How To Get Bike And Car Oil Out Of Your Clothes

If you’re a DIY guy or gal and love tinkering with all things mechanical, getting pesky bike or car oil on your clothing is probably something you’re used to. It can happen to anyone though - you have to change a tyre unexpectedly or fix a slipped bike chain for one of the kids more often than not, oil or grease will find its way to your clean clothes.

Updated 31 January 2023

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Author By Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time 5 minutes

Person pouring liquid into a car engine. Laundry

Luckily, it’s really not the end of the world, but you need to act fast before the oil and grease sets in and becomes impossible to remove. Learn how to remove car engine oil and bike engine oil from your clothes using simple household items like dishwashing liquid, vinegar, and baking soda.

5 Steps To Remove Bike And Car Oil From Your Clothes

When it comes to the difference between bike oil and car oil, there’s not much to it. The only real difference is in the viscosity, or thickness, of the oil – bike oil is thicker than car oil. They both can leave pretty nasty stains on your clothes though, and so there is a need for great stain-removers that can act quickly and powerfully to lift the oil out of your fabrics.

We’ve selected five household items that work wonders when you need to get car or bike oil out of your favourite clothing.

#1- Dishwashing Liquid

Thanks to its grease-cutting power for dishes, dishwashing liquid is a great stain remover. Not many know, though, that it’s perfect for getting oily, greasy stains out of clothing too. Here’s how to work this method for best results:

  • Pour a small amount (like a drop or two) of dishwashing liquid onto the oil-stained area

  • Rub in gently with an old, soft-bristled toothbrush

  • Leave to soak in for a few minutes

  • Rinse the area with clean, cold water

  • Wash in your washing machine as normal, on a cold cycle and air-dry

#2 - Baking Soda

Baking soda is an incredible stain-removing product. Create a powerful stain remover paste by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with two to three drops of dishwashing liquid. Follow the steps above by rubbing the paste into the stain with a soft-bristled brush.

#3 - Washing Powder or Liquid

If you’re wondering how to get bike oil out of clothes, did you know that your favourite washing powder or laundry liquid can be used? Washing detergent can be used as a great pre-stain treatment for a variety of tough stains including bike and car oil. Simply apply the powder (which has been mixed with a few drops of water to create a paste) or the liquid directly to the stains and rub in gently. We recommend these two great brands of washing powders and liquids for best results:

  • The OMO range of laundry detergents – which includes hand washing powders, auto powder detergents, and auto liquid detergents – are formulated to be incredibly tough on stains.

  • Surf Hand Washing Powder works brilliantly to remove stains and brighten your clothing at the same time. It’s super whitening granules help to remove oil stains, brighten up colours and whiten whites.

#4 – Corn Starch

Corn starch is otherwise known as corn flour and is predominantly used in cooking as a thickening agent. However, when sprinkled onto oil stains on clothing, it acts as a powerful grease and oil absorber. All you have to do is sprinkle a bit of corn starch onto fresh oil stains (make sure they are not dried yet for this method) and leave it on for a few minutes so that it can absorb the oil. Then take a soft old toothbrush and brush the cornstarch off - the oil should lightly come off too. Wash in the machine as normal thereafter.

#5 – Vinegar

White vinegar is another one of those miracle workers from your pantry that can be used as an effective oil remover. Simply mix one part vinegar with four parts cold water to make a gentle solution. Spray onto your oil-stained fabric and allow to soak in. Do not rinse off your clothing, but simply throw it into the washing machine and wash on a normal cycle for best results.

Top Tips For Removing Bike & Car Oil Stains

We’ve given you our five favourite household items for removing bike and car oil from your clothing. Before you try one or more of these ideas, always keep these top tips in mind:

  • Make sure you check the washing instructions or clothing care label of the garment you’re going to wash first. You need to know at what temperature and cycle the fabric needs to be washed at.

  • Be careful when using these stain removal methods on fabrics like wool or silk. These fabrics may require a gentler approach.

  • Heat tends to set stains into fabric, so whether you’re hand washing or using a washing machine for your oil-stained clothing, always select a cold wash cycle.

  • Act as quickly as you can. The quicker you can get a stain-remover onto the oil stain the easier it will be to remove it.

Do you want some tips on what other stain removers we recommend at Cleanipedia? Read our blog Top Stain Removers For Your Laundry for more inspiration now.

For more laundry tips and tricks for the home, visit Cleanipedia today.

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