Homemade Engine Degreaser

by Stephanie Crumley Hill

Keeping your engine clean can make it easier to spot potential problems like leaks and make it easier to work on. Hoses and wiring may last longer when kept clean. There's no need to purchase expensive commercial products when you can make your own engine degreaser at home with a few simple supplies. Here are some degreasing cleaners you might want to try.

Washing Soda

You can make an effective engine degreaser by dissolving ¼ cup of washing soda soda (sodium carbonate) in one gallon of warm water. Washing soda is similar to baking soda, and can be found with the laundry products in most stores. You could substitute baking soda for washing soda, but it will not clean your engine as effectively.

Ammonia Degreaser

Another effective engine degreaser is made by mixing two parts ammonia with two parts water and one part liquid dish soap. The mixture should be thoroughly combined in a spray bottle, and you should scrub as necessary. Rinse thoroughly.

Kerosene Degreaser

Mixing one part kerosene with four parts of water and adding some liquid dish soap will also make another degreaser. Kerosene can be applied to the engine as a degreaser by itself, but added soap will work as a surfactant, helping to break down and remove the engine grease and dirt. Use caution when using kerosene because it is flammable.

General Instructions

Always use care when working on an engine. Make sure the engine is off and cooled sufficiently to prevent injury. Avoid working near the fan. Use a spray bottle to get good coverage when applying the degreaser. Use a firm brush to scrub small areas; any cleaner strong enough to remove grease on its own may be strong enough to damage sensitive hoses and wiring. Always rinse thoroughly after use.

About the Author

Stephanie Crumley Hill is a childbirth educator who for more than 20 years has written professionally about pregnancy, family and a variety of health and medical topics. A former print magazine editor, her insurance articles for “Resource” magazine garnered numerous awards. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Georgia.