Often, when cleaning, you come across some contaminants that don’t go away. No matter how much you scrub, it stays there, and you’re scared to scrub too hard. That’s where degreasers come into play.
Degreasers act on oil-based stains like grease, oil, or hand-prints that regular water can’t remove. They are designed to remove these stains without requiring scrubbing actions. They can also remove oxidizing agents incredibly easily. Some industrial-strength degreasers can also remove tar and grime.
One significant factor that makes degreasers a must-have in your garage is that it can be used to clean your engine. As your car sees more wear and tear over-time your engine suffers a build-up of grease and grime. This build-up ends up hampering the performance of your vehicle. Giving your engine a proper clean-up now and then increases the longevity of your vehicle.
But that is not the end of it. Many degreasers are also capable of cleaning the plastic and even the leather upholstery of your car. It’s this versatile and effective design that makes the degreaser an amazing car care cleaning product all around.
Picking a good degreaser can be hard. So, below we have compiled a list of the best degreasers.
Top 6 Best Degreasers For 2021
1. Aero Cosmetic Wash-all
The Aero wash all degreaser is one of the most versatile and affordable degreasers in the market. With Aero Cosmetic Wash-all you get more than what you pay for.
You can choose the amount of degreaser you want, ranging from as little as 16oz to 1 gallon. Often it’s the case that you just have a small cleaning job, but you have to buy more than you’ll probably need. Aero eliminates that by providing a great and appreciable range.
The bottle that it comes in is neat as well. The smaller bottles are spray bottles. This ingenious design means that you won’t have to buy another spray bottle just to apply the degreaser. Of course, the 1-gallon bottle doesn’t have that spray bottle design because using a spray bottle of that size is impractical.
The degreaser doesn’t need to be diluted. This is significant because the degreasers that need to be diluted are often corrosive. With a degreaser that doesn’t need to be diluted, you will not have to worry about safety as much.
It is free from alcohol, so it doesn’t have VOCs which harm the environment. It can be used wet or dry. It would be considered wet when it is used with water.
However, its safety and environmental foresight leave a glaring problem. It isn’t strong enough. It is a strong degreaser for everyday common grime and grease cleaning but if you need a degreaser for heavy-duty work, it isn’t for you. Beyond that, the Aero Wash-all is the best.
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2. Chemical Guys CLD_201_16
Chemical Guys is a well-known brand in the car maintenance market. They are reputed and consistently produce great material. The CLD_201_16 is no exception. This is a great all-round degreaser perfect for day to day use.
This is the most versatile degreaser you will ever come across. It works on almost every surface of your car. It can even be used to degrease wrenches and other mechanical tools.
It only comes in a 16iz bottle, so you have limited choices. However, it is a concentrate, therefore, you can dilute it up to 20:1 for light jobs. In places where the grime is strong, you can use the concentrate itself. Make sure the surface you use the concentrate on is resistant to the corrosive action of the degreaser.
Some customers have noted that the degreaser is too strong but that isn’t the case. The fact is that the bottle doesn’t make it clear that it is a concentrate. Furthermore, it comes in an innocuous spray bottle that might make people think that it can work out of the box.
The fact that it is a concentrate means that you have better control of its effect and can make changes accordingly.
The base of the degreaser is an environment-friendly citrus-based. Don’t worry, that won’t leave your car with a citrus fragrance or fungus all over. It just means that the acid used is citric acid, commonly found in citrus fruits.
However, the concentrate itself is weak as a concentrate. That is to say, the strength is too strong to be used out of the box but too weak than concentrates by its competitors.
Still, this is a great choice for home use at a regular interval for someone looking for the best degreaser.
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3. Muc-Off MOX-904
The Muc-Off MOX-904 is a delicate biodegradable degreaser made for a light workload. It’s diluted and comes in a spray bottle so that it works as soon as you take it out of the box, reducing our prep-time.
This is mainly made for bikes but can be used on cars and motorcycles. But cars and motorcycles tend to get dirtier so make sure the grime is low enough for this to handle.
It is an environmentally friendly option without VOCs or high GWP compounds. But this is a corrosive product. It can withstand most plastic, stainless steel, or various kinds of common materials, but certain materials can get eroded. It can affect the brush aluminum finish.
The product is overpriced. It might not seem so to begin, but the product fails miserably to justify the price when considering its offerings.
Another problem that first-time use might face is size. When you’re starting on car maintenance, you need some time to develop taste. Within this time period, you try different products that might suit you. During this time, the best way to get that experience is to pick smaller portions of the product. Once you’re comfortable enough with the product, then you might consider buying it.
Because Muc-Off does not provide an option below 33.8oz is significant if you’re just trying out the product. It is a product which could be described as “good enough”. It neither provides that professional look nor can work great in a heavy-duty environment. However, for common use in vehicles that don’t tend to get dirty much, it is a great choice.
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4. Meguiar’s D10801
Meguiar is one of the most well-known brands of car maintenance. This is the brand of the professional. They consistently deliver products that go above and beyond the market.
The D10801 is the best degreaser for experienced users. The ‘experienced’ is key here. If you are new to degreasers and are not a hundred percent sure what you are doing then do not approach this. The degreaser is a concentrate. It is one of the strongest concentrates in the market, and if mishandled, it will burn you.
There needs to be an intimate understanding of the water-to-concentrate ratio. If you make a mistake in that step, you will end up damaging the vehicle.
The degreaser is very potent and could easily remove thick layers of grease that have built over time. It is fast-acting and dries off easily. It has a pleasant smell so that you don’t have the pungent degreaser smell.
However, and this is very important to note in this particular product, safety is key. The product releases fumes that could choke a closed space out of oxygen. If you do buy this product, make sure to use it in an open space so that you don’t have to breathe in the toxic fumes.
It is available in a 1-gallon bottle so make sure to store it properly because it is highly flammable and can cause serious damage.
It is simple to use but has a significantly larger perp-time. The process follows as such – spray and wipe off. That’s it.
If you are an experienced user you can buy this product with blind trust. It is the best degreaser in the market. Provided you know how to use it.
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5. 3D Orange Degreaser
This is another citrus-based degreaser, this time by 3D. It is available in two sizes – 16oz and 1 gallon. This is a great initiative but the lack of a middle ground size nullifies it. Even if you buy the 16z to try out the degreaser, you most probably won’t like it as often as to justify a 1-gallon purchase.
As for the product itself, it’s alright. It isn’t as good a product as some of its competitors, still it gives a strong fight.
This, just like the other citrus-based, is also a delicate degreaser it is meant to be used in places without much grime or grease. It can be easily used owing to its spray bottle design. It can be used on plastic and leather upholstery without damaging them, provided that you dilute properly.
It also needs to be diluted properly before using it in aluminum, otherwise, it will corrode its surface.
The method is incredibly easy. You just spray the solution on the place where you want to remove the grime from and scrub minimally to get rid of the grime. Then you wipe it off.
However, what sets this apart from its competition is the price at which it provides such performance. The cost of performance is great and you will not be disappointed.
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6. Gunk Engine Degreaser
This, unlike the other entries here, is an aerosol degreaser. Aerosols generally have a gaseous interior kept under excessive pressure. As the pressure is released by the release of the gas becomes foam and comes out of the nozzle in a pressurized manner.
An aerosol degreaser is perfect for degreasing the parts of the car under the hood, especially the engine. Because you can spray it on it to help to get the foam in little nooks and crannies where the grease might lie.
It is a very strong cleaner, so do not use it on surfaces that might be corrosive. This product is specially made for the engine, which requires harder action to clean.
It worlds in 3 easy steps – firstly, you spray the foam on your desired part. Secondly, letting it soak in Letting the foam rest on the grime will give the components under the hood a better appearance. Lastly, clean it off with running water. Just the three steps will get you one of the best looking under-hoods.
However, this product had some engineering issues. The nozzle on the bottle tends to be blocked off by frequent use. For all its strength and reachability, it cannot even escape the nozzle often.
If you’re looking for a good engine degreaser, this is your best bet.
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Best Degreasers – Conclusion
Many years ago, the degreasers companies came under heavy fire regarding CHCs and HCFCs. These gasses were responsible for thinning out the ozone layer. After that, the products producing CFCs and HCFCs were banned in The United States. But the abuse didn’t stop with that.
Today a lot of degreaser companies make products which release fumes into the atmosphere. These compounds are called VOCs. They are contributing to the smog growth in the United States.
Secondly, they also have products that produce high global warming potential compounds. It must be evident from the name itself that these are compounds that increase global warming.
We state this because we have to be responsible consumers. Our choices make a difference in the world we live in. A strong degreaser like the D0801 or Gun EBGEL will have these problems. The fact is that those components are a proponent for the strong action of the degreasers.
It would be very tempting to go for those products, after all, they work well but please only go for them if you absolutely need to. Most common users could easily get stuff done with delicate and simple degreasers.
Factors To Look For In The Best Degreaser
Depending on the form factor and the delivery of the active agent on the grease there are various types of degreasers to choose from. Let’s go through it –
These are the strongest and are meant for heavy-duty use. These are normally placed in large gallon jugs for easy handling.
Liquid degreasers are very strong with regard to its action. They typically need to be diluted to work safely on any surface. If you do end up deciding to pick a liquid degreaser take extreme precaution while handling it. Liquid degreasers have the highest probability of burning you. Some can even chew through tires if not diluted properly!
Liquid degreasers are primarily of two kinds – solvent-based or water-based.
In a solvent-based degreaser, the main acting agents are alcohols, aliphatic hydrocarbon, or ketones. These compounds break down the soil and pull it away from the contaminated surface.
When liquid cleaners being aggressive is mentioned, it is probably a solvent-based degreaser. They have incredible strength and can work on a high level of contamination. They do not require perp-time and can be quickly dissolved and used. Provided that they are based on spirits, they evaporate easily and do not require much time to dry.
But that is exactly where we run into a problem as well. Solvent-based degreasers are flammable. If stored improperly, they could end up causing some serious problems. Also, since they evaporate at room temperature they could cause fume to build up in cramped spaces.
When it comes to strong solvent degreasers some common ones are methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, or trichloroethylene (TCE). On the milder side of the spectrum, we have isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or glycerine.
Water-based degreasers however are a little more complicated. Water, as you know, is the universal slut, but the problem is that it isn’t a strong one. To off-set, this problem various substances like detergents, pH modifiers, chelating agents are used. Furthermore, though they can be strong and their strength can be modified it isn’t as promising as the strength of solvent-based ones.
b. Environment Friendly
Over the years degreasers have caught a lot of flak for being degrading to the environment. They used to include chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons which used to contribute to the degradation of the ozone layer. Although it has largely been halted here in America, it has had an impact on the goodwill of degreasers.
The negative environmental impact hasn’t even gone yet. Liquid solvent-based degreasers have substances called volatile organic compounds or VOCs. VOCs are a major proponent of the ever-increasing levels of smog across the United States.
They also have compounds that have high global warming potential. So, it is wise to properly look into the product that you’ll be buying.
Many people use stuff like vinegar or lemon juice as a degreaser. It might sound like these are ineffective alternatives, but these work pretty well when it.
2. Method Of Greasing
There are two common methods of greasing that are found in the market.
a. Liquid Spray
These are the spray made out of liquid-based degreasers. They are often used for much more surface-level work. Typically in this method, you spray your degreaser on the surface and then apply some minimal scrubbing motion. After that, you wash away the remaining stuff from the degreaser on the surface.
They are mostly done in two methods- dry and wet. Dry here isn’t to say that the liquid will be non-existent but rather to imply the non-existence of water.
In a dry spray method, you apply the spray onto the dry surface. Most of these types of degreasers are solvent-based degreasers and work well on their own. They also tend to be very hard and corrosive.
On the other side of the spectrum is the wet method. In this we initially wet the surface we intend to clean. Following that spray our degreaser on it and start to scrub. The scrubbing action gets rid of the grime without requiring much energy.
These are normally water-based, to begin with. They are much milder than the dry method but it doesn’t create any fumes.
Secondly, in this we have aerosols. These have a rather foamy texture in contrast to the entirely liquid spray. The aerosol gives you much more control to send the degreasers exactly where they should. The higher control makes this kind of degreaser to be ideal for cleaning under the hood.
Under the hood, the bent and twisted coils and cables might not be a place a hand can reach.
Aerosols are typically very strong. They do not even require a mechanical effort to remove the grime from them. All you need to do after applying it is let it soak properly and then wash away.
Aerosols may not have CFC but they do have the follower of CFC. Although not as bad to the ozone layer, they contribute to global warming.
3. Non-metal Compatibility
Although not as important as metallic compatibility these also play an important role. While working on your vehicle you cannot be a hundred percent sure that you won’t touch the rubber or plastic. If the material tar you’re using is degrading to plastic then you might harm your vehicle by a simple mistake.
That is why a proper, non-metallic compatible degreaser is necessary. The compatibility of a degreaser is not linked to its strength but rather the corrosive activity in which coils can be cranked up to increase strength. There are strong degreasers that are compatible with plastic and rubber.
But the problem doesn’t stop there. The fact of the matter is that these degreasers are themselves kept in a plastic container. If the degreasers start eating up their own containers then you might have a spill and will have to waste money on a new bottle of degreaser again.
Also if you intend to use the degreaser under the hood then you might run into a slight problem. Some significant parts are made of rubber and plastic and could destroy your car.
The fragrance of a degreaser has become a stated issue, at least in the discourse among high-end users. A greaser often has a very pungent offending smell. Once you’ve applied a degreaser to your car, that smell will persist for a while even after you’re done with it.
To offset this, manufacturers infuse fragrance into the degreaser so that you don’t have to sit around waiting for a bad smell to dissipate.
However, this causes a problem- the strength of the smell could be indicative of a certain fume present from the degreaser.
When the fume gets covered by a more ‘pleasant’ smell you have no way of knowing how much fume has built up in the cramped little space until it is too late.
FAQs on Degreasers
What Is The Best Thing To Clean Grease With?
If you wish to go the DIY way then you can create a great degreaser with baking soda and some dish soap. If you want to go a more traditional route then depending on the type of job you want to do it can range from solvent-based aerosol to citric-based liquid.
Does Vinegar Dissolve Grease?
Vinegar is an incredibly acidic solution, it can be easily used to reduce the grime level due to its acidity.