How To Get Bike Grease Out Of Clothes

My kids love being out on their bikes. One of them also loves taking the bike apart and putting it back together again, and this often results in me trying to figure out how to get some pretty nasty bike grease stains out of his clothes.

How often have your kids gone out to play and got bike chain grease all over their brand new trackie bottoms? There’s nothing more annoying.

Sometimes we go out on a family bike ride, lift the bike to throw it in the back of the car, and the bike grease goes all over our clothes. This is a problem most parents have encountered at some time, and it’s pretty hard to avoid bike grease stains on your kid’s clothes. So here are some tips that will help you get stains out of clothes so they can live another day.

child fixing a bike

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How to get bike grease out of clothes

Many videos on YouTube show the use of baking soda, other cleaners, and chemicals to remove bike grease from clothes, but unfortunately, a lot of those methods do not work very well, and the stain remains.
This method works exceptionally well and removes every bit of a bike oil stain. Just follow the steps below to remove every last bit of grease.

  1. Do not iron the stain before removing the stain.

    Do not be tempted to iron the stain, as the heat will set it right into the clothes and make it almost impossible to get out.

  2. Always try to remove the stain immediately.

    This may not be possible if the stain occurs when you are out on a bike ride, but if you can, let it air dry, then deal with it as soon as you get home. You have a better chance of removing the stain than if you had laundered the garment first.

  3. Place a folded paper towel under the stained area.

    Fold up a white paper towel and place it under the stain so that the oil transfers to the paper towel rather than another area of your garment.

    getting bike grease out of clothes with a folded paper towel

  4. Blot away the excess oil or grease.

    Blot away the excess oil or grease with a paper towel before wetting the area. As you’re blotting it, keep the stain away from the rest of the clothing so the oil doesn’t transfer.

  5. Grab an old toothbrush.

    Using an old toothbrush will help to keep the stain from spreading. You can also use a small brush like this one to remove the stain.

  6. Use some paint thinner.

    Take your old toothbrush and dip it into the mineral spirits, then dab onto the area, working gently with the toothbrush. Before you start, always test in an inconspicuous area first to ensure it will not damage the garment.

    a bottle of white spirit to get bike grease out of clothes

  7. Massage the stain with the bristles of the brush.

    Massage the area of the bike oil stain with the toothbrush and push the stain into the paper towel behind. Think of your paper towels as blotting paper, blotting up all the excess liquid and stain.

  8. Replace the paper towel.

    Replace the blotting paper regularly to ensure that you can blot up as much bike grease as possible without transferring any of the oil.

  9. Use a syringe or pipette.

    You can apply the paint thinners to the stain using a syringe or pipette like this one, rather than dipping your dirty toothbrush into your clean paint thinner. This way, you don’t contaminate the paint thinner and spread the stain.

  10. Do not smoke.

    Spirits are flammable, so do not smoke when using the paint thinners so you don’t go up in flames!

  11. Repeat until the stain has gone.

    Keep repeating the process until the grease stain gets cleaner and cleaner.

  12. Blot the paint thinner.

    Blot out the white spirits and push them down and out the other side of the material. It should start looking very clean once you start blotting again.

  13. Prepare a bowl of hot water.

    Take some very hot water in a bowl, getting it as hot as possible.

    bowl of very hot water

  14. Use a good dishwashing detergent.

    Use a good dishwashing detergent like this one for cutting through the grease. Take the toothbrush and dip it in the hot water, then add a little dish soap to the stain.
    Work it well into the area where the white spirits were.
    This will remove any white spirits left behind and any remaining residue.
    Continue a little more to ensure no stains or thinners are left behind.

  15. Rinse the garment well in hot soapy water.

    To remove the residual odor of the mineral spirits, wash the garment straight away, place it in the washing machine and wash using warm water.

    handwashing garment in hot soapy water

Other ways to get bike grease out of clothes

How to get a tiny spot of bike grease out of clothes

If you’ve only got one tiny drop of oil on your shirt, the best way to get that oil out is:

  • Take a spray bottle.
  • Put it on the jet setting.
  • Put the other end of the spray into your mineral spirits.
  • Make sure the nozzle is right against the oil stain, and squeeze the pump to blast the white spirits through the fabric to remove the bike grease into the paper towel.
  • Place your garment into the washing machine and wash as usual using warm water.

Lemon juice, baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate

You probably already have lemon juice, baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate in your house. This can sometimes work to get bike grease out of your clothes.

  1. Mix one part lemon juice with one part baking soda in a mixing bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture to the stain and give it a bit of a scrub.
  3. Leave it overnight to let the mixture soak into the stain.
  4. Put the item into the washing machine on your usual cycle in the morning.

Dishwashing liquid

If you are in a squeeze, you can remove bike grease stains using dishwashing liquid you already have in the home.

  1. Apply the dishwashing liquid to the stain using an old toothbrush.
  2. Give the stain a thorough scrub.
  3. Rinse with cold water putting the stain away from the flow of water, so the water flows from behind, so you’re rinsing the stain off through the clothing.
  4. Wash the garment using your usual washing machine cycle.

Dr. Beckmans Stain Devil

  1. Get a damp towel or cloth and put it underneath the clothing garment from which you are removing the stain.
  2. Apply a small amount of the Dr Beckmans stain remover to the stain.
  3. Leave for 15 minutes.
  4. Apply a bit more stain remover on another damp towel and blot at the stain again.
  5. Then wash the garment in the washing machine as usual.

White vinegar

  1. Apply the white vinegar to the stain.
  2. Leave it to soak for a few hours.
  3. Wash the garment in the washing machine at 30 or 40 degrees with some washing detergent.

 Heavy-duty hand cleaner

This Swarfega hand cleaner is usually used to remove stubborn grease stains from your hands after working on your bike or car. However, did you know that you can also use this to remove bike grease from your clothes?

  1. Test in an inconspicuous area before using.
  2. Get a small amount in your hands and rub it on the stain.
  3. Then give it a good scrub under some warm running water.
  4. Put the garment in the washing machine cycle as usual.

Generic stain removers

Remove grease stains using an ordinary household stain remover like this Oxi Action or this one which comes in the form of a bar of soap.

  1. Use one scoop into your washing cycle and wash your clothes as usual.
  2. For extra grease stain removal, leave your clothes to soak in a solution of 30g to one liter of water, leave to soak for six hours, then wash as usual with biological laundry detergent.
household stain remover getting rid of bike grease stains on a top

Bike degreaser

Bike degreasers like this one are used for cleaning your bike and decreasing your chain, but some bike enthusiasts use them on their clothes to remove grease stains, especially if they are stubborn.

  1. Test in an inconspicuous area before using.
  2. Rub it into the stain.
  3. Wash out under running water.
  4. Wash the garment in the washing machine cycle as usual.

Vinegar, bicarbonate soda, and toothpaste

  1. Mix to form a loose paste and spread it on the grease stain.
  2. Scrub well with a toothbrush.
  3. Rinse in cold water.

How to get bike grease out of delicate fabrics like wool.

Baking soda or baby powder

 If you have wool garments or other delicate items on which you may have bike grease stains, try applying baking soda or baby powder to absorb and remove bike grease leaving the fibers undamaged.

  1. Use a pinch of baking soda to cover the stain.
  2. Leave for a few hours to absorb the grease.
  3. Machine wash as directed on the laundry label, or hand wash if recommended.

I hope you enjoyed these top tips for removing bicycle grease from clothes. If you have any questions or suggestions to add, please leave a comment below!


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