black and red bike shorts with oily chain stains

How To Get Bike Grease Out Of Clothes – Bike Grease Stain Removal Tips

You’re out on your favorite Sunday ride with your favorite set of clothes. Suddenly, your chain comes off, and you start repairing your bike. You have fixed your bike. But like nothing comes for free, you’ve ended up with a grease-stained t-shirt. It is not the first time. So, let’s learn how to get bike grease out of clothes.

It has happened earlier, too, and you know it will be a hard time taking those memories off. You are cursing yourself for ruining your favorite t-shirt. Take a moment to realize and feel this situation. I know you have been there. We all have been there. How about I help you to remove the dirty grease stain from your clothes?

There are several ways to remove stains from clothes. From silk to synthetic, you can use different methods. Instead of entirely focusing on stain removers, I have tried to use household ingredients. So, you can save your money and easily remove the stain. But before that, let’s learn more about why grease stick to clothes. Then we will discover how to get grease out of your clothes.

Why Do Grease Stains Stick to Clothes?

Grease is mainly made with soap that has been emulsified with vegetable oil or mineral. This semisolid lubricant has high viscosity. When applied to a solid surface, grease creates a layer for protecting the solid from water. It has higher frictional behavior than general solids.

If we leave the chemistry behind, grease has water-repelling characteristics. So, when they make your clothes dirty, just water is not going to solve anything. In fact, it would require something more than water to remove those stains. It won’t even get removed by average laundry cycles. You need pre-treatment for this.

I’ve tried several ways of removing bike grease from clothes and found some to be effective. Let’s learn more about these methods.


Removing Grease Out of Clothes with Chemicals

There are several types of fabrics. Based on your clothing fabric, you can consider several methods described here. There are also alternate ways. But, primarily, we would ask you to stick to the basics. In this way, you won’t be damaging your cloth. You can check your clothes’ care label for understanding more about your clothing.

Another critical point is to clean as soon as possible. You can even use the degreaser immediately and bring your fresh t-shirt back. But as it starts to settle with time, you won’t be left with too many options.

For the sake of safety, if you have a similar extra piece of fabric, try removing the stain on it first. In this way, you will know which method works better on your cloth. Finally, wear protective rubber gloves if you have sensitive or soft hands.

Biological Laundry Detergent

This bike grease stain removal method is mainly applicable to synthetic clothes. You can clean both dry and fresh grease with it. The process is as follows:

  1. Spread and Rub Washing Powder: Washing Powders are a great form of degreaser. You can spread them over your grease stains. Then, you slowly rub the washing powder with a brush or dosing ball.
  2. Wash with Cold Water: Put the cloth below the tap and start running water. Then allow cold water to pass through the cloth. Hold it there for a few minutes.
  3. Regular Wash: Use regular laundry to wash the cloth. You can follow the guideline that is written on the care label. Finally, let the dress dry in the air.

Dishwashing Liquid

The best way of cleaning bike grease is by using dishwashing liquids. It is mainly applicable to synthetic and cotton clothes. The method is as follows:

  1. Sprinkle Talcum or Cornflower: If you have a dried grease stain, you can apply a little bit of cornflower or talcum over the stain and wait for five minutes. Powder and cornflower will take in some of the greases that can be cleaned by brushing.
  2. Apply Dishwashing Fluid: Can you tell us another place where you see a lot of greases? That’s cooking dishes. Dishwashing fluids have the property to remove oil and grease from dishes. It also can remove grease from clothes. A tiny drop should do the work. In case you think that’s too much sticky, mix dishwashing liquid with baking soda. You can use a toothbrush to rub this mixture into the stain.
  3. Rinse with Water: Wait for two minutes after applying dishwater. Then put it under running cold water for around five minutes. Keep the stained part facing downwards. Running water will push the grease out.
  4. Regular Wash: Then give your dress a regular wash and dry it in the air. Do not use an iron if there is any stain left. It will only make the stain permanent.

If the stain hasn’t been removed, try the same method several times. Go through the care label for detailed instruction. Even if you need, discuss it with a professional fabric cleaner.

Bar Soap or Shampoo

If you have a fresh grease stain on your clothing, you can use this method. This cleaning hack is quite useful and quickly done. You can clean your cloth with bar soap or shampoo in the following process.

  1. Cover the Spot with Bar Soap or Shampoo: Pour shampoo or rub bar soap on the stained part. You can use body soaps, but it would be better to use laundry soaps for tougher stains. Then you can damp the cloth in water or ammonia. Rub it with soap until you see foam forming. You can also grate the soap and damp the powder on the liquid solution. Laundry bars are highly effective against fresh grease stains.
  1. Rinse the Cloth: Now, you need to create a mixture of vinegar and water in a 1:2 ratio.  Vinegar is the aqueous solution of acetic acid. This weak acid reacts with the soap and removes its alkalinity. So, now you are going to dip the stained part of the cloth in this mixture. It will take off the soap along with the stain.
  2. Wash the Cloth: Finally, you wash the cloth with laundry detergent to remove any remaining stains. Let it dry in the air. Avoid mechanical dryers as they will leave a permanent mark on your fabrics.

Hot Water and Spot Remover

If you have bike chain lube regularly in your cloth, then you can keep a grease spot remover near you all the time. These are dedicated spot remover tools for cleaning stains from almost all types of fabrics. The working method is also easy and effective:

  1. Spray the Spot Remover: After unpacking, you need to spray the grease spot remover on your stained parts. Then, you can remove the stain with a toothbrush. Store the cloth while you prepare for the next step.
  2. Boil and Pour Hot Water: Heat water to its boiling point. Then place your cloth in a container or washbasin. Pour the boiling water from an elevated height. While falling, it will transform its energy into kinetic energy.

This kinetic energy shall force the grease. The force will be larger when you take the dropping point higher. So, it is better to pour water from the chest or hip level. Maintain extra precautions while pouring hot water. You don’t want to end up with burnt skin.

  1. Repeat: Now, take the cloth and turn it inside out. Then, pour hot water similar to the 2nd step. Keep continuing it several times.
  2. Wash and Dry the Cloth: Follow the care label guidelines and wash the cloth. You can use your regular laundry detergents for cleaning. Finally, allow it to do dry in natural air.

Removing Grease Stain with Natural Agents

I have come across many people who are avoiding using chemicals on their clothes. Especially, some of you might not want to harm the environment. In such cases, you can use natural products. These are some examples of how you can use organic products for removing grease stains:

Vinegar and Lemon

Vinegar and lemon both have weak acidic nature. As they mix together, they use their acidic nature to remove grease. You just need to follow these simple steps;

  1. Mix vinegar and lemon in a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Then, rub the mixture on your grease stain.
  3. Allow it to settle for a few minutes.
  4. Then wash it with water.
  5. You can also use grease removal powder in equal amounts to increase its power.

Vegetable Oil and Soap

Almost every household has these regular items- mild or caster soaps and vegetable oils. You can use them to clean grease stains. The process is as following-

  1. Mix soap and oil together. You can try caster soaps or mild soaps that have been created from organic vegetable oils. You can also use coconut oil.
  2. Then, rub the mixture on the grease stain with soft brushes.
  3. Wash the stained part with warm water.
  4. You can also add a few droplets of lemon, lavender, or orange for refreshing essence.
  5. Finally, clean the cloth following the care label and let it dry in the air.


Before you start reading about this part, let me warn you, borax is a corrosive natural compound. It is toxic and can be lethal when injested. So, make sure that you don’t have children near you while working. Now, let’s discuss this process-

  1. Mix borax with lemon juice and create a paste.
  2. Add this paste over your stain.
  3. Allow the paste to react for a few minutes.
  4. Then clean it with water. Borax will make a corrosive reaction that is stronger than baking soda.
  5. Finally, clean your full garment and allow it to dry.

Baking Soda Method #1

Both the methods stated above are not suitable for wool or silk. Baking powder is great for these fabrics. The baking soda method can be used for both dry and fresh, delicate clothes.

Baking soda is mainly sodium bicarbonate that is a natural compound. Unlike borax, it is not toxic. You can find baking soda in any regular supermarket. The process is very simple:

  1. Mix oil-based soap with baking soda in a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Rub that on the grease stain.
  3. Allow it to settle down.
  4. Then, wash the garment in a usual way.

Baking Soda Method #2

The second method is as follows:

  1. Sprinkle Baking Soda: Take a small amount of baking soda and sprinkle it on the grease stain. It will pull out the grease without harming your cloth.
  2. Store it Overnight: Keep the cloth overnight in a safe and dry place. In the morning, you will discover that a large portion of grease has been absorbed by the baking soda.
  3. Wash the Cloth: Now, clean your cloth following the care label. If it is a delicate fabric, hand wash it with detergent. If you need to, contact dry cleaning professionals.


Bicycle lube is one of the hardest things to handle. When it gets into your clothes, you actually need to act fast. The faster you act, the quicker you get rid of the stain. Dry stains might even damage your cloth forever. The best choice would be to look for suitable materials from the above list near your hands and clean your fabric.

But, you also need to choose a suitable method that supports your fabric. So, choose to read the care label properly. Dishwashing liquids are suitable for synthetic fabrics. Wool and silk require more attention. Baking soda, detergents are more suitable for such a process.

You can use natural organic processes for almost all types of fabrics. Now, I would suggest you contact professionals, if you are confused. Once you ruin your cloth, there won’t be any way back. Take proper precautions and make the best decision for saving your fabric.

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