I’ve spent most of my life working with cars, even as a kid I’d be found pulling apart a carburetor or transmission, just to see how it all worked.
For the most part, back then, the closest I got to a decent engine degreaser was gas. Yeah, not great. Even putting aside the dangers, it was only half-decent. Today though, we have a world full of some of the best engine degreasers thanks to the improvement in chemicals and tech – here’s seven of them!
Top 6 Best Engine Bay Cleaners
I’ve written this under the label of engine degreasers, but what I’m really talking about are degreasers and cleaners. Sure, they may work great on engines. But, they do so much more than that.
They can be used in hundreds of household cleaning tasks. They can be used in your yard for cleaning up the driveway. These products can even give your car a light cleaning before detailing. Yes, degreasing engine components.
But you need to ask yourself what sort of jobs you’ll be doing. Is it all small stuff that’s fixed in one place? Or could you use a proper parts washer? Because that could dictate the sort of cleaner that you buy.
Dedicated Parts Washer
In the automotive world, we have dedicated parts washers. A tank with a pump inside of it, that delivers a specialized cleaning fluid to a brush. It’s intended for all manner of components, provided that they fit in the tank itself.
You can now buy parts washers for home use. The difference is that they’re usually a little smaller than the commercial ones. You can’t buy the professional degreasing fluid. That’s where these degreasers come in.
So, if that’s the sort of thing you need, then buying a can of foaming degreaser isn’t going to work for you. You’ll need a gallon or two (or more), that can either be used alone or diluted. It really depends on just how greasy everything is.
Carefully Does It
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of what’s the best engine degreaser, we should have a quick moment to think about considerations. Some of these cleaners work best when they’re power-washed off. Do you really want to be jet-washing under the hood of your car?
Also, think about the more delicate stuff. The things that could easily mark or stain. Some high-strength cleaners will leave a residue at best. At worst, they could attack the very thing that you’re trying to clean. They could take the color out of upholstery or damage plastics or rubber seals. If you’re unsure, try a small test area first.
The Best Engine Degreaser Reviews
- Rating: 4.8 / 5
- Brand: Krud Kutter
For something biodegradable, with no petroleum base, bleach or ammonia, this is a heavy-duty degreaser that can clean pretty much anything. Whether it’s grease, oil, glue, paint overspray, crayon, marker pen. It seems that if it’s possible to leave a mark, then this cleaner will remove it.
The Krud Kutter KK012 uses a proprietary blend of emulsifiers, surfactants, and detergents to really cut through the grime, quickly and easily, without fuss or bother. You’d only normally find this sort of cleaning power in something with harsh cleaning chemicals. But, somehow, the Krud Kutter is completely safe and non-toxic, quite remarkable.
Ideal for pouring into the parts cleaning tank, even when it has been diluted to adjust – this could be one of the best performance cleaner degreasers on the market right now.
- Rating: 4.6 / 5
- Brand: Simple Green
Simple Green 19128 Crystal degreaser (at this size) is more suited to a parts washer/cleaner, and this is one of few degreasers that are no added color or fragrance, and water-based.
It has been formulated for critical cleaning (originally designed for use in the home and industrial), this means that it’s a highly effective, concentrated cleaner that cuts through grease & grime quickly. You’ll need to dilute it for weaker strength if use on automobiles.
Unlike some other degreasers, this rinses off easily, giving a residue-free finish, which means you don’t find yourself in the position of having to clean off the cleaner (which is the case with some degreasers).
A great cost-effective way of filling a parts cleaner.
- Rating: 4.6 / 5
- Brand: Chemical Guys
For the Chemical Guys, this is all they do. Cleaning, polishing, and detailing gear. They know a thing or two about chemical solutions and that shows with the Orange degreaser.
It’s a professional-strength citrus-based formula, that easily emulsifies grime, dust, dirt, and grease. Then, it’s fast-acting and easily rinsed off. Or depending on what you’re cleaning, it can be wiped off to leave a residue-free finish.
This size comes packaged in a handy spray bottle, but it can be diluted if you need, or just spray away and get busy with the cleaning cloths.
The product is a great little bottle of general-purpose cleaner that could be left in the trunk, handy for those moments where you just need to give something a quick spritz and once over. I’d definitely keep one handy in my car.
Again, the perfect size to be using in a parts cleaner also can be decanted into a smaller spray bottle, or even diluted – depends on what you’re trying to clean.
This stuff a strong solution, that works quickly and efficiently on all greasy or oily parts, and it won’t leave a residue, even if it’s just wiped off, rather than rinsed off (which is easily done). It’s the most expensive degreaser in the list, and as to whether it’s worth that extra is debatable, but I’m sure that some people will find it perfect for their needs.
Meguiar’s have a solid reputation in the industry, so one thing is for sure, you’ll be buying a quality product that works well, only you’ll know whether you want to pay and extra fifteen bucks for the privilege.
This product is aimed more for general duty cleaning under the hood, it’s Gunk’s lowest strength formula and it’s really about sprucing up the engine bay, rather than cleaning cylinder blocks or pistons and the like.
You literally just spray it all over the engine, thanks to the foamy nature, it’s easy to see where you’ve missed, and leave it for between 10 – 15 minutes and then hose it off. The foam clings to all surfaces, including vertical ones. It has been specifically designed for engines with a lot of plastic dressing covers. It brings them up a treat.
The Gunk FEB1 also rinses off easily. You shouldn’t need to get underneath the hood with a jet-washer. Just a normal low-pressure hose connected to a faucet is good enough.
One can of this should be enough to treat an engine bay twice, depending on the level of soiling.
Overall, it is a great no-nonsense, no-fuss cleaning product, if you’re only after light cleaning of regular road grime and dirt.
Another one of those products that started out in life as a domestic cleaner, which has happened to be ‘discovered’ by gearheads and found a fan base for all things automotive cleaning.
This stuff safely cleans off & dissolves grease, oil, and grime on pretty much any surface. It’s completely biodegradable, contains no petroleum base, acids or abrasives. It’s also non-toxic and non-corrosive. Oil Eater is safe to use in pretty much any environment.
Being water-based, it can be diluted down for a weaker concentration. Or it can be used straight out of the container. It all depends on whatever task you’re cleaning.
This is another multi-purpose cleaner that’s great as an all-rounder.
Most people have a preferred brand(s). I understand that some don’t want to switch from what they know, just in case it’s not as good. But, any one of these cleaners is more than capable of getting the job done.
We suggest purchasing them in more quantity than the smaller spray bottles. They’re handy, but it will work out more expensive if you’re going to be using a lot of them. And besides, buy a bulk amount and you’ll be finding all manner of things to clean in your home, not just your garage, car, tools, driveway, engine, etc.