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How to Get Bike Grease Out of Clothes - 7 Proven Methods

Carlos Glover
September 30, 2021

There are many ways in which you can get rid of bike grease stains. From the traditional methods of using detergent, dishwashing liquid, or soap to more unconventional forms like applying baking soda, baby powder, or chalk, there will undoubtedly be one that will work for you.

I’ve stained my pants more times than I’d like to admit, which led me to test out most of these techniques. Some of them work better than others. Personally, I’ve had my fair bit of luck using dishwashing liquid and baking soda but I was still surprised by the efficacy of some of the least-known hacks.

In this article, we’ll be covering the most effective techniques, so that you know exactly how to get bike grease out of clothes. Here are the 7 most effective ways I've found to eradicate even the most stubborn grease stains.

How Do You Get Black Grease Out Of Clothes?

As mentioned, there are many techniques out there to wash out a black grease stain.

Firstly, you'll need an acidic product that's able to penetrate the stain without hindering the fabric of the garment. This could be from:

  • Natural products (essential oils, chalk, lemon juice)
  • Chemicals (detergent, baking soda)
  • A mix of both (soap, baby powder)

Whichever product you go for, you'll need a utensil to scrape the stained area (a scrub or a toothbrush should do the trick), patience, and of course, a washer to finish the job.

Now, all that's left to do is to choose your method and follow our step-by-step tutorial to remove grease stains once and for all.

1. Use Dishwashing Liquid to Get Rid of Grease Stains 

One of the most effective ways to remove a grease stain on your pants or shirt consists of using a mix of dishwashing liquid and clean water. The great thing about dishwashing liquid is that it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. There is no risk of damage to your favorite clothes!

After all, dishwashing liquid has been made specifically to destroy the grease from foods. Bike grease isn’t that different. To remove grease stains using dishwashing liquid you’ll need to:

  1. Apply some dishwashing liquid over the fresh stain
  2. With a toothbrush, rub the spot for a few minutes using a circular motion
  3. Repeat the process until the grease stain starts to fade away
  4. Let the clothe rest for half an hour before putting them for a run in the washing machine
  5. Wash it in a warm cycle

Note that the sooner you apply this technique, the greater your chances of getting rid of grease stains completely.

Purple gloves hand holding a yellow dishwashing liquid

 2. Use Bar Soap to Remove Grease Stain 

Bar soaps have been used to hand-wash clothes since they were invented by the Babylonians in 2800 B.C. Nowadays, they’re mainly used to pretreat stains before washing them.

Bar soap is an ideal way to remove bike grease stains. Simply put, here’s how to use it optimally:

  1. Rub bar soap on the dry area without any water until there’s a thick layer of soap over the stain
  2. Lather the layer of soap with a wet sponge
  3. Pour hot water to rinse the area
  4. Repeat these steps until the remaining stains have all been absorbed

Your clothing is ready to go into the machine. Ideally, wash the garment using the air dry cycle.

Closeup picture of a bar soap

3. Use White Vinegar to Clean Your Greasy Clothes

White vinegar has some surprising properties. As it is a mix of acetic acid and water, it's commonly used to deeply clean the kitchen or the bathroom. However, it also has hidden power when it interacts with clothing. Indeed, its acidic properties are very effective on bike grease stains.

White vinegar works just as well on fresh stains as older ones. To maximize its effectiveness, follow these 3 steps:

  1. Put 2-3 drops of white vinegar on the dried stain
  2. Moisten the area with a clean cloth
  3. Put it straight into the washer on a warm cycle 

If the stain is particularly stubborn, you can couple white vinegar with soap or dishwashing liquid to maximize the efficacy of the active agent of the water-vinegar solution.

Small boy pouring clear liquid to glass jar

4. Apply Laundry Detergent On The Stained Part

Laundry detergent is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you need to eliminate a dark grease patch. It is a good solution if you haven’t had time to take care of a stain if it was still fresh. 

  1. Cover the stain with a thin layer of detergent 
  2. Let the biological laundry detergent penetrates for about 5 minutes 
  3. Scrap it with a bit of water and send it straight to the washer

Make sure not to put on too much detergent. The product by itself can leave marks on clothing if used improperly. This is especially true of delicate fabrics such as satin or silk.

Lady pouring detergent into washing machine

5. Use Baking Soda to Clean Greased Out Clothes

Baking soda has proved its efficacy many times for cleaning dirty spots around the house. It is also potent when it comes to removing grease stains. In fact, there are two ways you can use baking soda to do so. 

The first method combines the use of baking soda and shampoo. It is the better of the two to remove stains on delicate material:

  1. Put a drop of shampoo on the stain
  2. Scrub the area with a toothbrush until the shampoo has completely penetrated
  3. Add baking soda
  4. Rinse with clean water and put it in the washing machine

The second method consists of covering the spot with a thick layer of baking soda while dabbing the area with a clean garment before putting it in the washing machine. 

Both techniques work better on old bike grease stains. No matter whether they are light stains or tough grease stains, baking soda should do the trick for you.

Baking Soda for stain removal

6. Use Baby Powder to Remove Bicycle Grease Off your Clothes

Surprisingly enough, baby powder is one of the most effective ways to make grease stains vanish. Talcum powder is thin enough to penetrate the fiber of most types of clothes and absorb the grease altogether. 

  1. Apply a thick layer of washing powder over the stained area
  2. With a toothbrush, scrap the spot until the talcum powder has penetrated completely
  3. Let the product react for about 15 minutes
  4. Rinse with cold water before putting it into the washer (cold cycle)

Baby powder is a powerful method to remove fresh stains from clothes. The trick is to cover the greasy spot as soon as you can, ideally, 30 minutes top after the incident.

Sportswoman with talc on hands

7. Use Chalk to Dissolve Grease Stains

Just like baby powder or baking soda, chalk can be used to get rid of oil stains. It might be the ultimate way of getting rid of old grease stains that refuse to go away.

Chalk has the property to absorb any kind of greasy matter. Applied on delicate fabrics, it can reduce the density of fresh grease stains.

To do this, you want to saturate the dirty area as best you can until you see a small white powder covering the stain. Then, leave it for 15 minutes before soaking it in clean, cold water.

Finally, the cloth is ready to be machine-washed. If the stain subsists after a first wash cycle, repeat the process.

Chalk laying on paper

Preemptive Methods to Avoid Staining Your Clothes

Now that you’ve learned the most effective methods for removing bike grease from your clothes, you may want to apply these tips to avoid staining your outfit the next time you go out riding. 

Keep Your Bike Chain Immaculate Before Going On A Ride

Always check the greasy parts of your bike before going on a ride. Ideally, you need to clean it regularly. If you ride your bike on a daily basis, once a week is a great starting point. 

For this, you can use various products such as:

  • Degreasing agent 
  • White spirit 
  • Dishwashing liquid

Keep in mind that polishing your bike chain isn’t full-proof but it will greatly reduce the risk of you spoiling your brand new pair of pants while going to work.

Invest In A Chain Guard To Keep Your Pants Spotless

More often than not, grease stains will appear when you rub your pants on the chain. This can be extremely problematic when riding your bike to commute to work or go on a date.

The simplest hack to avoid this issue altogether is to invest in a chain guard. This way, you won’t have to worry about staining your legs. You’ll even be able to wear baggy pants without second-guessing yourself.

As an added bonus, your bike chain won't ever come off when shifting gears. Neither will your trousers nor laces end up getting caught in it. It's a win-win situation if you aren't put off by the aesthetic.

Buy Cheap Pants Specifically For Biking

Another option to avoid worrying about staining your clothes is to simply wear dedicated gear when riding your bike. 

It may not be the best solution if you use your bicycle to go to work. However, it saves a lot of trouble if you mainly ride MTB or BMX bikes, especially if you aren't the type to clean your bike on a daily basis. 

Check out more tips & tricks

Conclusion

I hope this article helped you get rid of the toughest grease stains.

Keep in mind that bicycles get very greasy without proper maintenance. In some cases, you might not be able to fully wash your clothes. Hence, you should never ride a bike wearing your favorite trousers.

The bike grease stain removal will also greatly vary depending on the type of clothing you're trying to clean up. Removing bike grease from synthetic fabrics will be a lot easier to clean as they're more resistant and can be washed at 95°C and higher.

Carlos Glover
About the Author
I took up cycling in high school and haven’t looked back since. My love of cycling eventually evolved into an obsession with bicycles. From road bikes to mountain bikes, I have tried them all – and have the scars to prove it! I love sharing my findings with the rest of the cycling world as unsolicited as they may be.
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