How to get bike grease out of clothes

Got bike grease on your favorite shirt? You don’t have to throw it out. Bike grease can come off quickly in many ways and with the use of different household products.

Your bicycle chain can leave grease on your clothes when greasing, or adjusting your bike chain, or even when riding.

Bike grease can leave ugly and dirty-looking stains that’ll make you want to abandon your threads, but to avoid all that, this article will explain exactly how to get bike chain grease out of clothes.

Can you get bike grease off clothes?

Yes! Absolutely, you can get bike grease off of clothing. While it might seem like an insurmountable problem, getting bike grease off clothes is actually easy. 

Bike chain grease is a black, sticky substance that coats the metal links of a bicycle chain. It’s heavy-duty and durable, making it the perfect choice for protecting your bike from wear and tear while you ride. However, it’s not so great when it gets on your clothes.

What you’ll need

All you need is a little detergent and some water in most cases. 

If you find yourself with bike chain grease on your clothes, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. 

It is important to check your clothes label before attempting to use certain ingredients or household items to remove bike grease stains or stains in general from clothes. 

Common active ingredients in stain removers include; Ammonia, Bleach(sodium hypochlorite), Alcohol, and D-limonene(extracts from citrus fruits).

Woman holding stain remover spray

Items containing these ingredients help remove bike grease as they are known to be effective stain removers. On that account, to get bike grease off your clothes whether it dries in or is a fresh stain you’ll need;

  • A jar to mix whatever stain removing ingredients you choose to use 
  • A brush to scrub the stain away, unless you are comfortable using your hands which may be tiring and sometimes ineffective depending on the stain.
  • A spoon to pour and mix in powder stain-removing ingredients
  • A surface you can clean up easily- If you want to remove bike grease from your clothes it is advisable you don’t do it on your room floor or your reading desk. 
  • It is advisable to carry out this process in the laundry room or a bathroom sink so the residue from the washed fabric won’t get on any surface you’d have a hard time cleaning
  • Also you’d need a place to easily dispose of the wastewater from washing the fabric. 
  • A washing machine to give the piece of clothing a final wash after removing the bike chain grease.

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How to get bike grease off clothes in 5 steps

Easy solutions come in steps and these steps explain how to quickly remove bike grease from clothes with household items that may conveniently be at your disposal. 

Before attempting different methods to get bike chain grease off clothes, you must determine if the grease is easily removable. 

  1. Try to capture the oil or grease on the fabric with a powder base or a paste with a powder base like a baking soda and vinegar paste.
  2. Ensure water is available to ease the scrubbing of the bike chain grease.
  3. Scrub gently to avoid ruining the piece of clothing.
  4. Always rinse the paste to avoid it drying in and ruining the clothes.
  5. Wash the piece of clothing after the stain removal process to avoid any residue of what you used to remove the stain.

Now, let’s get into specific cleaning agents. First off, it’s baking soda.

How to get bike grease off clothes with baking soda

Baking soda is effective for stain removal especially bike grease stains on clothes. Baking soda contains only one ingredient: sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda paste helps to remove the stain from the fabric by capturing and storing it in the baking soda. When the paste dries, the stain is removed. 

You can use baking soda with other ingredients, especially powder-based ones, to create a paste that removes stains easily.  For example, you can use baking soda with toothpaste and vinegar to remove bike grease. 

All you have to do is: 

  • Press toothpaste into a jar.
  • Add half a teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Pour one teaspoon of vinegar into the jar and mix, mix, mix.
  • Pour it around the stain and scrub with a brush until you see the stain fading out. You’ll notice a reduction in the stain and it’ll start smudging all over the fabric. Don’t worry, this is normal.
  • You then have to rinse the fabric in plain water and repeat till the smudged stain is completely off it. This mix is best for tough fabrics like denim or light fabrics like silk.

Check out this video below to see all this in action.

When using baking soda to remove bike grease from clothes there has to be a liquid ingredient to serve as the liquid base in the paste mix and baking powder would serve as the powder base for the paste mix. 

Baking soda can also be used with hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste to get bike grease off.  The hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste is effective for stain removal because of its antibacterial, bleaching, and grease-dissolving ability. 

How to get bike grease off with dishwashing soap

Dishwashing soap is amazing for getting bike grease off cotton or synthetic fabrics and is easier to use when the grease stain is fresh. Adding a small amount of dishwashing soap to the stained area would break down the bike grease or oil. 

  • Add dishwashing soap. 
  • Rub it in a little bit and let it soak in for 1 – 2 hours. 
  • Run the piece of clothing through water. 
  • Add some more dish soap and scrub it out with a brush.
  • Rinse the dishwashing soap off the piece of clothing and dry it out.

The video below gives a step by step tutorial on how to use dishwashing liquid to remove bike grease from clothes.

If the stain refuses to come off, you can try making a thick paste of dishwashing soap and baking soda as the paste would fade the stain out when scrubbed with a brush. Leave the fabric for 2 minutes and then put it under running water. 

A better explanation of this process is in the video below.

How to get bike grease off with bar soap

Bar soap works well for removing bike grease from clothing, but it must not be too harsh or the fabric may be ruined. Bar soap is effective for removing bike grease because soap is a natural cleanser that breaks down oil molecules, making cleaning easier.

Bar soap can be used to remove bike grease from clothes by; 

  • Rubbing the bar of soap on the stained area until it becomes thick on that area
  • Using a wet sponge, lather the thick layer of soap on the stained area.
  • Rinse the area with hot water.

How to get bike grease off with cornstarch

Cornstarch is used for a lot more than just thickening soups and sauces. Grease and oil stains may be sucked right out of textiles with cornstarch. Cornstarch powder absorbs the dried oil stains on clothes, it might take more time but requires less scrubbing. 

Using cornstarch to remove bike grease is guaranteed to save fabric from damage, as it is seen often as the safest option to remove bike grease from clothes. 

You can get that nasty stain off with the following steps;

  • Cover the stained area with cornstarch and leave it to settle for a few hours to absorb the bike grease
  • Add a few drops of water to create a paste 
  • Rub into the stain with your fingertips
  • At this point the stain is still a little visible in a cold-water wash, launder it to remove the residue of the paste and remove any sign of the stain.

How to get bike grease off with spot remover

Spot removers come in powder forms or liquid forms that contain active ingredients like Bleach, Ammonia, Citrus extract, etc.

Spot removers are effective for getting bike oil out of clothes because they target a particular spot and fade out the stains without compromising the original color of the piece of clothing. 

To remove bike chain grease from clothes with a liquid spot remover you can follow the process below; 

  • Spray the stain with the spot remover 
  • Scrub the stain softly with a toothbrush.
  • Use a washing machine or your hands to wash the clothes, but a washing machine would provide more help as it also dries the clothes.

Bike  grease can also be removed from clothes with a powder spot remover by following this procedure; 

  • Pour a teaspoon of the spot remover on the stained area
  • Add a few drops of water or vinegar to speed up the stain removal process, but vinegar is likely to make the area appear worn out.
  • Use a brush to scrub in circular motion so the bike grease is captured and the stain fades out.
  • Rinse out the spot remover paste with water.
  • Wash in a washing machine.

How to get bike grease off with shampoo

Are you out of baking soda or can’t run to the store to get a stain remover? Your shampoo can get that bike grease stain out in no time. Bike grease comes off clothes better when shampoo is mixed with detergent. 

Shampoo is an alternative to dishwashing soap because it is milder than dishwashing liquid. 

Different natural shampoos on wooden shelf

Clear shampoos are the best pick for removing bike grease from clothes because other types of shampoo with added colors and fragrances can ruin the fabric. 

To get bike grease off clothes with shampoo you would have to; 

  • Apply a small amount of shampoo on the stain and rub it in.
  • Scrub softly with a toothbrush till the stain comes off.
  • Rinse out the shampoo and wash the piece of clothing in a washing machine or with your hands.

How to get bike grease off with laundry detergent

Laundry detergent is a popular household cleaning agent when clothes are dirty or you want to remove mild stains.

Laundry detergent is classified into biological and non-biological detergents. Enzymes in biological detergents help break down the fatty, oily, and starchy molecules found in some of the most frequent clothing stains, such as tomato sauce, bike oil, and burger grease. 

However, these enzymes are not found in non-biological detergents. Non-bio detergents, on the other hand, still contain built-in cleaning power, ensuring that your clothes come out of the washing machine clean and fresh. 

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If bike grease got on your jeans or your shirt by accident you should look out for a biological detergent to break down the oil or grease easily. 

Non-biological detergent can get bike grease off clothes but won’t guarantee fast removal of dried stains. Bio detergent can remove dried grease stains in no time because of the nature of the detergent. 

Plant based biological laundry detergent
Plant based bio laundry detergent

Certain biological detergents you can look out for include; Formil biological gel, Persil bio liquid and Ariel washing gel among others.

Whereas, some non-bio detergents you can try include; Fairy non-bio washing powder, Ecover zero non-bio washing powder, Bio-D non-bio washing powder, etc.

Biological detergent tend to come in gel form while non-biological detergent comes in powder form. Laundry detergents are usually concentrated solutions of surfactants that absorb dirt when detergent is mixed with water.

Bike grease can get off clothes using laundry detergent if this procedure is followed;

  • Rub laundry detergent on the grease stain using a brush.
  • Rinse the stained area with cold water.
  • Wash the piece of clothing after.

How to get bike grease off with white vinegar

White vinegar’s acidic features are very beneficial to clothes. The acetic acid and water solution whitens, brightens, reduces odor, and softens garments, and it’s safe to use in washing machines. 

White vinegar is basically distilled alcohol and is otherwise called spirit vinegar. Apart from being a cleaning miracle worker, white vinegar is used to cook, how exactly is an acidic ingredient fit for cooking? 

White vinegar acts as a leavening agent alongside baking soda for baked goods, it also adds the taste in meaty recipes. White vinegar is used to make meat tender and soften vegetables and seafood.

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However, in our case, you can use white vinegar to get bike chain grease out of clothes by;

  • Dropping little vinegar on the stain’s surface.
  • Using a damp cloth to rub in the vinegar.
  • And washing the clothes preferably with a washing machine.

Bike grease can be easily removed with the use of vinegar and baking soda. 

  • To begin, combine equal parts vinegar and baking soda in a mixing bowl. 
  • Fill a laundry bucket with a few tablespoons of detergent. 
  • Finally, soak the garment in water for a few minutes before rinsing it with warm water.

How to get bike grease off with chalk

Chalk can be used to get bike grease off clothes. Yes, chalk. Chalk is an effective stain remover. It is ultra-absorbent which makes it effective for removing bike chain oil stains because it absorbs grease stains and makes it easier for it to wash off. 

Colorful chalks on table

To get bike grease off clothes you have to;

  • Rub chalk on the stained area.
  • Let the chalk absorb the bike grease before brushing it off.
  • When you feel the chalk has absorbed the bike grease on the piece of clothing, brush off the chalk.
  • Then wash with your hands or in a washing machine.

Alternative ways to get bike grease off clothes

Coca Cola signboard on truck
Coca cola can get that bike oil off your jeans
  1. Baby powder– Just like cornstarch, baby powder absorbs grease from clothing, especially when turned into a paste and mixed with vinegar. To remove a bike oil stain from your clothes, sprinkle baby powder on it. Make sure the stain is completely covered in powder and leave it to dry overnight. Then brush or shake the powder off your clothing and wash them.
  2. Salt– Rub one teaspoon of salt and four drops rubbing alcohol into the bike chain grease stain to remove it quickly. This method is also effective for removing grease or oil stains from textiles. Sprinkle the area with salt if it’s a clothing stain. The salt absorbs the grease or oil, making it easier to clean the garment.
  3. CokeAlthough Coca-cola might appear as just a drink, it has been tested to be an effective stain remover, especially for toilets. A tiny amount of coke should be applied on the bike grease stain. Let coke settle in the stain for 1 – 2 hours. Then, wash fabric with warm water. 
  4. Toothpaste– Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto your fingertip. Allow it to sit for a few minutes after rubbing it into the oil stain. Wipe the toothpaste away with a paper towel. Repeat the procedure until the stain is gone.

How to prevent bike grease from getting on your clothes

  • Keep a clean bike chain: you are likely to get bike grease on your clothes if the bike chain is dirty. Your bike chain can get dirty when you recently oiled the bike chain and rode your bike across a muddy or sandy floor.
  • Be careful when applying bike grease to the bike chain to avoid it getting on your clothes.
  • Put on gloves when applying bike chain oil to avoid it getting on your hands.
  • Purchase a bike chain cover to prevent grease from reaching your pants.


Bike grease might look impossible to get off but is very possible when you know how to get it off. Now, you can cycle in peace and avoid getting bike grease on your clothes. Even if you do, you now know almost every bike grease removal method to try.

Cheers and thanks for reading!