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  1. #1
    Young and unconcerned Treefox's Avatar
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    Grease out of clothes?

    Any suggestions on ways to get chain oil and grease out of clothes?

    I was so eager to fiddle with my wheel this evening that I didn't change out of one of my relatively nice shirts... ended up leaning right into the chain rings...

    And nearly all the right cuffs of my trousers have chain ring stains.

  2. #2
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Pre-treat with Simple Green. I don't know if you have that in the UK, but go to a hardware shop and look for any biodegradeable de-greaser. Read the directions to make sure that it's okay for clothing (I think it usually is), then spray a small amount and brush lightly with an old tooth brush and a bit of water. Remember to brush lightly with many strokes, rather than trying to get the stuff out all at once: you can scrape up fabric by doing this. Also, if there's a lot of grease, spray the brush frequently with the degreaser and add a little water: if the grease really builds up on the bristles, you can end up just smearing more of it all over your clothes. Also, with any stains, wash the article of clothing in cold water: hot water will cause any stain to set in. Hang dry and make sure the grease is gone. If you use a drier, then the same effect will happen. If the grease isn't completely gone after the first washing, repeat the stain pre-treat/removal process.

    Note: if the ring marks on your cuffs have already been washed/machine dried, you may be stuck with them.

  3. #3
    cab horn
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    I've had good success with vim hand cleaner with bleach, hehe. You may want to test it on some small patch somwhere, like on the inside of a pocket or something to make sure the bleach doesn't own the colours on it either.

    My two RNH jerseys were immune to this and it worked out great. Just be sure to get it all out. I'm still waiting for someone to suggest some off the shelf product, designed specifically for this. However.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  4. #4
    Senior Member capwater's Avatar
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    A tip from my auto mechanic days: get some GoJo hand cleaner, it's a white cream type substance. Great to get out oil and grease.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by capwater
    A tip from my auto mechanic days: get some GoJo hand cleaner, it's a white cream type substance. Great to get out oil and grease.
    +1
    I've used Go-Jo on old grease stains that have been washed several times, took them right out. This was on a nylon jacket, didn't harm the jacket at all. Your results may vary.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    The Go-Jo works great, but the entire load of clothes will smell like Go-Jo. I don't care, but my wife strongly objects.

  7. #7
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    The Go-Jo works great, but the entire load of clothes will smell like Go-Jo. I don't care, but my wife strongly objects.
    You should wash clothing pretreated with GoJo or Goop seperatly from all other clothing. Run the clothing through the washer twice and use baking soda instead of washing power the second go around.

  8. #8
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    Hi i'm Billy Mays & i'm here to tell you about Oxy-clean!

  9. #9
    Spazzy Member zippered's Avatar
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    sometimes it adds character, sometimes i use orange oil soap: i have concentrated stuff, stuff with pumice for mechanic hands, and in a bar form... not expensive, "natural" (except the mechanics stuff), works well, smells yummy!

    cheers

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Shout works as does numerous other pretreatments that you can find on the same aisle as laundry detergent in your local supermarket. You do know where that aisle is, don't you?
    Stuart Black
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  11. #11
    THE Materials Oracle Falanx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeeter
    Hi i'm Billy Mays & i'm here to tell you about Oxy-clean!

    I thought that was Barry Scott and Cillit-Bang?
    "While my father fought for you, I learnt. While my father glorified your petty administration, I learnt. While he longed every day for our line, Adunís line, to be restored, I learnt. He sent me away to bring the Dark Templar back when the time was right!
    "And you tell me that I cannot do this? That I cannot feel the weight of the universe?
    "Damn you, Tellan! Aldaris killed my father!"

  12. #12
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    Glycerine is supposed to be the bee's knees in removing oil stains, even those that have been washed and "set" into the fabric. And it's universal so you don't have to go looking for stuff that is American branded but not on the shelves in the UK.

  13. #13
    Young and unconcerned Treefox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan
    Glycerine is supposed to be the bee's knees in removing oil stains, even those that have been washed and "set" into the fabric. And it's universal so you don't have to go looking for stuff that is American branded but not on the shelves in the UK.
    Then I could mix the remainder with nitric acid and start myself a coal mine in my back yard... or an international terrorist syndicate...

    I'm surprised one can actually buy glycerine... what would it come in??

  14. #14
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    Glass bottles on the shelf with the other laundry products. Perhaps a chemist/pharmacist as another source. I gather it is reasonably expensive, but if people (like you and me) do persist in working on their bikes in business clothes...

    Oh yes, there's nothing worse than getting a brand new jersey/jacket/vest and passing it across the chain/cranks on first wearing.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treefox
    Then I could mix the remainder with nitric acid and start myself a coal mine in my back yard... or an international terrorist syndicate...

    I'm surprised one can actually buy glycerine... what would it come in??
    Glycerin is a component of natural soap, for cleaning purposes, soap that contains glycerin is probably the best way to get your hands on some, check out a drugstore or cosmetics shop, they probably have all kinds of glycerin soap in all kinds of colours and scents. Pick up a couple of bars, it should be good for grease on hands too. For clothing it's probably best to test on a small insonspicuous section to make sure it doesn't add to the problem.

  16. #16
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca
    Glycerin is a component of natural soap, for cleaning purposes, soap that contains glycerin is probably the best way to get your hands on some, check out a drugstore or cosmetics shop, they probably have all kinds of glycerin soap in all kinds of colours and scents. Pick up a couple of bars, it should be good for grease on hands too. For clothing it's probably best to test on a small insonspicuous section to make sure it doesn't add to the problem.
    Okay, campers, it's time for a chemistry lesson. One, there is no such thing as 'natural soap'. Soap is the reaction between triglycerides (commonly obtained from animal fat) and a base. The most commonly use base is lye more properly known as sodium hydroxide.

    To make the soap, you react fat that has been rendered (heated) with lye and you do a reaction called saponification. The base causes the carboxylic acid to form a cation (pronounced cat-ion) which is water soluble. There is also formed from the saponification glycerin which was combined with three of the carboxylic acids. At this point in the reaction, you can skim the glycerin off, let the soap solidify and start washing things with it. According to my Mom, who made this stuff as a kid, it's a great cleaner but it will rip the hide right off you! The cake that is formed is hard and harsh. This is called lye soap.

    With the glycerine that is left over, you can make a softer, gentler soap by adding the glycerine back in. Unfortunately, you have to mix it with the lye soap which most of the old timers didn't want to do or didn't have the equipment to mix so they just kept the glycerine to put on their hands during those harsh winters.

    I would doubt the ability of pure glycerin to do a good job as a degreaser. Pure glycerin is an odorless, liquid that is too polar to dissolve grease very well. Most of the 'excellent' glycerin degreasers I've found on the web are byproducts of homebrew biodiesel. As such, they are more soap then they are glycerin (most of them are very, very brown). It's the soap that cuts grease, not the glycerine.
    Stuart Black
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  17. #17
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Gojo works great on the hands, I'm gonna try it on my next stain.

    In the past, I've found Shout to mess up some of my clothes: seems really harsh on cotton.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Vanish has always worked for me. Apply, rub it in, wait five minutes, and wash as usual.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    I asked this question about a year ago and tried almost everything. The only thing that worked was Simple Green, full strength (as a pre-treat). It got nearly all of the chain grease out the first try. After another treatment or so, it finally removed the entire stain. And, it smells good!

  20. #20
    SCUL pilot Fixie Hawkegirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Okay, campers, it's time for a chemistry lesson. One, there is no such thing as 'natural soap'. Soap is the reaction between triglycerides (commonly obtained from animal fat) and a base. The most commonly use base is lye more properly known as sodium hydroxide.
    I always thought it was more a difference between using sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide when it comes to glycerine.

    Anyhow, I've found plain ol' stain remover from the grocery store when pre treated on the fabric, gets chain grease out.

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    Another one (this time from a renowned restorer and expert on stain removal processes):

    PROBLEM - Black stains on work wear (grease)

    SOLUTION - Rub baby oil on stains then wash normally, with a bit of Napisan Oxy-bleach added (Napisan is an Australian version of nappy soaker... sorry, diaper soaker).

    Last edited by Rowan; 09-14-06 at 10:37 AM.

  22. #22
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    I've had mixed results with the various pre-cleaners. I did find one product that has worked on every type of stain I've tried to clean with it so far - Spot Shot. It uses harsh chemicals to get the job done.

    I've also tried another product that uses natural ingredients (whatever that means), and isn't harmful to people or animals. It's called Kids & Pets. It has cleaned up nasty pet accidents, but it goes beyond a lot of those cleaners by also working on greasy stains. Cleaned up some chain grease from my white carpet with no problem. It also promises to never set in the stain if it doesn't get all of the stain out with the first treatment. YMMV, but these two products have worked pretty good for me.

  23. #23
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkegirl
    I always thought it was more a difference between using sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide when it comes to glycerine.

    Anyhow, I've found plain ol' stain remover from the grocery store when pre treated on the fabric, gets chain grease out.
    Either can be used. Lye, however, is sodium hydroxide. I have heard recipies that use wood ash which would have a higher potassium content.
    Stuart Black
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  24. #24
    Bike Junkie aadhils's Avatar
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    Most stain removers should work...

  25. #25
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    Not in my experience.

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