closer, getting the dirt off the nicks and crannies all over.
For this, you will want a pressure washer if you don’t already have one. Pressure washers work wonders and make life so much easier, so I highly recommend you buy one. I bought the Sun Joe SPX3000 – it’s awesome and has loads of great reviews on Amazon. It’s lasted me two years so far and definitely worth it, as I clean my other ATV’s and cars with it too.
With the pressure washer, wash off as much of the mud as you can, getting deep underneath. Once this is done, you’re going to need a degreaser spray.
After the ATV cleaned a second time, you want to go around and spray the de-greaser and cover all of the guts of the ATV, so engine, shocks, brake pads (everything that moves, rotates, compresses etc) and finally the wheels (not tyres). Once sprayed, use the pressure hose again to rinse.
Any degreaser is fine, but I go for the Slick range which you can buy on Amazon – these were made by riders for riders, which is pretty cool. They work really well too. The link above goes to a complete pack for all aspects of this ATV cleaning process I cover.
Cleaning ATV Step 3 - Foam Wash
Next up for ATV cleaning is the foam wash, which will get rid of any excess pesky mud that is refusing to budge without soap.
Similar to the degreaser, I would go for the Slick range and use their concentrated wash which you dilute with warm water.
You’ve got either two ways of applying this to your kids ATV at this step – either by hand with a sponge and bucket, or with a foam cannon attachment for the pressure washer. Either way is fine, just the foam cannon is far quicker. A foam cannon isn’t going to set you back much under $20, so I’d go for something standard like a Dusichin model from Amazon.
Once you’ve covered the ATV everywhere in the foam, start rubbing it down with a regular foam pad. Once done, go and spray down with the pressure hose one final time.
After this is done, leave the ATV to dry – but leave it inside. If left outside, you’ll get sun marks where water droplets have dried and it doesn’t look great – trust me. Ideally park the kids ATV in the garage and out of the sun.
Cleaning ATV Step 4 - Waxing
Now this step is optional – the ATV is clean already – however if you want to make it shine then give it a wax.
This is for the plastic parts of the ATV and I’d recommend Jax Wax Hawaiian Shine for this – it”s by far the best reviewed and is mentioned in the video below. Check out Jax Wax here on Amazon.
ATV Cleaning Recap
For a quick recap:
Step 1 – Initial Wash – get rid of all that mud after the ride!
Step 2 – A second wash, preferably with a pressure washer, followed by spraying some degreaser then a rinse.
Step 3 – Using concentrated wash mixed with warm water, lather (or spray using a foam cannon) all over the bike, then pressure hose once more.
Step 4 – After your kids ATV has dried, use some car wax to buff the plastics to complete the ATV cleaning process.
So these are the products I would recommend for ATV cleaning. It doesn’t have to be these particular brands, but I’ve used these and they worked for me.