How to Remove Rust From a Motorcycle Frame

Rust can be unsightly, unwanted, and even cause damage to your beloved motorcycle. Unfortunately, rust formation is inevitable. Given enough time, any iron mass will accumulate rust.

While rust accumulation on your motorcycle frame is inevitable, it is completely treatable. To remove rust, you will need soap, rags, and an abrasive scrub. Scrub diligently, and then coat your motorcycle in polish and wax.  Regular waxing, cleaning, and maintenance will help prevent rust formation.

There are several expert hacks to tackle tough rust spots. Keep reading for everything you need to know about removing and preventing rust from forming on your motorcycle.

Removin rust from a motorcycle in a garage.

Gather the Tools You’ll Need

If your motorcycle already has rust formed, there are easy ways you can remove the rust yourself. It’s important to note that if your motorcycle is either extremely old or extremely rusted, you may have to replace some parts.

The first step to removing rust from your motorcycle is to gather all of the materials you will need. Luckily, the materials are inexpensive and easy to find. You will need some, if not all, of the following:

  • Motorcycle shampoo
  • Towels
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Vinegar, Coca-cola or Lemon
  • Aluminum foil
  • Steel wool
  • Chrome polish
  • Wax

5 Steps to Removing Rust From a Motorcycle Frame

1. Clean the Rusted Spots

Use motorcycle shampoo and water to wash the surface. Be sure to wipe dry when you are done with this initial step.

A motorcycle shampoo like this Chemical Guys Hydrosuds Car Wash Soap is perfect for cleaning your motorcycle. Its formula is infused with silica and will help protect the surface of your bike. Motorcycle shampoos not only help wash away rust but also help to strengthen and protect your bike, keeping it healthy and shining.

2. Scrape off Any Remaining Patches of Rust

To do this, you will want to use an abrasive material. Steel wool should work perfectly. This Homax Steel Wool pack comes with 12 scrub pads and is ideal for scraping rust.

Be careful while scrubbing your bike. Scrubbing too intensely can scratch the surface of your bike, or take off some of the paint. Be sure to use oil with your steel wool to help ease the process.

For spots that are hard to reach, use a polishing cloth. Microfiber cloths like this S&T Inc Microfiber Cleaning Cloth are gentle and won’t cause any damage to the surface of your motorcycle. They can also slip into those hard to reach spaces.

3. Use Mild Acid Cleaner and Aluminum Foil for Tricky Patches

An old pro tip for removing rust from chrome is simple, cheap, and effective. For any remaining rust patches, rub aluminum foil. This trick works best for smaller rust patches.

Some experienced bike owners recommend a simple DIY hack: pour some mild acid cleaner like white vinegar, Coca-Cola or lemon juice over the rust patch. Then scrub with the aluminum foil. I have personally tried this trick and I can say that it is effective.

How does it work? The corrosive elements of soda, vinegar and lemon tears away at the rust. It is the ultimate cheap yet effective option.

For more information on how to remove rust from chrome, check this article.

4. Polish Your Chrome

Now that the rust is scrubbed, wiped, and rubbed off, it is time to apply chrome polish. Chrome polish will remove the last bits of rust as well as help repair minor scratches.

There is a wide variety of chrome polishes on the market, but this 12 oz carton of Turtle Wax Chrome Polish and Rust Remover will do the trick. Not only will it remove any remaining rust, but it will leave a protective coating over your chrome. It also works well on rubber parts, too, and can be applied with a microfiber cloth.

5. Wax Your Motorcycle

After polishing, you will want to apply a coat of wax as well. The layer of wax will further help protect your motorcycle from accumulating any rust. It will also create a nice, impressive shine.

Remember that if you have a particularly old, vintage bike, or if your bike is suffering from severe rust damage, you may want to consult a professional. It is likely that you will have to replace some parts.

Basic Safety Tips for Cleaning Your Motorcycle

  • Be sure to let your bike cool down. Trying to clean a hot motorcycle will only damage your bike. The temperature change from hot metal to cold water can crack your engine.
  • Start with the chain. This is an intricate and tricky part of the bike to clean. It’s a good idea to tackle the chain first, as this will prevent dirt and grease from splashing over the rest of your bike.
  • Arrange all the materials that you will need. In the step-by-step section, I recommend a variety of products, but when it comes down to cleaning your bike, the most important products are soap, water, and a sponge.

Rust Prevention

Motorcycle parked in a garage to prevent rust formation.

The first plan of attack to remove rust is to prevent it from accumulating in the first place. There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent rust from appearing on your motorcycle.

When iron and other alloys corrode, rust appears, turning the surface flaky. If enough rust accumulates, it can cause damage to your motorcycle. Prevention is the first necessary step for removing rust.

Keep Your Motorcycle Dry

Rust occurs when metal meets moisture and oxygen. Moisture may make contact with your bike in the form of water— water spilled, or rain— or the moisture may come from the natural humidity that occurs in the air.

To prevent rust from forming on your motorcycle frame, you’ll want to keep your motorcycle dry. Wipe down your motorcycle whenever it gets wet, whether the wetness is from rain, riding through puddles, or a spill.

Drying down your motorcycle with a rag regularly will help prevent water from accumulating. This will help prevent rust formation.

In addition to wiping down your motorcycle, you will want to keep it in a dry and sheltered space, if possible. An enclosed garage will keep unwanted moisture and oxygen away from your bike, which are the two main culprits of creating rust.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Rust is not only unsightly— it can lead to major damage on your bike. If a bike is left to rust long enough, it can literally turn into dust. To prevent this from happening, you are going to want to perform regular cleaning and maintenance on your bike.

Regular maintenance includes checking the tire pressure, lubing the chain, and wiping and cleaning your motorcycle. The more work and love you put into your bike early on, the more protected your bike will be.

Be Sure to Wax and Polish

Using motorcycle polish is one of the best ways to prevent rust on your bike. Try to avoid using regular house-hold polish, as they are too strong and can cause damage to your bike.

A good motorcycle polish will cut through the rust and corrosion without damaging the surface. Polish and wax will help protect your bike. They will also leave your bike looking great.

Properly Store Your Bike

It is best to keep your bike indoors where water and weather will have a harder time reaching it. An enclosed garage is ideal, as it will help keep out moisture and oxygen.

If you are going to be storing your bike for a long period of time, be sure it is waxed and polished. You may want to use an anti-corrosion spray to cover the metallic parts and help ensure that rust stays away.

Don’t forget to wipe the chain’s chain and chain links, as these parts are susceptible to rust.


Unfortunately, rust is inevitable. It will accumulate on your bike. The good news is that it’s fully treatable, and you can get your motorcycle looking as good as new.

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