A clean bike will function better than a dirty one and is a pleasure to work on. Before you start any bike maintenance you have to clean your bike, that doesnt mean a bit of wipe with a cloth, you have to clean it properly and there are a few things you need to do the job, you might have to buy some equipment, but most of it can be found around the house, try under the sink, but dont let your wife/mother catch you.
First what equipment do you need
A bike workstand or handy tree/washing line to hang your bike on.
Old rear hub or old axle or stick.
Degreaser or diesel fuel (careful diesel is not good for your hands).
Washing up liquid.
2 buckets (1 with soapy and 1 with clean water).
Old water bottle.
Soft scrubbing brush.
And for that extra shinny finish, spray polish.
The most important thing to remember when you are cleaning your bike is to keep your eyes open and look for anything that may need fixing later, this is how a mechanic on a professional team does it, but he might have 10 bikes to look after,...