How to Clean a Car Engine Bay? – 8 Steps to Do

Written by Howell Crist / Fact checked by Sam Howard

how to clean a car engine bay

Your car engine bay is where almost all the action happens to get your car running. Cleaning it may not mean enhanced performance power. Still, it allows you to check for possible hose leaks or problems.

Knowing the probable condition of your engine bay will save you expensive engine bay detailing by professionals. But more than that, it satisfies that aesthetic feel of having a spotless car from interior to exterior down to the engine bay!

Learn how to clean a car engine bay in just a few steps!

Easy Steps on How to Do Engine Bay Cleaning


To wash an engine car may sound frightening, thinking that it is only a job for the experts. You don’t have to be afraid because the truth of the matter is, you can do it yourself. However, it is important to follow the best way to do it right.

Before delving deeper, let me give you helpful tips before you do your cleaning service.

Helpful Tips Before Cleaning a Car Engine Bay

  • Schedule Cleaning on a Warm Day

Warm days with minimal humidity and a little breeze are ideal. So keep this in mind when you plan your engine maintenance and monitor the weather forecast.

  • Cool Down the Engine

Allow time for your automobile to cool down if you have just gone for a ride. Open the hood and wait at least 30 minutes before cleaning. Otherwise, you risk being burned by the still-hot engine or causing electrical contraction due to cold water.

  • Cover Electrical Components

Use a plastic sheet or aluminum foil to cover delicate electronics. It is critical since in this method you cannot proceed without water use.

  • Turn On Ignition to Dry Completely

Simply start the engine and let it warm up. This is a simple yet efficient way for removing any leftover moisture.

Now, it is time to uncover what you need and what to do to clean your car engine bay.

What You Need

  • Protective Gear: eye goggles, hand gloves, and a dust mask
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Soft-Bristled Brush and Lug Nut Brush
  • Garden Hose
  • Compressed Cans or Air Blower
  • Plastic bags/sheets or Aluminum Foil
  • Degreaser

Step 1: Gear Up


Always prioritize your safety. Wear your protective goggles, hand gloves, and a dust mask to keep yourself away from harm.

Step 2: Find the Battery Leads

Look under your hood for the battery leads and detach them. Be sure to use a towel or other material as insulation after disconnecting before putting the items away. Verify that the covers are all sealed.

Step 3: Brush the Filth Away


Using the soft-bristled brush, whisk all of the grime and dirt. Be extra thorough in your cleanup to ensure you don’t carelessly miss any visible particles. If you pick up a lot of dirt onto the brush, dip it into clean water, then keep brushing.

Step 3: Spray the Degreaser and Scrub

Spray the engine bay cleaner equally, starting with the underside. Allow it to settle and do its job for at least two to three minutes. Next, gently scrub the area with the soft-bristle brush by moving it up and down or side to side.

Scrub thoroughly to clean oil off the engine but don’t use too much force. You do not want to cause any scraping to your car engine bay.

Step 4: Rinse with Water

Wash the engine of a car when you have removed all of the oily gunks. Use a garden hose to rinse until all of the degreasers have been removed.

Step 5: Apply Degreaser on the Other Parts


After cleaning the underside of the hood, rinse the lower compartment in the engine bay. Apply the cleaner spray then scrape to get rid of the unwanted buildups. Use the lug nut brush to reach crevices.

Step 6: Rinse Degreaser with Water

Rinse and wash away the degreaser, but don’t point it directly on any electrical components. Otherwise, you risk causing irreversible harm to them and spending much on replacement or repair.

Step 7: Air Blow or Use Compressed Air


Using an air blower or compressed air cans, dry the water. After that, go over the entire bag one more time with a clean microfiber towel to remove all of the extra water.

Step 8: Reattach the Battery

Reinstall the battery leads after engine bay cleaning. Remove any protective coverings that may have been utilized before the start of the cleaning.

Restore the bay to its original form. Everything should appear the same as before cleaning the engine compartment, except this time everything is clean!

Frequently Asked Questions


Is it okay to wash the engine bay with water?

Yes, since cars nowadays have covered air boxes and weather-proof electrical wirings. However, you need to avoid using high-pressure water systems with alternators and sensors.

What are the best products to clean an engine bay?

You can clean your engine bay with WD-40, Ardex Engine Cleaner, Sacota Extreme Engine Cleaner, and more. Simple Green Engine Degreaser is also one of the best products on the market.


If by any chance you are afraid to do your own car engine bay cleaning, you can always bring it to the carwash and have it examined by the experts. After all, you can never go wrong with a professional engine cleaning.

But if you are confident to do it on your own, just prepare your cleaning kit, remember the helpful tips, understand the steps, and you can learn how to clean a car engine bay.

5/5 - (3 votes)

Our chief editor is Sam Howard. The vast market of car care necessitates extensive research. He entered the market, experienced the service, and reported customer feedback in order to provide the best advice and content to car owners. We have faith in him to turn our website into a reliable resource for all car owners.

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