How to clean motorcycle exhaust pipes

Written by april dowling
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How to clean motorcycle exhaust pipes
Frequently clean motorcycle exhaust pipes to remove build-up. (motorcycle lines image by BorisNoWorries from

Keeping motorcycle components clean is essential to their appearance and longevity. Each time motorcycles are driven, they are constantly exposed to dirt, grease, bug carcases and grime, which cling to metal and plastic surfaces. Plastic, rubber and nylon materials from clothes and flying debris become melted onto hot exhaust pipes, forming stubborn crud and residue. Motorcycle exhaust pipes require frequent cleaning to restore their shiny appearance and protect them from deterioration. Fortunately, basic supplies are effective at cleaning motorcycle exhaust pipes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plastic bucket
  • Water
  • Microfiber rag
  • Motorcycle metal cleaner
  • Nonabrasive sponge
  • Terry cloth towel
  • Cotton rag
  • Water dispersing lubricant
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Non-abrasive scrubber
  • Clay bar

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  1. 1

    Park the motorcycle in a shaded area. Allow the exhaust pipes to completely cool.

  2. 2

    Fill a plastic bucket with water. Dampen a microfiber rag in the water. Wipe the outside of the exhaust pipes with the damp rag to remove loose grime and debris.

  3. 3

    Apply motorcycle metal cleaner to a nonabrasive sponge. Scrub the outside of the exhaust pipes with the metal cleaner to remove grease, bug carcases, sap and stubborn grime. Wipe the exhaust pipes frequently with the damp microfiber cloth to rinse away the cleaner.

  4. 4

    Dry the exhaust pipes thoroughly with a terry cloth towel. If melted residue and crud remain on the pipes, soak a cotton rag with water dispersing lubricant. Wear heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands.

  5. 5

    Lay the soaking rag over the exhaust pipes. Leave the rag on the exhaust pipes overnight.

  6. 6

    Remove the cotton rag from the pipes. Scrub the pipes with a non-abrasive scrubber to remove the melted residue. Rub a clay bar over any remaining crud.

  7. 7

    Rinse off the loose crud with water. If necessary, clean the pipes again with the motorcycle metal cleaner. Allow the exhaust pipes to air-dry.

Tips and warnings

  • You can substitute carburettor cleaner or fuel oil for the water dispersing lubricant.
  • Do not get water in the exhaust pipes to prevent damaging them.
  • Do not clean exhaust pipes with metal blades, scouring pads or supplies; they mar the chrome.
  • Do not clean exhaust pipes while they are still hot. You can be severely burnt.

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