How To Get Bike Grease Out Of Clothes
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How To Get Bike Grease Out Of Clothes

Bike Grease Stains On Jeans
Getting bike grease stains on jeans is all too familiar to cyclists

Not everybody knows the proper methods on how to get bike grease out of clothes.

Imagine riding your bicycle on a Sunday morning, just trying to be responsible for your health. But once you get off the bike, you notice a big stain on your favorite jeans.

This happens to the best of us. Bike grease stains can find their way onto your clothes even when you are careful. As frustrating as it is, this is a problem that all cyclists have to go through.

Removing bike grease is one of the most difficult things to do, however, it is not impossible. The key here is to work fast and use the right products. So without further ado, let’s find out about the tips on cleaning bike grease.

Why Do Grease Stains Stick To Clothes?

Before learning about the bike grease removing methods, let’s get to know why grease can stick to clothes so stubbornly.

Because of the way it is used, bike grease is water-resistant. This allows cyclists to ride their bikes in the rain, through puddles, and so on. Grease also has a high viscosity, so once they come in contact with your clothes, it will grab onto the fabric’s fibers and just stay there.

You know how when you have grease stuck in your hand, and you just can’t wash it off. Well, this is just like that. Grease stains can’t simply be removed with water and the usual laundry routine. It needs time, patience, and proper guidance, like the ones shown below.

6 Organic Ways To Remove Bike Grease

There are many other natural and green products that you can use to remove the bike grease stains. The results won’t be as promising as using chemicals, but if you want to do good for the environment, why not try these remedies?

1. White Vinegar

White Vinegar
Vinegar can help!

Vinegar, specifically distilled white vinegar, has acidic properties that can break down grease bonds, allowing the stains to fade. But with a low pH level of 2.5 (1), it is too weak to remove tough stains like bike grease.

If you use vinegar to eliminate grease stains, you must first mix it with baking soda to form a paste. Apply it on the stains, let it sit for a few hours before washing it off. The stain will come right off.

However, if the stain is very small and fresh, you can also try moistening a clean cloth with some vinegar and press it on the grease spot, then put it straight in the washing machine with the hottest water setting

2. Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice
Lemon juice works too!

Similar to vinegar, lemon juice also has acidic properties with a low pH level of 2.5 (2). It is not strong enough to erase the stains on its own. But mixing it with baking soda will increase its grease-removal power and help remove stains more effectively.

Additionally, you can mix lemon juice and white vinegar along with vegetable-based soap. When combined, the effects they have on clothes will be boosted, making them strong enough to treat bike grease stains.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a substance with a high pH level of 9 (3). Acidic products such as this are extremely useful in cleaning stains. It is natural, non-toxic, and most important, you can find it at any supermarket or grocery store.

Make a mixture of vegetable-based soap and baking soda in a 1:1 ratio and rub it on the stains. Let it sit for a few hours before rinsing and drying. It will help erase the stains and lift odor as well.

4. Borax

Borax is even stronger than baking soda, yielding a pH level of 9.13 (4). They are not as popular as baking soda since it is extremely toxic. But for cleaning purposes, it is scientifically better.

Just like baking soda, you can mix borax with vinegar, lemon juice, or dish soap to clean bike grease off clothes.

5. Baby Powder

Baby Powder
Baby powder is surprisingly effective

Baby powder is very thin, so thin that it can easily penetrate the fibers of the clothes and absorb the grease. Pour a thick layer of powder on the stains and scrape it with a toothbrush. As you scrape, the powder will penetrate the fabric and take away the grease.

However, you still need to wash your clothes again with soap to fully erase the stains since they only fade away, not disappear.

6. Chalk

White Chalks
Chalk, not just for arts and crafts

Chalk is another natural way to treat bike grease stains. The way it works is quite similar to baby powder, it will absorb the excess grease, making the stains less visible. Cover the stained area with chalk and let it for 15 minutes before washing and drying.

Having been treated with chalk, the washing will be much easier.

5 Easy Ways To Remove Bike Grease Out Of Clothes

Depending on the freshness of the stains as well as the type of fabric of your garments, there are many methods that can be applied to get those stubborn stains out. In this section, I will show you the 4 most popular ways to do so, with notes about the suitable fabric types.

All of the required products are things that you can easily find at home. So pick the one that suits you the most.

1. Dish Soap

Dish Soap
Dish soap is the go-to method for removing bike grease

When it comes to treating bike grease stains on fabric, liquid dish soap is the best and most common option. After all, you have seen how well they clean the oil off your plates and pans. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Apply It

Apply a generous amount of soap on the stains and let it sit for a few minutes.

If the stains have already dried, try mixing it with some baking soda to form a paste. Then rub it on the stains using an old toothbrush.

Step 2: Rinse It

Place it under cold running tap water with the grease-stained side facing down. This is because you want to rinse the stains through your clothes. Rub it and clean it thoroughly.

If you can still see the stains afterward, apply more soap and repeat this step.

Step 3: Wash It

Hand wash all the soap off the clothes with running water. You can use your washing machine to keep it extra clean.

Step 4: Dry It

Allow your clothes to air dry and the stains should be gone. Do not use your dryer! The heat can seal the stains in, making them impossible to remove.

Note: This method works best for fresh grease stains on cotton and synthetic fabrics. If the stains have already dried, pour some talcum powder or cornflour on it and leave it for a few hours beforehand.

2. Spot Remover And Hot Water

Spot Remover
Spray your problem away with spot remover

Spot remover spray is pretty common in dealing with oil and fat stains. It can also help treat bike grease stains but it needs a bit of work. This method is not recommended on delicate fabrics.

Step 1: Spray It

Lay the clothes flat on the floor or table and spray the spot remover spray on the stains.

Step 2: Rub It

When it is fully covered, take an old toothbrush and start scrubbing the stained area. Try to be gentle and avoid spreading the stains to the other sides of the garment.

Step 3: Pour Hot Water On It

After a few minutes of scrubbing, place your clothes in the bathtub and pour hot water right over the stains. Turn it inside out and do it once more. Be careful not to scald yourself

Step 4: Wash It

Wash it the usual way with any detergent

Step 5: Dry It

Air drying is recommended. Avoid using your tumble dryer.

3. Shampoo/ Shower Gel

Yday Shampoo Can Remove Stains
Our everyday shampoo can remove stains

Since shampoo and shower gel has the function of removing body oils, they can also help eliminate stains off clothes. This method can be used on synthetic and delicate fabrics, but it only works with small and new grease stains.

Step 1: Apply It

Put shampoo, shower gel or bar soap on the grease and rub it until it begins to foam. If you’re dealing with tough or dry stains, you will need to scrub them hard with an old toothbrush.

Step 2: Rinse It With Vinegar And Water

Make a mixture of vinegar and water with a 1:2 ratio. Dip your clothes in and start rinsing away all the soap, rubbing the stains as you go.

Step 3: Wash It

Once you no longer see the stains, wash it with a washing machine with your usual detergent.

Step 4: Dry It

Finally, dry your clothes the natural way.

4. Liquid Detergent/ Washing Powder

Detergents Clothespins
Using detergent is an obvious solution

Nowadays, a lot of detergents have a stain-removing function. Those brands are preferred if you are going this route.

This method works for new and dried stains on synthetic fabrics. If you are using detergent that is made specifically for delicate materials, this method can also be used on wool and silk. Always check the labels carefully before following these steps:

Step 1: Apply It

Take the liquid detergent or washing powder of your choice and rub it on the stains. Let it sit for 15 minutes before moving on to the next steps.

Step 2: Rinse It

Place the stains under a faucet and run cold water through it from back to front to remove the grease. Repeat these 2 steps if necessary.

Step 3: Wash It

Apply another layer of detergent or washing powder on top of the stains before putting it in the washing machine. Then just wash the clothes your usual way.

Step 4: Dry It

Let it dry naturally. Again, do not tumble dry grease-stained clothes or the stains will become permanent.

5. Baking Soda

Baking Soda Glass jar
Baking soda is more powerful than you think

If you are dealing with stains on wool and silk, then this tip is perfect for you. This method is effective on either fresh and dried stains, synthetic or delicate fabrics.

Step 1: Apply It

Cover the stains with some baking soda (talcum powder or cornflour work too) and let it sit for a few hours or overnight.

Step 2: Rinse It

Brush off the baking soda and you can see that the baking soda has absorbed most of the grease without damaging the fabric. Then rinse it off with cold water.

Step 3: Wash It

Treat the clothes like how you always do. If you are working with silk or wool, I can suggest you hand wash it or use the delicate function on your washing machine.

Step 4: Dry It

Take it out of the washer and allow it to air dry.

For more cleaning tips, take a look at this!

Watch this video: How To Remove Bike Oil Stains From Clothes

How To Prevent Getting Bike Grease On Your Clothes?

Now that you know how to treat bike grease properly, you can see that it is that big of a deal. However, having to clean your clothes every single time you ride a bike is pretty tiring.

So, if you don’t want to spend all your time and energy scrubbing and washing your jeans every week, remember these tips to avoid getting on your clothes in the first place.

1. Avoid Brushing Your Leg Against The Chain

Ever wonder why you always seem to get that mysterious grease mark on your leg every time you ride a bike? That’s because when you come to a stop, you take your foot off the pedal and place it on the ground. Then you rest your bike against it, making the chain touch your leg.

Ubricate Bicycle Cassette Oil
Grease from bike chain can easily ruin our clothes

Knowing this, next time when you cycle, try resting on both legs instead. Either that or you can place your leg further away from the grease-covered chain. Changing a habit is pretty hard, but just a few days of mind training and you’ll be able to.

2. Purchase A Chain Guard

A chain guard, or gear case, or chain case is a protective cover for the chain and sprocket assemblies of your bike.

Dutch Bicycle Beige Chain
Installing a chain guard on your bike is a good idea

With a chain guard installed, you won’t have to worry about getting your pants dirty, or getting your shoelaces stuck on the gears. Additionally, it can prevent your chain from coming off as well as keep them from getting dirty and wet.

3. Investing In A Leg Shield

Leg shields or leg straps are equally effective when it comes to protecting your jeans from getting dirty. Try to find high-quality ones that are comfortable to wear and can snug fit around your leg. It can be distracting if your leg shield keeps slipping down while riding.

4. Roll Up Your Jeans

Grease is easier to clean from skin than fabrics, no surprise there. So when you ride your bike, try rolling up your jeans to prevent them from touching the dirty chain. Your calf can get dirty, but all you have to do is roll your jeans back down and you’re good to go.

Sometimes jeans can be too stiff, making them hard to roll up. If that’s the case, tucking them in your long socks works too. Nobody can see the marks on your socks once you untuck the jeans.

Another option is to wear shorts and low-cut socks, it will be more comfortable to ride the bike that way as well. Yes, the mark can get on your leg and you can’t cover it as you do with long jeans. But just take some baby wipes and rub it off when it’s fresh. The mark will fade away.

5. Switch To Black Clothes

Do you notice how mechanics always wear dark clothes? That is because it will hide the grease stains. You should do the same, try wearing black attires the next time you cycle, at least from the waist down. It will be easier to do laundry too.

6. Keep Your Chain Clean

If you don’t want grease on your clothes, then just make sure that there’s no grease to begin with, it’s that simple. A clean bike chain isn’t only for looks; it also helps your chain perform better, run more quietly, and last longer.

Motorcycle Rear Chain
Clean bike chains can never stain clothes

You don’t need anything special to do the task, all you need are degreaser or liquid dish soap.

Degreaser is more recommended since after all, they’re manufactured to handle grease and oil. Liquid dish soap is a great alternative but it won’t be as clean, just like how you can’t fully wash the grease off your hand using dish soap.

Pour your degreaser or dish soap on the bike chain and clean it with a rag or nail brush, try to be as thorough as you can. Remember to wear gloves as well. Once cleaned, wash all the soap off with water. If you have a hose, that’s even better.

Finally, when you want to cycle again, wipe the chain with a rag before and after each ride.

To see a lively tutorial on how to clean your bike chain, have a look!

Watch this video: How To Get A Perfectly Clean Chain


Find out more about this topic with some frequently asked questions below. If you have further concerns, you can leave a comment under this post.

Can I use baby powder to remove bike grease stains?

Yes, you can. Similar to cornstarch, baby powder can absorb the excess grease and fade the stains. The same thing is applied with talcum powder or salt. Still, you need to wash them again with detergent cause baby powder can only fade the stain, not erase it.

Can I use WD-40 to deal with bike grease stains?

In a way, yes. Just spray some on the stained area and leave it there for 30 minutes. It can help extract excess grease out. However, it can’t erase stains, not even small ones. So in the end, you still have to use dish soap or detergent to ensure that the stains are gone.

Can I erase bike grease stains from already washed and dried clothes?

That might be challenging, especially if you dried it in a dryer. But if the stains are small and not too old, you can still salvage it. I can’t guarantee that it will disappear completely.

Can I iron the bike grease stains?

Absolutely not! If you iron it, the heat will seal the stain in and it will just stay there forever. Never iron the grease spot before cleaning it properly.

How can I get bike grease stains out of a white T-shirt?

All the methods above can get the stains out of your shirt. But if the stains are old and dry, it might still be visible on a white shirt. If that is the case. You can wash them in bleach to whiten the shirt again.

How can I erase a three-day-old grease stain?

The longer you wait, the harder it is for you to clean it. You can apply detergent or baking soda onto the stain and let it sit. Afterward, scrub it hard with a toothbrush or nail brush. Repeat this step multiple times until it is clean. For a three-day-old stain, once is certainly not enough.

Did You Get Everything You Need?

When it comes to eliminating bike grease stains from your laundry, a lot of patience and effort are required. Throwing your clothes in the washing machine won’t do the trick and it can make the stains become dry and harder to remove.

So, I recommend you follow the instructions I provided above. Depending on what is available to you, choose the most suitable method and get the bike grease out the proper way.

With all these tips and tricks, I hope you can now know exactly how to tackle this issue once and for all.

Remember to like and share this article if you find it helpful. Give me your thoughts under the comment section as well. Take care!

How To Get Bike Grease Out Of Clothes


  1. Sciencing, 2018. What Is the pH Level of Baking Soda?
  2. Healthline, 2021. Lemon Juice: Acidic or Alkaline, and Does It Matter?
  3. Healthline, 2019. What Is the pH of Vinegar?
  4. Moody, C. J., et al., 2015. Experimental Organic Chemistry, Academic Press, vol.13, pp.417-484

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics

Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

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