Does bike grease come out of clothes?27 January 2023
All cyclists know that bike grease can be a nightmare to get out of clothes. Whether you have to fix a dropped chain mid-ride or you get stuck into some bike maintenance at home, your heart might sink when you see those stubborn grease stains appear.
But is it possible to get these oily marks out of your favourite cycling clothes and other garments, and if so, what’s the best way to do this?
Does bike chain oil come out of clothes?
Fortunately, it is often possible to get bike lubricant stains out of clothes - but you have to act quickly. The longer you leave the marks, the less likely it is they’ll come out.
Don’t be tempted to throw your clothes straight in the washing machine once you notice an oily mark though. This almost certainly won’t do the job. Instead, try one of the techniques outlined below. Bear in mind, you should always make sure you read the care instructions of your clothes before attempting any of these fixes, and if you’re in any doubt, you can experiment by treating a hidden section of the garment before you go ahead and treat the whole strain.
How to get bike oil out of clothes
Here are some of the tried and tested approaches to getting stubborn grease stains out of clothes:
This technique is especially good for synthetic fabrics. It’s not suitable for delicate materials like silk and wool.
Step 1 – Apply a small amount of biological laundry detergent to the garment, slowly rubbing it into the greasy patch. You can use an old toothbrush to help work the powder into the stain, then leave it for up to 15 minutes.
Step 2 – Rinse the garment with cool water under the tap, making sure the water is flowing from the back of the stained area to the front. This will help to remove the grease.
Step 3 – Wash the item of clothing as normal, either by hand or in your machine (depending on the care instructions).
Washing up liquid:
Washing up liquid can be effective at removing these stains because it cuts through grease. However, this method works best when stains are fresh.
Step 1 – Add a small amount of dishwashing liquid to the stain. If you’re dealing with a very bad grease stain, you might want to add a little baking soda to the liquid to make a thick paste. You can use a toothbrush to rub the paste into the mark.
Step 2 – Rinse the blemished patch of clothes with cool water, with the stain facing down.
Step 3 – Wash your garment according to the care instructions.
This can be a good technique for tackling stains on delicate fabrics that don’t react well to harsh chemicals.
Step 1 – Liberally sprinkle baking soda onto the stain. This will help to draw the oil out without damaging the clothing fibres. Leave overnight.
Step 2 – You should see that the powder has absorbed at least some of the grease. This means it has done its job, so you can simply brush it off.
Step 3 – Wash the garment according to the care instructions.
Like washing up liquid, bar soap is effective at cutting through grease stains, and because it’s gentle enough to be used on hands, it’s a good option for delicate fabrics.
Step 1 – Wet the garment and the soap bar, before rubbing the soap over the grease spot until it starts to foam. You may want to use an old toothbrush to work the soap into the fibres.
Step 2 – Fill a bowl with a mixture of water and vinegar (ratio 2:1) and then dip the stained section of clothing into the liquid.
Step 3 – Wash the garment as normal according to the care instructions.
Whichever method you use to remove grease from your clothes, make sure you check to see if the mark has gone before you tumble dry the garments. If the stain is still there when you put the clothes in the drier, the heat will set it and potentially make it permanent. So, always closely inspect the material after washing to see if the blemish has come out.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if there’s still a stain when the fabric is wet. In this case, it’s best to let the clothing dry naturally just in case. If the mark is still visible when the material has dried, you can use the same cleaning technique again, or try a different one, to see if that does the job.
Also, bear in mind that if you have sensitive skin on your hands, it’s best to wear rubber gloves when using detergents and other chemicals.