DIY Hot Water Bike Wash

March 2, 2018

Few things trash a bike like winter rides. Corrosive road salt and de-icer will quickly wreak havoc on your chain. And if you have slushy snow to contend with, expect that to clog up your fenders, as well as freeze your cables and derailers. Worst of all, when finishing up a ride in the cold, the absolute last thing you want to do is wash your bike down.

If I had disposable income to toss around, you better believe I’d be installing a hot water spigot on the outside of my house. Unfortunately, that’s not in the cards, but for under forty bucks, we can do the next best thing! Here are the parts you’ll need for a DIY portable bike wash.

Full disclosure: I didn’t actually put this together with washing bikes in mind. This is my desert, car-camping shower kit, and the Internet is full of YouTube videos and blogs on how to put together this exact same setup. 

  1. Using scissors or a knife, cut the hose of your garden sprayer tank where the sprayer wand attaches. You won’t be needing the sprayer wand, so you can toss that.
  2. Shove the barbed end of the hose fitting into the portion of hose that you’re keeping. You won’t be running any high pressure through this, so no need to tighten it down with a band clamp unless you really want to.
  3. Thread your faucet sprayer and hose kit to the tank’s hose and you’re good to go!

It works like this ... with some tank pumping:

And it will make your bike look like this:

Just be sure to give your chain a quick wipe down and some fresh lube when you’re done.


TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling’s member services department. It appears once each month, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and offering advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh’s “Fine Tuned” column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.


Glenn September 10, 2018, 9:31 AM

Interestingly, I've been using a garden sprayer for years, but because my condo doesn't have a washing station. I've kept the original sprayer wand though. Seems to do a decent job and takes forever to drain. Your setup would probably be better for cold weather though. The garden sprayer head has such a low flow it would probably just apply a layer of ice on the bike!

Brian Managan March 2, 2018, 4:51 PM

Josh, that is so cool (er ... HOT)! Headed for the hardware store now Pugsley thanks you!??

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