A bicycle wheel.

How to remove grease stains from clothes

Found a bit of bike grease on your jeans after finally fixing those brakes? Coat caught in your rear spokes during a peaceful bike ride? Not to worry. Bike grease stains may look tough, but they can be pretty simple to deal with. Here’s a handy guide to grease stain removal from clothes of all kinds, from cotton to silk – so you can hop back on your bike as quickly as possible.

How to remove grease stains from clothes

Before we explain how to remove grease from clothes, we’d like to whisper a few secrets to success in your ear: 

  • Firstly, if you want to ride off into the sunset stain-free, you need to act fast. The longer you leave the stain, the harder it will be to remove.     
  • The second secret is to put your fabric first. Some bike grease stain removal methods are tougher than others, so read the garment’s care label before you start your treatment to choose the best option for your fabric. When in doubt, test the method on a small, hidden area of the garment.

How to clean grease from clothes with washing up liquid

For fresh bike grease stains on durable fabrics, such as cotton and synthetics. 
  1. Treat with washing up liquid and baking soda. Washing up liquid is designed to break down the grease on your pots and pans, and works surprisingly well on clothes, too. Combine the liquid with a little bit of baking soda so that you have a thick paste, then gently rub it into the stain using a clean (unwanted) toothbrush. 
  2. Rinse with cold water. Hold the garment under a cold tap, stain-side-down, so that the water flushes out most of the washing up liquid and bike grease.
  3. Wash the item as you normally would. That is, according to the wash care instructions on the label. Use Surf excel detergent for some extra stain removal power. Check to see if the stain has gone before moving on to the final step. If it’s still there, repeat steps 1-3.
  4. Let the garment dry naturally. Keep checking for stains as it dries in case you need to repeat the process. Make sure that the stain has disappeared without a trace before you tumble dry or iron your garment, as the extra heat can make grease marks permanent.

Tip: Trying to remove a dried grease stain? Cover the area with a bit of talcum powder or corn flour before following the steps above. Leave it on for ten minutes or more to absorb the grease, and then simply brush it off!

How to remove grease from clothes using laundry detergent  

For bike grease stains on synthetics – fresh or dry. 

  1. Apply a pre-treatment. Dip your finger in Surf excel liquid detergent and dab it onto the stain. Carefully rub the detergent in using a clean toothbrush. Let it sit there for about 5-15 minutes. 
  2. Rinse with cold water. Pop the item under the cold tab stain-side-down, letting the water run through the fabric.
  3. Wash as usual, and allow to dry naturally. Just check the garment’s care label for instructions. 

Hint: Never use this method to remove stains on delicate fabrics, like lace or silk. Consult the care label first, and bring your stained item to a professional for advice on how to remove a grease stain if you’re unsure. 

How to remove grease stains from clothes using baking soda   

For dried grease stains on delicate materials, such as silk and wool. 

  1. Sprinkle baking soda onto the stain and leave overnight. Gently brush the powder off in the morning. 
  2. Wash according to the instructions on the label. Although some delicates can be washed on a special ‘delicates’ cycle, many need to be hand washed

Bike grease stain removal really is as simple as that. So the next time you spot those dreaded black stains on your trousers after a ride, relax – you’ve got it covered.

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