How to remove bike-chain grease from upholstery?
April 21, 2005 10:23 AM   Subscribe

How do I get bike-chain grease stains out of my girlfriend's car's upholstery?

There are a kazillion different products that claim to remove grease stains. What works best? (The stains are on cloth upholstery.) I'd like product recommendations, so I can just run into a store and know what to buy.
posted by goatdog to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you have a set in grease stain, just spray the stain with WD-40 (yes, sounds weird, but it works) and let it sit about 30 minutes. Then, treat as a fresh grease stain... use concentrated Dawn Dish soap or simple Green... That should do the trick...
posted by wonderwisdom at 10:44 AM on April 21, 2005

Pedro's Orange Peelz (sold in bike shops) works better than Simple Green. The WD-40 idea sounds promising. Dry cleaning solvents are really good at getting out grease stains; that would probably be my first try.
posted by caddis at 11:19 AM on April 21, 2005

Definitely go for WD-40. WD-40 is overrated as a lubricant (too thin, too volatile) but is excellent as a solvent. In fact, I use it always to clean my bike chain. Wear non-latex gloves if you use WD-40 a lot, as it consists of carcinogic, light petroleum distillates that pass right through your skin into your bloodstream.
posted by randomstriker at 11:59 AM on April 21, 2005

Why bother spending more money? A bit of dish detergent should do the trick nicely. What's more, it will rinse clean and give you soft hands while you're at it!
posted by kc0dxh at 12:04 PM on April 21, 2005

I've had good experiences with citrus-based degreasers like Pedro's and Finish Line, available at finer bike shops everywhere. I'm sure there are cheaper off-brand equivalents at the hardware store, but I don't know their names.
posted by box at 12:21 PM on April 21, 2005

WD-40 is kerosene and/or naptha with a few detergents. It's a pretty decent degreaser, especially when combined with a citrus-based cleaner, like Simple Green.

For large spills, like on concrete or such, we use diesel fuel to float the grease, then wash with Simple Green.

In the lab, when I spill oil on my clothes, I use dichloromethane, which is basically a dry-cleaning solvent. Drycleaning fluid may or may not be available in your local drugstore/hardwarestore. It works much better than all of the above, but USE GLOVES when handling it OUTDOORS.
posted by bonehead at 1:04 PM on April 21, 2005

Turpentine or Mineral Spirits dissolve oil pretty well. Also, if there's an art supply store nearby, there's a product called "The Master's Hand Soap" which is that dense black soap that will take just about anything off of any surface (with a little work).
posted by Jon-o at 2:55 PM on April 21, 2005

Interesting ideas above, most point to "dissolve grease with thinner, cleaner grease". For clothes, I love mechanics waterless hand cleaner (the type in the tub that vibrates when you tap the bottom). Might work on upholstery in combination with something else to remove the hand cleaner.
posted by 445supermag at 4:34 PM on April 21, 2005

bonehead, so does that mean no gloves are necessary when handling it indoors? ;-)
posted by randomstriker at 4:45 PM on April 21, 2005

Sure, if you don't mind the liver damage. I speak from experience here.
posted by bonehead at 4:58 PM on April 21, 2005

You could wax your chain instead of using White Lightning, TriFlow, ProLink or other nasty greasy products. No more chainring tattoos, no more greasy upholstery.
posted by fixedgear at 2:47 AM on April 22, 2005

It's hard to get (may need a doctor's prescription), but my father, the doctor, used ether (obviously in a well-ventilated place), which instantly dissolved any petroleum product.

Acetone (which requires even greater precautions, and which may dissolve the dye in the seat fabric) should work, too.
posted by KRS at 1:00 PM on April 22, 2005

« Older How can I make a skin blemish fade faster?   |   Italian or French? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.