Bicycle handlebar grips absorb the oil from your hands over time, attracting dirt and grime that show up on non-black grips, and making them sticky/gummy. You must take care when cleaning the different materials to avoid damaging them.
Here is a comprehensive guide on how to clean bicycle handlebar grips of all types.
The best way to clean bicycle handlebar grips is to use dish soap with a degreaser, water, and a clean cloth or stiff brush. Rinse and dry completely and repeat as needed. Only use harsh cleaners when the buildup is thick and doesn’t come off with mild detergent to prevent damage. Don’t remove all the tackiness but remove all the grime, for safety and hygiene.
To see all of my up-to-date recommendations for bikes and cycling gear, check out this resource that I made for you!
How To Clean Sticky Bike Handlebar Grips
Handlebar Grips get sticky because of the grease from your hands. It naturally attracts grime from outdoor use, which combines with the oils to create a gummy coating.
You’ll need warm water, degreasing dish soap, a few cleaning cloths, and possibly baking soda to remove the sticky film.
Steps To Clean Sticky Bike Handlebar Grips:
1 – Dip a clean cloth in warm water. Add several drops of dish detergent with a degreaser included. Work the soap through the cloth evenly. Use plenty of soap so you don’t miss any areas.
2 – Place the cleaning cloth over the handlebar grip. Grasp firmly with your hand, applying pressure, and turn in a circular motion, moving the cloth back and forth. The first time across the grip will loosen grease and dirt. You may need to repeat the process a few times. If your cloth becomes dry, add more water to moisten it and activate the soap with the degreaser. Repeat for each grip, rubbing all exposed surfaces. If the grips have recessed areas, you can use a Q-Tip with dish soap to get in the crevices.
3 – Rinse both grips with warm water, and dry with a soft, clean cloth.
4 – If the grips are still gummy after cleaning, rinsing, and drying, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply to the grips, and let it sit for a few minutes. Rub the paste with a cleaning cloth, then rinse thoroughly with clean water, and dry with a soft cloth.
How To Clean Rubber Bike Handlebar Grips
Rubber is a natural product made from organic materials, sometimes combined with chemicals to strengthen the fabric.
It’s prone to degradation from the effects of UV rays. It gets sticky faster than most other materials, from body oils.
Check for damage before cleaning as aggressive cleaning techniques can make small tears or holes in rubber grips larger.
Replace if necessary. here is how to safely clean them. Avoid alcohol and acidic cleaners, like vinegar as they can damage the rubber and the other natural compounds.
Steps To Clean Rubber Bike Handlebar Grips:
1 – Prepare cleaning solution. Use warm water and mild detergent. You can use a mild degreaser like Dawn dish soap, but nothing stronger.
2 – Use a soft cleaning cloth. Dip in the warm soapy water solution until soaked. Set the cloth on the handlebar grip, and place your hands around the cloth, grasping from the top with your fingers curled around the handlebar grip. Work the cloth forward and backward, applying pressure. Put the cloth back in the water, pick up more soapy solution into the fibers, and repeat the process several times, until you see that it is lifting the oils and grime from the grip. You can use a Q-tip dipped in the soap solution to reach recessed areas and grooves.
3 – Rinse with clean warm water to remove the remaining soap residue and dry with a soft, clean towel. Repeat as needed for each grip, until they are clean.
How To Clean White Rubber Handlebar Grips
White Rubber Handlebar Grips present a unique problem. The white color shows dirt and grime faster than most others.
The same rules apply for rubber grips to prevent damage through harsh chemicals, but it’s necessary to step it up a notch and use harsher cleaners if the soap and water application isn’t successful.
You may need to replace them sooner, but it’s the price you may have to pay for clean, white, handlebar grips.
Steps To Clean White Rubber Handlebar Grips:
1 – Fill a clean bucket with warm water. You will also need a bottle of liquid dish soap with a degreaser, a cleaning cloth, a drying cloth, and a small stiff bristled brush.
2 – Squirt dish soap onto a damp cleaning rag, and place over the handlebar grip. Let it sit for a few minutes to loosen the body oils and grime. Twist the cloth back and forth to loosen the dirt on the grips. Repeat the process with more water and soap until you notice an improvement. You can use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the detergent into nooks and crannies, and tough deposits. Rinse with a hose, and dry. If the white grips are still dirty, you will need to move to the next step up.
3 – Make a baking soda and water paste. Apply a thick layer of the paste to the rubber grips with your hands. Allow it to set on the grips for two to three hours. The soda has a mild abrasive that can help to soak up any remaining oils from your hands and scrub the surface clean with a cloth or a brush. Rinse off the remaining soda paste, and dry. Repeat until the handlebar grips are clean. Baking soda has a whitening agent that removes discoloration.
4 – If the handlebar grips are still dirty, you can clean them with a rag and acetone. It’s a drastic step, but it is more effective at removing stubborn stains on white rubber. It’s not safe for the material. Repeated use will cause the rubber to degrade faster. Wipe the entire grip, scrub vigorously with a cloth (make sure to wear gloves), rinse, and dry.
How To Clean Mountain Bike Grips
Mountain Bike Grips come into contact with gloves more often than skin. Still, oils can build up and attract a thick layer of unattractive grime that either makes the grips too gummy or too slick.
Purchase cleaning wipes for Golf Club Handles. The wipes are made commercially.
You can keep them in a backpack or fanny pack for the frequent cleaning required for Mountain Bike grips.
Bear in mind, that some MTB grips are supposed to be slightly tacky to give you a good grip on them. The goal is not to attain slickness.
Steps To Clean Mountain Bike Grips:
1 – Wipe down the handlebar grips after each use with the wipes. Rub them over every surface and get them into the grooves to scrub thoroughly. The grip surfaces should be wet with the solution.
2 – Let the grips air-dry. If they’re still too slick or tacky, repeat the process, and allow them to air dry.
3 – If the grips are still dirty, you can use a dish soap solution with warm water and a toothbrush to scrub the areas where there are still grimy buildups. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a towel.
How To Clean Silicone Grips
Silicone grips are hardier than some types of rubber bicycle handlebar grips. You can use an acidic cleaner occasionally without causing severe damage.
If Silicone Grips develop a white powdery appearance, become gummy, or are slick, you have more options for cleaning them.
Steps To Clean Silicone Grips:
1 – Remove the handlebar grips from the bicycle.
2 – Soak the grips in a bucket of pure white distilled vinegar. Allow the grips to soak, undisturbed for 30 minutes
3 – Remove the handlebar grips from the vinegar. Rinse them with clean water and dry them with a soft towel.
Helpful Tips To Know About Cleaning Bicycle Handlebar Grips
Bicycle Handlebar Grips require frequent cleaning to keep them free of oils and grime deposits that make them too slick or too sticky for riding safety.
You can clean each grip type safely with mild dish soap, water, and a degreasing agent, but some cleaners can weaken rubber material, causing it to degrade faster.
Choose the appropriate cleaning method for the grips on your bike.
- Rubber is more delicate than silicone. Use gentle cleansers or baking soda as a mild abrasive.
- Some bicycle handlebar grips are meant to be tacky to enhance the grip. Don’t remove all of the tackiness because slick grips can be dangerous.
- Check your grips to see if they need replacement.
- Older grips may not be salvageable. If your grips are falling apart, you may need to replace them and follow a regular cleaning schedule to prevent grimy buildups.
The best methods for cleaning bicycle handlebar grips depends on the material of the grips.
For example, harsh cleaners can damage rubber grips. Organic material requires mild detergent. Silicone is tolerant of distilled white vinegar.
Occasionally, greasy, grimy buildups are so thick that they need more aggressive cleaners. New grips cleaned after each use are easier to keep clean with the recommended methods.
It’s best to get in the habit of cleaning them regularly to lessen the problems associated with dirty handlebar grips.
Remember to maintain slight tackiness on the grips for superior control while biking, especially on Mountain Bikes.