When you wash your bike, you’re not just making it look good, you’re removing dirt, grime, dead bugs, and corrosive crud that’s bad for your bike’s paint, chrome, and metal parts.
To get your bike looking its best you’ll need a sponge, two buckets, a general-purpose car wash or bike-specific cleaner, an old paintbrush or sponge brush for getting in nooks and crannies, and a chamois or a stack of old towels to dry the bike off when you’re done—just make sure they’re clean.
Whether you’re washing the old-fashioned way with soapy water and a sponge or using a modern spray-on/rinse-off cleaner, the bike needs to be cool so the stuff doesn’t just steam off. It’s also a good idea to work in the shade so the sun won’t dry things out and create water spots and streaking.
The above sounds obvious, but I hear all sorts of methods which I wouldn't dream of using. Probably the scariest for me is this sort of thing: option 1 / option 2 . Basically using wet wipes to clean a motorcycle. Sounds like dragging dirt around and potentially scratching your pride & joy! Wipes might have their place, but as a primary cleaning method? Not for me!
This is my routine: Hose bike down to soften the crud, liberal spray with Muc-Off Bike Cleaner all over & allow it to work it's magic. Warm water in a bucket, sponge & microfibre cloths to clean the bike down, repeating additional spray with hose & muck off where required. Final hose down, wipe / dry off with clean slightly damp microfiber cloth.
Do not use "wash & wax" shampoo on motorcycles!!! I found this out the hard way... Leaves the seat slippery! Also can leave a glazing residue on brake pads! Neither are good when braking! :0~
Also be very careful with pressure washing: can damage bearings & fork seals, drive water into places where it shouldn't be, etc...