Tips for getting bike grime off hands

Every time I wash my bikes, if I forget to wear gloves, my hands become stained with bike grease from the chain etc.

I’ve tried the usual washing up liquid, hand soap, face scrub (salt/sandy mixture thing) and also baby oil which sometimes works. I still have some residual staining deep in my fingerprints etc.

Any tips? I don’t want to scrub my skin clean off :rofl: or get too sore hands.


Not sure if you’re in the UK, or conversely if it’s available in other countries, but garages across the land use Swarfega to scrub hands clean.

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Auto parts stores have stuff that’s good for this. Get a small dedicated fingernail brush too and you can make quick work of it.


Most auto shops carry a good variety of hand soap & cleansers. Many contain citrus and/or abrasives (like pumice) to help clean well.

One hack I have also discovered is spray window cleaner works well too. I spray some in a cupped and and rub around, then wipe with a rag and it gets some of the nasty stuff without even needing a water rinse.


I use Gojo or Fast Orange (they’re the same thing). It’s a gritty liquid soap that has been around since at least my grandfather. A nail brush does indeed help!




WINDEX, come from the Greek word “wipoh”, which mean “to clean”, there you go.

I love that movie but totally missed the conneciton to my grease (and waterless wash) use that I also shared in the little known tips thread.


Cuts thru just about any grime on your hands. Non toxic and leaves your hands softer than before you used it

Strip the factory grease from your chain and apply drip wax! Very little chain grease after you do that :smile:


I’ve found dish soap works slightly better than regular hand soap (but not as well as gojo). My go to has been dish soap + scrubbing it with a no scratch scrub sponge. It works, though it’s less a deliberate strategy vs what happens to be on hand. Haven’t noticed it making my hands sore.

Wax your chain


Like others have said… Wax or keep your chain cleaner than you do now. Your hands and drivetrain will thank you.

That being said I’ll second Gojo or Fast Orange. It’s been the handwash in every metal shop I’ve ever worked in.

I like to use Worx at home. Works well and is easy on hands.

Barring all that… Just wear nitrile gloves.

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I worked at the LBS for the summer. We used a borax hand scrub. Worked like a charm

Cheap hotel shampoo works great when traveling.

If you don’t have the specialty stuff handy, Dawn dish soap works pretty well, especially with a paper towel to scrub. Be sure and wash your hands with regular soap after; if I don’t Dawn leaves me pretty itchy.

I’ve found Lysol Wipes work pretty well to remove the grease…then wash with regular soap.

Baby wipes…works every time.


Isopropanol works well for me. It can dry your hands out though, so you may want moisturizer to put on after.

Dawn Dish soap. It’s what is used to clean birds, otters, etc. that get covered in oil after an oil spill.

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For best results with Dawn, apply directly to your hands before getting them wet. Rub it over your hands first and then use water to lather them up.

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