The Two Bucket Method

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What is the 2 bucket method?

The fundamentals of cleaning your motorcycle are that you do not want to be reapplying dirt and small particle grit back to the motorbike once it has been removed. You also do not want to be using accessories that have been dirtied and not rinsed in clean water which will also cause paint marring, and those unsightly swirl marks which happen all too frequently when poor cleaning practices are followed.

The 2 bucket method is something that is talked about a lot in detailing, and valeting circles; and for good reason. It is the process of, believe it or not, using 2 buckets of water to clean your motorbike.

Bucket one will contain your warm water and motorcycle shampoo. This is the solution which will be used to clean the motorcycle and remove the dirt, bugs and grime.

Bucket two will have clean water, and ideally a grit guard at the bottom of the bucket, so that wash mitts, and bug sponges can be agitated against that area to release any dirt held in the wash mitt and keep it trapped at the bottom of the bucket. This process therefore cleans the wash mitt prior to its re-entry to the shampoo bucket, meaning that a clean accessory is used when applying the shampoo solution to the motorbike surfaces.

Whilst the two bucket method is an essential process for cleaning your motorbike effectively, there are other things that should be done prior to the shampoo phase of cleaning which will help reduce your risk for paint damage.

We recommend the following basic process for cleaning your motorbike to maximise the effectiveness of your motorbike detailing.

Step One

If you are cleaning your chain and sprocket; this needs to be the first job undertaken. It is messy, and greasy and as such doing this first means that any splashing or spray from your cleaning attempts that ends up on your motorcycle can be effectively removed in your cleaning routine.

Step Two

Wash the motorbike down with a hosepipe initially to remove any mud, dirt and grime which has built up on the bike. If you decide to use a pressure washer, be careful not to get too close, or have the pressure too high. Also be wary of spraying water into electrical parts or where seals are as expensive damage can be caused.

Step Three

Next up is your wheels. For the same reason as the chain and sprocket, the wheel are some of the dirtiest parts of the motorbike and as such should be attacked prior to your cleaning of the frame of the motorcycle.

Using Alpha Wheels acid free cleaner, cover the wheels with the product allowing it to settle for a minute or two prior to agitation with a wheel brush, or wash mitt. Rinse the wheels down removing all the product.

Step Four

Using an IK Snow Foam pro 2 & Alpha Sub Zero mixed with warm to hot water [Not boiling, this would be significantly dangerous] cover the motorcycle in snow foam. Allow the product to sit for several minutes, but not dry out. The snow foam will start to break down dirt attached to the motorbike and as it starts to melt from the motorcycle panels the snow foam will lift and remove dirt. This helps to reduce the potential for paint swirls, and damage when you move to the shampoo phase.

Rinse the bike down with a hosepipe to remove the snow foam and the any further dirt.

As an alternative, for much lighter maintenance cleans you can use the Alpha Clean motorcycle cleaning product, agitate slightly with a detailing brush or wash mitt, and rinse off.  

Step Five

Follow the 2 bucket process above, washing the bike thoroughly with a motorcycle shampoo. Rinse the motor bike down.

Step Six

Protect your motorbike with our Alpha Protect weather protection spray. Cover the motorcycle with the product. All over, trying to avoid getting it on your tyres. Leave the product for 5 minutes, then rinse off with a hosepipe.

Step Seven

Dry the motorbike thoroughly either with a specific motorcycle dryer, or drying towels.

Step Eight

Use Alpha QD quick detailer spray to provide the final finishing touches and protection to your motorcycle.

By following our basic process above you will achieve an excellent finish to your motorcycle.