LAST UPDATED: April 25, 2019
Best Engine Degreasers: The Best Cleaners to Keep Your Engine Sparkling
Learn about the best degreasers to keep your engine sparkling
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON April 25, 2019
Cars get dirty. It’s a fact of life. When it is time to clean away all that built-up grease and grime, you need something strong, like an engine degreaser. Don’t let the name fool you; these cleaners are used for a lot more than engines. They usually work well on anything car related, and some can even be used on leather upholstery, tools, and other equipment. Figuring out what is the best engine degreaser can be difficult. To help you sort through the confusion, we’ve put together a set of reviews to tell you everything you need to know about engine degreasers.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
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.
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 Gearhead Motorcycle Cleaner and 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.
- Over $20: 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.
- 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.
Best Engine Degreasers Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Aero Cosmetics Wash ALL Degreaser can be bought in a number of different sizes, including bottles as small as 16 ounces. If you don’t need many degreasers, this can prevent you from overspending on more product than you need. Plus, this cleaning degreaser works great and is surprisingly easy to use.
It is much safer than many other industrial-strength degreasers and can be used as both a wet and waterless cleaner. All you have to do is spray it on and wipe dry; no diluting necessary. You can also use it when wet for it to simply rinse off. Our favorite feature is the handy spray bottle this cleaner comes in, which helps tremendously when you just want to clean a small spot on your car.
Of course, because of its high safety level, this product does not work as well as some others. It can handle normal cleaning jobs fine but is not suitable for heavy, set-in grease. It can also damage tires, so we recommend not using it on rims or wheels,
Meguiar’s is a well-known company that specializes in car cleaning and detailing. Their D10801 Super Degreaser is designed to be fast-acting and work on even the toughest grease, while also not leaving behind those pesky white residue stains.
This industrial-strength cleaner can instantly dissolve tough soot and grease. It works wonderfully on engine bays, wheel wells, and even leather seats. Unlike some other cleaners, it has a mild, pleasant smell that won’t make you want to drive with the windows down for months.
The only complaint we have is that it has to be diluted to be used properly. It does not come ready to use straight from the bottle and requires a little bit of prep work. You can also damage your skin if you get splashed by the cleaner, so it is important to wear protection while using it.
While it isn’t our favorite, the Chemical Guys CLD_201_16 Signature Series Orange Degreaser is a wonderful product worth considering. It is an industrial-strength, citrus-based formula that is tough on grease and grime. It is a powerful, multi-surface cleaner. It can work on engines, tools, tires, rims, and undercarriages. You can even use it on wrenches and other tools. Its versatility makes it a great product to have in any shop or garage.
Our favorite thing about this product is its efficiency. It works very quickly and very well in terms of overall results. Plus, it also makes a great overall cleaner for tools, the bathroom, or any tough stains.
We do have a few complaints, however. The container really isn’t strong enough to handle the solution inside. The cleaner will eat through the bottle if left to sit long enough, so it really needs to be used as soon as possible. You also have to dilute this cleaner, and it is quite watery as it is.
- 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?
A: 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?
A: 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.
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 Meguiar's D10801 Super Degreaser is also a good choice.