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How to get bike oil out of clothes


Man in garage cleaning bike with small cloth.

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Whether you have been commuting by bike, out for a weekend ride in the park, mountain biking, on a long-distance trek, or even at home performing a routine bike chain lube, chances are that you have experienced frustration for getting bike chain grease on your clothes.

Bike chain grease removal can be difficult, as it is made from emulsified soap mixed with vegetable or mineral oil which turns it into a semi-solid lubricant. This kind of grease has a high viscosity and when you apply it to a solid surface (like a bike chain) it creates a protective layer against water. This kind of bike grease has water-repelling characteristics which make it sticky. Really sticky!

Here are some user-friendly tips on how to remove bike grease from clothing that goes beyond simply throwing the garments in the wash with other clothes. Of course, every fabric reacts differently, so it is always wise to test an inconspicuous spot before you begin. To get chain oil out of clothes, make sure you clean them as soon as possible. If you have sensitive hands wear protective gloves. Here are some tips that sources online claim to work:

TIP #1 Baby powder

  • Sprinkle cornflour or baby powder on the bike chain grease stain and let it sit for a few hours. 
  • Shake out the garment before washing, having made sure that all of the grease has been absorbed by the baby power. 
  • Repeat if the grease is still present.

TIP # 2 Liquid dishwashing soap

  • Apply your everyday liquid washing up liquid on the bike chain grease stain and scrub it with a clean, old toothbrush. 
  • Let it soak in, then rinse with cold water by hand. 
  • Wash the item separately, in the washing machine using biological laundry soap or what is referred to as enzyme detergent to make sure the stain is completely lifted out.

TIP #3 Baking soda

  • Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on the bike chain grease stain and let it sit overnight. 
  • Brush it off the next day and you should notice that the baking soda has absorbed quite a bit of the bike chain grease stain.
  • Now you can wash this garment as advised on the label.

TIP #4 Shampoo or bar soap

How to get bike oil out of clothes can be accomplished using shampoo or bar soap. Since these cleaning agents are designed to remove oils from our skin, they can also be used to remove a fresh bike chain grease stain just as well. 

  • Apply the shampoo or soap with your hands directly onto the stain in a scrubbing manner. 
  • Soak the clothes in cold water and scrub vigorously until you see the stain being lifted out with the foam. 
  • Rinse the fabric in a tub or pan with one part vinegar and two parts water. 
  • Once the stain is out, feel free to wash as normal.

We hope you enjoyed our tips on how to get bike grease out of clothes. Be sure to check out our other laundry and cleaning articles such as how to remove oil stains from clothes, how to wash jeans and how to remove sweat stains.