Welcome to Pillioness!

You love motorcycles.
We love motorcycles.
(And so do our cats.)

We should stay in touch!

Enter your email
Get updates!

Pillioness is supported by our users. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission (at no cost to you). Learn more

The Triumph Scrambler 1200: How to Clean a Matt Motorcycle Gas Tank

Our Triumph Scrambler 1200 has a gorgeous two-tone green gas tank.

The front section is a shiny forest green, and the back part is a matt olive green.
The two sections are split by a bright yellow line, like a flash of lightning.

Yep, it looks pretty cool.

But this motorcycle gas tank is an absolute nightmare to clean.
It’s not like cleaning a standard motorcycle gas tank, where you just wash, dry, and polish.

The Triumph Scrambler 1200 is different – and a real challenge.

After a bubble bath in the driveway, the Triumph Scrambler should be gleaming.
It should sparkle and shine.
But it doesn’t.

Instead, this squeaky-clean motorcycle looks old, tired and worn out.
The matt section of the gas tank looks plain terrible.

The Triumph Scrambler 1200 has a motorcycle gas tank that needs specialist care.
A standard cleaning approach doesn’t work.
But once you know the secret, you can make this motorcycle look as good as new after a wash.


the meaning of life motorcycle t-shirt



We all know the meaning of life – it has two wheels, right?

This simple motorcycle t-shirt tells it like it is.
And it reminds you why it’s worth tinkering in the garage until things work!

Get one here.

(This is an affiliate link.)







But before you figure out this specialist washing technique, you’ll be horrified by how the gas tank looks when it’s just been cleaned.
After a wash, this motorcycle gas tank goes all patchy and faded.
It looks like your favorite t-shirt that’s been washed 500 times and dried in the summer sun year after year.


Triumph Scrambler 1200 patchy motorcycle gas tank


Doesn’t it look awful?

Now, usually the cure for this would be simple.
A quick coat of quality motorcycle gas tank polish, right?

But that’s not an option with this bike.

You can’t use standard motorcycle polish on the faded matt part of the gas tank, because it’s not supposed to be shiny.

So what do you do?

Well if you’re me, you can’t just leave it alone.
You have to start looking for solutions.

First I tried re-washing the motorcycle gas tank.
That didn’t help, and in fact just made it worse.

The next stop was the internet.
There’s a lot of chatter on the motorcycle forums.
People on there swear by one miracle product or another.


cleaning a motorcycle gas tank gurus


But I didn’t want to order 7 different specialist products, and try them all.

That’d take months.
And we all know what happens when these miracle products don’t work.
They either cause permanent damage to the paint.
Or they sit around in the garage taking up space for the next 10 years.

So next, I tried asking around.
We know plenty of motorcycle experts with sheds full of bikes.
But no-one seemed to have the answer.

Eventually, someone insisted glass cleaner would fix it.
Never would’ve thought of that.

Worth a try, right?

And glass cleaner DOES work…but only under two conditions:

  1. You need to use the right KIND of glass cleaner, and
  2. You also need to do something weird at the end of the process.

Lucky I’m so patient, isn’t it?

Anyway, here’s what I did to make that Triumph Scrambler 1200 motorcycle tank look good as new again.

The Secret to Cleaning a Motorcycle Gas Tank That’s Not Shiny

Step 1

Wash the whole motorcycle gas tank with your favorite cleaner, rinse and let dry.
Don’t panic when it looks patchy and dry.

Step 2

Find yourself a clean, soft cotton rag and a clean shallow dish.

Then get your hands on the right kind of glass cleaner.
Not the ammonia-based spray on type – that dries out the finish even further.

You need the kind of glass cleaner that comes as a concentrate.
You know, the type you need to dilute with water.

I used this one, which has plant-based ingredients rather than chemicals.


Triumph Scrambler 1200 motorcycle gas tank glass cleaner


I put a few drops into a small plastic container with some cold water and swirled it around to mix it up well.

Step 3

Dip the rag into the glass cleaner solution, and squeeze it out.
You don’t want it to be dripping, as that leaves streaks.

Wipe it over the matt part of the tank, re-dipping in the diluted glass cleaner as necessary.
Let it dry.

Step 4

When the tank is dry, you’ll see some areas still look patchy.
So repeat Step 3, to cover any remaining faded bits.

It looks a little better at this point, but it’s still not good enough.


cleaning a motorcycle gas tank involves streaks


And now you need the secret final step.
You’d never think of this unless you were as desperate as me to make this motorcycle gas tank look pretty again…

Step 5 (The Weird Final Step)

Get yourself a clean, dry piece of soft cotton rag.
And then…

Lean in close to a small section of the matt part of the motorcycle gas tank.
Breathe on it, like a child breathes on a window.

While the condensation from your breath is still visible, polish that section quickly with the rag.

Step back and wait.
No more streaks!

That blast of fine moisture is just enough to create a miracle.


cleaning a motorcycle gas tank with breath

Step 6

Repeat Step 5 for the rest of the tank, working over small areas at a time.

What a weird fix, right?
But it worked.

The Triumph Scrambler 1200 now has a beautiful motorcycle tank again.

It took a lot of fussing, but we got there.
This stunning motorcycle now looks as good as it did when we first saw it.

This solution worked just great for us – let’s hope it works for you too!

(Disclaimer: This method was a success for us, but I can’t guarantee the glass cleaner you use will have the same effect.
Try it first on the underside of the gas tank where no-one will see it before you use this method on the most visible part of the tank.)

Good luck!



If you found this useful, you might also like this post:

The Triumph Scrambler 1200 Exhaust is Too Hot! How We Fixed It

Leave a Reply

Are you addicted to motorcycles? Will you survive helmet hair?

Find the answers to burning questions like these on our Motorcycle Quiz page!

This will close in 0 seconds

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are okay with that. Click to close.