How to Clean Motorcycle Gas Tank?

motorcycle tank

Cleaning a motorcycle gas tank that has got all the damage from rust and moisture is not a fun task to take part in. However, it is absolutely necessary if you want an extended life for your beloved bike.

The task of cleaning a rusted gas tank is not very complex and at the same time not very simple. You need the right knowledge and the information to carry on the task without causing any damage to yourself or the tank. This is important because you will be dealing with a lot of chemicals and acid.

So, let’s get started and help you clean your motorcycle’s gas tank –

6 Steps to Clean Your Motorcycle Gas Tank

  1. Remove the Tank to Assess the Damage
  2. Start Cleaning the Rust
  3. Prepare the Tank
  4. Acid, Agitator, and Shake
  5. Flush to Finish
  6. Check for Complications

Remove the Tank to Assess the Damage

The first thing you need to do is remove the gas tank from your bike. You can either drain all the gasoline or let it remain there, depending on what you think will be easier for you.

Once the tank has been removed, take a good look at its exterior and see if there are any dents that could prevent proper cleaning later on. Also, inspect the welds and see if they’re sturdy enough to hold once everything is done and put back together again.

Impurities such as rust and moisture not only affect the appearance of your gas tank but also corrode its parts and slow down its performance. If left unattended, these effects may lead to serious damages in some cases! That’s why we recommend having a professional mechanic inspect your gas tank to help you determine its damage and life expectancy.

If you see that the gas tank is more than 90% damaged, it’s better that you don’t waste your time and money because in that case, you will need to replace the tank as no fixing can solve the issue.

Remove the Rust

After you have deemed that the tank is fit to be cleaned and have assessed the damage caused by rust and moisture, it is time to remove all the rust from your rusted gas tank!

Of course, this is not a simple task considering how small are many of the holes that rust may have created in your motorcycle’s gas tank.

Many mechanics recommend using electrolysis for cleaning rust on gasoline tanks.

However, they do not always know that there are other ways too – Attach an agitator to a power drill and fill it with a baking soda water solution. Add vinegar or salt into warm water and then pour both solutions into another container. After you mix them together, you need to place this container inside the metal one. Then you need to turn on the drill and start scrubbing. After that, you can rinse and then repeat Steps 2 to 5 until you scavenge all of the rust.

After the rust gets abated, you can apply a coat of oil or rust paint.

This works not only for gas tanks but also for rusty bumpers and fenders. The chemical reaction between the salt, baking soda, and vinegar works exceptionally fine and removes the rust from your rusted gas tank.

Prepare the Tank

After you’ve removed all the rust from your gas tank, it is time to make sure that no moisture remains inside. You can do this by drying out your tank with compressed air.

However, if there are still some small holes in your tank, which we think there will be since most gasoline tanks have many small holes on their surfaces, then you need to seal them up too because once again moisture may reappear and corrode the metal.

You can use a sealant or even JB Weld to temporarily fix the holes until you get your gas tank repaired and sealed by a professional.

Acid, Agitator, and Shake

After you have prepared the tank, it is time to start cleaning it with acid!

Many mechanics recommend using muriatic acid for this task as it is very effective in removing all the paint, grease, and dirt. However, if you’re not comfortable using this type of acid then you can replace it with phosphoric acid.

Make sure that you wear protective gear while working with these acids – safety goggles, gloves, and a mask.

Pour the acid into a plastic container and attach the agitator.

Place the container inside the tank and start shaking it for about 10 minutes. Make sure that you do this in a well-ventilated area as the fumes can be harmful.

After you have agitated the tank with the acid, remove the container and rinse it with water. Now, it is time to repeat these steps until you are satisfied with the results.

You may also use a brush to help clean those hard-to-reach areas.

Flush to Finish

The final step is to flush the tank with water and then seal it up for good.

You can use a garden hose to do this or you can take it to a professional who will use a machine to clean it for you.

After you have completed these steps, your gas tank should be looking and performing better than ever before! Just make sure that you keep an eye on it in case any new rust or moisture appears.

Check for Complications

After you have cleaned and restored your motorcycle’s gas tank, it is important to check for any possible complications that may have arisen as a result of the cleaning.

Make sure that you check for leaks and also for any damage that may have been caused by the acid or rust removal process.

If you find any problems, take your bike to the mechanic and have them take a look. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your motorcycle!


Cleaning your motorcycle’s gas tank can seem like a daunting task, but if you follow these simple steps, you will be able to do it yourself in no time! Make sure that you remove all the rust, prepare the tank for cleaning, and flush it with water before sealing it up. After you have completed these steps, your gas tank should be looking and performing better than ever before! Just make sure that you keep an eye on it in case any new rust or moisture appears.

Always remember, it is very important to clean your motorcycle’s gas tank on a regular basis to prevent corrosion and other damages. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, please take it to a professional mechanic.

After you complete cleaning your gas tank and when you will see it working fine, the level of satisfaction that you will have after working successfully on your bike is incomparable to any other joys.

So, get started with these tips!

About The Author

daniel and sarah on motorcycle

Hi, I’m Daniel and behind me (in the photo) is my wife Sarah.

We are both travel addicts who love Motorcycles, Rock-Climbing and Camping.We love to explore everything the world has to offer

We will continue to provide even more valuable content that keeps you riding safely! Keep the rubber side down :-)

Want to Receive Exclusive Offers, Tips & Freebies

Want to know the SECRET to the perfect Motorcycle Camping Trip?


With the Ultimate Motorcycle Camping eBook, you will:


This is a one-time offer
you won't see this again.

You've got mail ✉️

You will receive your Ultimate Motorcycle Camping eBook in your inbox in the next 5 minutes

Thank you for downloading