Cleaning Matte Paint

Matte Paint is difficult to clean properly and even more difficult to keep clean. Traditional cleaning products can, and usually do, damage Matte Paint. Therefore, you need to use different products and techniques specially formulated for the paint. In this Post we’ll look at how to keep Matte Paint looking good. To protect matte paint, see Protecting Matte Paint

Matte Paint is formulated to not have a reflective surface. The Clear Coat, the lacquer on top of the paint, isn’t smooth as in gloss paints. If you rub it you’re going to make it smoother and more reflective. This is BAD. You cannot use any products which contain polishes, silicone or wax as this will also make the surface smoother and more reflective.

To help you, at the bottom of the page is a complete list of all the products used to clean my Matte Paint vehicles and where to buy them*.

The first rule about cleaning Matte Paint is to try not to touch it when it’s dirty! This is because it scratches extremely easily.

Woah, how then do I clean it if I can’t touch it?

Well it’s not as difficult as you may think. The technique is to clean the paint and remove all the dirt before you touch it. This technique can be used and is recommend for use on all paint types – Matte or Gloss. See Cleaning Your Bike for specific information on gloss paints as this page deals only with Matte Paints.

I will be making videos about how to clean and care for Matte Paint as well as Gloss paint and will post links here when the time comes.

The Steps Required:

  1. Make sure the vehicle is cold. It shouldn’t have been used and should have been kept in the shade for at least an hour.
  2. Make sure the vehicle is in the shade, out of direct sunlight, preferably out of the wind and not in a dusty environment. If it has a centre stand, place it on the centre stand. If it doesn’t, use a Paddock stand.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the exterior of the vehicle, including wheels etc. using clean, cold water. It is best to use a hosepipe without a nozzle for this and not a jet-washer**.
    Note: Pressure-washers** and high pressure hoses can cause damage to electrics, bearings and even the paint if the power is too high. If you have to use a pressure/jet-washer, dial the power to the minimum setting, set the spray to the widest setting and keep the nozzle/tip at least 1 metre (3 feet) from the vehicle at all times. Use your common sense to make sure you don’t push water past the seals into the bearings and electrics.
  4. Now starting from the top of the vehicle and working to the bottom, liberally spray the whole of exterior of the vehicle with Muc-off Bike Cleaner or Silkolene Wash Off. Both do the same job extremely well. You’ll use about 1/3 of a litre of the cleaner depending on the size of the motorcycle.
    You can make your own soap spray. I use Chemical Guys Meticulous Matte Auto Wash diluted in water. To 1 litre of water (approximately 2 pints) in a spray container, add 3 – 4 cap fulls of Chemical Guys Meticulous Matte Auto Wash . Shake well before use.
  5. Leave the cleaning product to “soak” on the vehicle for about 5 minutes without letting it dry. This lets it soak into and under the dirt. Then rinse off as before (step 3). If it does start to dry respray with the cleaner.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5. Then check that the vehicle is totally clean. If not, repeat steps 4 and 5 for a third time – you very rarely have to do it a third time.
    If you have a very stubborn area, very very gently, using your finger (don’t use a cloth as you need to be able to feel for grit), rub the area while applying the cleaning product. If you feel any grittiness at all, stop rubbing immediately.
  7. At this point the whole vehicle should be clean so you can now touch it. Using a good quality Microfibre towel and starting at the top, dry the whole of the vehicle.
    Do not let the towel touch the ground, if it does, put it in the wash and get another one.
    If you don’t want to touch your vehicle, you can use a vehicle dryer (highly recommended) to dry your vehicle. Note: it is better to use a motorcycle dryer as it usually includes a longer cable and a heater.
  8. To dry the front wheel and/or the rear wheel, use a Motorcycle Wheel Roller. This allows you to easily turn the wheel while drying it. Drying the wheels are usually the last drying job.
  9. Once the motorcycle is clean and dry take it off the centre stand and place it on the side stand. Start the engine and leave the engine running for about 10 minutes to thoroughly warm up and dry out the motorcycle. Make sure all the controls and electrics are working.

Your vehicle should now be clean and dry and you can put it away or, better still, go for a ride!

About once every 3 months during the summer and once a month in the winter I also add a layer of protection to the motorcycle. You can find details in Protecting your Matte Paint .

Products Used:

Muc-off Bike Cleaner:
Silkolene Wash Off:
Chemical Guys Meticulous Matte Auto Wash:
Microfibre Drying Towels:
Paddock Stand:
Motorcycle Wheel Roller:
Motorcycle Dryer:
Worx Cordless Pressure Washer**:
Worx Battery Charging Station: (required for the pressure washer)
*These are affiliate links. By using these links Bike Farkles receives a small commission which goes towards the running of this site. The price you pay is the same regardless of whether you use these links or not. Thank you for your support.

** I have to use a pressure washer as I don’t have a tap for water or an electricity point close to where I wash my vehicles. Therefore, I use a battery operated pressure washer which can draw water from a bucket.

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