How to Clean Small Engine Mufflers

by Hunker TeamUpdated July 21, 2017


Never work on the muffler with the engine running. It should be off and cooled down before you begin working with a muffler.

How to Clean Small Engine Mufflers. Small engines are all around us. They power lawn mowers, weed eaters, chain saws, leaf blowers and more. The muffler on a small engine reduces the noise to a manageable level by muffling the sound the exhaust makes as it passes through the system. Keeping a clean muffler will help lengthen the life of your small engine as well as keep your ears happy.

Locate the muffler on your small engine. The muffler is at the end of the exhaust line and is usually easily accessible. When the engine is running, the muffler is where the exhaust comes out of the engine so you should be able to see the fumes and feel the air at the muffler.

Scrape or knock off any noticeable debris on the outside of the muffler. Many small engine mufflers have a guard over them that can get grimy, so these should be cleaned very regularly. You can use a rag or scraper to remove most of the outer grime.

Remove the muffler and use carburetor cleaner to give it a thorough cleaning. Consult your owner's manual for instructions on removing the muffler. Once you clean your muffler, let it dry completely before reattaching it.

Use a can of compressed air to blow away any debris that you cannot easily get to.

Soak the muffler in freshwater or a diluted bleach solution overnight to remove tougher buildup. Rinse the muffler off and let it dry completely before reattaching it.

Keep the rest of the engine well serviced. The best way to keep a muffler clean is preventative maintenance on the whole engine. If you are having constant buildup on your muffler, smoke coming out of your muffler or visible oil at your muffler, it could spell a bigger problem for your engine.

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