A bicycle wheel.

How to get bike grease out of clothes

Black and tar-like, bike grease definitely creates some pretty striking stains! Luckily, they needn’t be permanent. So if you’ve accidentally wiped your hands on your jeans after some routine maintenance, or caught your trouser leg in the chain on your cross-country cycle, don’t worry. We have some bike grease stain removal tips ready for you to try here, so you can get back in the saddle as quickly as possible.

How to remove black grease stains from clothes

Black grease stain removal can be tough – not impossible, but tough. The trick is to start treating the stain as soon as possible. The longer the grease stays on the fabric, the harder it will be to remove.

Another secret to success is to check your garment’s care label before you get going with your chosen stain removal method. That way you can avoid any products or washing settings that won’t agree with the fabric. When in doubt, test the method on a hidden part of the garment before treating the whole stain, in case you get an unexpected result.

How to get grease out of clothes using dishwashing liquid

This method works best on fresh bike grease stains on synthetic fabrics and cotton.

  1. Carefully work a drop of dishwashing liquid into the stain. Your humble everyday washing-up liquid is great at breaking down oil and grease on your dishes, so it’s a good bet for black grease stain removal too. To remove really tough grease stains, try making a thick paste using a small amount of dishwashing liquid and a bit of baking soda. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the paste gently into the stain.
  2. Rinse the grease stain with cool water. Place the fabric under the cold tap with the stain side facing down, so that water runs from the back of the stain to the front. 
  3. Wash the item according to the instructions on the care label. Allow the garment to air-dry and keep an eye on it in case the stain reappears. If it does, repeat the process above. It’s important not to accidentally iron or tumble dry any clothing with bike grease stains on, since heat can set the stain onto the fabric.

If you’re dealing with a dried grease stain, leave a little cornflour or talcum powder on the stain for five minutes before using the method described above. The powder will absorb at least some of the grease and can then be brushed off. Simple!

How to remove grease from clothes using biological laundry detergent

This bike grease stain removal trick works best on stains on synthetic fabrics – fresh or dry.

  1. Use OMO Ultimate Liquid as a pre-treatment. Dab a small amount of detergent onto the stain and then gently rub it in using the bottom of the dosing ball. Leave it to do its thing for 5–15 minutes. 
  2. Rinse the grease stain with cool water. As before, let the water run from the back of the stain to the front to help remove grease from the clothes.
  3. Wash as usual, and dry naturally. Check the label for washing instructions.

Warning: Do not use this method on delicate materials like silk or wool. Always refer to the care label if you are unsure, and seek advice from a professional dry cleaner if the garment is dry clean only.

How to remove grease from clothes using baking soda

This method is best for treating fresh or dried grease stains on silk, wool, or other delicates.

  1. Cover the stain with baking soda and leave overnight. The powder absorbs the grease and can easily be brushed off afterwards, leaving the fibres undamaged. 
  2. Wash the garment according to the care label instructions. Delicate items can often be washed in the machine on a ‘delicates’ cycle, but sometimes a hand wash is the only option.

Now you’re armed with lots of bike grease stain removal tips, you don’t need to worry about getting a bit dirty when the chain comes off during a ride or you’re doing a spot of maintenance. Now get out there and enjoy the wind in your hair!

Check out our stain removal tips for more advice on how to get rid of tough stains.


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