Best Engine Degreasers: Best Cleaners to Keep Your Engine Sparkling
Learn about the best degreasers to remove contaminants from your engine.
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON May 11, 2021
Driving your car every day means putting it through all kinds of wear and tear. And while you might notice exterior dirt and grime, your engine also deserves a glance. With fuel and oil moving through the engine, it can become a gunk- and grease-filled centerpiece under your hood. Fortunately, an engine degreaser can clean up all of that stubborn buildup.
But an engine degreaser doesn’t solely have to be used to clean up the gross, grimy residue left behind on your engine and its associated parts. These specialized cleaning solutions are pretty versatile — and you can use them on tools, equipment, and even leather upholstery. They’re particularly great for exterior car parts, surfaces, and components. So, if you’re looking for a convenient, capable cleaning product to add to your garage arsenal, an engine degreaser is the perfect pick, and we’ve got the best engine degreasers right here for you.
This is the best engine degreaser cleaner on the market. It can quickly clean all matters of grease and grime.
- Professional-strength formula
- Safe on paint, stainless steel, plastic, fabric, leather, glass, and more
- Tough on streaks
- Not very potent for tough dirt and grime
- May damage your tires or other rubber components
This versatile degreaser is an all-around good heavy-duty engine degreaser.
- Professional-strength formula that uses citrus
- Loosens and emulsifies stubborn dirt, oil, grease, and more
- Super concentrated straight out of the bottle
- Not very strong and must be diluted before use
- Becomes watery when used properly, which can make application challenging
This degreaser is less expensive than most but still works well.
- Fast-acting formula gets to work in seconds
- Leaves behind no residue (and cleans up other types of residue)
- Nicely scented without a strong chemical smell
- Product must be diluted before it can be applied
- May damage skin; gloves should be worn during use
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Benefits of Engine Degreasers
- Keep your engine clean. The best car degreasers are designed to clean the toughest, roughest stains and built up grime. Have you been putting off cleaning your engine for years? With an engine degreaser, there is no reason your car’s engine can’t shine again.
- Prevent wear and tear. Dirty parts wear down faster than clean ones. Oil and grease can build up on your car’s engine and accelerate wear-and-tear, which can cost you down the road. A good engine degreaser can save you the pain of costly repairs by keeping your engine sparkling. A clean engine is a healthy engine.
- Get rid of dirt and grime easily. There are many methods to cleaning your engine, but an engine degreaser is by far the safest, easiest, and gentlest one. Spraying your engine with a high-powered air hose or steam cleaning it can lead to damage and break sensitive parts. Degreasing an engine using this method is also easier.
- Versatile cleaning capability. In addition to cleaning your engine, a degreaser can also work on plenty of other surfaces, items, and parts. You can put an engine degreaser to work on your rims, exterior paint, interior leather and different kinds of fabric, and many more automotive items. It’ll even work on tools and other gear. Some degreasers are all-purpose cleaners that are safe for removing grease and grime on just about anything.
Types of Engine Degreasers
Just because a product is environmentally friendly and gentle doesn’t mean it won’t work. Many of the best degreasers are made out of natural materials such as vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. These types of degreasers are usually safe and easier to use than some others. Plus, there is little chance that they will mess up any of your engine components. This category also includes non-toxic degreasers.
Liquid degreasers are strong and powerful. They usually require dilution and can burn bare skin. For tough grime, however, there isn’t a much better option. These degreasers are usually the strongest, but also come with the biggest chance of accidental damage and injury. Some are so strong they’ve been known to eat through tires and containers when not diluted properly. These are truly heavy-duty engine degreasers that are sure to give you a clean engine.
Ammonia-based degreasers aren’t as powerful as other options and are mostly designed for interior use. They are great for cleaning glass and chrome but can leave something to be desired if you put them directly on your engine.
A foam degreaser is a popular option for electrical applications because it doesn’t require rinsing with water. Sadly, it’s often not as powerful as other choices and difficult to use when spot-cleaning.
Petroleum-based degreasers are a popular option for engines because they’re great at dissolving grease left behind by gasoline, oil, and other lubricants. They make wonderful oil degreasers. However, they are not as good at cleaning dirt left behind by other substances and aren’t as versatile as some other options.
Meguiar's is a well-established company that focuses on automotive care. It doesn’t make cars — it makes things that clean cars. Because of this highly specified purpose, its products are very popular, powerful, and are simply a joy to use. It originally started as a simple furniture polish company, but quickly grew to include other surface cleaning products in its lineup. This company has a true love for cars and supports over 3,500 car club events each year. Its Super Degreaser is very popular.
Aero Cosmetics is another company that focuses almost exclusively on car cleaning products. It has a smaller number of products than other companies, but the ones it does have are very effective. It is currently based in San Antonio, Texas. Many of its products were originally designed to be used in high-performance aircraft and work quite well on automobiles as well. It is particularly well known for its White Wax All.
The Chemical Guys are focused on producing the best products available to the highest quality standard in California. It promotes itself as a lifestyle instead of just a brand and has a worldwide following on social media. It prides itself in high-quality products, an innovative nature, and a passion for cars. It also makes quite a few different engine-detailing sprays and a variety of other products. It is particularly proud of its Orange Degreaser.
Engine Degreasers Pricing
- Under $10: These degreasers are typically average in their power and ease of use. They typically don’t contain extremely strong ingredients and are best for light to average cleaning jobs. For anything tougher than that, you should likely upgrade to a stronger solution. These degreasers are also typically usable on things besides engines, such as tools and bathrooms.
- $10 to $20: In this range, you’ll find your ordinary degreasers. Many of them can handle most of your tougher cleaning jobs and work very quickly. Some of the better degreasers in this category can be truly exceptional. Most will likely need to be diluted and come in one-gallon jugs.
- $20 and up: Most of these degreasers are designed for shop use, and not necessarily by a single person at home. They usually come in large containers and need to be heavily diluted, which is not always practical for at-home use. They can also be quite powerful, and some might even require special protective equipment to use. These are truly powerful cleaners that are going to give you a clean engine.
The most important feature to consider when purchasing an engine degreaser is the ingredients inside. What an engine degreaser is made out of greatly influences how powerful it is. A product that isn’t very powerful isn’t going to do you much good. On the other hand, one that is too powerful is going to require a lot of diluting and can even be dangerous without the correct equipment. For home use, your best bet is going to be to choose something in the middle.
Many degreasers have added fragrances built in. All degreasers are going to smell. If you plan on driving your car anytime soon, you should choose one with at least a tolerable smell. Truthfully, some cleaners smell absolutely awful and will require you to drive with the window down for weeks. However, others smell mildly of citrus, which can be a welcome change depending on what your car smelled like before.
Engine degreasers can be pretty versatile — but some are more capable in this area than others. Every individual degreaser is formulated to be safe for use on certain kinds of surfaces, so it’s essential to look for a product that has wide-reaching surface suitability. Some may only work on plain metal surfaces—others may be safe for painted surfaces, too. Some are also safe for plastic and rubber, though this is more rare than common.
- Size. Many engine degreasers are available in bulk, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should buy more. When given enough time, most degreasers will eat through the container. You’re better off choosing an option that is just the amount you need. Remember to take into account whether or not the solution needs to be diluted when choosing what size to buy.
- Versatility. While engine degreasers are appropriately designed for engines, many can also be used in other tough cleaning situations. They can be used to remove grease from tools, equipment, and even your bathroom. If you’re planning to use a degreaser as an all-around, heavy-duty cleaner, be sure to choose one that is designed for such a job.
- Fragrance. While you might not be too worried about how an engine degreaser smells, some offer more pleasant scents than others. Instead of highly chemical fragrances that can burn or bother your nose, consider options that provide herbal or fresh fragrances. These are often easier to work with, especially if you’re putting them to use in your garage rather than outdoors.
Best Engine Degreasers Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Double-check that you correctly dilute your degreaser before you use it.
- Wear gloves and other safety equipment. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.
- Be sure to follow all directions. Some engine degreasers are very specific with how they are used.
- Degrease your engine regularly to prevent oil and grease build-up, which can make cleaning more difficult.
Q: Do I need an engine degreaser?
Car engines get dirty. All the dirt and grime can build up over time and cause wear-and-tear on your engine. To avoid unnecessary repairs, you need to clean your engine. The best way to degrease an engine is with an engine degreaser. They're safe to use on engines and have a lower chance of causing accidental damage. If you have a car, you need to make sure you're using an engine degreaser regularly to keep it in tip-top shape.
Q: Can engine degreaser hurt your car?
When you follow the directions, an engine degreaser will not harm your car. However, it is really important that you follow all the directions and dilute the mixture appropriately. If you put a mixture that’s too strong on your engine, it can cause damage. If you put a weak mixture on your engine, it likely won't do anything at all. Luckily, most cleaner degreasers are easy to use and don't have complicated instructions.
Q: How do you get grease and oil off an engine?
Grease and oil are unavoidable foes for any engine. And because these substances are slick and sticky, they’re nearly impossible to remove with typical cleaning products. You need something that’s specially formulated to break them down, dissolve them, and get them off your engine’s surfaces. Fortunately, engine degreasers are formulated to do exactly that, made with ingredients that react with oil, fuel, and grease. All you have to do is spray one of these solutions, and you’ll watch it break down your most stubborn problems.
Engine degreasers will help keep your car running well and help you avoid costly repairs. Out of all the degreasers available, the Aero Cosmetics Wash ALL Degreaser is the best overall option and is biodegradable. It works well and quickly.
For a cheaper option, the Chemical Guys Signature Series Orange Degreaser is also a good choice.