There’s nothing better than popping open the hood of your car and seeing a perfect, pristine engine. But over the years, your car’s engine takes a beating.
Sure the basic maintenance will take care of most of the mechanical issues, but what about aesthetics? Far too often engines are covered in layers of gunk and grease. And no, sadly your trusted microfiber towels won’t work here – It’s about time to clean that engine and restore it to its former glory.
Engine degreaser is one of the best ways to clean off the gunk that has accumulated and these are some of the best engine degreaser brands out there.
How to Use Engine Degreaser
There is one question first. How do you use degreaser? How to clean one’s engine isn’t exactly common knowledge, but it can be very simple.
First, before you go spraying down your engine, make sure the engine has been off for awhile. Spraying cold water onto a hot engine is just asking for trouble. It’s also good to cover any exposed electrical components with a plastic bag. This will avoid any future complications with the electronics in your vehicle.
After you’ve prepped your engine for cleaning, spray it down with water. The water will knock loose dirt and other larger particles. The degreaser will have a much easier time doing its job if the engine is clear of dirt. It’s very important to use a gentle spray. Don’t use a high pressure hose as it could get water into areas where it doesn’t belong.
Now that your engine is ready for the degreaser, you can spray it all over the engine. How much you spray and how long you wait depends on the brand, but usually a good five minutes is enough time. From here you can use a scrub brush to knock off the bigger chunks of grease.
Finally, rinse it all off with water and your engine should be sparkling like the day it came out of the factory. If you are still not happy with the results, simply repeat the process until you’re satisfied.
The Best Engine Degreasers 2020
Chemical Guys Orange Degreaser uses a citrus-based formula. It’s made to be strong, so it will remove any grime, grease, dirt, or debris. The formula is super concentrated, so it can be diluted if you need it to be. Following the instructions on the bottle is important. It’ll give you recommendations on how to dilute depending on what you’re using the product on. It works really well for basically everything from engines to floors. Chemical Guys Orange Degreaser isn’t one of those hardcore foaming degreasers, it’s good to have around for normal to tougher jobs. The degreaser is very versatile too. Just because you need it for your engine doesn’t mean it can’t be useful in other places. In addition to its strength, it also has a very pleasant orange scent to it.
- Nice scent
- Only available in concentrate
Grime Reaper is a super-strong, heavy duty degreaser. They claim that it is so strong that it can even remove industrial grime in construction areas. One gallon of the Grime Reaper concentrate can make up to 10 gallons of degreaser. Keep in mind that it doesn’t always work as good as other degreasers and the fumes it produces can knock you off your feet. In addition, it should be noted that you should not use this product on paint. Chemical Guys claim that it’s strong enough to strip off the paint! Basically, this product isn’t something for regular upkeep on vehicles that are mostly clean. If you’re running into issues that have years of grime caked on, this could be the product for you.
- Super concentrated
- Makes up to 10 gallons
- Very strong cleaner
- Can’t use on paint
While not the strongest degreaser in their lineup, the Gunk Foamy Engine Cleaner will safely remove the dirt and grime from most engines. It’s safe on all engine components and requires no scrubbing. On top of that, it’s fairly cheap too. As its name states, it’s a very foamy degreaser. You take your can, pop the hood of your car, and spray the foam all over the engine. It shoots out and expands like shaving cream. After waiting 10 to 15 minutes, it’s good to rinse off with some water. The foaming action makes it really easy to keep track of which areas you hit with the cleaner. Each can should work for about two engine cleans if you put a moderate layer of foam on. Some people, however, claim you should use the entire can. Overall it’s a cheap and simple way to get your engine clean without having to worry about dilutions.
- Cheap & simple
- Works well for moderate buildups
- Need multiple cans for multiple cleans
- Doesn’t work well on heavy buildups
“Dissolves grease. Super easy. Super fast.” That’s their slogan anyway. SuperClean is industrial strength, but it has one unique aspect. It’s biodegradable and phosphate free. It’s one of the strongest water based formulas on the market. The bottles are full strength concentrates, so you’ll have to dilute them to your needs. This stuff certainly cuts through grease very well. For a lot of the more moderate buildup, you might not even have to scrub. Like others on this list, it’s very versatile. So, while it works great for engines, it can also be used in other places. One example is ovens. It works really well for getting the grease off of anything really. This is one of the highest rated degreasers and there’s a reason for that. It works.
- Phosphate-free formula
- Works very well
- Need to be extra careful with electronics since it is water based
Oil Eater Original is a non-toxic and non-corrosive cleaning concentrate. It’s water based and dissolves most grease and oils off of whatever you need. It has a dilution chart on the back, so you can refer to that to see how much water you’ll need to add to your spray bottle. It works well for both household and industrial uses. Once again, this is a water based product, so be sure to cover any electrical components on your engine before spraying it down with this cleaner. Like the others, you just spray it on and wipe it off. When it’s undiluted, it’ll work really well for getting even the oldest oil/grease buildups off of your engines. One thing to note about Oil Eater is that it seems to respond better when being sprayed through a pressure washer, so that is something you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to purchase it.
- Excellent for both household & industrial
- Works best with pressure washer
Manufactured in the US, Krud Kutter is non-toxic, water based, and biodegradable. It’s a super concentrated and ready to use formula. This is an excellent all-purpose cleaner. Depending on how you dilute it, you can use it on anything from your engine to your pants. In addition, there are no fumes or vapors that could harm you or others. For what it is, it’s cheap and absolutely worth it. It’s exceptionally powerful and will handle any job you need it for with ease. No tricks or complicated techniques required. Just spray it on, wait, and rinse off.
- Made in USA
- Super versatile & strong
- Need to be careful with electronics
Purple Power is a concentrated formula that penetrates even the toughest stains. It’s truly an industrial strength cleaner and it will dissolve paint if it sits on it for too long. It works on a wide variety of surfaces. In addition, it also works very quickly. When you spray Purple Power onto the surface you’re cleaning, you want to wipe it off before it dries. Some of the other cleaners want you to wait up to 15 minutes. Purple Power only takes a few minutes before you have to wipe it down. Despite that, it actually works very well. On top of this, it’s also biodegradable. So, if you care about the environment and like having a clean engine, this could be the product for you. Plus, with a name like Purple Power, it’s hard to pass it up.
- Very cheap
- Can dissolve paint
Meguiar’s is a strong and fast acting degreaser. It prevents the white stains that some degreasers leave behind and has a pleasant herbal scent. It’s a simple spray on and wipe off formula and works to destroy the toughest of stains. Meguiar’s also has a bit of a foam when it works, so if you like the foam, this could be a product you’ll be interested. It’s non-caustic, so it won’t hurt your skin or other parts of your body. While not for paint, if you dilute it enough, it can work well for it. It’s a dedicated automobile degreaser, so it’s very reliable for vehicles and you can expect it to be very consistent. It is, however, a bit more expensive. Other, more industrial strength brands, will have an easier time with tougher buildups, but Meguiar’s can be considered a much safer alternative as it is specifically made for vehicles.
- Clean scent
- Specifically for vehicles
- Very consistent
- Might have trouble with tougher buildups of grease
Overall, degreasing your engine is something that can be daunting at first, but is actually really simple in practice. There are plenty of different degreasers out there that can do any job you need. From super industrial strength cleaners to weaker all-purpose cleaners, there is a brand out there for you.
When purchasing a degreaser, it’s important to consider which aspects mean the most to you and how else you could use it. Are you just planning on cleaning your engine? Or do you plan on using it in other places as well? Just how dirty is your engine? These are some of the things to think about when choosing the best degreaser for your situation.
The best engine cleaner for you could be the worst for someone else. Either way, degreaser is the best way to clean that grime from your engines. The choice of which degreaser to choose is yours.